Date of Incident

01/03/2012

Country

England

Route

Incident

Three of us went to climb in Ban-y-gor despite it raining gently. One of us decided to start with a short HVS which was at the top of his experience in the dry. He fell or slipped a few metres up. One of his pieces of gear ripped out, which may have been as the rock may have moved or the placement was poor, either way it meant that he hit the deck. After falling, he sounded as if he was choking but the ground was too uneven to get him in the recovery position so I propped him up against the rockface (I did not consider the spinal injury risk). At this point I realised the back of his head was bleeding despite wearing a helmet. I called the ambulance but did not realise they would need to stretcher him out due to spinal injury risk and I did not properly explain the access conditions thinking that they would be able to walk in and out. Hence they had to call back-up in order to hoist him out and we waited a long time in the cold. He was not completely with it. His helmet was cracked so had taken the brunt of the impact. He suffered a mild concussion and had stitches but otherwise was very lucky.

Lessons

Especially when wet, at a new crag it is a bad idea to jump on a route which is really higher than the grades you are comfortable with leading and at the top of your experience. Being a short climb doesn't make it better. I should have said what I was thinking which is to get a feel for the rock and conditions by starting on something easier and better protected. We had travelled some way to get there and felt like we had to make the most of it despite the conditions - this is the wrong mindset, it is never worth taking the risk. We should have taken a step back and chosen a more sensible route or waited for the rain to stop. The route looked very slimy and slippery which was a bad idea in the rain, especially at the top of your grade. I also wish I had explained the access to the crag better so the emergency services could have judged their need for roped access earlier, what seemed easy to me on foot was much harder to get someone out on a spinal board.

Activity

Trad rock climbing

When

Ascending

Injury

Serious injury requiring medical treatment

Causes

Slip, trip or fall, Adverse Weather, Equipment failure

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Partner

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

Ambulance and firefighter services or mountain rescue