Date of Incident

02/08/2017

Country

The Ecrins

Incident

Multi stage abseil off top of route (route was approximately 300m high) - fixed belay points. Some navigation error led to much longer descent but still on bolted belays. Weather was very warm and we hadn't brought enough water for trip and generally very dehydrated do decision making felt poor. We also just wore our rockshoes having left our approach shoes at base of the route. Half down the route involved abseiling over an overhanging rock which bulged to the left. As I came down over this the rope swung quickly over to the right into a wall - I put my feet out to stop my body hitting wall which resulted in my foot twisting. At that point it swelled so much we suspected fracture. I managed to descend slowly on knees using prussick to control the speed to more level ground in a gully. We were still 100m up and I was unable to descend so had to ring for mountain rescue. Got airlifted off and taken to hospital. No fracture but level 3 sprain - end of holiday and out of action for 6 weeks.

Lessons

Wear approach shoes for abseils of more than a few pitches rather than rock shoes - this would have allowed more surface area for my feet when impacting the wall. Plan before hand how you can descend uneven rock taking into account how rope may swing - had I gone right rather than straight down the rope wouldn't have swung. Always take a prussick - my incident would have been worse without this. Always have adequate insurance when climbing abroad to allow for helicopter rescues. Take enough water as dehydration makes it difficult to problem solve.

Activity

Sport rock climbing

When

Descending

Injury

Minor injury

Causes

Slip, trip or fall, Inadequate equipment, clothing or footwear

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Participant

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

Ecrins mountain rescue - helicopter rescue.