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Date of Incident



The Ecrins


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.


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.


Sport rock climbing




Minor injury


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



Reported By


Wearing Helmets?


Rescue Services Involved?

Ecrins mountain rescue - helicopter rescue.


13 May 2019 at 07:15:13

For more advice and guidance on good practices visit BMC skills

All reports are self-submitted and have not been edited by the BMC in any way, so please keep an open mind regarding the lessons and causes of each incident or near-miss. 

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