Date of Incident

30/12/2019

Country

England

Incident

Overall the crag was slimy and damp, however we found a small area that appeared dry and climbable. A fellow climber had recommended the slabby route, and the crux was clearly well protected so relatively low risk. Downclimbing from the crux was easily possible. A pad was placed below the route to protect the first few metres. A small damp patch was noted however this was off route. Route was within capabilities of climber, but near the limit. Belayer was experienced in catching falls on gear.
The climber placed two high quality pieces of gear (one on each rope) at the horizontal break just before the crux, rested and then attempted the move. Their initial attempt was unsuccessful so they downclimbed and traversed slightly, coming away from the dry line of the route and onto wet rock. This caused a fall which was well held by the gear and by good belaying, however panic caused the climber to flail and grab onto a block with a sharp edge, slicing deep into their hand.
Climber was lowered to ground, hand was improvisedly bandaged and taken to Shepton Mallet Hospital.

Lessons

It should be remembered that hitting the ground is not the only danger in falling - hand and face injuries are also common if you slip from slabbier terrain.
If it weren't for the choice to use half ropes and to place two pieces, the fall may have been much more dramatic and injurious. The climber fell straight down instead of spinning.
Consider carrying a first aid kit or even just climbing tape - injury would have been easier to treat with some supplies.
Finally, there was an assumption made that the dampness near the route would have no impact on the climbing. However, as is clearly seen here, this is not the case. Risks such as damp and loose blocks to the sides of a line can have similar impact, particularly if the climber is to drift off route (especially when climbing near their limit).

Activity

Trad rock climbing

When

Ascending

Injury

Serious injury requiring medical treatment

Causes

Slip, trip or fall, Route Selection

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Participant

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

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.