I was part of a four-strong club group climbing this Grade 2 scramble in the Ogwen valley. The group, which had no experience of the route, comprised myself (intermediate scrambler at this time), Person A (aspirant MIA), Person B (experienced climber) and Person C (novice scrambler). I solo'd alongside Person A and watched them build belays to bring Person C up on a rope. Person B solo'd alongside Person C to give them confidence.
Midway up the route it began hailing/snowing and we started to encounter iced up rock. As the weather worsened Person C began to lose confidence and progress slowed significantly. Following discussion with Person A it was agreed that I would solo onwards to confirm the route to the relative safety of Seniors Ridge. I did this successfully before downclimbing and leading the group upwards.
Around 20m from the top of the route we encountered an 'easy' 3m slab above a large grassy ledge. As I climbed this slab I slipped and slid around 2m onto the ledge, dislocating my left patellar in the process. This kneecap had dislocated in a trampolining accident (!) several years previously. Fortunately I was able to relocate the kneecap and a painful descent followed - including several abs down verglassed steps on Seniors Ridge and much hopping.
The biggest lessons I have learned from this incident are to avoid complacency and over-confidence. Regarding complacency: the slab was easy ground, had a safe landing, and I had negotiated it safely twice before (in ascent and descent during my solo recce of the route). This meant I was over-confident and did not give the slab the attention and respect it deserved bearing in mind the conditions (iced up rock) and my physical state (cold, tired muscles due to our slow movement). I am now much more cautious when moving over iced up rock. I have also stopped soloing Grade 2 scrambles even in good conditions, preferring to move together with a partner.
Dislocation or joint injury
Fall or slip, Unroped soloing, Adverse Weather
Rescue Services Involved?
12 May 2019, 21:19:07
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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.