Date of Incident

28/06/2020

Country

England

Incident

I started to lead the Lunar Landscape trad rock climb route at approximately 11.15am. This is a diagonal route cutting across one of the Glacis slabs in the West End area of Fairy Cave Quary. Stupidly, when I started to climb, it had been only a few minutes after rain had stopped. I managed to get 2 initial bits of nut protection in on the initial section. It was then tricky to place protection for a little bit after this. However, I was able to place 2 more bits of protection (nut and quad cam), just before what I believe is the crux of the route in the middle of the climb. Emboldened by having just placed protection, I then began to attempt the middle section, even though the rock was slippy. Unfortunately my foot slipped and my hands were unable to hold me. I began to slide down the slab and was shocked when I realise that the protection could not have held. I landed winded (approx 10-15m fall), but due to the steepness of the ground surrounding the slab, I then tumbled a further approx 3-5m through rocks and brambles. I sustained a minor head injury below the line of my helmet at the back, and was somewhat scratched and bruised. Help was summoned by my climbing partner and other climbers near by and in the quarry.

Lessons

Avoid climbing just after rain! When climbing a diagonal route be very careful with your protection - the direction of force will have a sideways element. Given the diagonal crack nature of this particular climb, it is hard to protect. The fall force will apply across protection placed within the main crack. I suspect many people may have climbed this route believing they were well protected, when in actual fact they may not have been due to the diagonal nature.

Activity

Trad rock climbing

When

Ascending

Injury

Minor injury, Required minor medical treatment

Causes

Slip, trip or fall, Adverse Weather, Nut protections failed to hold fall

Anonymous?

No

Reported By

Participant

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

Air ambulance and standard ambulance service. The air ambulance was stood down when it was realised that I had not been unconscious, and was able to walk from the incident. I received a trip in an ambulance to RUH Bath. My climbing partner also chinned himself rushing to my help and received attention at Bath too. Many thanks to all involved for the very speedy response.

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.