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Date of Incident

16/03/2024

Country

England

Incident

The Climbing Clan organised an outdoor climbing event on 16/03/24, at Stanage Popular. At approximately 14:15, a climber seconding Leaning Buttress Crack (VD, Hollybush Crack area) fell from the route. They were on a top rope at the time. The fall pulled their belayer to the side, over the edge of the crag, inverted them, and they subsequently lost control of the brake rope. The climber fell between six and ten metres to the ground, landing on their back and hitting their head. Both the climber and belayer were wearing helmets. The belayer was held near the top of the crag, and managed to get themself back onto the top without assistance. Fellow club members moved immediately to assist both parties, and provide first aid. The fallen climber moved themself into a seated position, but otherwise remained still to avoid any further potential spinal injury.
Mountain Rescue were called for at 14:18, and arrived at the scene at 14:45. They assessed the injured climber, placed them into a full body splint and a stretcher, and then recruited club members to aid in passing the stretcher to the path. The climber was conveyed to the car park and handed to the ambulance service at approximately 15:15. East Midlands Ambulance Service then took over, and took the climber to Sheffield Northern General Hospital. They were discharged at 19:00 with no major injuries, and advised to take painkillers as required. Paramedics also had an interaction with the belayer, who did not require any treatment.

Both parties had led trad routes before. Both were experienced outdoor climbers. This was however their first day of climbing this year. The weather was fair, however the rock was cold and caused some hand numbness after prolonged contact. The route was within the capabilities of both climbers. They had adequate gear, an appropriate guide book of the area, and support from others more familiar with the area.

Lessons

Witnesses report that the anchor held, however there must have been slack in the system caused by poor directionality. This incident should therefore be recorded as a fall attributed to Belaying failure or error.
This incident should serve as a reminder to wear helmets when rock climbing, and for climbers to ensure their anchors at the top are kept tight, and appropriate to handle a pull from the direction of the climber.

Activity

Trad rock climbing

When

Ascending

Injury

Minor injury

Causes

Slip, trip or fall, Belaying failure or error

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Observer

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

Edale Mountain Rescue performed an assessment, and conducted the safe moving of the injured climber to the road. East Midlands Ambulance Service then took over, and conveyed the climber to Sheffield Northern General Hospital

Author

9 April 2024 at 15:02:38

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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