Date of Incident

04/09/2020

Country

England

Route

Incident

Inexperienced adult climber (in our party) got to top of a easy sport climb on their first outdoor ascent (on top rope). Once at the top, while getting ready to lower off they reached above the lower-off and grabbed onto a ledge to steady themselves, this dislodged a block of rock, sending it 12m+ down the crag. I was buddy checking a climber, ready to lead another route and we were stood at the base of the crag (2 routes away from the top rope, so prob 4m to the side). The rock, about 200mm in diameter landed between us, striking the back of the climbers leg & ankle a glancing blow and smashing on the floor between us. We were very shaken by this and the climber was in immediate pain. The rock landed in the 1/2m space between us (both wearing helmets) which felt very lucky as a blow to the head would have been serious.

Lessons

The experienced climbers in the group should have discussed the risk of loose rock with the inexperienced climber, especially in an old quarry that does have sections of loose rock. There is a lot of loose rock on the floor at the base of the crag which should have promoted us to discuss why that was there. I had led the route 4 / 5 times and never noted loose blocks above the lower off, but I had also never reached into that area as there were better holds (i felt) below / adjacent to the lower off.

Activity

Sport rock climbing

When

Descending

Injury

Minor injury

Causes

Falling rock, snow, ice or object, Hold breaking

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Participant's Family

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

None - pain medication given at home.

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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.