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Date of Incident

25/05/2024

Country

Wales

Incident

Climbing Accident Report: First Time at Foxhole Cove

Climbers Involved:

Mark: Two years of intensive sport climbing experience, climbing up to 7a indoors and mid 6s outdoors.
Rowan: Fifteen years of climbing experience, currently climbing high 6s indoors and mid 6s outdoors.
Conditions:

Weather: Mostly sunny with no rain.
Crag: Foxhole Cove
Objective:

Morning: Easy sport climbing.
Afternoon: Easy traditional climbing.
Description of Events:

This was Mark and Rowan's first time climbing outdoors together. The day began on easy slabs. After lunch, they moved to the main area and attempted a polished 6a+ route, which left them both feeling tired. They decided to finish with some easier climbs. Despite having an outdated Rockfax guide, they attempted to identify easier routes on the left side of the crag.

Climbs Attempted:

Referencing https://swcw.org.uk/wiki/Foxhole_Cove

Mark's Lead: Never Out-Fox the Fox
Rowan's Lead/Clean: Same route, with Rowan leaving the last clip attached, intending to use an alternative finish.
Accident Details:
Mark decided to climb what they later identified as "Reynard" after referencing the climbing wiki post-accident. Rowan belayed from below the loose grassy/muddy bank. Mark started his ascent, clipping the first bolt (C1). He then climbed to what he perceived as the next bolt (C2). The climb was challenging, and Mark began to get pumped. As he attempted to clip the rope into the draw, his hand strength gave out, and he fell.

Fall Dynamics:

Initial Fall: Approximately 2.5 meters, landing on the bank, resulting in a twisted ankle.
Swing: Mark then swung, impacting his head against the rock. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet, which prevented a more serious injury.
Post-Accident Actions:

Rowan kept Mark on belay and assessed his injuries.
Mark sustained a mild ankle sprain and bruising.
Rowan then led and cleaned the route, using different initial bolts before C2.
They exited the crag slowly, with Rowan carrying the gear.
Conclusion:
Mark's helmet significantly mitigated the impact of the fall, and his injuries were relatively minor. The outdated guide contributed to route confusion.

Lessons

Lessons Learned:

Both Rowan and Mark could have improved their route reading skills to better identify the possibility of a run-out if the climber veered further right than anticipated. Mark should have considered down-climbing when he realized how far he had climbed above the previous bolt. This would have minimized the risk and allowed for a safer approach to the next clipping point.

Activity

Sport rock climbing

When

Ascending

Injury

Minor injury

Causes

Slip, trip or fall, Route Selection

Anonymous?

No

Reported By

Participant

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

N/A

Author

Rowan Whiteman

30 May 2024 at 11:11:21

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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