Thank you for taking the time to relate what happened. We all make mistakes and sometimes those errors compound resulting in injury. I give you credit for your bravery and honesty on this forum. Your insights may help others avoid making the same mistakes.gamos wrote:what I take away from this fall is the importance of knotting the rope ends before rapping.
While knotting your ropes may have saved you from injury, I am wondering how your ropes came to be uneven in the first place. While we can only wonder why people on the ground did not alert you, perhaps a more important consideration is why you did not visually check the rope ends (a) before you descended and (b) while you descended.
Were you distracted? In a hurry? Didn't think of it?
Your reflections on the moments before you descended and as you descended will help us all.
What jeffski said.gamos wrote:what I take away from this fall is the importance of knotting the rope ends before rapping. it's something every climber knows is an added level of safety when rapelling, but so few of us bother to do it.
And putting knots in your rope is far from a fix all solution Greg, I've been in quite a few epics caused by knots in the rope. I'm not saying don't put knots in your rope (far from it), just pointing out that climbing is less about right and wrong, and more about judgement and decisions.
Your accident is an excellent illustration of how good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.
Get well soon dude, I helped carry you down, I got to learn that a stretcher with people either side of it is a tight squish down the Penny Lane steps!
Great to hear you are going to make a full recovery. Best wishes and thanks for sharing your story so others can learn from it.More than five weeks after a potentially fatal fall while rock climbing near Squamish, I’m glad to say my recovery is on track and my return to the Columbia Valley is not far off.
A 20-metre fall after a rappelling mishap landed me in the Vancouver General Hospital emergency room on Saturday, May 11th. Surgeons quickly scanned my injuries and operated to stabilize my broken femur, fractured pelvis and fractured thumb. A second operation on May 20th fixed damage to my jaw, nose and facial bones. On Saturday, May 25th, I left hospital and have been recovering at my parents’ place in White Rock.
Recovery, I found out, involves a lot of lying around like an Ottoman while observing the body’s incredible ability to heal itself. While the jaw’s still a little sore and weeks away from being able to chew anything, I’m seeing daily signs of improvement in other areas.
The fall took place while I was enjoying an easy day of recreational top-rope climbing in the Smoke Bluffs crag near Squamish, after having travelled to Vancouver to attend a funeral two days earlier.
Though my memory of the details was wiped out by the concussion I suffered, it seems I didn’t drop equal lengths of rope down before rappelling down the roughly 30-metre tall climb. At a height of about 20 metres off the ground, I suddenly rappelled off the end of my rope, falling to the ground after bouncing off a ledge that thankfully got in the way. I can probably credit this break in the fall – which apparently involved smashing my face into a stump – for slowing me enough to make it a non-fatal fall.
All in all, I had a pretty good outcome after a 20-metre fall off a rock face. I’m lucky to (A) be alive, (B) not be paralyzed and (C) not have any brain damage. Being temporarily disabled is teaching me a little about patience, but knowing I can make a full recovery is a great thing.
As a bonus, I’m contributing to medical knowledge by taking part in a pelvic fracture study.
I look forward to seeing you soon, Columbia Valley readers! If my leg heals within the expected 12 weeks, I’ll be back in early August.
When you reach the top, keep climbing -- Zen proverb
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