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#54460 - 09/01/10 11:24 AM ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope...
Mim Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/27/00
Posts: 1000
Loc: Gunks
Yesterday was going to be the last day of what was an amazing and fabulous vacation out west, but when doing the first climb of the morning, I lowered Rich and the rope slipped right past my belay (in order words, the rope was too short to lower him off) sending him head first on the rock where he broke his nose, then again 10 feet lower where he landed on his side and head, breaking some ribs, creating an immense laceration on his head (20 staples) and doing more stumbling down the rock. I thought he was dead.

I've never felt this awful. I ran to his help - blood everywhere, he was not responsive, and we were in the middle of nowhere at City of Rocks, practically. I waited a minute for him to somewhat regain consciousness, and then positionned him with his feet up with the hope that while I was getting help, he would not go into shock.

I then ran to the car like I've never ran before and drove to get help, and I luckily ran into a ranger who immediately set out a rescue team and called a helicopter for an evacuation. I then ran back up to Rich and thank god, he was still alive.

About an hour after the accident, he was in the hands of paramedics and was heli-flown to a trauma center in Ogden, Utah. I drove there a few hours later and he had the best team caring for him - truly amazing medical staff.

Anyways, it has been the worst day of my life, between the fear of losing him altogether, the guilt of not having noticed the rope issue, and the pain of seeing him in such distress... and the fact that it was a completely preventable accident. A COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE accident. Just awful.

(Two weeks earlier, another women dropped her husband the same way but 50' and he wasn't so lucky - I did not ask details.)

He was extubated last night and they will be doing more tests today to make sure his brain and spine are fine - thus far, all the tests came back great. No major injuries, just some things that will heal soon.

PLEASE always tie a knot at the end of your rope when top roping, identify CLEARLY the mid-way point of the rope. And wear a helmet.

I will put an update in a few days, but no news until then is good news.

#54461 - 09/01/10 11:45 AM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: Mim]
Rickster Online   content
old hand

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 853
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
Our best goes to out to you both. Fortunately, he's such a hardman. RC

#54462 - 09/01/10 11:58 AM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: Rickster]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Thanks for letting us know. Anyone who has been at this game for a while is aware of just how easily a momentary mistake can reverberate for a long time, and how many stupid little things can be big things. I am so glad he will be OK. Has he started doing his own nursing care yet? I think the hard part will be holding him down long enough to recover. Something like this is a great reminder of how much we all mean to each other and especially for you both. I pray that you find peace over this, Mim.

#54463 - 09/01/10 12:19 PM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: Mim]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards

Wishing you both a speedy recovery.


#54464 - 09/01/10 12:20 PM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: Mim]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Prayers and get well thoughts go out to you both. Hang in there.

#54465 - 09/01/10 01:15 PM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: alicex4]
Doug Offline

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 176
Glad it wasn't worse, all the best for a full recovery.

#54466 - 09/01/10 01:23 PM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: alicex4]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
things like this really can happen to anyone it happened to me too the exact same way 10 years ago, I fell 30 feet, broken ribs, instead of the cut on the head I got a dislocated elbow so there was less blood. either way, OUCH! having always been a very conservative climber, it took a long time to get back on the horse and it's never been the same since with the fear factor. especially being lowered...
it's lucky to survive such a fall. we'll have you in our thoughts and send blessings your way. wish you a speedy recovery when you get home and see you soon. please be carefull out there everyone.
Support Your Local Farmer!

#54467 - 09/01/10 01:40 PM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: phlan]
sknowlton Offline

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Nyack NY
All the the best to you both. My heart goes out to you Mim---I can imagine what you must have felt.

My wife and I have been there as well, but my situation was next to nothing compared to yours---I was dropped 25 feet (in a gym no less onto 3 inches of pea gravel--no mats in that gym back then) by my belayer who is my wife and soul mate when she was momentarily distracted by my then 5 year-old who she percieved was in danger by a group of boulderers doing stunts. Fortunately for me I had no large fractures, only spinal shock (couldn't walk for a week) and then 2 months of walking very slowly with a cane.

It was worse for her than for me, for sure. It did take me a while to get back on the rock (not surprisingly real rock was much easier and quicker than than the damn gym) and she's back belaying and climbing well too---and with complete confidence. But it took time. Be patient with yourself, please.

But because of that fall I am a freak about closing the rope system always.

Edited by sknowlton (09/01/10 01:40 PM)
Steve K

#54468 - 09/01/10 02:06 PM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: sknowlton]
Julie Offline

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Mim! How shocking and scary. I'm so sorry this happened to you guys.

Please let us know if we can help out in any way. Best to you.

#54469 - 09/01/10 02:18 PM Re: ALWAYS tie a knot at the end of the rope... [Re: Julie]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
I'm really glad to hear that evac and care were available so quick and that Rich is doing good. Here is hoping for just a couple of banged up parts that heal quickly. (Recent Images of Rich leading with his arm cast come to mind, of how he will not be able to sit still of course)


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