Monday, January 4, 2010

guest posting!

Warning. If you don't like blood and "guts" don't scroll down.

Mixing it up a bit, I figured I'd let someone else tell the tale of the weekend. What better person than the man who decked himself? If you haven't seen the pictures on facebook, or you have and want the whole account of the situation, here is Kyle's narrative of what went down this weekend in Joshua Tree...while I was out gallivanting on a 4 hour ride with no cell service. I returned to this:
January 1st, Two thousand Ten, first day of a new year, the sixth year of my love affair with rock climbing. A long run, especially for me, of going accident free in fairly accident intense sport. The weekend had just begun, a weekend that was supposed to be a bar-lifting, record setting, motivated, no brakes climbing extravaganza, when it all came crashing down around me.

I was going to be climbing with a new partner, one with similar goals in mind for the weekend, someone who was trying to break into slighter harder grades like myself and one I was hoping to climb with in the future as well. After a quick meet and greet we saw Rachel pedal off into the sunset, grab the gear and headed over to what would be my first of hopefully many 5.10 rated climbs. For non-climbers out there, 5.10 could be considered the first of the 'harder' grades. 5.7-5.9 being 'moderates' and I was getting tired of knocking off moderates and was looking to up the ante.

So recap, First day of the New year, first climb of the day, first climb with new partner I had just met 30 minutes ago, first 5.10.... and about 50 feet up, 25 feet from a large ledge, I sloughed off the route, rope began to grow taut on my last piece of protection, piece pops out of the crack, and I fall very un-elegantly into a Kyle-sized heap on the ledge. I fell in a 'standing up'-esque position with my feet hitting the deck first, but moving extremely quickly with my knees and head quickly following my feet onto the deck.
The knees.
My knees probably absorbed about 92% of the impact and the frontal lobe of my skull the remaining 8%. I had always believed helmets were only necessary in areas with a lot of loose rock and multipitch climbs with parties above you and therefore not common in Jtree due to the lack of falling rock and the well 'broken in' routes. However, I am really lucky I didnt hit my head any harder, and will wear it in the future.

The crash brought a lot of groups to come help and I managed to down climb to the ground under my own power. Many insisted I go to the hospital immediately, and "not fall asleep or you may not wake up" however I knew I had only dinged my head slightly and was far more worried about the very wrecked knees. In order to appease the masses Richard, my brand new partner and possible accomplice in my decking, and I set off in his truck, in order to 'drive to the hospital' but in fact only to a pull out down the road and put that snazzy Xterra first aid kit of mine into action. Fully wrapped and feeling a little less shocked/nervy/tweaked out we returned to my car and parted ways, wishing him luck for the rest of the weekend.

Now with Rachel gone on a 4 hour bike ride, I began to make plans to lay down in the back of my car and read my book until she returned. However, with the onset of major swelling I decided a determined trip back into town to buy ice and some beer was definitely in order. Returning after a painful trip I quickly pumped up Rachel's sleeping pad, and organized the rear compartment for maximum comfort and knee elevation whilst icing.
I almost couldn't wait to see Rachel's face when she returned, although I knew in my head that it was a major bonus that she wasn't around when it all went down ( pun intended) I also was aching for some TLC that only Rachel could provide. I managed to hobble around the rest of the weekend and even climbed two easy pitches the next day, because there was NO WAY I was going to waste an entire three day weekend in Jtree and not climb.

The knees still ache but I think the swelling is going down and can only hope they continue to heal quickly with my Half marathon on the 25th now looming ever closer. And while I did not in any way meet my goals for this weekend, I did gain a lot in the experience side of life.
The morning after

Afterward, while laid back in my car waiting for Rachel, multiple climbers who had seen/heard of the incident approached me and offered their sympathy and, unsurprisingly some 'herbal relief' and while I of course turned it down every time I did find one sympathetic anecdote interesting; "There are two types of climbers in the world, those that have, and those that will" and although its always nice to feel like you've achieved some kinda landmark in any sport I can't help but worry about a third possible category... "those that will again."The route: Purple star is where he fell from. Red star is where his last placement pulled, and the green oval is the general area/ledge that he came crashing down onto.

So that's it. I don't want to freak people out. What he did was dangerous and isn't what will happen to you if you are getting introduced to the sport. Kyle is an experienced leader, but like the random climber said, you either have, or you will. But that's if you are leading. Top rope climbing is relatively safe and fun. Don't let his accident scare you away from one of the greatest sports I've tried.

My account of the weekend is up next. :) I promise it's much less gruesome.

1 comment:

Kyle John Wills said...

and people keep asking me today at work, and thus I want to make it clear( for my own absurd desires) that I didn't scrape my knees on the way down at all, just straight smashed then into the ledge ridiculously hard.