/ Stupidest climbing injury you've given yourself?
So on Friday, I forgot to put my helmet on.
Then I fell off. And some gear ripped.
6 stitches to the face, and mild concussion. (Sacre Coeur (E2 5c))
All in all, a relatively lucky escape. But if I'd been wearing a helmet, all I'd have would be some scrapes on my arms and back, and a good story to regale others with in the pub about my 15 meter lob. So this goes firmly in the category of "stupid accidents that could easily have been avoided".
'Fess up. What's the stupidest way you've gotten yourselves hurt whilst climbing?
After having spent much of the day writing the Warming Up advice section of RockFax Trad Climbing +, I then went to the wall that same evening, got straight on a hard problem and pulled a muscle in my back.
I injured a digit while putting on fingertape.
A younger me thought free soloing some chossy sandstone whilst hiking alone in Utah at sunset was a good idea. When I had no mobile signal as I was sitting in the darkness with my foot hanging off by the tendons I realised it was not a good idea at all.
Luckily a hiker nearby heard my cries for help and a fantastic surgeon repaired the damage. Always get travel insurance! I was back climbing 3 months later and have since made my a full recovery.
I am now ‘cragmum’ when it comes to safety and was even inspired to take an EMT course to help others (or myself) if anything happens in the future.
Photo link for the non squeamish
Not climbing related but I also broke my arm on a Henry Hoover once. The b******d still smiles about it!
I got a bad bruise to my ego last week
And the week before
And the week before that
And the week before that
I strained a finger pulling on a pair of Evolv Nexxos.
Decked out on Low Ebb (E3 5c) whilst trying to be on Poseidon (HVS 5a), and broke my wrist. The tide came in and I was unable to climb out had to call for the help of the RAF. Could have easily been avoided by:
An addition to this was 8 days after coming out of a cast I slipped on ice up Pen-Y-Fan and broke my damn wrist again. This could easily have been avoiding by lessons learnt #1 from previous accident.
Do you have to have been climbing at the time? I fell over once on the walk-in to the first route of a French sport climbing holiday and sprained my ankle badly enough to need an ambulance and A&E treatment. I also fell over minding my own business on skis, low speed and barely inclined, on what was supposed to be a climbing trip but turned into a ski touring holiday - which resulted in a leg broken in three places and a six day stay in hospital. In France again.
I don't think I've ever actually injured myself climbing...
Edit: and stupidest injury unrelated to climbing was probably scoring a breakaway goal in an ice hockey game, and then promptly lauching myself headfirst into the boards at speed - both feet in the air - as I tried to curl around the net. Hello concussion.
Demonstrating a wire placement behind car's rear view mirror. I tugged it, it pulled (obv) and I hit myself in the teeth with the crab and chipped one.
Demonstrating to a friend how to climb a tree with axes and crampons.
he kept getting his axe stuck, so I showed him how little force it needed to stay in the tree - it came out with me hanging all my weight on it and the sharply inclined and serrated adze hit me in the head, leaving a nice scar that I still have 30 years later
Large muscle tear in the thigh after slipping while putting on the climbing shoes. Hopping to the car one legged was no fun (150m height gain....).
Many years ago was up on the Cromlech midweek, perfect weather, virtually deserted
Thought to myself - Excellent! I'll finally get to do Cenotaph, Left Wall & maybe Resurrection...
Fell over putting my harness on. Badly twisted ankle, 1.5 hour descent, lift to Bangor casualty...
Managed a grade 2 tear of my hamstring running for a bus outside the climbing centre. I was racing my significant other who then proceeded to run past me laughing as I hobbled along (She didn't realise how much i'd hurt myself) still made the bus though!
> Demonstrating a wire placement behind car's rear view mirror. I tugged it, it pulled (obv) and I hit myself in the teeth with the crab and chipped one.
I've broken an expensive front crown by flicking a wire onto it - Twice!!!!
one of my 2 top front teeth disintegrated beyond repair holding the rope while clipping at a climbing wall.
The bridge was bodged by the dentist and the replacement is almost central instead of a gap - If I'd had any looks I'd have lost them
1) Falling off a sport route, foot caught in rope, inverted and fractured my skull. Wearing a helmet probably would have prevented this, but it was hot! (No longer an acceptable excuse). Only a day or so in hospital but weeks of 'What happened to your face?' at work.
2) Falling off a sport route whilst clipping, getting arm caught in the rope, messed up one of the attachment points on my tricep. Didn't know what happened at the time but my whole arm swelled to twice the size.
3) Crashing the moped on the trip back to the villa after picking it up from the hire shop in Kalymnos. Luckily walked away with only a few scrapes but needed all the grit to be washed out and ended up bleeding over climbing shoes / clothes / bedding for the whole holiday.
4) Ruptured hamstring giving it too many beans on an indoor climbing wall 3 days before an ice climbing trip. A lot of limping around the Alps, but climbing on it was ok...
In summary, wear a helmet, sport climbing is dangerous, don't try and moped race your friend who is an experienced motorcyclist when you don't even own a push bike and try hard (but not too hard).
Both feet off the ground, in extremis, on The Crank. Stepped gently back down to the ground and turned an ankle requiring a Doug Scottesque crawl back down to the car.
1. climbing trip with much beer. Ended up hanging off the minibus' roof rack by my knees draped over the windscreen. Another dozen climbers siting on the roof rack too. Driver braked and the rack snapped, sending an avalanche of bodies (and roof rack) flying out over the road with my knees taking much of the impact. Knees never really recovered. Also broke a collarbone and some ribs in the same incident. We managed to fill the local A+E in one go.
2. South of France. My girlfriend lowered me off the end of the rope. Helicopter. Visit to French hospital. Chucked out of hospital still unable to walk or support my weight. Naked except for a pair of shorts. Nearly drowned when trying to swim back to the beach (En Vue) where all my kit was stashed.
3. Fell over on seaweed at the base of lower sharpnose. Broken rib.
4. Fell off the mid-height belay ledge on Cemetery Gates. Broken leg. Managed to crawl out. After an x-ray, the doc confirmed it was broken. I however knew he was wrong as it was a bank holiday, sunny, I was climbing my best and had a long list of routes to do, so it must be a sprain. In the end he got so frustrated he showed me the x-ray: two bones where there should have been one.
5. Stanage. Seeing how hard I could climb, decided to add a grade with each route. Wish I'd stopped one route earlier. Broken foot/ankle. I also self-diagonised this as a sprain before visiting hospital 3 days later and after driving myself back to Devon.
6. When aged 17 I was showing off at Harrison's soloing a route that the others had top roped. Mashed ankle.
7. When aged 18 showing off on Jasper at Avon, pulled through the crux on one finger. Tendon snapped.
8. Eating meat in the Karakoram. Spent weeks using sanitary products to stem the flow. Went down to 7 stone.
Probably some others I have forgotten.
All could have been avoided.
PS. Paul, I was at Baggy on Saturday and saw your stitches! Good to see you got straight back on the rock. Hope you got your stuck cam and wire back.
Drunk & showing off, twisted knee dismounting a wall (I think, didn't notice at the time) 25 years and lots of pain later I can add the first signs of arthritis to the list of repercussions, ah well I seem to remember it was a good night
Long reach to a quick mantel. Hit my head on the roof above, but not hard enough to push me off. Deceided that lowering down and re-starting was too much faff, so decided to belly flop onto the ledge! During belly flop move, gear swung up landed on said ledge with me on top. result one broken rib, and sore it is too. Next time I will take more care!
About a decade ago, did a pull up on ice axes on a wooden beam in the house. I dropped off, axe stayed in the beam which then span off and whacked me adze-first in the head. Cue ripped hole in scalp and blood oozing out through my hair.
That was actually a quick trip to the hospital because thereafter there was this odd pressure in my head. No problem though. My mate was pissing himself.
When you say “fell off the belay ledge on Cemetery Gates”...you don’t mean, to the ground, surely?!
Ah, yes, that was me getting straight back on the horse on Saturday. Alas the cam is gone forever. It was one of those weekends...
Dislocated my little finger whilst approaching with the bouldering pad in April. Tripped and fell. Had the guidebook in hand. Didn't want to cast the book in order to put my hand out and break my fall. Ended up just sticking my little finger out, which consequently dislocated about 40 degrees outwards on impact. Quickly straightened the finger, I even had a feel of the rock, before admitting to myself that I should probably go to A&E and not climb that day.
During my only, to-date, visit to the Isle of Mull I dragged my non-climbing mates to Erraid Crags on a glorious blue sky afternoon. While admiring the beauty of the place, open guidebook in hand, my right leg disappeared up to the thigh into a hole in the peat. Left leg stayed where it was. Cue twisted left knee, 2 hours painfully top-belaying said mates on a route I wanted to climb, and an excuse to not run the Bristol Half-marathon the following weekend
Not mine, but a mate fell off a route at Pen Trwyn just as he had pulled a LOT of slack through and was holding the rope in his mouth ready to clip a bolt. He hit the deck and his tooth was lost amongst a myriad of tiny white tooth-shaped stones.
A couple of weeks later he was doing pull-ups on a tree branch (about two foot off the deck) and it broke. So did his leg. Really badly. He had to have several operations and was on crutches for over a year.
Climbing on a limestone crag in the Peak (I can't remember where), another mate managed to fall from the top of the crag and was lucky to avoid decking thanks to the single friend he'd managed to find at mid-height. I abseiled to retrieve the friend and managed to get a couple of dreadlocks caught in the ATC (What? It was the early nineties!) and ended up losing a big chunk of hair (and scalp). At least Pete got his shitty friend back. I've still got a bald patch where the hair won't grow back...
Another time, I managed to fall off a traverse at Gogarth, pulling off a flake the size of a large tele. The flake acted as a cheese-grater, grating off most of my nipple (stupidly, I was topless) and when the rope pulled tight it was behind my leg, so I somehow ended up with rope burn in my crotch and then hanging upside down. Talk about undignified. We then managed to get lost on the route out.
I have been fortunate and have suffered no injuries whilst climbing.
It was when I stopped climbing and started free falling that the problems started.
Chipped a touth biting a quickdraw out of panic when i was so pumped i couldnt even grab it! Didnt take the whip though
These have got a bit serious... I once punched myself in the nuts hard enough that I was sick and my friend laughed so hard he got a nosebleed.
Sanded my nipples when bouldering on slabs with no shirt on.
Stung by a hornet which got under my helmet which I could not get off fast enough. Caused my eye to swell up and close.
I have fallen off the same route 3 times which probably counts as stupid. Strapiombante (E1 5b)
First time rope burn across the back of both knees caused by a fairly stunning unplanned tension traverse facilitated by going too far left at the top out.
Second time bruised ankle.
Third time the top cam ripped and the rope came tight as my elbows hit the deck, leaving me with grazes and a shoulder that felt a bit off for a month or so.
I’m not sure the hornet is really your fault?!
Once got a Rock 5 stuck in the top of my palate when in extremis, struggled up the rest of the pitch with the wire stuck out of my mouth until got to the stance and could carefully prize it out, very painful but no lasting damage.
An friend of mine soloing at Bowden pulled a lunch box sized hold off about 15ft up and hit the deck before the hold followed him and landed neatly on the inside of his knee, left him very lame for the rest of the weekend.
When I was 16, I arrived at St govens in Pembroke and thought I'd warm up by pulling on a block. The block came off and crushed my foot!
I've never warmed up since
Latest on this year on Appetite at Malham pulling iver the top overlap I managed to get my ring finger stuck in a jug and wrenched in badly trying to jump for the next hold - possibly better than falling on though
Trying to take a leak in the woods next to a little crag on the edge of Helsinki. Walked into a dead branch that went into my cheek. I snapped the offending twig off and then pulled it out of my face, all one handed as the other hand was occupied answering the call of nature.
Turns out not all the dead wood came out: as after two trips to the doctor saying I can feel something in my cheek that was causing an infection (lots of puss coming out of the wound), and the doctor poking around with a needle and saying "there's nothing in there, it's just an infection - have some anti biotics" I eventually did a bit of self surgery using that little blade on my Swiss army knife, you know the one you're never sure what it's really for, and along with a load of green puss out popped about half a matchstick of wood.
Anyway, pay attention when you pee.
Not climbing but I once spent an afternoon practicing juggling fire then went in and burned my hand cooking pasta.
> and a fantastic surgeon repaired the damage
Damn right. That must have been impressive surgery, as your foot looks well and truly buggered in that photo. Glad to hear it had a good outcome.
> Anyway, pay attention when you pee.
... or stand still...
Topping out a boulder, gently placed palm on patch of moss to avoid squashing it. Moss was full of spikes. Split a tip, chased healing the rest of the summer. F*ck.off.moss.
I pranged my finger using the indicator in my car a few years back and recently hurt my shoulder reaching for a brew. The worst climbing injury I ever had in terms of time not climbing was caused by a large pineapple (well, a bread knife too).
> I’m not sure the hornet is really your fault?!
not in that case but I have one for you, that regular readers will recognise. Not me and I wasn't there, but some time in the early-mid 00s a climbing friend who was a bit of an extrovert, was eating an apple during a climbing trip, when a wasp landed on the apple. Dave (it's so often a Dave isn't it) thought he'd look really cool and hard by biting into the bit of the apple occupied by the wasp.
Cue: head like a watermelon, Bic pen into mouth to make an airway through swollen tongue, visit to A&E, a lifetime of Epi-Pens, and the perpetual nickname "Wasp Dave"
Pulled my back while putting some running shoes on, to drive to the bouldering wall. Went to the bouldering wall anyway and failed everything for 3 hours before giving in. I couldn't stand up straight for 6 days afterwards.
Dropped a crampon, spiky side up, into the snow - then slipped and sat down hard on it.
I thought that was how to put crampons on! I see so many people enact this ritual
Inability to react fast enough was a contributing factor,as was lingering for too long close to their flight path that we had already observed.
> Climbed it yet? Or perhaps giving up on that particular one...
My wife has informed me that I'm not climbing it again! The only reason I walked away from the last fall is that she'd got cold and a much heavier friend had agreed to belay me while she sat in the car, my head would definitely have hit the ground before the rope went tight if it hadn't been for my belayers quick reactions and not inconsiderable mass!
> When you say “fell off the belay ledge on Cemetery Gates”...you don’t mean, to the ground, surely?!
No. Just 50ft. Must have hit something small on the way down I guess.
That route is on my 2019 hit list. I’ll try extra hard not to fall off it...
While demonstrating how secure it was to sit on a sling hanging from an ice axe placed above the head, it popped and the adze pivoted squarely to hit me right between (thankfully) the eyes . It cut the skin above my nose and created a flappy tube similar to what you might find on a chicken carcass bought at the supermarket. The doctor at Fort William was really annoyed with me for interupting his pool match.
Snapped my wrist when I tripped climbing over the 3 foot high wall next to the lay by at the meeting of the three waters in Glencoe. My wife, who was with me, was not impressed.
Got a fingerboard. Nailed it to the doorframe. Did two pullups on the biggest jugs. Injured my elbow.
Took fingerboard down and dumped it in the garage.
Para 1 - just shows that we CAN multi-task
A few hours before an exam at university, decided to climb onto the library roof. Roof was very green and slippery. My mate broke my fall (and bit off the tip of his tongue) and I got to watch blood ooze from my shoe whilst sitting the exam. Didn't get a very good score.
I lent my harness to somebody so needing to abseil, I fashioned a temporary harness out of a couple of tape loops. While descending I could feel it was crushing one of my testicles but I just ignored the pain and carried on. Two years later I still had a swollen, sore testicle. Scans confirmed nothing wrong but it hurt me for a long time.
> Dave (it's so often a Dave isn't it)
Replied to your message but Yahoo rejected it. Can you update your email please?
I once tore an a2 pulley tying my laces of my winter boots. Got my route done (north buttress on buichaille) but was unable to crimp for 6 months....
Took a fall on some E1. Looked down as I was falling. The end of the rope sticking out of my stopper knot poked me in the eye, giving me corneal abrasion. It was quite painful... but I was simultaneously pissing myself laughing.
I remember in Norway in 1969 climbing with Mike Sharp on some small, quite scruffy roadside crag about 120 feet high. We were both wearing tee-shirts and abseiled off the top using a classic abseil: we both got almost identical horrendous long rope-burn blisters around the back of the neck.
10 minutes before leaving Reading for a climbing trip to Scotland and the Old Man of Hoy, I went to get the car from the car park up the road. I jumped over a small puddle by the car door to avoid getting wet, and tore my meniscus landing on the other side of it. Climbing trip over...
Not really 'whilst climbing' but it was stupid and gutting anyway!
Abseiled into a thorn bush ;)
Gave myself a fresh one today.
Dogging up Raindogs (8a), clipped in hard to the last bolt (which i had extended) Decided to start climbing without unclipping myself and threw for the chains. Managed to seriously short rope myself and give myself a fair bit of whiplash and a very bruised rope when the quickdraw which was still clipped in hard to the bolt below gave me an extremely hard catch!
Took a decent lead fall sport climbing, the first after tying in with a figure 8. For some reason I'd stupidly put too much distance between the harness and the knot.
Rope catches me, figure 8 tightens and somehow catches both my t-shirt and left nipple as it constricted.
Cue 'Taking a moment' once being lowered to the ground, cleaning up the blood and learning rapidly from my mistakes haha!
Bitten by a horsefly in the Dolomites when sport climbing just south of Cortina. My arm swelled up impressively so ended up visiting the Italian equivalent of minor injuries where I was used as a human pin cushion (drip in arm and injection in backside). The evil antibiotics I was given we're a blooming effective rapid weight loss programme.
Got lost trying to find our way round Telendos ending up in the thorny vegetation. This resulted in a badly infected finger requiring two trips to minor injuries and two sets of antibiotics. The finger took 6 weeks before it was ok and still has weird lumps from the scar tissue that for created.
The stupidest wasn't actually climbing but en route:
Hitching to the Alps, stuck for over 5 hours near Nevers. Kicked lamp post in frustration. Broke bone in foot. Luckily plastic Alpine boots are very supportive.
Also. Walking in to Speyside crag, ducked under old fallen pine tree. Didn't duck far enough and stuck pointy broken branch quarter of an inch into my head. Produced silly amount of blood and had to go to local health centre to be glued up.
Apart from one soloing fall where I was lucky to get away without life changing damage all my climbing injuries have come from bouldering, which ought to be safe! Couple of broken bones from hill running though.
Many years ago I was climbing at Horseshoe Quarry. There was a tottering pinnacle on the belay ledge. I pushed it, intending to trundle it to the ground. Instead of tipping over and dropping down the crag it dropped straight down onto my foot. Two broken toes.
Mountaineering Scotland has called for action to be taken against the growing issue of 'dirty camping', which sees irresponsible campers leaving rubbish, fire damage, toilet waste and even tents in their wake.