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Fall on Rock, Chock Pulled Out, Inadequate Protection, Inexperience, Washington, Icicle Creek Canyon

FALL ON ROCK, CHOCK PULLED OUT, INADEQUATE PROTECTION, INEXPERIENCE

Washington, Icicle Creek Canyon

On April 15, I could not complete a lead in mid-afternoon and was down climbing/being lowered when the top protection pulled out. The chock hit me in the right eyebrow, breaking my glasses, causing a nose bleed and unconsciousness. I fell four to five meters to hard ground landing on my left side and then rolled onto my face. I was unconscious for about a minute, and thought I was reasonably coherent. I have no recall of events for 20 minutes. Other injuries were a bruised left elbow and fractures of three to four transverse processes from the left side of the lumbar vertebrae. Others in the group called EMS in Leavenworth and the Mountaineers trip leader. I was splinted for back injury and quickly transported to the hospital. (Source: Frank Rossi—47)

Analysis

If one cannot complete leading a pitch, place additional protection, and downclimb as much as possible. Do not rely on being lowered. Wearing a hard hat and eye glasses undoubtedly prevented further injury. I was unconscious from being hit by the chock, causing me to be relaxed when I hit the ground. Four weeks later I was backpacking again. (Source: Frank Rossi)