FALL ON ROCK, PLACED INADEQUATE PROTECTION, NO HARD HAT, EXCEEDING ABILITIES
Ontario, Kelso Conservation Area
On September 18, 1994, two young climbers, K.L. and J.L., met for the first time and went climbing. They climbed the route “Econoline,” first with a top rope, and then K.L. (a visitor from Sweden) attempted to lead it. He expressed some concern because he had left his climbing shoes at home, but indicated he was experienced enough to do it. He borrowed equipment from J.L. and proceeded. After reaching the ledge, he fell 14 meters to the ground, pulling his top four protection placements, including a two-inch tree. He sustained a severe blow to the head and back, and numerous lacerations. Other climbers nearby helped to comfort him, while one of them went to call for help. K.L. was taken to hospital by air ambulance, and was in a coma for about three weeks due to swelling of the brain. Relatives arrived from Sweden and, some six weeks after the accident, he returned home with them.
K.L. was not wearing a helmet, which might have lessened his head injury. Also, he may have exaggerated his leading ability to his new climbing friend. He placed inadequate protection, and slung a tree, apparently without concern for its small size or rooted stability. He is fortunate that some of the climbers who came to help him had medical training and were able to take an active role in his recovery. (Source: Robert Stock, Ontario climbing instructor)