FALL ON ROCK, OFF ROUTE
North Carolina, Stone Mountain
On October 21, we approached the base of Stone Mountain to climb U-Slot (5.7) and then the Great Arch (5.5). On our way to the climb, I noticed two men moving rather slowly across the boulder field at the base of The Block Route and U-Slot. One of the men yelled down to me and the two other climbers I was with saying, “We need help! I had a bad lead fall.”
All three of us immediately dropped our packs and made our way up to the party of two, expecting the worst. When we got to them, I began asking them questions about the fall and his injuries. Dan (age unknown), the climber who had fallen, was standing and trying to scramble down between the rocks and trees with his older brother trying to assist him. Dan’s brother stated that he was a paramedic and they just needed a couple of people to help get Dan down to the field so they could get their vehicle. Dan was able to walk but only with assistance from three of us, as he was unable to fully weight his left foot. Dan had major abrasions and rock burn from sliding down the slab of Stone Mountain. The majority of his injuries were on his left side, including his hand, wrist, arm, hip, ankle, and foot. When Dan’s brother arrived with the truck he helped bandage his left arm before they packed up and began the drive out. We encouraged that they seek medical attention but are unsure if they did.
As we talked with Dan we found out that he had been climbing for a long time and knew Stone Mountain and Block Route very well but was fairly new to leading.
This is a reminder that all climbers should know and understand their limits, especially on lead, and to make sure you pay attention to the route so you don’t stray off, even if you have been on it before. (Source: David Crye)