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Snakebite

JB (44) was bitten by a Copperhead snake on May 27 at the Bird’s Nest area of Great Falls Park. I (Luciano Lima) was climbing at Bird’s Nest in a group separate from the bitten climber. I had just scrambled to the top of the cliff to break down my anchor when I heard a yell from below. The climber had placed his hand on a ledge above his head (where he couldn’t see) for balance and was bitten by a copperhead in the finger. He finished scrambling to the top where I along with another climber did our best to keep him calm and offered to accompany him to the ranger station. We knew it wasn’t a “dry” bite because the climber’s finger immediately began to swell.

The three of us walked back to the climber’s lot and in the process called 911. I drove him to the park entrance and upon our arrival an ambulance and a fire truck were there to meet us.

Analysis

Keep your eyes open for snakes and avoid placing hands onto ledges beyond your line of sight. (Source: Luciano Lima)

(Editor’s Note: As the climber didn’t fall, this is not a climbing accident, but is included because each year there are a number of incidents involving critters interacting with climbers – including snakes, bees, and birds of prey.