Author Topic: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd  (Read 546 times)

Offline ralbert20

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Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« on: July 10, 2017, 07:48:30 PM »
A short update for now on the accident this morning. Multiple transverse fractures t9 to l5. Lung contusion, fractured hip, at least one broken rib. All else seems ok. No Neuro damage apparent. Likely discharged tomorrow.

A massive thank you to all involved in the rescue. I'll post more when I am not on my phone.

Rob

Offline xcrag_corex

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2017, 09:35:26 PM »
Heal up soon!!!
-Jeremy Ballou

"know how to rock, ain't afraid to roll"

Offline ralbert20

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 09:18:06 AM »
Monday, 10-July was a pretty hot and humid day in North Conway. My partner and I decided to go to the Barber wall, and decided to get on Nutcracker. We are both quite experienced, and climb trad 5.10 regularly. He started up the climb, and said it felt great to be on the rock. He got up to the first crux area, around the small overlap, and put 2 pieces of gear in - a yellow X4, and the small blue C4. He started into the moves above the overlap, and perhaps kicked the C4 (?) as he slipped out of the crack. Neither of us are sure what happened. The result was that the C4 and the X4 both pulled, resulting in ground fall from about 30+ feet up. On his way down, he hit me in the shoulder, and I believe I rotated his body a little. The first thing to hit was his right side, then his back, then his head. He was wearing a helmet. It basically exploded - at least 3 visible cracks, and a large dent in the back of it. I called 911 immediately, as he was clearly in a lot of pain. We were fortunate that a nearby climber (Dave) was recently re-certified in his wilderness first responder. He stayed with my partner while I went up the trail to meet the first responders. They were on the scene about as fast as it took me to get to the parking area. By the time we got back down to my partner, he was having a little difficulty breathing, and was very hot. The MRS showed up shortly after we got back down to the base of the climb. The FD strapped him down to the board, and stabilized his neck as a precaution. We had roughly 20-25 people who helped move him up to the ambulance and off to Memorial Hospital in North Conway. CT, XRays and initial diagnosis in less time than it took for me to get to the hospital. It was decided to move him to Portland about an hour later. Portland confirmed the initial diagnoses and confirmed no neurological damage. No helmet would have been quite a different outcome there.

Again, I have to thank all of the responders. It was less than 2 hours from call to hospital, which is absolutely incredible.

There are a few lessons here, and I welcome debate, questions, and suggestions.

1) We were a bit tired, and obviously made a bad decision to climb in the sun on a hot and humid day.
2) My partner had put a #2 C4 in the crack just before the crux, but pulled it in case he needed it later. If he had kept that in - well, it doesn't matter now...
3) I am not sure why the gear pulled. Neither of us has had gear pull on a fall. We fall REGULARLY. Probably fall every other time we go out - last year around 50 days outside - falling once or more on 25 of those days. We have never had gear pull, nevermind 2 pieces.

I hope none of you have to experience events like this. The not knowing was the worst part for me, and I can't even imagine what my partner was going through. I will certainly be placing more gear on lead, and making sure that the pieces I place are as solid as possible.

At the moment, he is being fitted for a walking brace, will be discharged from the hospital today, and should be able to walk down the aisle at his wedding in 10 days. This outcome is just incredible to me, since I don't even want to revisit what I thought when I called 911.

Offline NEAlpineStart

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2017, 02:20:30 PM »
Wow Rob! First thank you for sharing this first person account so soon after the accident. I believe the sooner details are written down the more accurate the account is. I'd definitely encourage you to send this one to ANAC as it will be a valuable read for many climbers now and in the future.

Shit happens climbing, that's for sure, but I find it invaluable to think about things we could do differently. I think you nailed it that back-cleaning the #2 contributed to the severity of the fall. Carrying a little bigger rack on an accessible route might be prudent to avoid a similar accident.

Nutcracker seems to be having a decent share of ground falls in recent memory... Maybe share this on Mountain Project route description posts to suggest those on-sighting take notice. I'd also suggest you add the #2 placement and subsequent back cleaning into the main recap of the incident instead of just a bullet point later.

I wish your partner a full and speedy recovery, as well as you. It's traumatic watching someone deck from that high, whether they are a stranger or friend.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 07:46:27 AM by NEAlpineStart »

Offline Bill

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 08:34:46 PM »
Hey Rob,

Best wishes for a very speedy and complete recovery to your partner.  Thank you for sharing such a concise and informative account of the incident.  I appreciate the opportunity that such reports provide for reflection of, and hopefully improvement in, my own climbing practices. 

Well done to the FD, and sincere appreciation to the MRS members and the other climbers who took time out of their day, jobs and climbing to assist a brother climber.

Bill

Offline ralbert20

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 10:17:25 AM »
The MRS was, indeed, amazing. We owe some beers for sure.

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Offline Admin Al

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 11:50:48 AM »
Rob -

I was up in Berlin with Brad when the call came in. was that you that called? so very sorry to hear about this. I hope your bud is going to be OK. it's absolutely nothing that I would want to see happen right in front of me.

all my best

Al
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Offline ralbert20

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2017, 07:06:15 PM »
I made the 911 call. I was belaying.

Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2017, 09:23:05 PM »
WOW! hope for a speedy and full recovery!

Offline Jeff

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 01:41:21 PM »
ralbert20:Thanks for a very cogent and helpful report; Wow, sounds like your partner was unlucky and at the same time lucky, as the consequences (although serious) could have been so much worse! Wishing him a swift and total recovery. Sounds like the key piece of protection ended up being his helmet ( in addition to his belayer of course)!! We are all thankful for the availability and willingness to respond of the MRS members. I'd like to make a pitch to all reading these reports to think about making a donation to the MRS on a regular basis-- they are there to help all of us, whether directly or by helping one of our partners or friends. It's easy to do when you stop in to IME on your visits to the Mount Washington Valley.
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Offline ralbert20

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2017, 11:28:11 AM »
Do we just go in and pay Rick?

Offline AlpineIceRock

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2017, 01:43:23 PM »
There's a donation box on the front counter

Offline ralbert20

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Re: Barber wall, nutcracker; thank you to MRS and conway fd
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2017, 07:54:13 PM »
Al, do our NC taxes fund them at all?