Well, the last two weeks have been great. I have been training really hard, been having a lot of fun with the boulder leagues and been feeling really strong in general. Went to Boven this weekend and got on Pit Fighter and Lab Rat on Saturday before the rain came, Pit Fighter was grimy and damp so I left it alone and went over to Lab Rat. With the help of Warren, I figured out some awesome beta for the first part of the route and managed a new highpoint in the rain. Fantastic
So the idea for Sunday was to go and do some of the easier trad lines in Hallucinogen and then get back on Lab Rat to see if I couldn’t do some more good links. Warren and I jumped on Captain Hook (18) to trad it and have some fun, it was great fun. I decided that next I was going for the onsight of Witless (25). We walked over to the base, started discussing what gear I should take up, unfolded the rope and I was off. I placed two nuts, then moved to a good slot where I placed a DMM Dragon 1, then moves a little higher and placed a Wild Country Z5, I then did what I thought was the crux and was pretty happy to reach the next slot and put in a Wild Country Helium 2. Each placement seemed like it was good. I knew the cracks were flared a little but I tested each cam and each cam seemed to be good. I kept on climbing and then I was about a meter above my last cam only to realize I was in a bit of a bind. I tried to do a move, it didn’t work and I was airborne.
I figured I’d go about 2m, but when I heard the first ping I knew there was trouble; when I heard the second ping, I knew I was in dire straights; when I heard the third, I knew what was next: THUD. I was on the ground. First thing I noticed were the pins and needles in my hands and feet. I thought I had broken my back. They went away in a few seconds. Next thing I was thinking was: is anything else wrong? No blurred vision. Can I move? I sat up, Warren says, “dude are you alright, don’t move! Just take it easy.”
I was about to stand up, but thought better of it. Instead I rolled over and was getting tangled in my rope and gear. It was really uncomfortable but I knew that I was alright. Warren pointed to the big rock I landed on with my head and shoulders and I said “well at least my head isn’t bleeding” his response was “Yes it is dude.” I laid back down. Warren determined I was alright, we were chatting and I was in good spirits. Warren then pulled out the phone and snapped a pic telling me that I’d be grateful later. I was grateful then, just very quiet.
Warren: There’s nothing worse than the pinging sound of gear ripping.
Brian: What about the deafening thud of the person hitting the ground?
Warren: Yeah that one is a bit worse…
After this, he headed off to grab some Coke for me to get some sugar in my system. I was in a bit of shock for sure. I was feeling dizzy and light-headed, typical Brian response to the sigh of blood (I’m such a pansy)! Hector came along before Warren got back, we started chatting, he gave me a sip of his tea. I was starting to feel better but still light-headed for sure. After a little while we decided to head down to Roc ‘n Rope to see Alex and get my head wound looked at.
I slowly made my way to my feet after Warren finished packing my bag. I walked out. I was joking and laughing a lot and realized that the worst injury had been my ego, but I still needed to make sure that this was the case, you don’t usually fall 8m and just get to walk away.
When we got to Roc ‘n Rope I found a stern-looking Alex at the gate, she was not impressed with the situation. She cleaned my head with Savlon and it made me all woozy again, so I laid back down on the concrete. I tied to call Yvette but my phone wasn’t working, so I sent her the message:
My phone isn’t working… I had a bit of a fall. I’m just a little bruised on my shoulder and a cmall cut on the back of my head. I gave her Alex’s number and a few seconds later I was explaining the whole story. We went through the checks to see if I was fine. I was.
Hector offered to drive me to the hospital in Pretoria so I could meet Yvette. The drive home was long, my shoulder was getting really stiff, but the music was good. Jimmy Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Audio Slave. I had to watch Hector demolish a bag of chips, a pie and a big bar one. I was ravenous at this point. Perhaps the worst part of the injury! We made it to the hospital, Hector was a legend in his own rights.
Somehow he is always involved in rescues, fortunately this one didn’t rank very high in terms of severity.
Thanks to Warren, Hector and Andrew for the weekend and the support. I’m gonna get this one second go, you watch!
Just to clarify…
The rope took a little, as is evident by the damaged cams (see pics below), but what actually broke my fall was the flat ground beneath me and the big rock that my shoulders and head landed on. It was pretty rough. From my perspective it was insane. Very fast and scary, definitely couldn’t “feel” the pro slowing me down…
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