Monday, December 15, 2008
A sad climbing accident and the aftermath
Fossils on the Ton Sai wall - how long have they been there?!?!
Mistakes can happen so easily, even when you've been climbing for years. I've been climbing 10 years this year, and for the first time ever, z-clipped while reaching up to clip a bolt above me. for the non-climbers; the rope should obviously follow a straight line up the cliff as you climb. Instead, I made a mistake at a bolt and set the rope so that it went up to a bolt, then back down to the lower one, before going back up to me. Not completely dangerous, but enough that it makes falling off a route a lot less pleasant (I was able to recover without having to go through that thankfully!).
It just shows how you can have an accident after all this time.
A climber was killed last week after a climbing accident on the beach - he'd about 40 years experience. Really sad and definitely gave us all something to ponder and concentrate on our habits while climbing. It's the third (or is it fourth?) accident this year involving a mistake/error happening at the chains of a route so everyone please be careful! It's the only time on a route where confusion can be had (i.e. re-tying in, changing knot, etc.) so make sure to double-check everything. I know I'm definitely way more conscious of it happening now. Climbers take part in one of the safest sports going (hard to believe but statistically, it's very safe) so let's all try negate one of the common causes of accidents.
On a side note, isn't it strange how you can move on from a bad accident like that. O.k. so I didn't see the accident happen (like most other climbers here - it occurred at a smaller climbing area), but even while the recovery operation of the person continued on the beach, at the opposite end of the beach people continued to climb......I actually went to climb myself and only stopped as I'd forgotten my shoes. Maybe it's the fact that we're in Asia and their attitude to life is more relaxed (try get anyone to talk about the sunami here, bar foreigners who weren't even there, is next to impossible) is but I couldn't ever see that happen if I was in the States or Europe. Life goes on so we just move on? Thoughts?
Anyway, my thoughts are with the family of the climber, especially at this time of year coming up to Christmas.