Saturday, August 8, 2009

Accident at Rumney

I wish I could stop writing subject titles like this. Josh and I went up to Rumney today. A hanger fell off a bolt on Flesh for Lulu at the Meadows, so I got together my gear and headed up to fix it. I'm just fifi-ing into my daisy when I hear this incredibly loud crash from the Parking Lot Wall. It sounded like a bunch of stuff was falling, but I couldn't really tell what was going on. The sound lasted for a few seconds, so it sounded serious. There were a lot of people over there, and I was busy leading, so I couldn't exactly rush over there to find out what was going on. I got up to another bolt and hung there, trying to figure out what I should do. Then somebody came by and said that a tree had fallen on a climber, that they were sort of hurt, but everything was under control. So I kept going. I got up to the seventh bolt (the eight bolt's hanger was missing). I clipped the eight bolt like a rivet with a hanger, and pulled onto it. But I was sketched because it was a really far reach to the ninth bolt, and I wasn't sure if I could make it, even if I top-stepped like crazy. So I just dropped my gear and free-climbed/ran it out past the missing hanger, clipped the ninth bolt, and lowered down to put a new hanger on the eighth. After that, I went up to the anchor with the intention of replacing the quickclips, but I realized there were glue-ins there, and besides, the clips which I thought were really worn, weren't too bad. So I came down.

We still didn't hear any yelling or sounds of disaster, but we figured we'd head over to the parking lot and see what the hubbub is about. We'd heard a helicopter flying close by, so we thought it might have been more serious than we were led to believe. When we got there, we got the full story. A girl with MITOC (?) had been belaying and a tree fell a reported 70 feet and hit
her. A paramedic who was rescuing her had fallen on the trail as well, and banged up his head, so both needed to be carried out. We arrived just in time to help with both carry-outs. This carried some personal resonance with me because the exact same thing had happened to me a few years back.

The girl looked bad. Half her face looked purple and one of her eyes looked swollen shut. I could see her wrist was heavily bandaged, and there were grotesque looking open fractures on her lower leg. I've never seen anything that bad. We carried her hand over hand down to the trail, and the helicopter whisked her off to Dartmouth. I still haven't heard what happened yet, but it looked pretty life-threatening to me. She was still sort of conscious and could wiggle her toes, so that seemed positive. She was with a doctor, and there was a fair of some sort happening down the road, so the EMTs got there really fast. I really hope she's all right. I swear, the trees are a serious hazard. I find myself wearing a helmet a lot more when belaying and climbing now. You just never know when some stray rock or something is going to come down and fuck you up.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I flailed on Flesh again (damnit) and did some miscellaneous other stuff with Josh. I think we both had fun climbing, considering. Be safe out there.

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