We had planned a long awaited rest weekend. Rachel and I went to Lower Swirl Crag for an easy day out. I’d done most of the routes there but Californian Weirdo is dead good, I said Rachel should do it. I was glad to see she found it a little bit tricky. On second it felt harder than I remembered and could understand why Dad struggled to second me. I was keen for a rematch with American Pie, which I previously backed off. There was a small wet patch, but with nothing else capturing my attention I went for a look anyway. Spurred on by an extra cam placement, I decided to push on. While stretching up to fiddle in an RP, my foot slipped, I felt the two cams by my waist rip out as the rope pulled on them. Hitting the slab a couple of feet below I flipped upside down and bounced around a bit. A  number of thoughts ran through me head; “Ooo I wonder what will happen” “Crap I’m upside down” “This will be a good story”.

My body was horizontal and I saw Rachel’s face go past which meant I was pretty close to the ground. Surprisingly I paused and almost breathed a sigh of relief before dropping to the ground as the force launched Rachel upwards.

Not feeling too good.

Ever since I was little, in the moments immediately after an accident I would fear the worst and assume I was mutilated with multiple broken bones. I would make a total fuss and normally be all right, so much so that I went for 14 days with a broken arm, just like the boy who cried wolf I’d desensitised my parents to my cries of pain. This was the first accident where I immediately new I was probably OK, which was strange. I lay on the floor for a bit saying thank you. Apparently three cams ripped out, a small nut which I didn’t think would be useful had held my fall. The RP I was attempting place was still hanging in the wall with the rest of the nuts hanging from it, an indicator to how far I fell.

We retrieved the gear and decided the pub was a better idea. We had a party in Richie’s barn and settled for an easy day at Shepherds on the Sunday.


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