/ DWS death in Mallorca

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tolly_60 - on 20 Dec 2012
Tragic accident whilst on a DWS route in Mallorca. Did anybody speak to him? It sounds like he was active on the site before his trip to Mallorca. Saw it in my local news but I'd never met him. It just highlights that the dangers of DWS are still there, albeit less apparent than soloing over land.

http://m.wigantoday.net/news/local-news/holiday-isle-tragedy-for-adrenaline-sports-fanatic-1-5241536...
Cog - on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to talbot_60:

Sad, but not sure it was a DWS accident.

From the link it sounds like he wasn't climbing when he jumped in.
Jimbo W on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to talbot_60:

Tragic. All the best to the family and friends affected.

It sounds very much to me like "cold water shock", consistent with loss of muscular ability described with the ladders, failure to swim what sounds like a short distance, and the otherwise lack of obvious cause of death other than drowning in calm sea.

I don't say this for the sake of speculation, but just in the hope that other Deep Water Soloers are aware of this possibility. Having dropped a set of wires into the sea while climbing a route on the Aberdeen sea cliffs, I thought I could see them caught on some weed a couple of metres below the surface. Being a pretty confident swimmer, I finished the route, and then stripped off and jumped in to the sea. I swam over to where I thought the wires were, and felt my lungs were very tight, and that I couldn't get a full breath, I duck dived once and spotted the wires, but couldn't reach them, when I came back up I couldn't get a breath, tried to relax and the breath came back, I tried again, and same thing. I started to feel really tired, and thought I'd have one last go. I got the wires, and when I came up couldn't really breath properly, I found my limbs wouldn't do what I really wanted them to, and ended up skirting along the edge of the cliff until I reached an easy low rock I could get onto, which was pretty difficult. I felt very weird and slightly dizzy for a good hour after that. This despite the fact that I often go swimming with no wet suit in North Uist throughout the year, something of a tradition in our family! It was really quite warm outside, and the sea, prob 8-9degC given the time of year. I got my wires, but it was alot more risky a retrieval than I was expecting. Two things were going on, I think, one was the "diving response", and the forthcoming weakness and limb inability along with subsequent dizziness was probably due to the "cold water shock" response.

http://www.chronicbackpainclinic.com/pdf/cold_water_shock.pdf
tolly_60 - on 23 Dec 2012
Interesting post Jimbo. Personally, I've never suffered from Cold Water Shock but can see how dangerous it could be if you needed to pull yourself out the water.

The last place you'd expect to suffer from it is Mallorca, but if you suffered from it in 8/9 degrees sea then the water doesn't need to be drastically cold to make it a concern.

It sounds like the guy followed all advice (Checking the water and exit before climbing etc.) and it was just a case of awful luck.
RBonney on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to talbot_60:
Sad news, sounds very unlucky.

Unless I'm mistaken that link says it's most likely to occur at temperatures of around 10-15 Celsius. I found another website that says "Cold water, which in sea survival terms is defined as water as high as 25 Celsius, will always eventually make you hypothermic." which seems surprising, does anyone know if this is true?

This link is interesting:
http://backcountrysafaris.com/info/hypothermia.php

Dauphin - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to RBonney:

Yes it will if your not generating enough enough energy to stay warm by swimming or treading water, no wetsuit or drysuit and you will probably expire after a day. At the other end 10-15 is pretty cold; anecdotally I've swam at that sort of temperature for an hour + before many times and been seriously hypothermic for long periods afterwards, involuntary shivering, difficulty getting out of the water, difficulty walking. Take a bag of thermal gear to put on afterwards and a flask of something hot and do some press-ups or I'm going to be in trouble for the rest of the day.

There is probably some film of the royal navy doing immersion tests on youtube - a few minutes in 5c ( sea water around U.K. in winter time) and they can't do anything with their fingers like pull the igniter on a flare.

D
jwa - on 23 Dec 2012
DWS is known as psycho bouldering now is it? News to me but thanks Wigan today.

I heard a rather sad story about cold water shock on a recent first aid course I went on so it does happen.
Ciro - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to RBonney:
> (In reply to talbot_60)
> Sad news, sounds very unlucky.
>
> Unless I'm mistaken that link says it's most likely to occur at temperatures of around 10-15 Celsius.

The line "Cold water shock is inversely proportional to the water temperature, peaking between 10 and 15C." doesn't make any sense - if something's inversely proportional to something else it means as one goes up, the other goes down, so you don't get a peak... it keeps going. Sounds more likely that 10-15 degrees is the upper limit at which cold water shock can occur.

> I found another website that says "Cold water, which in sea survival terms is defined as water as high as 25 Celsius, will always eventually make you hypothermic." which seems surprising, does anyone know if this is true?

Sounds about right, but what they'll be talking about here is spending a very long time stationary in the water - eventually your body will get tired of generating enough heat to maintain the temperature difference between your body and the water.



Dauphin - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to Ciro:

Probably most likely to occur because people go into the water not realizing how cold it is - they stick a hand in think it is not to bad and then jump in and stop breathing.

D
Jim Nevill - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to Dauphin:
I think there is a term, hydrocution, which describes this. Many years ago a guy in a club I belong to, whilst having a rest day in the alps, on a hot day, swam across a smallish lake. On the way back he went under. He was a strong swimmer. Despite several brave attempts at getting to him by two other club members, he drowned. It seems the cold water shock can get to you fast and sudden (I wasn't there by the way, but was briefed after). It's a thing to bear in mind. Sorry news by the way, and a particularly awful time for it to happen.
Dave Ferguson - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to jwa:

The term "psycho bouldering" has been lifted from this website: http://www.dailycamera.com/archivesearch/ci_13447731

I suggest we email wigan today at "newsrooms@lancspublications.co.uk"
to tell them what we think of their lazy journalism.
Tom Last - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave

Psycho bouldering is the same as the Spanish Psicobloc isn't it?

Seems like a reasonable write up from a layman journalist, hardly worth a complaint.

Personally I've never taken this seriously as a possible danger before, pretty scary and sad to hear this.
biscuit - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to jwa:

That is what it's called in Spain. He was on a Spanish island. Doesn't seem that bad a write up as it repeats a few times how careful they had been. Terrible tragedy.

Cold water shock is pretty instantaneous. A friend of mine was giving me some advice about Ghyll Scrambling ( he is a white water rescue trained MR member ) and he said they were told that the vast majority of drownings of this sort take place within 4 metres of the shore/bank. That's most of the young lads jumping in a reservoir in Summer type incidents.

Getting out of the water can be very hard. Even if the sea is not rough the rise and fall of it can bash you about against the side and make pulling yourself out very difficult.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Toerag - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to RBonney:
"Cold water, which in sea survival terms is defined as water as high as 25 Celsius, will always eventually make you hypothermic." which seems surprising, does anyone know if this is true?

On my sea survival course a couple of years ago it's simply 'all water less than body temp'. Obviously warmer water takes longer, but it'll get you in the end simply because of water's increased conductivity compared to air. Essentially, people who go in water unintentionally don't normally drown, they get hypothermic, their muscles stop working and they can no longer stay afloat :-(.


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