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Topic - ACCIDENT REPORT: Millstone Sat 31/05/08

Phil Robins - on 03 Jun 2008
What follows is a brief, cautionary tale regarding the danger of relying on insitu equipment. A team had decided to do London Wall an E5 6a at Millstone in Derbyshire. Preperations included finding a long stick and using this to clip the lead rope into the first piece of fixed protection, which was an old insitu peg, approx 5m up the initial overhanging crack which forms the start of the route.

The climber set off and climbed the crack quickly and efficiently passing the peg and going on to the next section of the route which traverses to the left. The climber did not place any extra protection being content to rely on the one piece of insitu kit. The climber fell at the end of the traverse with his weight coming directly onto the peg. The peg broke seemingly instantly and the climber landed heavily on his back on the ground. It was obviously a serious accident with significant injuries: a very quick and efficient rescue followed with a small helicopter landing close to the base of the route - impressive piece of flying!

I have described this incident not to be ghoulish, but to emphasise, especially to inexperienced climbers, the utter folly of relying totally on insitu fixed kit. Pegs in particular are rarely replaced these days, the one in London Wall could eaisly have be 40 years old! Ok occasionally you may have to rely on a single piece of equipment, but its good practice wherever possible to back things up. I do hope the injured party makes a good recovery, and apologies for using his accident to highlight an important issue without being able to consult him first!
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