/ NEW ARTICLE: Paralysed in Peru - Accident on Chacraraju

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UKC Articles - on 28 Feb 2011
Chacraraju the day after the night before, 3 kbScott Mackenzie and three friends were forced to abandon a push for the east summit of Chacraraju in Peru when fate struck at 6,000 metres with near fatal consequences.

Here he tells UKClimbing.com about the chilling experience:

"...Then silence. Laying there the silence seems to invade my paralysed body. I am paralysed from the neck down. I can't move a thing. I'm just laying there on the rope staring straight into the heavens. The silence is overwhelming an over powering ringing in my ears..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3188

dawesbub - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: I don't write much on the boards as I fairly new to climbing, and I certainly know little about mountaineering, but that was a riveting, enthralling and scary article. A fascinating account of the attempt.

Thanks for sharing


Steve
Taurig - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

Holy crap! I was actually reading that with my mouth open. Any idea about the medical reasons for the temporary paralysis? Crazy stuff.
Tom Last - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

Lovely to see some really good writing on here, top stuff.
Roberttaylor - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: That must have been terrifying. Well written and gripping.
CurlyStevo - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:
Really good reading
GuyVG - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: real nice Scott, did you ever get a diagnosis for it?
JamesM - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

Any indication on how/why the rope snapped?

Was it 8mm?
In reply to UKC Articles: Another thank you to Scott for submitting this piece and also to Dan for his work on it too.

There has been a huge amount of effort gone in to this article.

A gripping tale.

Thanks guys and glad you got down okay Scott!!!

Jack
timjones - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to JamesM:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> Any indication on how/why the rope snapped?
>
> Was it 8mm?

Did the rope snap?

Snapping like a whip is a different thing to breaking. Sadly I find the article a fairly tortous read with far too much room for misinterpretation.

Tom Knowles - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to timjones:
>
> Did the rope snap?
>
> Snapping like a whip is a different thing to breaking. Sadly I find the article a fairly tortous read with far too much room for misinterpretation.

I'm assuming when the word "snap" was used it was to indicate sound rather than the physical breaking of the rope (if that's the case, then why not say "cracks like a whip" to stop the ambiguity?). It's an interesting story, but I agree that it doesn't read well. Punctuation is all over the place, which gives it a stop-start feel; I had to re-read many sentences to get their meaning. I'm assuming, too, that when the word "breath" is used in bold that it's actually referring to "breathe"? Fairly slipshod editing, really, but all too common these days.
timjones - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to Tom Knowles:
> (In reply to timjones)
> [...]
>
> I'm assuming when the word "snap" was used it was to indicate sound rather than the physical breaking of the rope (if that's the case, then why not say "cracks like a whip" to stop the ambiguity?). It's an interesting story, but I agree that it doesn't read well. Punctuation is all over the place, which gives it a stop-start feel; I had to re-read many sentences to get their meaning. I'm assuming, too, that when the word "breath" is used in bold that it's actually referring to "breathe"? Fairly slipshod editing, really, but all too common these days.

Thank goodness someone else feels the same. I felt a real grumpy old fart when everyone else apparently thought it was a fantastic piece of writing.

I'm probably still be a grumpy old fart but at least I'm not alone ;)
Tom Knowles - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to timjones:
>
> I'm probably still be a grumpy old fart but at least I'm not alone ;)

Thanks for the compliment Tim :-) I don't enjoy posting criticism either, but as long as there is a reason as to why such criticism has been raised, then I think/hope it can be useful. I read and edit so much material that it's almost impossible for me not to notice poor grammar, punctuation etc. Of course, that doesn't mean others won't thoroughly enjoy the piece!
Scott_M@c - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hi guys, thanks for the feedback and thanks to Dan and Jack for their hard work on the article. Dan did a great job so many thanks there!

>GuyVG
I believe it was just the sheer impact of the ice which caused the loss of feeling rather than any medical issue. Its not happened since... (touch wood!).

>timjones/Tom Knowles
Sorry you didn't enjoy it much. Spot on about the rope, rope didn't physically snap, snapped like a whip. 'Snapped', probably not the best description! This is what the original wrote: "Suddently the green rope snapped like a whip and enough force loaded the system to catch everyone unaware." If you are interested, this is the article in its original form. http://www.fightgravity.co.uk/?p=17

Cheers, scott
John Roberts (JR) - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to Scott_M@c:
> >GuyVG
> I believe it was just the sheer impact of the ice which caused the loss of feeling rather than any medical issue. Its not happened since... (touch wood!).

It better not happen again!
timjones - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to Scott_M@c:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> Hi guys, thanks for the feedback and thanks to Dan and Jack for their hard work on the article. Dan did a great job so many thanks there!
>
> >GuyVG
> I believe it was just the sheer impact of the ice which caused the loss of feeling rather than any medical issue. Its not happened since... (touch wood!).
>
> >timjones/Tom Knowles
> Sorry you didn't enjoy it much. Spot on about the rope, rope didn't physically snap, snapped like a whip. 'Snapped', probably not the best description! This is what the original wrote: "Suddently the green rope snapped like a whip and enough force loaded the system to catch everyone unaware." If you are interested, this is the article in its original form. http://www.fightgravity.co.uk/?p=17

I like the original better. IMO it flows a lot better where you describe the fall. Somehow the title and editing here on UKC has placed too much focus on the drama of the accident/paralysis over the rest of the story.

As for the paralysis I've experienced something very similar when I stupidly managed to step backwards off a 3 foot high trailer bed and land flat on my back on a stone floor. It's truly terrifying when it happens. I suspect that after a big impact the body shuts down whilst it works out where the damage is. When the luck is with you everything returns to normal.
Tom Knowles - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to Scott_M@c:

Hi Scott,

Like Tim, I prefer the original. Trust your own work in the future, "editors" don't always know best!

Cheers, Tom
Paul Crusher R - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: Thats cool a little article, draws you in quickly then spits you back out a little wide eyed.
Ive heard about temp paralysis, its a subconscious thing, that shuts down nervous system to the injured area to protect from further injury until your brain can register whats injured, whats going on etc. Can happen to limbs when they're broken/sprained etc, its quite common, just so happened that cause the neck got clobbered, it shut the whole body down. It happens to me regularily especially after drinking hopstar.
TheIrv - on 28 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: re - temp paralysis, it's likely a function of shock. i'm not a doctor (just pretend to be one on the internet, ha!), but i experienced the same thing and the same "rebooting" described after being hit by a car. once you catch up with your body there's this period of time (probably milliseconds but fells like forever) where you suddenly get your head around what the hell just happened and start to mentally check your body over but can't feel anything.

still, all's well that ends well.

also agree with some of the overwrought editing, but still a good read :)
pepperpot - on 01 Mar 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

A brilliant bit of writing that, thanks very much. It brightened up a dreary morning no end!
Will Sim - on 01 Mar 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: Nice one. Confirms my lack of interest in those rotten ice and serac ridden faces that Peru seems to be full of.
I was hit by a large chunk of falling ice on a winter alpine north face a couple years back, which resulted in almost 2 weeks of hospitalisation, an operation and hyper-sensitive hearing from then on!!
Your feeling of "Oh what a great day" changing to "oh shit i'm f*cked" in less than a second especially reminded me of it. I had it playing back for months. And was scared out of my mind the first few times i went alpine climbing afterwards.
Will
billy no-mates - on 01 Mar 2011
In reply to Will Sim:

Unfortunately the ice is receding and more ice is dumped year by year.
Brendan H on 01 Mar 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: Great piece, shit scary though!
Scott_M@c - on 01 Mar 2011
In reply to Will Sim:

> Confirms my lack of interest in those rotten ice and serac ridden faces that Peru seems to be full of.

Hi Will, would disagree slightly on this and will try to change your mind because its really cool place to climb! I've climbed quite a lot down there in Peru and almost every route has been awesome.

You can climb a different 6000m peak every 3 days, with steak, hot springs and bouldering in between! The faces in my experience have almost always been brilliant conditions (especially steep ice climbing). Just now and then its a bit rubbish. To be honest, its more the rock than the ice thats rotten.

Cool experience walking in, pitching camp and making your peak gives the blanca a very mini expedition feel for each route. There's dozens of 6k peaks to choose from, no real permits and super cheap living. Plus, there's some pretty good bars for post route debauchery!

Cheers, scott
pneame on 02 Mar 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:
Good grief that's well written! I was expecting a Joe Simpson type epic collapsed into nothing and felt about as relieved as one could when the sensation slowly started returning....
Fabulous writing.
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Michael Gordon - on 02 Mar 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

This makes good tense reading though I'm still not exactly sure what happened!

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