Would just like to say a big thank you to the two teams on Udlaidh that offered assistance today after I tw*tted myself on Doctors Dilemma.
In particular Fiona and her climbing partner from Edinburgh sorry mate didn't catch your name, the assistance and banter was very much appreciated.
Also a big thank you to Rick for building such a stonking anchor for the belay, and for staying incredibly calm and collected throughout, not to mention carrying all the gear and ropes back to the car before driving it back to Tyndrum for me.
The guys in D Flight out of Lossiemouth for the pick up and the Entonox and the staff in the Belford for the tea, scoff and most importantly putting Humpty back together again.
Back down in Glasgow now with a nice big stookie on my right leg and some (new) pretty pictures of broken bits in my leg, turns out I busted my Fibula.
If anyone happens to find an old HTC Wildfire in the Coire of Udliadh I'd be grateful if they could give us a shout, think it fell out my pocket while we were waiting for the heli.
In reply to Busby:
I feel I watched this as a chain of events - I had read your posts - first looking to get out, getting a partner and checking conditions etc.
Hope you are soon on the mend anyway.
If you don't already know Fiona's partner will be Mike, they climb together and logged Doctors Dilemma on Saturday.
Cheers mate, would you be okay to direct them to this post just so they know how it all ended up, also I think Mike got some pics as I was getting papped into the heli, would be nice to get a wee memento of the occasion.
Just to say, Mike, has sent Iain the link to some photos already.
For someone with a busted leg you were very composed. I'd have been screaming like a baby along with working through my repertoire of expletives... Anyways, glad you've got back to Glasgow etc okay and fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.
In reply to Busby: Glad you're OK Iain. We were 3/4 of the way up West Gully and a bit confused as to why the chopper was out as there hadn't been any sign of a commotion. Thanks to Mike for pointing me here to solve the mystery. As Fiona said - your calmness and cheeriness was impressive, I too would have been screaming blue murder. All I heard was some quite cheery voices below (and you really could hear everything as it was so still). Unfortunately we didn't get any good pics of the chopper - although it was impressive to look down on it, and it got rather close just above us. Not quite the end to winter you had in mind I guess! Hope you're back out in the hills soon. And sorry to Mike and Fiona for raining ice down on you (well, sorry on behalf of David who seemed to be having a bit of a mare and intent on removing most of the ice from the wall!)
Cheers folks, as I said it was only the Fibula I busted this time hence the overall lack of swearing involved.
Now sporting a moon boot that wouldn't look out of place sitting next to Robocops slippers but compared to what might have been there's no way I'm going to grumble about it.
Just waiting for the MOUNTAIN of slagging that I'm going to start receiving from all my mates/work colleagues.
Already been embroiled in a few "discussions" with some of my less active/informed friends through Facebook along the usual lines of "You shouldn't have been out in the first place, it's so dangerous, etc, etc"
Cheers for the good wishes, will hopefully be healed up in time for the nice summer weather, I believe the traditional three days of which are due to fall in June this year???
What was the condition like on route? As I walked in on Sunday to west gully I witnessed another chap come off on the second obvious steepening of pitch two, about half way up the route. The noise his axes made as they struck the ice might suggest less than perfect conditions? He peeled off onto the ice terrace below and slid over the previous steepening before fortunately his ropes came tight before fully taking a sore one on the next terrace, looked like a screw held above. No swearing or screaming here either. The bloke un-tangled himself before finishing what he had started.
Glad you OK, and wish you a speedy recovery.
At this point I would like to thank you for taking a little bit of the heat off the English, for we seem to have attracted a fair amount of criticism of late for excessive use of the mountain rescue service this year! ;o)
If you're an ex pat Englishman living in Glasgow, then QED!
In reply to baileyswalk:
Can't blame the conditions for my fall, on reflection I'm pretty sure it was down to me not having a good enough placement for my left foot, when that blew I smashed into the ice with both knees, the impact of which caused my axes to pop up and off as they had been hooked rather than sunk into the ice as I was trying too prevent any big dinner plates hitting my second.
From your description I think the fall your talking about must've happened about 10m above my incident, the team in front of us, Mike and Fiona, had said that the ice on that part was a little poor, though still navigable.
Generally speaking though when we were there pretty much everything was looking pretty fat with ice, though the cornices above the likes of Sunshine Gully and that area where pretty damn scary looking.
Sorry to hear that someone else took a tumble, though it does make me feel a little better that I'm not the only one to have been bitten in the arse by the route this winter, well done to the guy for getting back on it, hope he ain't too sore.
In reply to Busby: I don't want to sound mean here, especially given that you're still hurt but if a popping foot causes both your axe placements to rip then you really need to change some things. For all "normal" ice climbing, every single axe placement you make should be able to hold your bodyweight, it's that simple.
You should never be cleaning your lower axe out of it's placement unless the upper one passes that rule - stick to this and falling off becomes dramtically less likely. It's pretty much my number one rule whenever I'm on normal "thick" ice. It doesn't matter how many taps, pokes or swings it takes to get a good stick; if you haven't got one, then keep working until you do. Your ability to judge/make them quickly will begin to improve the longer you stick to it and you'll be way safer while you get the hang of it.
Sorry if that's not what you want to hear, but it just seems worth a mention - there seem to be an awful lot of people falling off ice this year (see the Orion mini-guide thread) and it just shouldn't be happening.
Don't take as meanness at all bud, constructive criticism would be more apt.
For the record though at the time I was traversing and the axes were actually placed rather than thumped in, left one in an individual pocket which felt fine for a downward pull and the right IIRC was over a good lip of ice and felt solid as well. This was done as the move was right above my seconds head and if it had dinner plated he would've been right in the firing line with potentially little time/space to react.
When my left foot blew I smashed into the ice pretty damn hard, this impact jarred me enough for my axes to pop, the rest is topsy-turvy history.
I do agree that I need to assess my placements more thoroughly in future as it's not often you get the chance to evaluate an event such as this with such clarity. In general I always follow the same rule as you mention in your post of having every placement solid, quite simply this time it wasn't solid enough.
In reply to Jamie B:
Belay stance was at the first section of vertical ice sat in a nice groove, just at the end of a curtain about 45m up from the start of the route. Rick had three good screws in about a metre to the left of the route to stay out the fall line as I went up, however when I got to the top of the ice the obvious line was to traverse left which pretty much put me directly above him.
Know where you are now - traverse left on easy-angled but hard ice. Quite bunched up; I can see how you'd slam your knees in and axes would be too low to take a shock-load. For the info of anyone who needs it, there's a sneaky thread belay well to the right of this section.
That's the spot, as I said the belay was three absolutely bomber screws and I'd just buried a 19cm screw into a beautiful bulging bit of ice before starting the traverse. Just as well really given what happened next...
> (In reply to Busby)
> What was the condition like on route? As I walked in on Sunday to west gully I witnessed another chap come off on the second obvious steepening of pitch two, about half way up the route.
I was the one who fell on Sunday. Reason was sloppy ice ace placement - it taught me a lesson! I was lucky not to be hurt. Speedy recovery to Busby!