/ Boiled feet and a helicopter ride

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kean - on 27 Apr 2013
You couldn't make it up. Last Wednesday, with Guido the scientist I skinned up to the Mittelaletschbiwak beneath the Aletschhorn in Switzerland, 3000m. 6hr slog. This is a bivvy with 13 beds. But it was a clusterf*ck cos there were over 24 people turned up. So we're all crammed in, all trying to rehydrate and cook stuff. There is was, snoozing, when somebody f*cked up and dumped a pan of boiling water on my socked feet. 2nd degree burns. When I ripped my socks off, I ripped the skin right off. Indescribable pain. Game over. We had to call the helicopter in & they were awesome.
He had been cooking on the dining table, not in the "kitchen area". But there was no room in the kitchen area so there you have it.

Telling the tale to a number of people, there seem to be two camps: non-climbers are of the "sue his arse!" persuasion and immediately start talking about lawyers & compensation claims and the like.
My climbing buddies on the other hand generally have not adopted such an extreme view.
My take on it is that it's all part of the inherent risk. I wouldn't sue a rugby player who tackles me and breaks my leg, and in the mountains, if you go up to a bivvy there's a risk it'll be full. It's the risk we take, and in my case the result was 24 people, more or less strung out, crammed in, all trying to melt snow and cook. A recipe for disaster. Nobody wanted to be in that situation, but there it was, and the subsequent increased risk for all of us was the result.
In all likelihood I'll be covered for all costs by my insurance. If I have to pay something I'll contact the guy and ask him to pay. Other than that I don't really blame him...
So what do you think?
Enty - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to kean:

Sue his arse wouldn't enter my head.

E
KlaasW on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to kean: Sounds awful but suing would never even cross my mind.
AdrianC - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to KlaasW: x2.
LukeO - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to AdrianC:

I'm no expert in insurance but I do live in Switzerland and personal liability insurance is very common. If the guy who dropped the pan is Swiss, chances are he has it. He would be the one who would pay the excess, not you.

Your insurance would probably not want to pay if he is insured, which is fair.

Good for you for not wanting to milk it for all it's worth; on the other hand, you should not be out of pocket as a result.

Hope this helps.

L
Trangia - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to kean:

I think it depends on the damage to your feet, you shouldn't be out of pocket eg medical fees, helicopter ride, off work etc. It's not as though you are an ambulance chaser, so I think, yes, he (or his insurers should compensate you).

It's not really a matter of "blaming" him, he cocked up big style. No-one can avoid the fact that in such crowded circumstances he should have been more careful and you suffered as a result. You are not trying to punish him, or capitiise on his negligence, just want to be put back as close to the same as you were before it happened.

Probably best to claim on your own insurance. They will pursue him if they think it's worth it, but that needn't concern you once they've paid you.
Neil Williams - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to LukeO:

It's also very common in the UK as it tends to be included in home contents insurance.

If you have incurred actual out of pocket costs it's not unreasonable him or his insurers should perhaps pay those (down to your insurer to sort I guess) but it sounds a genuine accident so asking for compensation over and above out of pocket costs would be IMO not right.

Neil
kean - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: Thanks for the replies..I'll post an update as and when.
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to kean)
>
> ...No-one can avoid the fact that in such crowded circumstances he should have been more careful and you suffered as a result....just want to be put back as close to the same as you were before it happened.

Maybe he was being as careful as he could have been in a grossly overcrowded hut? 24 people in a hut for 13, there's going to be a bit of unpredictable jostling and accidental bumping into people. If this was me, I'd let this one go.

As for being put back as close to the same as the OP was, I think that that is best achieved by healing the skin rather than healing the overdraft.
David Rose - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to kean: Climbing insurance normally includes liability cover worth 1 million or more. If you are going to take a long time to recover, and maybe lose work time, and indeed leisure, I see no reason not to make a claim. It's not as if this is ever going to court. It will be settled by his insurer. And the truth is, even in a crowded hut, one has the right to expect not to be burnt this badly by someone being clumsy. What if the water had landed on your face and blinded you?
cuppatea on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to kean:

Al I'm going to add is YEEOUCH that must have hurt.
Hope you're back on your feet soon.
kean - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to cuppatea: Boiled feet are proceeding nicely. The pain makes me see stars...atrocious
Looks fairly certain that Swiss helicopter, rescue and hospital are all covered by my Italian Alpine Club reciprocal agreement. So that just leaves extra hospital expenses in Italy and lost earnings to sort out
kean - on 30 Apr 2013
Anyone want to see my boiled feet?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95383093@N06/

This was 2 days after the boil
Actually they look even worse now as bits of flesh keep falling off and they keep seeping blood...;-((
Babika - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to kean:
Yeaarrgh
That is quite terrifying.....

But I still wouldn't sue. I always have helcopter and medical insurance and would regard that as the main port of call
kean - on 30 Apr 2013
I agree...t'was an accident in exceptional circumstances.
jon on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to kean:

You could try to sue the SAC for building a hut that is clearly too small!
kean - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to kean)
>
> You could try to sue the SAC for building a hut that is clearly too small!

Too bloody right! Anybody else experience such dire overcrowding in a biwak...mid-week FFS!
jon on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to kean:

Yes, so I never go to bivvy huts any more! I presume you were intending to do the Aletschhorn? I did it from Oberaletsch, but that was summer. I don't know if it's viable as a ski mountain from that side...? Just to make you feel better, here's my foot after it got crushed by an enormous piece of rock whilst doing a new route. I called the route This Little Piggy!
http://flic.kr/p/efnWRv
http://flic.kr/p/eftGod
kean - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to jon: OOOOUCH! Yup...made me feel just a tiny wee bit better...

Erstwhile on 01 May 2013
In reply to kean:
> Anyone want to see my boiled feet?

I was thinking that "sauteed feet" might be more precise but then checked and found "blanched feet", which is better ("cook briefly in boiling water"). However, at that altitude water boils at a bit below 100 degrees so "coddled feet" ("food heated in water kept just below the boiling point") has to be considered as well.
Certainly the gasping aspiration of "blanched" sounds the most convincing.
ads.ukclimbing.com
kean - on 02 May 2013
In reply to Erstwhile: Veeery funny...bits still falling off. I gave them a trim yesterday. Stout scissors and a strong stomach...but with a great deal more TLC than Montebelluna hospital. The nurse there kind of ripped the dressing off as if it was an obstinate band-aid, gave me feet a bit of a scrub with some "Dettol" and wrapped 'em broilers back up til they looked like drumsticks. Two hours later and my eyes were still watering, so I decided to go DIY yesterday (well that's wot the Swiss hospital bods told me to do anyway...what could possibly go wrong?).

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