So I posted this picture and a few people have asked for a few more details.
Myself Dean and Anders were off on our first day of climbing. I always jokingly say this is the hardest days ice climbing you'll do on the trip. Our climb for the day was Capitaine Courageux a 4 or 4+ depending on the guide.
(sorry it's an old pic, I'll upload a better one when I have time)
We'd done the first 3 pitches all about 60m easy 3+ 4 and came to the final "cherry" pitch. Dean stepped up and off he went. The last pitch is the steepest but being in a corner you can normally bridge it at bit.
So what went wrong?
A few details. Conditions had not been great so it was early ice, my least favourite, drainpipes that force you into placing in awkward spots. Dean is a strong guy and drives his axes pretty hard, that day he had nice new BD leashless axes that unfortunately for him had the new wafer thin extra pointy ice picks on.
He'd been struggling getting them out on the way up and struggled for too long on the steep bit.
Massively pumped I think he gave a fantastic demonstration of every possible way you can hold a leashless axe. He gave a few increasingly high pitched warnings, did a few chin ups and popped off.
Being a great friend I took a picture.
Luckily it came out, doubly lucky as I took it rather than the camera although I have it to thank for the focus.
In reply to Oli: Something of a surprise really, one minute fine, good form and posture then off. He actually finished up on a snow slope on a lip above the rest of the climb. I think the worst thing may have been that after the fall he started sliding head first down towards the lip before Anders took him tight (due to the ice screw popping & putting more slack in the ropes).
It almost seemed like it didn't happen until we got back and looked at the photos and his bruises.
He did say that on the way down he was determined not to break his legs!!
You know it actually wasn't my arms that failed in the end - it was my hands. I'd still say, under normal circumstances, that I get less pumped leashless.
The screw that failed just ripped out of the ice - it wasn't in great ice - chandelier / organ pipe "early season" type ice that was diffciult to see if it was well attached behind. Fortunately I had placed another screw vertically into a ledge (that I eventually landed on) that saved me.
When Toby_W loads the other photos you'll see the real sequence which is very revealing!
I was very lucky - I had 30 seconds of real thought that I would at the least break both legs / ankles.
The pic's certainly made an impression around here. I suspect I can hear a lot of people thinking 'Sheeeeeeyit!' Good news about that second screw, as there must have been some force involved by then. Glad you're okay, mate. All the best!
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