/ Unattended ice tool found on crux of Sticil Face

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Graham S - on 08 Jan 2011
We found an ice tool at the top of the crux pitch on Sticil Face yesterday. I would like to return it to the rightful owner - correct description of the tool, including colour of tat attached to it will be deemed sufficient to identify the owner. I will return for no fee other than postage and a full account of the story ;-) PM for return. Hope all members of the party are relatively unscathed. Regards.
Chadders - on 08 Jan 2011
In reply to fiesty:
There was a fairly serious rescue of a fallen climber on Sticil Face last week, chopper managed to get to them and take them off to hospital. Guess the ice tool would be his.
As for who they where if you contact Aviemore police I'm sure they could help put you in touch with the owner.
Graham S - on 08 Jan 2011
In reply to Chadders: Thank you.
JJL - on 08 Jan 2011
In reply to fiesty:

Not mine...but would like to thank and applaud you for doing the right thing.
Gambit - on 09 Jan 2011
In reply to fiesty: Just seen this on the on the Sticil Face log: "Thin conditions. Fall from top of icicle pitch. Airlifted out to Inverness. Absolutely no recollection of what happened. 2 ropes, a ruckasck and axe left for some lucky soul.
mark-abz - Lead dnf - 02/Jan/11 with Alex"
Nice one for finding it.
Simon Caldwell - on 09 Jan 2011
Dan-gerMouse on 09 Jan 2011
In reply to Gambit: Just puts it into perspective that at the end of the day, these are only material possessions. Lucky to escape with his life from the sounds of it... I bet he'd be very grateful of getting some of his kit back though.
Gripped - on 10 Jan 2011
I handed Mark's ropes and racksack into Aviemore police station, I also handed in a sleeping bag which I borrowed off a kind stranger, this was used to keep Mark warm while we waited for the RAF, many thanks.

This is what happened, he seems to have gotten away with just a bit of a bashing so it should be okay to tell the story, and all because as usual I struggle to get out of bed in the morning, that five extra minutes of 5am snoozing caught me up in it all!!

We came down Castle Gates only to see a party just get to the start of Scorpion ahead of us, so that was out, another team were on the Sword and my mate had already done Route Major twice before, so we headed down to look at Sticil Face, the crux looked lean, my mate could lead that! A father and son team were just setting off up it, we deliberated, then figured that it weaved a bit and had two finishes so we shouldn't get in each others way that much.

We racked up and I lead off moving up easy ground to the first stance where Alex (the son) was belaying, his father had just reached the stance below the crux. Alex followed him and I started off when Alex neared about 2/3's the way up this pitch. I arrived at the belay just as Mark was setting off on the thin crux. I built my belay and my mate started up. Mark was high on the crux pitch by this time, when he fell, maybe 50 foot'ish, passing by us on the stance, stopping just on/over the lip of an wee overhang, maybe 15 foot'ish away. He was unresponsive, upside down and blood was visible on the snow ramp.

I called down and my mate Rob reversed back to the safety of his stance. I used my ropes to get down to Mark as quickly as possible as I wanted to get him upright asap and make sure that his airway was clear. Getting him upright was a real struggle, heavy bugger!!! But I got him upright with help from a sling and then I clipped him to me as I was worried the ice screw that had stopped him might pop. If he had gone any further the only way would have been to abseil to him. He had a deep cut to his jaw and was unconscious. I knew this was an airlift job so Rob left to get high and find some mobile reception. Alex got going on his whistle, it wasn't very loud, maybe a new one is needed!

A few minutes followed and Mark started to come around a little, movement in his arms and stuff, groggy head movements, but not much, I egged him on to help me out, placing my axes for him, bumping him up with my legs and so on while his son gave tension on his rope. After a struggle we got him to the ledge and sat him down on ropes and a rucksack to keep him off the snow. A man appeared below us and tied a sleeping bag to my ropes (which I had pulled through), this would keep Mark warm while we waited for the chopper. He was in and out of consciousness and delirious but breathing which was a big relief. Part of the time he seemed to be sleeping like a baby, snoring away quite content!

The chopper came quickly but it buzzed around doing other things, even passing us by but not seeming to notice us on this large cliff. Maybe they had another job on. Eventually they came back our way, as some-one in the basin set off an orange smoke bomb. The helicopter touched down briefly to talk to them and then it came to us. A paramedic was lowered to us, clipped into our belay, the chopper left, then the paramedic checked Mark out, bandaging his chin up and fitted a neck brace, he had pain in his arm as well. The helicopter returned, Alex was airlifted out, followed by the paramedic and Mark together.

I was left to abseil for my gear, there was no way I was leaving that behind!

I also coiled Mark's ropes and put them in his rucksack. I cleared my gear down to the first stance, lowered the rucksacks from here and released my ropes with them into the coire, off they scooted to the boulders. I soloed down the easy ground and then into the coire. I packed up on terra firma with the last light, had a nice cup of tea from my flask, enjoyed the silence of the coire and walked out with everything via Coire Domhain. When I got into mobile reception I had quite a few messages on my phone from various police stations and my mate who was worried over my where about's, maybe thinking I'd hitched a ride with the Yellow Bird.

Sorry Mark but I ate a load of chocolate bars in your pack on the walk out, I was famished and effing knackered!!!

I hope you can get back on things quickly. I'll be back out as soon as I can, Scottish winter climbing is the some of the best.

jimjimjim on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped: Wow, good story, sounds like you did a great job. Well done. Hoping for a speedy recovery for the injured bloke.
jon on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:

Well done indeed Paul.
Rat know-all on 10 Jan 2011 -
In reply to Gripped:
Didn't realise this was you Paul till I looked at your profile after reading this.
Good effort BTW
Maybe you should change your profile name to Jonah!
graeme gatherer - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped: Aye, fine effort Paul. We were high on Route Major when we heard the shouts. Never heard any whistle though!! Really felt for you guys watching the chopper come and go and come and go and......
Hope the guy is ok.

Glad it's not put you off either. How's your mate?- he was buzzing on adrenaline at the top of Castlegates. We intended to do Sticil that day but didn't like the look of it and we promised each other when we walked under it again on Saturday just gone that we weren't going on it. The crux looked fairly lean but we couldn't see ice on the pitch below either- is it just not visible or do you climb turfy mixed ground if it hasn't iced up?

blurty - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:

A good effort. Well done.
lithos on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:


bloody good job,
TobyA on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:

> Sorry Mark but I ate a load of chocolate bars in your pack on the walk out,

I suspect I won't be alone in saying you deserved them!

Well done for doing such a great job in helping out and I hope Mark makes a full recovery quickly.

mark-abz - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:


I finally got out of hospital last Saturday. Bashed around abit, but no brocken bones. So now that the end is in sight and I am feeling pretty normal, I just wanted to thank you for all of the effort you put in. I am particularly pleased that you looked after Alex when things could have worked out so much worse.

Best wishes, and thanks for a sterling effort.

Gripped - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to graeme gatherer: Cheers for your call, got back to you late coz of other things!

Rob's fine, we've got another trip planned in a couple of weekends.

The pitch leading up to the crux was mostly ice, a little brittle, not too bad an angle angle with a few steep mixed steps, it felt quite insecure even though it looked like an easy angle!

I might leave it for another year, plenty of other things to do in the mean time.
southern sam on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:

Fantastic effort gripped, sounds like he was lucky to be in the same place as you on that day.
Gripped - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to mark-abz: No problem, glad to hear you are fine with no broken bits, you had me on edge, pass on the efforts if you ever come across some-one else in trouble.

See you on the hill some-time.
mark-abz - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped: Will do. Definitely hope to be back on the hill soon. Want to do Smiths this winter. Oh and I'll get Alex a new whistle! All the best and thanks again.
mulletcocktail2000 - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to mark-abz:

nice to hear a little bit of drama in the hills!

what actually happened that made you fall? was the ice pitch just too thin?

good luck on smiths, i head it's quite pokey!

ChrisHolloway1 - on 10 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped: Well done buddy
mark-abz - on 11 Jan 2011
In reply to mulletcocktail2000:

No real recollection of what happened but I know the ice was pretty thin, in fact I wasn't really sure it was feasible as there had been significant melt over the preceding five days. I guess I just messed up somehow after completing the hard section. Keen to climb something in good condition now!
mulletcocktail2000 - on 11 Jan 2011
In reply to mark-abz:

your keen!

i guess your pretty lucky then, if the ice pitch was too thin to climb, but the ice screw held(?) apparently it's vi in lean conditions.

mark-abz - on 11 Jan 2011
In reply to mulletcocktail2000: Yep - definitely lucky and ice screw held ok.
Patrick803 - on 11 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped: Top job Paul, just spoken to Jeremy who told me of your adventure !
Jones - on 11 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:
Excellent work fella. May you be commended.
Get Well soon to Mark
Roberttaylor - on 12 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped: Very well done.
Minka on 16 Jan 2011
In reply to Gripped:

Good work. Cool, calm and collected as usual!
Rat know-all on 16 Jan 2011 -
In reply to Minka:
> (In reply to Gripped)
> Good work. Cool, calm and collected as usual!

Indeed, he probably had a quick nap standing on the belay waiting for the chopper!
clivecops - on 16 Jan 2011
In reply to Graham S: good work mate, speedy recovery to you mate
James in CA on 26 Jan 2011 - []
In reply to Gripped: Nicely done, amigo. You have a knack for being in interesting places when the going gets tough. But you are clearly suited for the challenges. Hoping our trails cross again soon...

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