This is definitely the most depressing blog post I’ve yet written. Long story short one of my climbing friends is currently recovering from a broken fibula, tibia and talus. I was there and needless to say it was not a pleasant day. Now for the longer story…
On Saturday four of us headed to Warsaw and things started well with us meeting up in good time and heading down in good weather for the time of year. Carol and David had both led our first route of the day and then it was Mary Ashley’s turn. She got slightly off route between the last bolt and the lower off, pulled off a hold, fell, hit the rock awkwardly and broke her leg. I’d temporarily looked away to avoid the falling rock and when she said “I’ve broken my leg” I turned around to say she hadn’t as she said it so calmly. Having turned around it was however very obvious she had. She was just incredibly unlucky. Belaying was good – Carol was belaying and I trust her belaying completely – and I’ve seen people walk away from far worse looking falls with nothing more than a bruised ego.
Not exactly unexpectedly it turns out that Warsaw, Missouri does not have the sort of Mountain Rescue resources that I am used to in the UK and most of the first rescuers on scene were not happy with the walk down and disappeared to access the site by boat as we were on the shore of a reservoir. This left the one paramedic that did come down the path with nothing more than a back board as all the other medical kit was going the long way around. Lance was however brilliant at dealing with the situation, and unlike pretty much all of the other rescuers, did not look like he was out of his depth at the bottom of a cliff.
Anyway after about two and a half hours, and a stretcher lower that will get anyone from UK Mountain Rescue wincing, we eventually had Mary Ashley on a boat where upon the boat, a pickup truck and a helicopter eventually got her to hospital three hours after the fall. Mary Ashley dealt with it all really well and I was amazed at how relatively happy she remained throughout the whole experience. Having moved Mary Ashley’s leg to a more comfortable position while awaiting help I have now added bone grinding against bone to the sound of someone decking in the list of things I hope never to hear again.
Needless to say the last week has consisted off fitting many trips to Kansas City (where Mary Ashley was both in hospital and lives) around work although Carol and I did manage to squeeze some indoor climbing in on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Mary Ashley was operated on Sunday morning and now has a titanium rod inside her tibia. She was let home Tuesday and is now slowly recovering and still dealing with it all really well.
I could write so much more about everything that happened except I’m not really in the mood right now and I’m not sure it’s fair on Mary Ashley to write more than the basics. Has been a shit week but hopefully things will now get better.