Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Accident at Stanage

Despite the generally wet weather that was forecast for the weekend it remained mostly dry at Stanage on Sunday. Pope Paul had a pass out and was on pilgrimage to his favourite rock with AndyG to put the rope up for him.

They started with Right-Hand Trinity 14m Severe 4a 2*, then Central Trinity 16m VS 4c 3* and also Christmas Crack 16m HS 4a 3*. By which time AndyG was thoroughly tired of sloping holds, jamming and thrutching around.

However, it was much too early to pack up and go home so they strolled along past the Plantation and AndyG led Wall End Slab 22m VS 5a 2*. Paul then took the opportunity to top-rope Wall End Slab Direct 14m E3 5c 2* which he almost completed except for going off route on to harder ground at the very top. Naturally this resulted in the usual enthusiastic outbursts from Pope Paul about the superior nature of gritstone and it's gravity defying properties.

Looking for something quick and easy to end the day on, they moved along to the Outlook Buttress Area. There AndyG quickly spotted the very attractive looking Lookout Flake 8m HS 4b 1*. The start is thought provoking, the wall is deeply undercut and requires a high step into a very committing layback position. However, a sharp pull rapidly gains height and easier holds, leading to a small foot ledge and then a larger ledge on the top of the flake from which it is just an easy pull over the top.

On returning to the bags after soloing it, AndyG found Paul already high on the route and got his camera out to record events for this website. Unfortunately, that was when it all went wrong for Paul.

Despite being in a great deal of pain from what was believed to be a broken arm, Paul was eventually able to walk back down from the crag to the Plantation car park. AndyG then drove him back to Warrington where he was admitted to hospital.

Paul had surgery on Monday evening, he was taken to the operating theatre at 4pm and was returned to the ward just after 8pm. Apparently his elbow was dislocated as well as fractured. The bones pinned and plated back very well, but the ligaments on the bottom of the joint were badly torn and those on the top had to be removed completely. Paul was allowed to return home on Tuesday.

His arm is now in a kind of splint and he can move all his fingers without pain. The elbow will require a lot of physiotherapy and it is unclear at the moment how much strength and movement he will regain.

Close analysis of stills from the video suggest that Paul was actually very lucky not to injure his pelvis and back. Although his elbow is badly injured it appears that this has saved him from injuries with potentially much more serious consequences.

Paul thanks everyone for their good wishes and messages of support. Hopefully he will see you all down the pub soon for a Guinness or two.