Monday, August 25, 2008

Full Weekend - story #1 - always wear a helmet

I have so many vignettes to write about from this weekend, but I'm going to try and be good and just write one a day.

First and foremost - lesson learned. Always wear a helmet when belaying.

Four of us went rock climbing Saturday at a bolted place (so, can do lead climbing). Two really burly climbers and two of us that used to be burly and have to work our way back there (I was the only woman btw).

I was belaying one friend on a climb that our other friends had done (btw, one of whom is my husband/soon to be ex/and who I'll try to start calling friend) so it was via top rope. He was about a third of the way up when hell breaks loose. Well, not really hell, but a brick size chunk of rock.

All the rest happened in a split second. When you are belaying most of the time you're looking up at the climbing to see what's happening. When the rock came off, I barely registered something coming down. My first instinct - and those who might climb with me thus should feel safe - was to grab the rope with two hands and to put my head down. I also screamed - not a 'falling off the rock when climbing' type of scream, but a 'shit something scary is happening' scream. The rock bounced, glanced off my helmet, and bounced off my shoulder onto the ground. OW!

When people around the corner asked if I was ok I couldn't speak for a few seconds because my shoulder really hurt. But at least the person I was belaying could see I was basically ok, and he let them know. I eventually also echoed that. Note I never let go of the rope. But had I NOT been wearing a helmet, and was knocked unconscious from the rock, two people would have been hurt badly, me and the person I was belaying.

A little bit more background. We knew there was loose rock because of our friends who had climbed it. Hence the wearing of the helmet. But the thing is, you just never know when something's going to come off, even in a climb that's been done a million times. And I have to remember that lesson on the days when I don't feel like wearing a helmet.

So I have a memento from the day - a nice little gash and a nicely developing bruise. And a lesson.

Postscript: For the first time ever I used my new velcro'd shoes outside, and felt like a 'real' climber because I had to take them off before I even got to the ground they hurt my toes so much. Most hard core climbers have a pair of shoes that are really sensitive and very tight for best control on the rock. And these are my pair... I normally believe in no foot pain climbing, but damn, they did work well.

2nd Postscript: One of my friends put up a new route at this place. Figured out where to put the bolts, drilled them, etc. Both he and my ex-ish (technically he's still my husband) climbed it and thought it was hard. My friend climbed it clean, which allows him to name it. 1/4 of the way back we were trying to think of a name. Possibilities included: Grey Matter, Potential Energy, Stone Temple Muzak, Buckets Galore, Sisyphus, Platelets. (You want a name that's good, has meaning, will get people to climb it, etc.) No decision yet.

22 comments:

WNG said...

OK, well, that got my heart racing...
How do you always manage to scare me?
More importantly - can reading your blog count as cardio???

NoRegrets said...

For you, WNG, it counts. Obviously. :-)

heather said...

my husband can testify to the importance of not letting go of the rope when you're belaying someone. the guy holding his rope didn't and that's how he ended up with 5 broken vertebrae in his back and neck.

i'm so glad you were wearing your helmet. that would have sucked if you weren't. just do us all a favor, never leave home without it.

Lovebabz said...

Ok, now I have to add rock climbimg to my list of 1000 things I want to do before I die...ok not on a moutain...a wall in a sports complex..LOL! And not too high I might add...LOL!

Thank you for your kind and supportive words. I have decided to repost things from last year for a bit.

NoRegrets said...

Heather, oh my. And is he healed? I knew someone who broke his back climbing but managed to come out relatively ok in the end.

Lovebabz - you definitely should try, and it's ok if it's in a gym... Really it's a neat experience. And hope you feel better.

WNG said...

* sigh of relief*

Thanks, NoR - just wanted to make sure...

ps KEEP BEING CAREFUL, will you please?! Who'll make the lobster jiggle if you're not here?

heather said...

sorta, it's why he's a disabled vet and not working. the army did a real crap job with him as far as getting him the medical care he needed once his initial enlistment was up. 18 months on his back in a va hospital and one day some legal type walks in and tells him his enlistment is up, does he want to re-enlist or accept an honorable discharge. he asked if he was ever gonna be able to go back to being a ranger and was told no. he took the discharge. which f'd him in more ways than one. the thing that pisses me off the most about it is that he was on a constant dose of morphine at the time, and still has copies of medical records to prove it, but because he didn't ask for legal help and accepted the honorable discharge instead of insisting on a medical discharge, he is only recieving 40% benefits. and no matter what, i was never able to convince him to fight for what he is entitled to.

Churlita said...

See? I love climbing around on rocks, but to really climb? That scares me.

I'm glad you were okay, though.

Michael said...

Good advice, in general.

evilesb138 said...

a helmet was definitely a good idea...glad to hear you came out generally unharmed...

I have never climbed rocks...I have climbed all sorts of other things, but not a stone face with ropes and stuff.

The CEO said...

Helmets are generally a good idea these days. Tell Heather to get a good lawyer for her husband, he was taken advantage of in the hospital. Then go to their representative and U.S. Senator. This is an election year.

heather said...

ceo, thanks but j isn't going for it. he had to fight for ssd and refuses to fight anymore. pisses me off. not the monthly income or health insurance so much but if his discharge was changed to medical then our daughter's college education would be paid for.

Mel said...

Holy moly......

I wear bruises from walking around the house.
I can't imagine what a rope and rocks would create for me.

Helmets are very good things!

And what fun that you get to be a part in the naming.

NoRegrets said...

WNG, I try try to be careful, really.

heather, that's too bad. men can have such hard heads.

Churlita...I don't run that much because I could trip over something. ;-)

Michael, thanks for visiting. Yep... Hopefully I'll remember my own advice.

Evile - you should try!!

CEO-I agree.

Mel, yes, it's neat. Of course it's his final decision...

VoR said...

I like Sisyphus, but it's not mine to name.

NoRegrets said...

ARe you like Sisyphus?

VoR said...

Wow, am I like Sisyphus? Shouldn't you as someone other than myself? If I were deceitful would I answer truthfully?

NoRegrets said...

I take it more as this meaning:

Today, Sisyphean can be used as an adjective meaning that an activity is unending and/or repetitive. It could also be used to refer to tasks that are pointless and unrewarding.

VoR said...

sorry, I thought you meant am I like Sisyphus and the way he's described in mythology, not the adjective his name has become.

That would be horrible if I had to say my life or the way I live was "repetitive, pointless or unrewarding."

NoRegrets said...

Yes, as horrible as pushing a stone up a hill forever...

Tera said...

Sometimes I need a helmet just to walk.

aoc gold said...

Infant Joy

(1)

'I have no name;

I am but two days old.

What shall I call thee?

'I happy am,

Joy is my name.

Sweet joy befall thee!

(2)

Pretty Joy!

Sweet Joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:

Thou dost smile,

I sing the while,

Sweet joy befall thee!
-----by maple story accounts