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Self Rescue in Ratikon, Switzerland
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By Thrillseekerz
From Landstuhl, DE
May 30, 2012
Gear testing the Monkee Clothing Women's Ubwuzu Cl...
Well, this weekend I had the unfortunate experience of getting myself down a mountain with a broken leg. It was a horrible experience that I would not wish on anyone. I did document the self rescue and experienced some encounters with climbers who couldn't be bothered to even acknowledge us. It was all very interesting and an experience I wanted to share with my climbing community.

A full account of the rescue can be read here: thrillseekersanonymous.com/201...

Cheers,
ilana
thrillseekersanonymous.com

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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
May 30, 2012
Good job getting out, I found the article a bit preachy though. Hope you have a quick recovery, casts suck.

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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
May 30, 2012
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan
"There was quite a bit of snow left on the approach and about 50 feet from the base of our climb I slipped while scrambling and went for an uncontrolled glissade of which I successfully self arrested but not without some collateral damage. Immediately, upon impact with the ground I broke my leg."

It sounds like the ground arrested your fall.

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By ParkerKempf
From atlanta, GA
May 30, 2012
sweet belay on El Cap Spire, Salathe Wall El Capit...
"As an adventurer, the rules of the game are that one must perform a self-rescue whenever possible."

sooo what your saying is its a good thing that the other party didnt offer to help you? because then they would be vounteers too...

"By opting for a third party rescue, you are putting the lives of rescuers at risk who are mostly volunteers."

+1 to phil...

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By Buff Johnson
May 30, 2012
smiley face
There I was, in the mountains, and I almost died...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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By BurtMachlan
May 30, 2012
Phil Lauffen wrote:
"There was quite a bit of snow left on the approach and about 50 feet from the base of our climb I slipped while scrambling and went for an uncontrolled glissade of which I successfully self arrested but not without some collateral damage. Immediately, upon impact with the ground I broke my leg." It sounds like the ground arrested your fall.


Im wondering the same thing.... If you successfully self arrested how did the ground break your leg?

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By alpinejoy
May 30, 2012
That was a brave effort, but I think it might not have been the best option.

REGA (the swiss mountain rescue) is run by professionals, and your boken leg would be more serious than many of their call outs, and they would of had you in a hospital in no time. You have to remember that in switzerland no only mountaineers need heli rescue from the mountains: hikers, farmers, skiers and even livestock are rescued daily by REGA.

If you made your injuries worse during your self rescue, then that is going to translate into both a greater risk for you, and a cost in time for the surgeons who need to sort out the mess when you get to hospital. For this reason I don't think it's a great idea to turn down the help of professional rescue services.

Did you have insurance that covers heli rescue?

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By Thrillseekerz
From Landstuhl, DE
May 31, 2012
Gear testing the Monkee Clothing Women's Ubwuzu Cl...
Eek didn't mean it to sound preachy, but thank you for the feedback. I appreciate it. Maybe I wasn't clear in the post and to further clarify - I fell down, hit the ground and then went for the slide. Imagine a ball bouncing down from higher up and then sliding down an incline. So, unfortunately my arms arrested the slide by making contact with the snow while sliding. I wish I had stopped at the ground when I fell.

alpinejoy - you make an excellent point and I 100% agree with you. I actually didn't know about REGA, though I don't think I would have changed anything about the way I got down. My leg was splinted and I was confident in being able to get down SAFELY. Xrays showed that the break was not made worse (thank god for a great stick splint).

A quick waste of breathe on the "jerky" responses - get a life. You obviously missed the purpose of the post and does it really make you feel better hanging in the MP forums being nasty? If so, carry on and I'm glad my life has more purpose. The post is just a reminder to be prepared when you get your adventure on.

Cheers,
ilana

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By Adam Kimmerly
Jun 4, 2012
Nice work on the self-rescue. I broke my leg in a climbing fall a month and a half ago and utilized a combination of self-rescue and the local volunteer SAR team in the area I was climbing. The damage to my broken leg was a bit more extensive with comminuted fractures of both the tibia and fibula (read, lower leg was a bit floppy) and a bad sprain to the other ankle.

Self-rescue should always be the first option, but I think it's important to assess the situation with a clear head and not let ego ever get in the way of calling for help when outside assistance truly is necessary. It sounds like you made the right choice in this case, but I worry that you may be pushing too hard for an ethic of complete self responsibility and NEVER calling for rescue. Delaying a call for help when it's needed not only increases risk to you, but also to the rescuers. I really can't emphasize enough that people should not hesitate to call for help when they feel it may be necessary.

I applaud your recommendation to take an advanced wilderness medical course like Wilderness First Responder. Such a course goes a long way in helping to care for injuries and assess anticipated problems to estabilsh the degree of urgency. Technical self-rescue courses for climbers are great too.

I've been on a MRA affiliated volunteer SAR team for 7 years, and volunteer SAR teams are really nothing more than members of the climbing and ourdoor community. These people have decided to commit a large amount of their personal time and money to become professional rescuers so they can help out other climbers, hikers, and other anonymous thrill seekers. In the end, we really are taking care of ourselves and self-rescuing, at least as a community.

Climb safe. I'm glad you escaped with minimal injuries and were able to get out of your predicament yourself. If you happen to find yourself needing assistance in the future, I surely hope you won't hesitate to call.

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