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On Saturday 19th November 2016 Matt my climbing partner and myself decided to head to Pierces Pass in the Blue Mountains to climb a 200 m mixed route called Big Trad Thong. We arrived at the car park at about 0700. By the time we walked 30 minutes to the abseil point and abseiled down and geared up at the base of the climb, it was 0830. I lead the first pitch which was easy climbing up solid sandstone with a few bushes and trees to navigate around. Matt led pitch 2 which involved a bit of face climbing and some interesting features. Toward the top of the second pitch, Matt informed me that it was becoming slightly chossy (loose rock). The chossy rock did not deter us as the monster roof crack above look way too enticing. We exchanged gear at top of pitch 2 and I began to climb. The slightly chossy rock quickly became even more chossy after about 5 meters of climbing pitch three. I arrived at a 3 foot wide ledge after clipping two bolts. I decided to continue up the chossy crack and I was able to place a sub optimal Black Dimond Camalot #2 to protect my climbing.
As I was pulling the rope and about to clip, I suddenly felt my foot hold snap off and I fell 10 meters. I blacked out for a few seconds and when I came to, I was inverted looking up my deformed ankle. When I realized what had happen, I had to use my good leg and arms to pull myself to Matt. The anchor was now on the same level as me but 5 meters to my right. Matt did all the work from here on: he attached me in hard to the anchor and helped support my leg. I activated my ResQLink PLB. The helicopter arrived at 1030 and we ended up spending 4 hours on a one foot wide ledge waiting for help to reach us. During this time the pain came in waves and I could see the bottom of my foot with my leg out straight and the bone was protruding for about 5 cm. We both knew that with the large roof above us this was not going to be an easy extraction.
We first made contact with the rescue party at about 4-5 hours after the incident happened. Once I was administered pain relief and attached to paramedics chest harness, I was lowered to the ledge 50 meters below. I was given plenty more pain relief before I was moved across the ledge to the final abseil point. From here I was lowered into an awaiting stokes stretcher, where a doctor and more paramedics were waiting. My foot was straightened into line by the doctor in the bush. I was then moved to an area where I was able to be winched into the helicopter. I was flown to Westmead Hospital in Western Sydney where I would spend the next week undergoing 3 lots of surgeries. I ended up having a Bilateral Malleolus compound fracture and dislocation of my left ankle. It is now 8 weeks post fall and I am now able to start putting weight on my foot.
I take my Beacon whenever I head into the bush whether it be hiking, trail running, canyoning or climbing, I always have this vital piece of equipment.
Thank you ACR!
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