It’s not every day that you can get a person’s thoughts on what it is like to rappel off the end of their ropes and fall 100 ft. to the ground. The accident in question took place coming down off the Royal Arches in Yosemite, CA. The climber was nearing the end of her rope on rappel only to find that she was not in the right spot to reach the next belay. Certainly not unscathed, but happy to be alive, the climber (Meghan) describes her accident on the forums at Super Topo:
There was an almost ledge just below the anchor, and I sort of felt like I could stick it or something. I don’t know, I just knew it would be okay somehow. This is all I can give you, really. I have no memory of the fall whatsoever. I think that bachman’s must have slipped just as I feared, and in my grab for it, I must have let go of the red too? Somehow, I just fell right off both of them…My fingers were ground down to meat it seemed, so I think I must have scraped my way down the slab trying to grab on, and maybe that is the secret slow down to my surviving?
According to her partner she suffered the following injuries:
Fractured C2, dislocated C3 (top of cervical spine)
Several broken ribs leading to a punctured lung
Fractured tales bone of right foot
The usual scrapes and bruises
Read both of their accounts to get a more clear picture of what happened. My basic trad climbing skills leave me a bit perplexed as to what actually happened, but it is a good reminder on how important it is to be safe no matter how much experience you have.
Royal Arches in Yosemite, North Dome in the background