Tuesday 12 January 2010

Kev takes a bit of a fall

Kev Shields somehow still smiling despite a mashed ankle and a lot of pain. He’d just fallen out of the cave above the ice pillar behind and stopped where he’s sitting!!

Climbing hanging fangs of ice is dangerous. Tread carefully. I broke this chunk off with the slightest of touches. 

Kev had been talking about some impressive steep bits of ice he’d been eyeing up in Glen Nevis over the past couple of weeks. So we finally made a date to check them out. After a nice solo ascent of one lovely fall (in the background behind me above) I belayed Kev on the most impressive line, connecting two exciting looking pencils of ice. Kev moved up the first with good commitment and got a piece of gear in a cave below the second. But with the temperature reaching a dizzy +3 it no longer seemed a good idea to go swinging around underneath a ton of suspended ice daggers. Unfortunately, retreat didn’t prove the safest option this time. I’d lowered Kev about a foot on the rope when the gear suddenly ripped and he plummeted, pile driving straight into the floor fifteen feet below on flat water ice and heading off down the slope below. 

He came to rest silently, lying on top of his prosthetic ice axe which had thankfully not entered his chest! However, he was less than perfect shape with a suspected broken ankle and eyes rolling around in his head with shock. 

We didn’t waste any time and while Gaz shouldered our three packs, I shouldered Kev and made haste down Glen Nevis on foot to my car back near lower falls. Thankfully no break for Kev, just a diagnosis of a lot of foot-off axe training for some weeks. But it was decided that steak pie and a pint in the Nevisport was a fitting way to cheer the injured party up before the rehab commences.

I see an apprenticeship in ‘the shire’ is clearly pretty good for handling pain without getting too worked up. Hardly a wince from the man despite being carried a farmers mile on my back with me slithering about on the ice and bashing a very messed up ankle. Good effort. I’d rather not see anyone hit the ground again for a while. It’s not very nice.

Wee youtube below:


  1. Alan Russell12 January, 2010

    So glad to hear that it's not more serious. Wish him a speedy recovery and I hope it doesn't have a negative effect on his mental approach, but makes him stronger.

  2. I am climbing now since 2 1/2 years,
    and last summer i cracked in my ankle
    lace (sorry for my bad english ;) )
    and had to stop climbing for 6 weeks... that was so bad, but time goes by and now im climbing again.
    Wish u good recovery!

    Greets from Austria, Andi

  3. At least he got his gear back. Always look on the bright side ...