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Fall and Injury in Monkeyface Creek

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by Elizabeth Aziz, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Elizabeth Aziz

    Elizabeth Aziz

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    Myself and 3 others set out to descend Monkeyface. I had been ill in the week leading up to the canyon, but was determined to go through because a friend was in town for the weekend. This was mistake number one. The canyon was in easy mode and I had descended the canyon a dozen times over the last 3 years. I was the last person to go down rap 7/8. Canyon was in easy mode, flow was relatively low. Having just been through the canyon a few weeks before, we chose not to re-rig at the chockstone since the new bolts were placed at the top. I deployed the rope bag and reached for the rope and am not entirely sure what happened, but my best guess is somehow I grabbed the non-blocked side of the rope. I stepped off the ledge and was in a sudden free fall and landed with my left ankle jammed into the chockstone. I have a memory of not removing rope from my device, just simply rigging the bolts above the chockstone and continuing down to the group. A group went through the week after and the original anchor was in good shape, so there was no failure there. Another possibility is a mistake in setting up rappel device, but it's hard for me to believe that any of those things actually happened. I continued to rapel/crawl my way to the bottom of the canyon. SAR was contacted and I was lifted to Loma Linda hospital and released later that night. Lessons learned, if you are not feeling well, it's not worth it no matter how much it hurts to back out of a canyoneering trip. Also, check, double and triple check. I may have become too complacent in the canyons. I safety checked everyone, but myself. Also, pull away the rope from the rapide. My eyes may have played a trick on me if I indeed went off the wrong side of the rope.
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Thank you for the report, Elizabeth, and I wish you a swift recovery. What did you end up breaking? Glad it was not worse!!!
    Rapterman likes this.
  3. Elizabeth Aziz

    Elizabeth Aziz

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    Thanks Tom! I forgot to mention my injuries. I suffered two compression fractures in my spine, T11 and T12. I have a stress facture in my tailbone and a badly sprained ankle on the one that I jammed into the chockstone.
    Rapterman, townsend and ratagonia like this.
  4. Elizabeth Aziz

    Elizabeth Aziz

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    Also, this happened on May 6, 2018.
  5. townsend

    townsend

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    Elizabeth -- I am wondering about your thoracic compression fractures. The force of the fall may explain all, but it is possible that you are either osteopenic or osteoporotic, and that these preexisting states made your more susceptible to suffer compression fractures after trauma.

    Bone health is a complex topic -- sometimes calcium and vitamin D(3) supplementation are necessary but not sufficient.

    Best wishes for a swift recovery.
  6. Elizabeth Aziz

    Elizabeth Aziz

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    Perhaps, and it doesn’t hurt to get these things checked, but it was a significant fall of around 40’.
  7. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    If you have compression fractures and a 40 foot fall, I see little reason to do an osteopenia work-up.

    The LD50 on a fall is 32 feet (i.e. the lethal dose- 50% die in a 32 foot fall.)
    ratagonia likes this.
  8. townsend

    townsend

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    Agreed. I was unaware of the length of the fall. I didn't mean to raise a false alarm.

    I don't think the LD50 on a 32 foot fall is 50%. That is too low. Searching online, I found a reference in a medical text, Charles E. Smith, Trauma Anesthesia, p. 3:

    upload_2018-7-24_7-16-57.

    Sorry for your injuries and wishing you a full recovery.:)
    darhawk likes this.
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