Friday, January 13, 2006

Whipper of the Week (Ice Division)

British newspapers are reporting the successful rescue of an ice climber who fell 150 feet in Scotland; an ice screw halted the fellow's screamer, but his partners were unable to reach him and the leader was left "dangling" for seven or eight hours (reports vary) before a rescue team summoned by mobile phone could haul all three to the top, hours after dark and just before a blizzard closed in. The Telegraph newspaper has the best story on the accident, as well as an excellent graphic (enlarge it for the full picture). Newspapers compared the scene to "Touching the Void," despite the obvious differences, as OutdoorsMagic points out, that "he was mostly uninjured, not left for dead and was well within range of a helicopter rescue rather than being forced to crawl down an Andean glacier." You do have to wonder why these guys were unable to do more for themselves, especially since there were two climbers at the belay—could they not have gotten one climber down to the leader to anchor and stabilize him? And, with that accomplished, could they not have rappelled? One hesitates to point fingers without knowing all the details, but it seems like a self-rescue class is in order.

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