This update is a while overdue.
For the past couple months, both Lauren and I have been contacted many times by other people asking if we are okay. The first one was the Canadian girl that got rescued off of Mt Rolleston while she was solo climbing. The second one was a British climber that fell quite far on a trip near Mt Cook. The third one was the Canadian couple that got swept away by the rock slide near Haast. And if you even want to be thorough, it went the other way around when I messaged everyone in Ottawa asking if they were okay after the bus/train crash last month.
Not last weekend but the weekend before, Lauren and I headed down to climb at a crag near Akaroa with our lovely Czech friend. Saturday we had beautiful day climbing filled with great routes, good fun and lots of wind. Sunday though, we took it quite easy as the weather wasn’t co-operating and none of us were in a rush. Our Czech friend ended up deciding to try a route, decided it was too challenging and decided to jump off onto his protection (all normal). Unfortunately two of his camming devices he put in popped out leaving too much slack in the rope (the rest of his protection and having someone belay now rendered moot) and he fell quite a large distance onto the ground straight onto his back.
I had my nose in the climbing guide at the time, and one minute he was climbing and the next minute on the ground. Yes, it was scary, but it really all happened so fast. Luckily we had cell phone coverage there and we could call the paramedics/rescue team right away, as we really thought that he had broken his back. They arrived quickly, gave him lots of drugs, winched him out and choppered him to the hospital in Christchurch. Amazingly, luckily, he is fine. He fractured some of his vertebrae but he will have 100% recovery 6 weeks after the fall. How he managed this, I am not quite sure.
I have been climbing in the past couple weeks, but both Lauren and I have noticed we have been triple-checking our safety each time. Our friend has over 20 years of climbing experience including using this gear which is definitely eye-widening. His equipment did not fail, he most likely just didn’t put the cams in correctly. If used correctly, these should hold the weight of a car. A falling car.
New Zealand is great for accident cover. Normal travel health insurance doesn’t cover high-risk activities (i.e. rock climbing) but ACC (in NZ) does for locals AND foreigners. Whether you are at work, in a car, at leisure, or fall off a cliff, they will pay for EVERYTHING. That is amazing, New Zealand. You rock!!! The amount you have to pay to go to the doctor here is not as painful when you know about how subsidized drugs are here and about ACC.
Phewf! Well that is over. I have some more blogging ready about more cheery subjects (like how I am done work for now, wee!)