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Ascent to Stawamus Chief-Campgound on 2018-08-27

Climber: Harvest Mondello

Date:Monday, August 27, 2018
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Stawamus Chief - Campgound
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:50 ft / 15 m

Ascent Trip Report

A Canadian Grizzly tried to take my lunch. I said "Hey bear, that's my lunch!" I flipped him off and then he bit my finger off. I socked him with a right hook to the kisser. He dropped my finger and ran off. I scooped up some glacier & put my finger with the ice in a nalgene. When I got back to civilization the nice Canadians stitched me back together.

That's how I like to remember it. I'm typing this report with one hand while my other hand recovers.

I had a talus/scree field come down on me while walking a class 2 climbers trail to a commonly used climbing crag in Squamish, BC. We were on the way to "Beam Me Up Scotty!" a 3 pitch 5.8 trad route established the prior summer of '17 and recently cleaned up. Everyone else in the area - about 15 Canadians were waiting to hop on "Star Chek" (3 pitches of 5.8 sport)

I prefer the grizzly story because it's funnier. I'm lucky to be alive.

I have a soft tissue flesh would. I'll have 4-6 weeks of rehab to ensure I keep full mobility in my middle finger otherwise scar tissue will prevent me from moving it again.

Just before the field gave way I asked my partner Kristen to make sure she didn't follow under me (in case of rock fall). As soon as she was out of the way I placed my hand on a piece of talus the size of my body & it gave way along with an avalanche of other talus above me. I protected my head with my hands and rolled to the side away from the bowling ball sized talus & the chunk the size of my body. I protected my head but my hands have seen better days. I ended up like 20 feet downhill and maybe 6 feet to the side of the bulk of the rock that came down. Kristen was caught on the edge of the rock slide and her arms got scraped up but she's alright.

After looking to be sure nothing above me was ready to fall I sat on the scree holding one hand over the other to stop the bleeding. I had blood all over the place and pain in my left hand. I recall Kristen asking if I was alright. I told her I'm cut pretty bad but it'll be alright.

Several people yelled to me asking if I was alright. I ignored them and focused on my breathing to stay calm & to keep my mind off the pain. The first responder was a Canadian nurse. She was hanging out at the base of Star Chek waiting to climb and was the first to walk across the screen to check on me. I asked her to clean out my would with my blood covered water bottle & she didn't hesitate with all the blood so I knew she'd seen real gore before. She cleaned out my wounds with my water bottle & used her shirt as a tourniquet to stop my bleeding - a selfless act. She was Canadian so probably cute but I was too busy focusing on my breathing to notice anything around me for a while.

The other people in the area were too scared to check on me except my partner Kristen and she cautiously made her way down to me - careful not to start another slide - while I focused on my breathing to stay calm. I asked her for my first aid kit and more importantly my Duck Tape. She used it like medical tape to keep my tourniquet in place for the hike out. The partner of the nurse carried Kristen's pack and Kristen carried my heavier pack and we walked back to the car. Kristen drove me to the ER where a nurse inspected my wounds & a MD stitched me up.

Canadians are so nice!

After analyzing what happened for two days I came to the conclusion that I didn't exercise enough caution on the talus crossing. I plan to learn from this mistake. In the meantime the MD says no climbing for 4-6 weeks depending on my recovery. I must do physiotherapy every 3-4 hours or I may never move my fingers again.
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