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Home Forums Accidents, near-misses and mishaps Lessons Learnt – Snake Bite at Churchman's Brook

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    A few weeks ago, James was bitten by a snake a Churchman’s Brook. We decided to reach out to James to get his full story and share some of the lessons that we can all take away.

    James is slowly recovering now and attributes his survival to his preparation. Thanks for sharing James Anna all the best with your recovery.

    James was climbing on his own, lead soloing at Churchman’s Brooke on “Pink Knickers”, a beginner friendly route. Standing on a ledge about 3 meters from the top of the climb, he reached up overhead and a venomous snake bit his hand.

    James identified that a rescue would be easier and quicker from the top of the crag instead of at the base. Another party at the crag helped set up a fixed line to allow James to jumar up (ascend) to the top. The other party helped get James’ first aid kit to wrap up his hand and isolate it until emergency services came to help. James was winched up by a helicopter.

    He had spent the night in intensive care with a dose of anti venom. The past 2 weeks since the incident, James continues to feel terrible. The doctors said that if his hand was wrapped up slower, he would be dead.

    The following played a large part in James’ rescue and survival,
    – Preparation is key, before you start climbing, think about an exit plan. Ask yourself in the event of an accident, where am I going to bail to and how. In James’ case, being at the top of the crag significantly reduced the time it would’ve taken to rescue him. Jumaring up the rope was less intense than to rappel down and then walk back up to the top which would’ve encouraged blood/venom circulation.
    – Have a working phone on you to call for help.
    – Bring a first aid kit and know how to use it. Typical climbing injuries are severe bleeding, sprained / broken ankles or snake bites. Make sure you know how to treat them.

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