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Weekend Whippers

Weekend Whipper: How to Break an Ankle

Glen Sullivan walks us through what happened before a fall that's keeping him on the sidelines for the next few months.

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The following is courtesy of this week’s Whippee, Glen Sullivan.


“We were up early to head down to Cosy Corner, an area located in Western Australia, for a day of fun. An absolutely amazing place.

This was my second climb in over 18 months due to a knee injury that required a couple of surgeries. To say I am out of shape would be an understatement.

[Also Watch Weekend Whipper: When the Boulder Breaks]

We decided to have a cruisy day and play around on some low-grade lines to ease back into things… then it happened.

The fourth route—and my second lead—of the day started was going well until about two-thirds of the way up. At that point there is a big loose flake. It started to mess with my head a bit. I went out to the left to get around it, placed a cam and extended it with a long sling, then headed right to go over it.

As you can see in the footage, there were plenty of bomber gear placements that I chose to ignore. It’s an easy grade, I’m not going to fall, was my train of thought. But then, of course, my foot slipped. Because of my lack of strength from not climbing in so long, I couldn’t recover and took a pretty good pendulum whipper.

Lucky our rap line was right next to the climb I was on. I managed to slowly prussik back to the top and set up belay for my mate. Once up next to me, he strapped my ankle fairly tight and suggested I make my way back to the car before the adrenaline wore off. He packed up all the gear while I started hobbling toward the car. Half an hour later there was a whole lot of pain.

I went to the hospital the next day. X-rays and a CT said—cue the drumroll—a broken talus bone in the ankle. I’m not allowed to put any weight on it for eight to 12 weeks, and can’t climb for longer than that.

Lessons I took away from this:

—If more gear fits, PUT IT IN! You don’t need to prove anything.

—Always carry a first aid kit (which I do).

—Film everything, because you never know when you’ll get Weekend Whipper worthy footage.”


Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!

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