Weekend Whipper: 65-Foot Ground Fall
Franco Cookson attempted to make the first side-runnerless ascent of O’Gradey’s Incurable Itch (E6 7a), resulting in a 65-foot ground fall onto
his head (he was wearing a helmet) and a hospital visit.
Normally on this route, the climber traverses out to the side to place protection before the crux. Cookson decided not to, and the lack of side
runner protection increased the E grade significantly (E9 7a?).
“I’m lucky to have only got minor injuries and there’ll be no more death-routes attempted for a long time. The moves are amazing, but not worth the danger
of trying to lead it,” Cookson wrote on a ukclimbing.com forum.
His belayer, Jack Rotheram, threw himself backwards off a ledge in an effort to catch the fall, missing the mat below and hurting his shoulder.
“This undoubtedly stopped me from seriously injuring myself,” Cookson wrote. “And thanks to Jack Metcalfe for sorting out the ambulance. As has been said,
I felt ok, but my helmet was badly dented and we thought it would be best to be on the safe-side.”
Stay safe out there!