A bit of bad news...

10th Feb 2012

Icilcles

OK, I do admit to taking a little longer than I would’ve liked putting a new blog on my site- but I do have a fairly good excuse- HONEST!!

 

  1. I’ve been away ice climbing in Italy and
  2. I’ve broken my leg!!!!

Unfortunately, I’m not joking (I wish I was) and I am now facing up to the fact that I am housebound and non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. Housebound because of the snow and ice at the mo, where I live is a bit hilly and it would be typical of me to slip over and break my other leg! And non-weight bearing because when I returned from Italy, I went to the Northern General here in Sheffield (which fortunately has a very good orthopaedic department) and they put me straight in for an operation. There was me thinking that it was a simple break to the fibula- no such luck. Turns out the break wasn’t great and I’d ruptured ligaments too. So I’ve now got titanium plates and screws in my leg.

So how did it happen?

Well, v boring to be honest. Wish I could tell a story of high octane radical ice that I was scaling but no, I was on the walk home (rushing and messing about) caught my crampon and Bob’s your uncle, one broken leg. If only I could turn the clocks back but what’s done is done and that’s just the way it is. I confess that I am pissed off and annoyed with myself, especially so because Tim and I were meant to be off on a different trip about now. It was going to be my first, fun, sport climbing trip for about two years- hey ho!

So how was Cogne?

Up to when I broke my leg, it was great fun. Admittedly we could’ve had better conditions (IE. It was very warm and the ice was thin in places to say the least) but considering the Aosta valley was one of only a few places in the Alps that had reliable ice and low avalanche potential, we couldn’t complain. We got about four days done and were just about starting to  feel in the groove with ice climbing again. In the last ten years, I’d climbed about two ice routes and Tim similar, so it took a few days to gain confidence and work it all out again. With that in mind, I was getting there with the climbing bit but forgot to concentrate on the walking bit- always the way.

But I had always wanted to go to Cogne, so it was great to get there finally and we went with Adrian Berry and his mate Gabriel, which was handy as Adrian had been a couple of times before and could act as our local guide. We stayed in some nice self catering accommodation in Lillaz (about 3kms from Cogne) called Les Nigritelles, which was a short walk away from some of the best routes around and had friendly hosts Eliza and Carlo. Although the village is quiet, there was an Italian National Husky racing competition one weekend which Tim loved, as he’s always wanted to take pictures of dog-racing. So we had a rest day while he did that and I went for a walk into Cogne, which was pleasant. Anyway, it’s certainly a venue I would head back to and when I’m all healed up, next winter I hope and intend to get onto some of the bigger harder routes.

Oh I forgot to mention my Joe Simpson moment. After my tumble and Tim having to lower me onto the path as it was too steep for me to slide the whole way down on my bum, we still had a couple of hours daylight left, so I decided I didn’t want the ignominy of calling a helicopter (after all I wasn’t at risk of dying, although I did feel a bit queasy and light-headed!!), so I decided to try and crawl. It was about an hour and a half normal walk on an uneven snowy trail, which I can assure you was very painful to crawl on and wasn’t the most comfortable journey I’ve ever made. We tried with Tim holding me up and me hopping with a stick but my good leg got tired very quick and it was quite hard work for both of us due to the uneven terrain and also painful having the broken one hanging down and swinging about. So crawling seemed the best option and I tried to head for the softer snow to save my knees. It felt like I’d been going for ages and I asked Tim how far he reckoned I’d got and he said, “Erm, 200metres?”. Hmm, that wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. After I’d gone about three quarters of a mile, the whole ‘Touching The Void’ thing was losing it’s charm. We’d been going for about an hour and probably had another painful couple to go and the light was starting to drop. My will power was drifting off, so I sat and had a rest. Tim had gone back to retrieve something from the sacks and I was pondering my situation, when a couple of guys approached me. They asked if I needed help and said they’d seen me crawling from the distance and came over to lend a hand. It was very kind of John and Elved to come over, although I was slightly mortified when one of them said after seeing my face “You’re Lucy Creamer aren’t you?” Well yes I am but I would’ve preferred not to have been reminded of it at that precise moment, as I was feeling a little silly.

"My leg before the plaster went on."

Anyway, with three blokes now to help, things looked up as two of them tried to aid my upright hopping. But annoyingly, it was still very difficult for us due to the snow and pain factor, so again I resorted to crawling. So I now had three guys following me at a snails pace which must have been incredibly frustrating for all concerned.

But then there was a strange sound in the distance, a low rumbling or a humming. And then it got louder, until eventually a lovely gleaming stallion of a helicopter came swooping round the corner into our valley.

It was quite a relief I have to admit. And once I was packaged onto a stretcher, the journey to the hospital in Aosta was a swift and relaxing one. Tim and I spent a couple of hours in the hospital, surrounded by people with skiing injuries, they x-rayed me and plastered me up, then sent me off to buy drugs and crutches.

We had a couple of days left looking longingly at the ice before it was time to head home; the 12 hour drive back to Calais in Adrian’s van was a tad uncomfortable but went smoothly and had to be done. And then my trusty BMC insurance organised a taxi from London the next day, which was a lot more comfortable and got us back to Sheff safe and sound.

So, up to date, the next thing on the agenda is results of an MRI scan that I had on my shoulder, which was actually painfree when I was ice climbing and didn’t cause any problems at all.

Bye bye for now.

"Back in Sheffield, the bruising that indicated more problems than just the fibula IE. Ruptured ligaments and prompted the Doctors to operate"