First Aid For Rock Climbing

Use this scenario to put your Raven Medical 80-hour Wilderness First Responder skills to the test – are you ready to administer first aid for rock climbing incidents?

Fill out a set of our RavenMed SOAP notes  with your assessment, and compare your response to ours… which will be uploaded to this post in about a week!

First Aid For Rock Climbing Scenario

You and your climbing parter (Mike) arrive at the climb site in Old Baldy Provincial Park, Ontario, after a 2 hour, early morning drive from Toronto. The approach to the granite face is a short, but steep trail that lands you at the base of the climb. The sun is already hot by the time you begin your walk-in, and the temperature is expected to reach 30 degrees celsius. After planning the climbs for the morning, each you and your partner complete your initial projects and take a break for a quick snack.

After some food and water, your partner decides to begin his most difficult route of the day, the 12a climb called Napolean Complex. The route is a relatively new sport climb, and has bolted anchor points. Midway up the climb, at the overhanging crux move, Mike misses the bolt with his quickdraw, slips, and takes a lead fall.

Immediately, you know Mike is hurt. He is awake, but moaning in pain hanging from his harness. You estimate the fall to only be about 4 metres, but given his body position at the time of the fall, the majority of the impact would have been focused around his lumbar spine and pelvis. In constant communication with Mike, you slowly lower him to the ground and begin your primary assessment. He denies losing consciousness, but does complain of feeling like his neck was “whipped” backwards when the rope caught his fall.

Mike’s chief complaint is that his lower back is very painful and he feels like all his back muslces are in a constant state of spasm. He complains that he feels ‘pins and needles’ in his toes and every few inutes has a sharp pain traverse his upper back. Completing your physical exam, you also notice minor scrapes, cuts and bruises on his arms and hands.  Becuase Mike (25 years old) is your steady climbing partner, you know he has no history of back problems, is allergic to peanuts, and manages his Type 1 diabetes with a constant glucose monitor and an insulin pump.

After your assessment is complete, you begin to make your plan moving forward. You look around the climb site, but no one is in earshot, although you have seen a few other groups around at other routes. From your location, your cell phone is not working, but service reinitiates close to the parking lot. The small town of Kimberly is 10 minutes away, but emergency services are extremely limited.

Next Steps

Given Mike’s injuries, decide on your treatment plan for Mike and how you plan to get your friend the medical help he needs.

Create a SOAP note for the patient, including anticipated problems. Record any treatments and the plan moving forward for your patient (and trip).

This scenario came straight from the Raven Medical WFR Course Resources book. Get your own copy of this text on your next Raven Medical Wilderness First Responder course

From The Experts

While your judgement and decision-making will make your handling of this first aid for rock climbing scenario unique, these SOAPs from the experts at Raven Medical are the standard by which you should measure your own response…