Michele Caminati survives gritstone ground-fall in England
Michele Caminati, an expert of England’s gritstone, fell to the ground while climbing The Elder Statesman at Curbar in the Peak District. Miraculously, the Italian walked away with nothing more than a fractured wrist and heel.
Ever since 2011 Italian rock climber Michele Caminati regularly travels to England and dabble on "God’s own rock" as the British like to call their gritstone which, in adherence to strong tradition, is entirely bolt-free. While the easy routes tend to be well-protected with nuts and friends, the harder climbs generally follow scary arêtes or smooth slabs where pro is almost non-existent. Consequently, the possibility of getting hurt on the upper-end routes is very, very high and this explains why routes graded E7, E8 and E9 are courted for months or even years and rarely repeated.
Parma-based Caminati knows this well and, as we wrote in the past, during his Peak escapades he pushed himself, at times even exceeding himself, to levels which few local climbers even have reached. Routes stand out that, for gritstone aficionados, need no introduction: Braille Trail, Kaluza Klein, Master’s Edge, End of the Affair, The New Statesman, The Angel's Share, Superstition, Simba’s Pride…
This almost unstoppable list brusquely came to a stop two days ago when Caminati fell off The Elder Statesman at Curbar Edge in England. Freed in 2004 by Steve McClure and repeated by Steve Dunning and James Pearson, this HXS 7a offers a series of bizarre but fairly well-protected moves to an arête which is followed, without further gear, to the lip of the crag.
On Monday Caminati repeated the route and returned on Tuesday to take some photographs. During this second repeat something went wrong though, he fell while dynoing through the crux (check out minute 4:10 in the video below Pearson), his rope snapped on the arête and Caminati, climbing without a helmet, fell to the ground from about 10 meters. Miraculously he only broke his wrist and heel and was operated on in Sheffield.
Speaking to planetmountain.com from hospital today, Caminati explained: "I saw everything live, I totally remember the accident, I was completely aware of what was happening ... As I fell I got ready to hit the wall, but then the rope broke and I fell onto my belayer and then hit the ground, probably first with my wrist. Fortunately I’m fine, I’ve got multiple fractures in my wrist, but the operation went well and my tendons are unaffected ... My heel is broken in several places, but they’re compound fractures and I’ve been told it won’t need operating… all in all it should take four to six months to get back to normal... yeah!"
Update on 31/03/2017
Video - watch the video of Michele Caminati falling and the rope breaking at Curbar in the Peak District, England
James Pearson climbing Elder Statesman, HXS 7a, Curbar Edge, Peak District UK