MACS Participation Statement

Royal Holloway MACS recognises that climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.


If you are going to climb, you might as well do it with your eyes open, and there is the teensy weensiest possibility that you may pay a little trip to boo-hoo town, this is not a guide to preventing these injuries as accidents will always happen, besides, as my dad says "The odd fatal injury never harmed me, builds character that my day etc. etc." Neither is this an instructive tome on how to deal with these mishaps, as I know nowt about that stuff and I don't want to get sued or grievously beaten (I'll give advice anyway, but just ignore it as usual). Its just a bit of a gore fest it goes.

Minor Mishaps

Arm's a bit sore - This is due to going climbing the day before and is characterised by the arms being a bit sore. I advise that a)you shouldn't be a poof, get back on that rock before I get you to second me up something, or b)there, there love, I reckon you need some gentle exercise, like carrying a pint from the bar to my hand.

Flapper - Having flaps of skin gaping horribly off your digits is very common and involves the rock biting your hands. I recommend superglue.

Playing knuckles with a geological formation - When crimping on a small hold or rather suddenly failing to crimp a small hold the hand has a nasty tendency towards rapid contraction, neatly filing your knuckles to bloody craters. Cry like a baby or a) fill with chalk till stops spurting b) wrap in tape c) wipe on item of clothing (whose is own choice).

Blister - see advice for arms a bit sore.

Hangover - another common climbing injury, sadly it doesn't arouse much sympathy so best kept to ones self

Explosive diarrhoea - The big wall climbers tell me it doesn't have to be yours...

Smarts a bit

Grit rash - The loss of ones skin via its rapid abrasion against stone. Bright pink usually, sometimes purple, occasionally drips. Put up with it. Strangely can be caught from granite.

Pattelloid concussion - Banging your knees. No sympathy here, normal climbers don't use them, others have been known to make protection from bicycle tires....

Dropping a rock on your foot - This is caused by touching rocks, especially the nice loose ones such as Carn Gowla. The seriousness depends on its size, you may need to get bigger, flatter boots.

Falling over - This serious approach event is caused by being a dappy loon and not watching where ones going. Symptoms include seeing a lot of ground/sky and people calling you a dappy loon. Not recommended on 70º slopes or general cliff edges.

Blame it on the weather

Hypothermia - This is caused by being cold. It involves shivering a bit, being tired and thinking you're Batman. If this happens to you, then put on some warm clothes, have a hot drink and sleep with someone.

Heat stroke - This is caused by being hot. It involves getting sweaty, feeling thirsty, possibly a headache, and wanting to throw up after strenuous effort. Not to be confused with a hangover. Seek soft drinks shelter and sympathy.

Sunburn - This is caused by being Ginger. Skin becomes pink and sore without the use of grit. Use cream and don't tell anyone, they'll only slap it

Being blown off stuff - This is caused by wind. If its just your feet you're blown off, that's okay, numb bum no problems....Tremadog is another receptacle full of seafood. Eat less beans.

Things that aren't too bad but might happen if you should choose to test the earth's gravity

Stubbed toes - fall off... swing into the rock....ouch.

Body rash - This is grit rash's older alcoholic brother and can be caused by say, a 30 foot pendulum on a shity limestone slab, or climbing in the nude, It involves substantial skin loss and crying like a baby. Handy hint, don't try swimming in the sea afterwards.

Collision - This can be serious but more often than not results in a bruise, Common things to bump into are; rocks, belays, other climbers and the ground. More rarely trees, fences, or birds, extra points if they're air borne.

Not for the squeamish

Holes - These vary in size and tend to leak somewhat profusely, occasionally expelling organs etc. Try to cover/fill them in, chalk might work for the minute ones, but biggies may need a bloody big cork, or a tesco's bag.

Things that go pop - The snapping of sinew is never pleasant, so don't do it, not to be confused with thing that go snap.

Things that go snap - Bones are quite vital. If your limb or torso did this, and looks a bit funny, scream a lot, someone will do something, putting it back where it should be is a start. Not to be confused with things that make a sucking plop.

Things that make a sucking plop - If your joint appears to be pointing the wrong way you may have dislocated it. Officially you're supposed to leave it until a trained doctor puts it back at hospital, nerves or something, but if your halfway up the old man of Hoy , you had better let your second give it a kick.

Rope burn - do not grab a speeding rope unless a life is in mortal danger. This tends to result in blood, loss of skin/flesh and an increase in the organic content of the rope.

Don't tell mum

Twatting la Téte - Concussion, unconsciousness, spilling your brains. Try not to move, forget things or think you're batman, let other people immobilise and strap you up. Unless they're the ones who bashed your bonce in the first place, in which case verbally abuse them and call in the heavies.

Failing to miss the ground from an unnecessary height - Any of the above or below could happen. Don't Tell Mum.(unless you are perfectly all right AND wearing a helmet, she'll only moan.

Five star gore

Impalement - This includes a myriad of foreign object body combinations, including nut key sodomy, rocky spike enema, a rigid friend, a well wedged bit of wood, seagull-lower torso amalgam, possibly even an over enthusiastic spotter's arm. SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE. Best to leave it in, if your spotter doesn't mind.

Going to pieces - Scenario. Happily jamming your way up that nice grit offwidth when some snotty nosed tyke rolls a medium sized boulder off the edge. Good news, it misses your bonce. Bad news your jams were a little too you fall, leaving behind some novelty chock stones. Extreme maybe, photo opportunity certainly, pleasant I think not, I recommend the use of staple guns, superglue and sticky back plastic. Alternatively throw it to the dogs.

Identifying the bit that shows - Just a bit of fun. The bit of body sticking out ,or showing through your newly acquired injury can be a bit mysterious. Here are some pointers:

  • White and hard = Bone, or possibly a tooth (query; foreign object?)
  • Yellowy and stringy = ligaments, tendons, spaghetti?
  • red and stringy = muscle
  • pale yellow and tubular = intestine? sausages
  • leaf like rubbery = pancreas or maybe an ear?
  • green mucoid slimy wobbles a bit = lime jelly

Oh well that's it, just remember- worst things happen at sea.


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