I Fractured My Wrist By Way Of A "FOOSH"

Going back and forth at the base of Sunshine Wall to set up climbing routes for students, my right foot slipped out. And now I'll be getting a wrist cast.
David Shema David Shema
Safety Committee Member
December 13, 2019

As Mountaineers, we are committed to learning from our experiences. We examine every incident that happens on a Mountaineers trip for opportunities to improve the ways we explore and teach. Our volunteer safety committee reviews every incident report and picks a few each month to share as examples of ‘Lessons Learned’. The trip report below describes what happened on this trip, in the leader’s own words, and outlines the lessons the leader has identified. In some cases, we offer additional key learnings from the incident.

Sharing incidents creates an opportunity to analyze specific incidents and also identify larger incident trends. We appreciate every volunteer trip leader who takes the time to share their incidents and near-misses so that others can benefit. We ask that readers engage critically and respectfully in the spirit of sharing and learning.

Sunshine Wall, Vantage - 11 March

FROM THE INCIDENT DATABASE: LEADER INCIDENT REPORT


CO-LEADER

I (field trip leader) slipped on rock and subtly fractured the distal end of my radius bone at the wrist by way of a "FOOSH" -- Fall On Outstretched Hand. I'll be getting a wrist cast for 4-6 weeks.

We were on the Sunshine Wall at Vantage in the morning of Sunday, March 11. I was going back and forth at the base to help different teams locate and set up routes for students to practice climbing skills.

As I scrambled up toward Vantage Point on the basalt "steps", my right foot slipped out. I began to fall leftward and put out my arm. 

It must have landed pretty solidly on the base of my palm near my thumb and jammed the radius bone pretty hard. I also took a tumble and landed in the trail. 

Initially, I felt a scratch on my elbow and below my knee and didn't really feel wrist pain until later in the day. But by evening as I got home, it was swelling and needed attention.

The doctor needed second opinion on the X-Ray, and the radiologist said there could be a subtle fracture on the end of the radius.

Lessons Learned

CO-LEADER

I know I was "hurrying" to distribute group gear and help people get set up at multiple locations and the complex terrain was definitely not the place to be hurrying. It could have been much worse, I'm sure.

Slips and Falls are the most common incident. I had even mentioned the scree and such as an objective hazard for the day.

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