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Jonathan Lytton - Sudden Descent

On August 28, 2010, I was climbing a technically easy multi-pitch trad route near Banff, Canada, with my partner, when I fell while leading…

June 1 2015

Rock climbing

I don't know what caused the fall—perhaps a hold broke, perhaps I simply slipped; that moment has been wiped from my memory—but I plunged about 20 meters, hitting various hard obstacles on the way down and losing consciousness in the process. When I awoke, my partner phoned to arrange a helicopter rescue, and I have been recovering since, first in hospital and now at home. 

Jonathan Lytton climbing. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Lytton.
Jonathan Lytton's cracked METEOR helmet.

While I sustained fairly severe injuries, I am extremely fortunate that those comprised only scrapes, bruises, and broken bones, all of which will heal in due course. My helmet is another story. It faired far worse than I did, as it absorbed blows from one or more of those hard objects I encountered on my sudden descent.

— Dr. Jonathan Lytton



One of the rangers who evacuated Dr. Lytton was wearing a helmet camera and Parks Canada has published the footage from the rescue. 


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Warning: Climbing, mountaineering, and the activities described in this story are inherently dangerous. You are responsible for your own actions, decisions and safety. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injury, but does not ensure protection against all impacts.

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