Insured for Adventure - revisited

14th Mar 2012

In November I wrote about my ongoing quest to find insurance for my upcoming adventures and how pleased I was that I'd managed to find an insurer who would cover me for all the way-out locations I would be visiting and just as importantly cover me for the various "sports" I'd be participating in. First up on the 'Hit List' at the end of January was the Cogne Valley in Italy for a spot of Ice climbing. I'd been really looking forward to the trip for several reasons; firstly it had been a couple of years since I'd last 'swung axes' and secondly it was a trip I'd be sharing with my partner Lucy Creamer - the climber in the photograph the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) used to advertise their insurance.

The journey out went smoothly and after a 15hr drive it was a pair of weary heads that hit the pillow. Some fabulous days of climbing followed - read a previous post about the trip here and a Dog Sledding event that I photographed while we were there here.

So, why the photo of a broken Fibula? Well first of all its not mine, Its Lucy's (you can read her account of what happened here)

Cutting a long story short - we climbed a great route, abseiled back down the route to terra firma unscathed, I headed down to the path to pack bags and coil ropes and Lucy went over to Solo a short little nearby route. About 10 mins later I looked up from sorting out my pack and Lucy was sitting in the middle of the approach slope just below the route we'd just climbed. I smiled at her and carried on packing. A couple of minutes later I looked up again and she was still sat motionless in exactly the same spot "come on Creamer" I yelled, It was usually her telling me to hurry it up. 'I think I've broken my leg" came the sheepish retort. It turned out that on the descent of the slope she'd slipped, the crampon had "bitten" into the ice and the forward momentum of her body had done the rest! I lowered her down the slope on a rope to more even ground. But 'standing' or rather walking wasn't really possible for long on such en-even ground on a broken leg, so she crawled on all fours and then would stand up and hop for a bit. This went on for about half a mile, finally a couple of climbers saw us and came over to offer their help. It was about now I rang some friends back at the hotel to explain the situation and ask if they could meet us at the valley head and they decided to ring Mountain rescue! Before we knew it a bright red helicopter came hurtling round a nearby ridge and within the hour we were at accident and emergency in Aosta. Xray's and plaster cast were followed by a more sedate form of transport back to the hotel. Believe it or not all of the rescue and treatment were taken care of by Lucy's European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Afetr a few days of just sitting around it was time to travel back to the UK and finally up to our home town of Sheffield - belive it or not this last short leg, London to Sheffield was actually going to prove to be the most awkward logistically - getting on the train with four huge bags and Lucy on crutches was going to prove a nightmare and this is where our BMC insurance came in. After a short call, they put us in touch with A Docter who spoke to Lucy at lenght about her injury, after making an evaluation he arranged for us to be picked up by a chauffeur driven car which was especially equipped to deal with broken bodies! The driver was lovely and very entertaining during the 3 hour, door to door journey - you'd think it ended there, but you'd be wrong. Over the weekend the pain in Lu's ankle got worse, she went to the fracture clinic on Monday, they had a look at the break, took another xray and told her that the guy's in Aosta had got it wrong, there were actually two breaks and ligament damage!

The hospital kept her in, operated the next day, fixed the breaks with a couple of titanium plates and four screws and sowed in a bit of synthetic ligament to boot, simple. Only it wasn't and Lucy ended up having a bad reaction to the anesthetic and spending another week in the hospital - she's home now and recovering well, in fact all this happened Six weeks ago and yesterday she was able to put weight on the leg for the first time, all being well it was a step in the right direction.

Looking at the photo on the left, the title of which is "Insured for adventure" there's a rather "bitter sweet" irony, but like Lucy said in the advert "I know I can trust BMC insurance" never a truer word spoken.