Incidents:Broken hand in Davis Creek Canyon

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Broken hand in Davis Creek Canyon
Date 2019/08/09
Location Davis Creek Canyon
Severity Injury
Canyoneering-related Yes
SAR involvement No
Navigation problem No
Environmental problem Yes
Communication problem No
Planning problem No
Skills problem No
Body movement problem Yes
Rigging problem No
Rappel problem No
Insufficient gear No
Gear failure No


2 broken metacarpals in hand due to a fall/slippery conditions.


The ground had been slippery all day and it was difficult to determine visually which rocks would be sticky and which not. All 5 members of the group slipped and stumbled at least once while walking that day. All of us had sticky rubber on our shoes (I wore La Sportiva TX-3s, I believe the rest of the group had 5-10 Canyoneers).

When we were approximately 3/4 of the way through the canyon (one rappel remaining), I slipped while walking in the watercourse. When I reached to catch myself, my hand slipped between a rock and log, making it impossible to bend my wrist and forcing all of my weight straight down onto my hand (like i was punching the ground, but with a straight hand. Is that jabbing? I jabbed the shit out of the ground, y'all).

I momentarily lost feeling in my fingers, but it soon returned. Fingers could wiggle, but it felt like bones were moving/popping in my hand. Self diagnosis was broken hand. We splinted the hand with a stick, neoprene glove, athletic and duct tape (thanks WFA training!). After the initial shock wore off, I was capable of walking out. My friends helped carry my things and lowered me down the final rappel.

Diagnosis of broken metacarpals was confirmed shortly thereafter in the ER.

From my perspective, this was a fluke accident. We had all the right equipment and training and conditions were normal. We had the knowledge and supplies to treat the injury and self rescue out of the canyon. Other than learning to fall better, not sure there's much I/we could have done differently.