Base Camp Blog

Vicious Tree Attacks Defenseless Climber

Mark Dixon, bandaged up but still climbing, after a burn on Blockhead (5.12b) in Boulder Canyon.

Mark Dixon, bandaged up but still climbing, after a burn on Blockhead (5.12b) in Boulder Canyon.

Mark Dixon was one of the most intriguing characters in our major helmet story in the August issue: a 5.12 climber who wears a helmet whenever he's leading, including indoors at a climbing gym. But even though Dixon is much more safety-conscious than most sport climbers, he has his limits—and this week he paid the price.

"One of my hobbies is to collect the trash at the base of crags," he told me. "I was busy doing this at Animal World in Boulder Canyon when I carelessly stood up and whacked my head on a sharp branch!" Naturally, he wasn't wearing a helmet, and the tree carved a six-inch gouge across his pate. "There was blood everywhere," Dixon said.

Dixon considers adding another bandage.

Dixon considers adding another bandage after his no-helmet tree encounter.

Dixon, an ER doc, thought he might be done for the day, but he got his wife to bandage up his head well enough to do a couple more pitches. Then, when he got home, he applied a railroad line of butterfly bandages across his head instead of going in for stitches. "I don't like to go to doctors if I can avoid it," he said.

So, will Dixon now begin protecting himself in the woods below crags? "I can't bring myself to start wearing a helmet while trash picking yet," he said, "but if that changes I'll let you know."


Previous Comments

I also wear a helmet all times.The moment i wont i know something will hapen.Onse we finished climbing and i took my helmet of.Then before i pull the rope i wore it just to see a fist size rock (the rope took it down) passing near my head!!! End of the story.Always wear a helmet

sakis - 11/25/2013 4:53:31

someone call Joe Kinder.. He'll know what to do

D.greg - 10/27/2013 1:03:03

That trash pickup route is X rated now. =p No, but seriously, glad you're OK. Your dedication to keeping the crags cleaner is commendable. Most of us see the trash and complain, but don't actually do anything about it. Cheers to you, sir!

Tony T. - 08/31/2013 1:21:37

Will the tree have to be put down?

J C Wilks - 08/30/2013 10:43:25

tip of the hat to you for your efforts at cleaning up

ed - 08/29/2013 5:27:02