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Rock Climbing : News : Accidents and Injuries : Bees Render Climber Unconscious

Bees Render Climber Unconscious

Submitted by socialclimber on 2007-03-21

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Australian climber climber Keith Lockwood survived a life- threatening bee attack on Mt Arapiles at the weekend. The 55 year old Lockwood was climbing on the right side of the Tiger Wall at the mounts when a swarm of bees attacked him at about 3pm on Saturday. He was 60 meters off the ground at the time.

"I noticed something was buzzing around and thought maybe it was just a march fly, so I swatted it away," he said. "But then a few others turned up and I discovered they were bees and they were having a go at me. It was full on. I had to untie myself from an anchor and down-climb about 25 metres with one hand and use my other hand to swat the bees away. They followed me as I descended."

The attack did not ease until Mr Lockwood was some 40 metres from where he first encountered the bees. "My main trouble was keeping them away from my eyes and mouth," he said. Lockwood, suffered more than 50 stings. "I vomited and kind of passed out and the next thing I knew Steve was there pumping me with adrenalin," Lockwood said.

Steve Monks, a local climber, went to Mr. Lockwood's assistance with a vial of adrenalin and syringe acquired from a Natimuk resident who was allergic to bees.

Monks said although clearly unwell, Lockwood had done what he could to survive. "He was passed out when I got there, but he was breathing," Mr Monks said. "He had managed to clip himself on to an anchor and to roll over into the recovery position."

Despite Mr Lockwood rock- climbing for more than 40 years, the incident was the first time bees had attacked him, and conceeds the adrenalin shot probably saved him.

An ambulance transferred Mr Lockwood to Wimmera Base Hospital. Natimuk police, State Emergency Service volunteers and Arapiles Rescue Group members attended the incident.

Doctors released Lockwood from intensive care yesterday.


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8 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

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Nasty little buggers, those.
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This is freaking me out! I had been attacked by bees last spring while I was preparing to get on a route for no obvious reason. I had to untie quickly and run away and they chased me to the car. Got away with 4 stings. The most weird is that they completely ignored my belayer. She packed our stuff and come to the car and not a single bee touched her. Weird?
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Yeah...I was setting up a TR anchor at Great Falls, VA when some sort of wasp got my partner...he ran away...I went in and it got me too...then, for the next half hour we tried different paths to retrieve our gear, but the wasp ardently defended the area, chasing us a hundred feet out once we turned to run. The third of our group walked up, wondering what was taking us so long...walked up and grabbed our gear without an issue...
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Not that weird. Likely had to do with scent. You guys smelt like an enemy.
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the weird is that I use to climb in crags near beehives (Kalymnos is full of bee hives for one) and never have been attacked before or after that date. so it can't be the scent. I came to believe it was my bright red t-shirt I was wearing that date, but then who knows...
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color could have something to do with it. I found out while in Costa Rica that "Blood Suckers" as they are known are attracted to dark blue and black. I had a fun hike with 4 or 5 of these trying to attack me. Our guide thought it was funny, but when he caught one of these things, it looked like a large horse fly but with an at least half inch long needle sucker thing on its face!
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Wow I can't believe he downclimed 25-40m clipped himself into an anchor and THEN passed out. Bravo Dude and bravo to the rescurers too!! (I hate stinging insects)
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Can anybody describe a technique for how to place yourself (or someone else) in recovery position at, for example, a bolted anchor? I'm finding information about the "recovery position" as a first aid technique, but am having trouble visualizing getting into that position in a high angle setting. Thanks!

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