The Sum8 team gained notoriety for their record attempt for climbing Australia’s eight tallest peaks in the fastest time, but their first national television appearance centres on an unfortunate accident.
Earlier this year, the group were undertaking an annual trip together, in which they intended to successfully complete some of Tasmania’s well-known climbing routes.
However, it was during an attempt on Cape Raoul’s Pole Dancer (Grade 22), member Tom Cramer took a serious fall that left him immobilised.
Given the remoteness of the group’s location and the seriousness of Cramer’s condition, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was called in to winch him off the coastal pillars.
I was traversing along the final leg and the style of climb I was doing was quite risky because I wanted to get out fast and it was a low grade climb for us (it’s an accepted method for a low grade climb),” said Cramer. “So I wasn’t placing that much protection.
“A piece of rock snapped off and because I was on my last protection there was lots of rope stretch, so I fell down and I think I knocked myself out because I remember coming to on the ledge and screaming out to the boys…”
Cramer recalls not feeling much at all until he was transferred onto a stretcher and into the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, at which point the pain flooded in.
“When I was on the rock time felt like it went really quick, but the helicopter ride only took 15 minutes and felt like forever. I was lying on the floor and thinking, ‘Holy hell this thing is loud!’.”
The fall caused Cramer to sustain injuries to his arm that required significant surgery, including wiring that prevented his arm from complete mobility for some time afterwards.
The entirety of the events are captured in the upcoming ‘Air Rescue Season 4‘ and will air on the 30th of November on Channel 7.