Ain’t no mountain high enough for leg break climber Richard

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A Coppull climber who nearly lost a leg in a horrific accident last year has returned to the mountains.

Richard Toon, of Peartree Avenue, had to have three metal plates and around 12 screws inserted into his lower right leg after breaking it in the Swiss Alps last August.

The father-of-two crashed into a rock while descending the tough Piz Trubinasca route in the Bregaglia Range.

Mr Toon had to wear a special leg support for five months after the accident and still undergoes physiotherapy but it was all worthwhile when he recently returned to Switzerland to take part in ski-mountaineering.

The 64-year-old said: “After the accident there’s always a part of you that fears you won’t get back.

“There were days that were especially hard but the moment I was there on the mountain it was the best feeling in the world.

“I was concerned whether the leg would stand up okay but it went very well and it’s getting stronger all the time.

“Ski-mountaineering is totally different to mountaineering.

“You’re not going down the rock face but you are still going to the top of peaks.

“I’ve still got a mobility issue with my ankle not being how I would like it to be but I’m doing physiotherapy along with cycling and walking a few times a week to keep in shape.

“I’m looking forward to a trip to Nepal in October where I will be doing more mountaineering, and I’ve always got other climbs and walks I want to do.

“It’s now a question of mobility and opportunity, taking each thing as it comes.

“It’s fair to say that I’ll be looking to go back to Switzerland again.

“I turn 65 in September but I don’t let that stop me,” he said. “You realise you’re not 20 years of age but you have extra skill and experience.

“I hope there will be no problem when I resume mountaineering. I don’t know if I’ll be able to manage the long days.

Recalling the fall, he said: “It could have been worse. I can still feel the pins in my legs sometimes.

“When I go walking or climbing and don’t think about them I’ll have made progress.”

Mr Toon had been on a trip organised by the Lancashire Mountaineering Club when disaster struck on August 22.

He was with his 27-year-old son David Toon, from Brinscall, when his rope got snagged.

“I smacked into a rock and the moment it happened I knew I’d broken my leg,” he said.

Luckily two of his party had mobile phones so a helicopter was able to land within 30 minutes.