Friction Blister by Climbing Harness: A Case Report

Subarna Adhikari, Suvash Dawadi, Jenisha Upadhyay
Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 2019, 30 (3): 302-305
An experienced 24-y-old climber on Mount Everest presented to the Base Camp medical clinic with a friction blister on his right flank. The blister was filled with clear fluid and was located about 3 cm posterior and 3 cm superior to the highest point of the right iliac crest, the site where a climbing harness would support the climber while hanging. A diagnosis of friction blister caused by a climbing harness used while traversing between Camp 2 and Camp 3 of Mount Everest was made. The blister was managed with hydrocolloid dressing, and the patient resumed climbing after 1 wk. The lesion healed with scarring at 2 wk. Friction blisters of the feet are common in climbers wearing ill-fitting shoes, but friction blisters caused by climbing harnesses are unusual and have not been reported in the literature as far as the authors are aware. All existing guidelines for blister management pertain to blisters of the feet, and there are inconsistencies in recommendations made by various authors. This unusual case in an extreme environment provides a good learning opportunity.

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