One of my favorite climbing websites, UKClimbing.com, recently posted a story and video about a climber falling some 60 feet off a Grit route. Amazingly, the climber hit the ground and survived. Watching the video is rather sickening. You can clearly see his struggle escalate at the route’s delicate crux. Going for the move the first time, he fails, barely avoiding a whip, dramatically reeling his body and leg back in to a tenuous point of balance. Presumably at a point of no return, watching him recommit to the move for a second time is dreadful.
Watching this put me in the mind of another very famous whipper, from the opening scene of an absolute classic climbing film, Hard Grit. The heart-thumping background noise never fails to make my palms sweat. Grab a chalk bag and watch this.
The proliferation of climbing movies in recent years also means more and more whipper footage, including “the fall heard round the world”: Dave MacLeod’s mighty winger(s) from his trad route Rhapsody. That, along with chalkless 5.14 R climbing in Germany’s Elbsandstein, can be seen in this very enjoyable highlight reel.
I remember my first proper fall, at Ship Rock off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was on an obscure 5.10 roof. The fall was clean, all air, and 10 feet at the most. I still have and lovingly use the cam I whipped on that day. Thankfully, the fall was nothing like those depicted above.
Got a good whipper story? Care to share your air time? When was the last time you took your lashings and logged a proper winger? Of course, as you recollect your fall, please also remember to be safe.