The top 10 most popular Weekend Whippers of 2016, counting down from Aaron Livingston’s gear-ripping fall in Moab, Utah. Drumroll, please…
Happy Friday and climb safe in 2017!
10. Weekend Whipper: Aaron Livingston Blows Two Micro Cams, Moab
Aaron Livingston powers through a heinous jam above a “string of micro cams” on an unclimbed route somewhere “near Moab,” Utah. But when
he adjusts his grip, his foot pops and he goes for a screamer.
His top two cams blow out in the fall—the upper one was destroyed. Afterwards, he opted to aid through this section of the climb for its first ascent.
9. Weekend Whipper: Peter Kamitses’ Wild Ride – Adirondacks 5.14 Trad Project
Vermont climber Peter Kamitses goes big on his 5.14 trad project at Moss Cliffs, Adirondacks, New York. An RP caught the fall. Kamitses has climbed the first 100 feet of the route, at around 5.13d, but 40 feet of hard climbing remain.
Video by Colby Yee.
8. Weekend Whipper: Fifty Footer on Gear
Knut Bjoernebye clocks airtime on Kvinner og Barn Først (“Women and children first”), a Norwegian 8+ (5.13a) gear route at Lier,
near Oslo. “The gear is generally good, but at around 30 meters the crack disappears and you’re left with a 5- to 6-meter runout through the crux,”
a section of technical face climbing, Bjoernebye explains. In the video he’s only one meter from easier ground and two meters from another placement.
He estimates the fall to be around 15 meters, or nearly 50 feet.
“The fall is completely safe,” he says. “The piece I fell on was a bomber grey Alien, which has never ripped (even though it does show some wear).” The
Alien was backed up by a number 3 Wallnut, and Bjoernebye says that the several pieces below would probably keep him from hitting the ground, if both
the Alien and Wallnut failed. “Although that would make the fall one of absolutely ridiculous proportions,” he says.
“Considering how steep and clean the wall is, it was actually a pretty fun whip to take, although it definitely did feel a bit spicy being up there. Wicked
line, that I was lucky enough to send this past Friday, after taking the whipper six times or so in total.”
7. Weekend Whipper: Sweatpants in Public
Ben Griffin peels off from the finish of Sweatpants in Public (5.13c) in Cascade Canyon, Colorado, and pile drives head first
into the cliff.
“Well, this is the worst fall I have ever taken,” he tells Rock and Ice. “I decided to skip the last bolt, which I did many times in practicing
the route, but the rope got stuck around my leg and knee pad and was unable to release the rope.
“It really sucked.”
Griffin was going for the second ascent of the route, established by Erik Durgin in July 2014. He needed seven staples to close his head wound, and “all
the muscles in my back were pretty f*#&ed up,” he says.
“I hesitated sharing this, but I did finally send the route this summer. On a positive note, when I sent the route, I walked it by headlamp, in the rain,
and [used] a wet jug to clip the anchors.
“It’s my hardest route to date.”
6. Weekend Whipper: Highball Mishap
White Rastafarian (V1+), put up by John Long and John
Bachar in 1973, is one of Joshua Tree’s finest boulder problems. Despite the “easy” grade, this R-rated highball is no gimme with its mantle top-out
25-feet off the deck.
In this week’s Weekend Whipper, Austin Schlosser reaches the mantle move and slaps desperately for a hold above. When his efforts come up dry—airmail!
Austin’s spotter took one for the team, but he landed cleanly on the rock and escaped with only light abrasions to his left arm, a bruised hip and some
“Sometimes you just gotta be the crashpad!” says Sean Goldman, the spotter. “Not the smartest idea but my friend didn’t break his back or anything. Good
day of climbing I’d say.”
“Thanks to the huge spot by Sean, I didn’t snap my arm as it was headed straight for the rock,” says Austin.
5. Weekend Whipper: Squamish Cheese Grater
“The day has finally come that I have a fall that may just be worthy of Weekend Whipper status,” Nikolai Paterak says.
He was climbing Apron Strings (5.10b) on The Chief, Squamish, B.C. After pump-inducing layback moves and delicate smearing, he entered the thin
crux, protected by small nuts, and “blew it so hard.”
“I’m fine, outside of a lot of missing skin of course,” he says. “Unfortunately the video cuts out because my friend selfishly thought I was real hurt.”
4. Weekend Whipper: Earth Angel (40-foot Trad Fall)
Ryan Chamberlain pitches off pitch three of Earth Angel (5.10-) in Mormon Canyon, Sedona, Arizona after a hold breaks and goes
for a 40-foot ride into the wall.
“The one day he forgot his helmet!” says his climbing partner Kevin Donahoe. “Lesson learned.”
Besides a few minor cuts and bruises, Chamberlain was okay. The rope, on the other hand, took a core shot.
Video submitted by Kevin Donahoe.
3. Weekend Whipper: Carabiner Breaking Fall
Triple Gear Failure—Hamish Ousby whips off Future Tense (26 5.12b/c) at Frog Buttress, Queensland, Australia, and goes slamming
into a shrub after a ‘biner breaks and two more pieces of gear fail. Read more here.
2. Weekend Whipper: Another One Bites the Deck
When a hold breaks on Virtuous Pagans (5.11a) at Dante’s Wall, Red Rock, Nevada, this climber hits the deck.
If you watch closely, the belayer lets go of the brake-strand to feed out slack above the belay device. He returns to the brake-strand, loosely, but when
the climber falls, the belayer grabs the rope above the belay device—while his left hand holds a death-grip on the device’s release lever.
With rope whizzing out, the climber decks from around 15 feet. Fortunately, he wasn’t injured. The belayer, on the other hand, must have had some good
rope burn by the looks of it.
Even with an assisted braking belay device (read: NOT auto-locking), the brake hand should never leave the rope.
1. Weekend Whipper: Forty Footer in Escalante Canyon
Matt takes a forty-plus foot whipper on Uncle Remus (5.10+) in Escalante Canyon, Colorado—his first lead fall on gear.
At one point, Matt began to invert, his feet went above his head, and had the rope gone taut at that moment, he probably would have slammed upside-down
into the wall. But his belayer provided an excellent, soft catch, which kept him from pining the wall and off the ground. A BD .75 cam caught the fall
and was “perfectly fine” afterwards, Hunter Shuman, who took the video, reports. Matt also backed up the .75 with a .5 “before his race to the chains,”
Shuman says. Both Matt and the belayer had some rope burn, Shuman says, but were otherwise okay.
After the fall, Matt decided to lower off after seeing that he was so close to the ground. He took a break and then climbed again later in the day. Video submitted by Hunter Shuman.
Weekend Whipper: Ben Rueck Goes Big On Pure Pressure (5.14-)
Ben Rueck takes a massive whipper onto a nest of bad cams on Pure Pressure, a previously unclimbed 5.14- splitter in Escalante
Canyon, Colorado. If the cam nest fails, it’s a 60-footer to the dirt.
Rueck, sticking to the old-school ethics of the canyon, opted to skip the shiny bolts and climb the line purely on gear. “I used the ‘screamer’ method—three
cams non-equalized,” Rueck wrote in his recent feature Pure Pressure published in the latest issue of Rock and Ice (#233). “If the
first one ripped, the second would receive less force, and if that ripped, the third would catch. At least that’s what I hoped.”
Rueck broke four cams while projecting the line, but his backups always held. This December, after many huge falls with grounder potential if the cam nest
blew, he sent Pure Pressure on gear and put the project to bed.
Ethics? Possible death sentence? Where do you draw the line?
Check out the latest issue of Rock and Ice to read more about Rueck’s Pure Pressure, learning to trad climb and climbing in Escalante
Video by Three Strings Productions.
Weekend Whipper: Souter Sea Stack
Jamie McLevy takes a death-defying whipper on Souter Sea Stack, Fast Castle, Scotland.
“…the whole route was major brittle and chossy due to a harsh winter,” McLevy tells Rock and Ice. “Numerous holds peeled on me on me way
up and the gear placements were major run out.”
McLevy climbs 15 feet, finds a good placement, and continues up, despite the rock quality. “Most holds were peeling off in my hand,” he says. He places
a few “rubbish but better than nothing” pieces before two “decent” cams at the halfway point, around 50 feet.
He goes for a hold but it pops off and hurtles down to hit his belayer Jayson on the shoulder.
“Then I slip crash bang wholop down,” McLevy says. “The crack that I stuck the cams in pulled the slab which I put them in right off but the first nuts
I put in takes the worst of the speed off my fall.
“Yeah was a bit epic.”
McLevy escaped with a broken tibia, cuts and stitches. “…could of been a lot worse,” he says.
Weekend Whipper: Glissading Gone Wrong
When you’ve been out in the mountains all day, the sun is setting, you’re tired, cold and hungry, it’s easy to be tempted by the fast
way down. In this week’s Weekend Whipper, two climbers decide to glissade a long snow chute near Mount Whitney in California and one loses control.
“The east-facing slope had softened in the sun all day, but after we started down it went into the shade and immediately iced over,” one of the climbers
writes in the video description. “Then my partner, who was above me, fell 750 feet down to the rocks below.
“It all happened so fast. One moment she bumped me, then she was gone. It took me over an hour to reach the place where she came to a stop.
“You never want to experience this with any climbing partner, let alone the woman you love…”