For all the rad sends we got to see in 2017, there were some equally heinous and cringe-inducing whips. Check out the 10 most popular Weekend Whippers of 2017.
Happy Friday and climb safe in 2018!
10. The Evictor (Trad Fall), Eldorado Canyon
David Cook takes a wild ride on The Evictor (5.12+ PG13) in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado.
“I thought I had the route in the bag (being past the crux),” Cook tells Rock and Ice, “and while I was placing the last piece of the route, my foot slipped and it threw me off balance.
“I was completely okay, and afterwards proceeded to watch my friend tie-in and send the route.”
A shallow 0.5 BD cam (purple) caught his fall.
9. Felix Forgets to Clip
On a sunny day in Piteå, Sweden, Felix Stare enters the crux of a 6b (5.10d) sport route. Felix, however, forgot to clip the last quickdraw.
His attentive belayer Mikaela alerts Felix to the situation, but “Felix-Forgets decides to try the wings,” says Andreas Stomberg, who took the video.
While many pro climbers skip clips on steep sport climbs with clean, airy falls [watch The Full Send Footage of Ethan Pringle’s Jumbo Love (5.15b) Ascent], it’s usually not a good idea on slabby climbs with ledges, since you risk hitting the wall in a big fall and breaking your ankles.
If you ever find yourself in a forgetful moment like Felix, it might be a better call to downclimb into a good stance, clip the draw and carry on through the crux.
Fortunately for Felix, he did not snap his ankle, and “as the true viking he is,” says Stomberg, “he completed the route after the adrenaline rush!”
8. Chris Sharma’s 100-foot Pont d’Arc Deep Water Solo
Chris Sharma made the first ascent of a 30 meter (nearly 100 feet) deep water solo line up Pont d’Arc in France this June—ground up. To test the waters, so to speak, he took falls every five meters up the climb to ensure that he didn’t hit the bottom of the river. In the end, he took the plunge from almost the highest point of the route. Here’s a teaser from his ascent, with a massive fall. Stay tuned for the full video.
7. Should have Stick-Clipped
Getting off the ground is the hardest part sometimes. For this week’s Weekend Whipper, a climber takes a digger off the start of Zeke’s Didge Dance (5.10b) at the North Forty Wall, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Arkansas.
6. Trad Dyno Attempt at Fair Head, Northern Ireland
Belfast-based climber Ricky Bell goes for a wild ride when he doesn’t quite stick the dyno of his Rathlin Wall project, Fair Head, Northern Ireland.
Bell’s affinity for ground up, onsight ascents made him a figure in the climbing world. “Don’t cheat the route, basically,” he says in the video, “but more importantly, don’t cheat yourself.” His staunch ethics, however, often came at a cost, such as screaming whippers like this one. This whipper cut originally appeared in the 2008 film, On Sight, by Posing Productions. Find the full film on posingproductions.com.
5. Roadside Attraction Trad Fall – Red River Gorge
This week brings us another Weekend Whipper from the Red River Gorge, Kentucky! Here, Mark Monbeck returns to the belay on Roadside Attraction (5.7) at the Roadside crag (please note, Roadside, a.k.a. Graining Fork Nature Preserve, is on private land and climbing here requires a day permit through Graining Fork Nature Preserve).
4. Ice Fall Wrecking Ball
Zach, of Idaho, breaks the golden rule of ice climbing: do not fall. When his tools pop, he takes a factor 1+ whipper onto a single ice screw, and smashes through a thin shell of ice into a hole, coming to a stop below the belay.
“I’m glad that screw held!” Zach tells Rock and Ice. “It was probably a good 20 feet to the bottom [of the hole], so I’m glad the screw saved me from a hard landing, as well as my partner from having to do a crevasse-style rescue.”
The ice screw, a 16-centimeter Black Diamond Express, caught the fall and was “amazingly” undamaged, Zach says. His placement was solid: “I placed it at a slight upward angle, and [the screw] was sunk to the hanger, which minimized the bending stress [watch: How to Place an Ice Screw]. The ice was also pretty hard.
“The ice around the screw was slightly fractured from the fall,” he adds, “but only a few small cracks radiated from the screw.”
Except for a couple of cuts on his face from flying ice, Zach was uninjured in the fall.
“I’ll have to come back under better conditions and renewed strength and confidence!” he says.
3. Near Groundfall at Stanage North, U.K.
Jonathan Cheetham nearly craters on Kelly’s Overhang (HVS 5b)—around 5.10 for the Yanks—at Stanage North in the Peak District, U.K.
“I fell so far because whilst climbing the overhang, I made the decision to keep moving and place gear once I was on easier ground, rather than stopping and trying to place gear upside down!” Cheetham tells Rock and Ice. “Unfortunately, instead of finding easier ground, I found (what I assume is) the crux of the route and I was miles above my gear by then.”
Despite the runout, Cheetham attempted the “awkward” move, as he describes it, and just when he was off balance and without good handholds, his foot slipped and he fell.
If not for the amazing belay—Cheetham’s belayer anticipated the fall, pulled in slack, and ran backwards to shorten the length of the fall—Cheetham would have hit the ground and this could be a very different story.
“I walked away from the fall with a small cut on the back of the head [he was wearing a helmet] and no lasting damage so all is well,” he says. A “very nicely seated” DMM size 5 Dragon cam caught the fall.
“I feel incredibly stupid for putting myself up there with no gear but it was a judgement call I’ve made many times on other routes. Having said that, it was definitely the wrong decision in this situation!” he says. “It’s a bit scary how such a quick decision turned what could’ve just been me doing the dangle of shame under the overhang, into a full on whipper.”
2. Michele Caminati’s Rope-Cutting Ground Fall
Italian climber Michele Caminati takes a terrifying ground fall after his rope severs on the sharp, gritstone arête of The Elder Statesman (HXS 7a), around 5.14 R/X in Y.D.S., at Curbar in the Peak District of the U.K.
Caminati had made a rare repeat of the route—first freed in 2004 by Steve McClure—on Monday, March 27. He returned the next day to climb the route again for photos when he slipped at the crux. Caminati’s last piece of protection, the last on the route, was on the other side of the sharp arête. He was using a single rope, and when he fell, it rubbed over the sharp edge and cut all the way through. Caminati fell around eight meters to the ground and landed on his belayer.
The local Edale Mountain Rescue team brought both climbers to the hospital. Caminati fractured his wrist and heel in multiple places, and his belayer suffered a concussion.
From the hospital, Caminati told planetmountain.com: “I saw everything live, I totally remember the accident, I was completely aware of what was happening … As I fell I got ready to hit the wall, but then the rope broke and I fell onto my belayer and then hit the ground, probably first with my wrist.
“Fortunately I’m fine, I’ve got multiple fractures in my wrist, but the operation went well and my tendons are unaffected … My heel is broken in several places, but they’re compound fractures and I’ve been told it won’t need operating… all in all it should take four to six months to get back to normal… yeah!”
When McClure made the first free ascent of The Elder Statesman, he used three ropes because he was afraid of the sharp edge. Other climbers who have repeated the route, such as Steve Dunning and James Pearson [watch video here], used double ropes—a common practice on these traditionally protected, gritstone climbs.
“I went up in the European style, with only one 10mm rope and without a helmet,” Caminati told ukclimbing.com. “This time I fell off the crux and the rope, whilst getting tense shore off against the corner. I thought I would have been safe. Perhaps I could have used the half ropes but the outcome could have been the same.”
1. Sixty-Footer on Castleton Tower (Trad Fall)
Nicholas Neeley takes a 60-foot fall off North Chimney (5.8) of Castleton Tower, outside of Moab, Utah.
“I was pulling the last few moves over a bulge [near the top of the first pitch],” he tells Rock and Ice. “On the underside of the bulge the crack is lined with rather slippery calcite. If you watch closely, you can see my foot slip once and I catch it. But upon moving up the bulge a bit, I had a little trouble seeing an finding a good foot placement.
“When my foot slips a second time I’m unable to catch it. In the fuss of trying to get my foot into the crack I managed to get the rope behind my leg which inverted me as I fell.”
Neeley’s upper two pieces, size 0.3 (blue) and 2 (yellow) Camalots, both ripped out before an abandoned and welded 0.75 (green) that he had clipped caught the 60-foot fall.
“Ultimately, I was pretty shaken, but I bumped back up the route and finished the pitch,” he says. “I consider myself extremely lucky to have walked away from that with a mere abrasion on my shin, some torn jeans, and a hefty rope burn on my thigh.”
Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!