For all the rad sends we got to see in 2018, there were some equally heinous and cringe-inducing whips. Check out the 10 most popular Weekend Whippers of 2018.
Happy Friday and climb safe in 2019!
10. The Nutcracker
As someone in the Rock and Ice office commented yesterday, this Weekend Whipper is “nut” for the faint of heart. It takes place Down Under. The lovely music in the background is Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, from The Nutcracker.
Last Sunday, Simon and his mates from ATA (“All the Activities”) were climbing in Brooyar, South East Queensland, Australia. It was the end of a full weekend of climbing, but they were still ready for some try hard. In the video, shot by Simon’s friend Brett, Simon starts up Celluloid Hero (21/5.11a), a route with a particularly burly, pumpy start—standard for the area.
As he thugs up the climb beyond the first bolt, fatigue starts to creep into his forearms. By the time he’s staring at the second bolt, he’s already gripped. “This was the last climb of the weekend for me and I could not take a hand off to make the clip, even with the draw still up,” Simon told Rock and Ice. “I was so pumped my hand peeled right off it, and down I went.”
And, well, the aftermath is one of those scenarios we all wonder about—“Does that ever happen?”—but rarely see play out. The belayer takes the rope straight to his, um, sugar plums.
Simon gave credit where credit was due. He told Rock and Ice that, while he was “honored” to be featured in the Weekend Whipper, he figures “the true legend here is Fabian, my belayer. Took the nutshot and kept holding on!”
9. Failed Bail, Broken Heel, Dislocated Shoulder
Pads set, spotters in place, countdown initiated, helmet on: everything was ready for Rogelio Medina to have a nice, safe and controlled bail off of Kayak (E1 5b) at Curbar, in the Peak District, U.K. Except, well, things didn’t go quite according to plan.
After dislocating his shoulder on a particularly reachy move, Rogelio, unable to continue, made a leap of faith off the wall—only after his friends had strategically arranged the pads and assumed some athletic spotting positions. Unfortunately, he didn’t put enough umph into his jump and came up short. His feet hit the slab below, and he ended up fracturing the calcaneus bone in his heel (as if dislocating a shoulder wasn’t enough!?). He also sent one of his spotters, Alex Goodall, flying down the hill. Ryan Timms, who captured the carnage on video, reported that Alex was okay, escaping with just a “face full of butt and a bloody nose.”
It just goes to show that, even when you are doing everything right, things can go awry. Luckily, Medina will live to climb another day and is in good spirits about the accident. He and his gaggle of spotters would like to extend a thank you to the Edale Mountain Rescue and the other climbers in the area who all helped with the evacuation.
8. Crevasse Chaos on Everest
[Note: Nobukazu Kuriki, the climber that took this video, died on Everest later in the season. To read a remembrance of Kuriki, click here.]
Summit fever is getting high on Everest—the window during which teams will start thinking about summit attempts is upon us!
But before getting to the Hillary Step (is it there? isn’t it??) and the top, there are other challenges along the way… some unexpected… In this video, taken by the Japanese alpinist Nobukazu Kuriki, a climber from another team is walking across a ladder spanning a yawning crevasse when things go terribly wrong.
Kuriki noted in his Facebook post that the climber and the other parties in the footage were all okay.
As for Kuriki’s own Everest expedition, we’re pulling for him! This is his eighth time trying to summit the mountain without supplemental oxygen, and while coming close on several of his prior expeditions, he has never managed to reach the top. On his 2012 Everest expedition Kuriki lost nine fingers to frostbite. Talk about tenacity.
7. Bat-Hang Swan-Dive
On a day out at the Dragon Wall, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, John Gallagher and crew decided to have a bit of fun. They were out there “on a hot day to take photos for an upcoming guidebook.” Gallagher, always the scrupulous researcher, decided he should do some digging into the best “clipping sequence beta” for the chains on Triple Kaioken, a 5.13 bolted and FA’d by Chattanooga-local Josh Livasy. Here’s the result.
So for anyone thinking about going and repeating the epic looking line, feel free to borrow Gallagher’s visionary beta or not. We’re just glad that Nathalie Dupre was there to film this sweet little whipper.
6. Don’t Step Behind the Rope!
Normally when we see someone with his or her foot behind the rope, it’s just barely so. This is the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
Gibson was climbing Plan F, a 5.9+ or 5.10a finger crack (depending on which variation you take) in Red Rocks, Nevada. Gibson explained what happened in an email to Rock and Ice. “I made it just below the anchors before stepping in front of the rope (like an idiot) and whipping on a .4 cam.”
And the best part? “I’ve been a climbing instructor for six years,” Gibson wrote. “I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve barked at new leaders when they step in front of the rope…”
His advice for any prospective students: “Do as I say not as I do.”
5. “I’m Not Dead, That’s Good”
If not being dead is your metric for a reasonable fall, you might want to reevaluate and up your standards a bit!
John wrote to Rock and Ice, “I was about to send when my foot popped…” Famous last words. He ends up taking one helluva back-slapper off Whiskey A Go Go (5.13a) in Necedah, Wisconsin. At least his helmet was, in his words, “safe on the ground.”
Glad to see you walk away from this one, John. And excited to hear about the send when temps cool down later this fall, because, let’s face it, you gotta redeem yourself for that defeated-sounding,“Yeah, I want to come down.” Get back up there and send that rig!
4. Cracked Helmet For Rita Young Shin On Cosmic Girl (5.12+)
Helmet, helmet, helmet! Wear one. If Rita Young Shin hadn’t been wearing a brain bucket during this fall, it would have been a lot worse. Guaranteed.
In May 2017, Shin teamed up with Marcus Garcia, a trad master based out of Durango, Colorado, for the first ascent of Cosmic Girl. Part of the Legacy Project—a multi-stage project to resurrect, restore and free old Yosemite big-wall projects—Cosmic Girl is a link-up that begins on Chouinard/Pratt and and finishes on on Central Pillar Direct on Middle Cathedral, in Yosemite Valley.
Garcia cleaned up the route before his and Shin’s trip up it, and placed a single lead bolt in eight rope-stretching 60-meter pitches. Garcia called it the “best long first ascent” he’s ever done. He told Rock and Ice, “It was a privilege to give something back to a place that’s given so much to me.”
Shin fell on pitch 7, a 5.11+ that involves a tenuous transfer between two cracks—precisely the spot where she peeled off. She told Rock and Ice, “The last piece I had placed was a yellow TCU”—that’s pretty small!—“and it was roughly ten feet beneath me.
As she fell she thought.”‘I’m gonna die.’”
She ended up flipping upside down when her legs caught on a vertical seam in the rock. Shin smacked her head on the wall pretty violently.
Later on, inspecting her helmet, Shin found that the inside had cracked—a testament to how large the forces were. Luckily, she walked away without any head injuries, just a sore hip and a bruised ego.
3. The Third Degree (5.10b), Malibu Creek State Park, CA
This one’s a bit scary to watch, as it’s easy to imagine the outcome being muuuuuch worse. Alex and his pals were climbing at Malibu Creek State Park, California, and just happened to have the camera out to catch this particular moment.
Alex got on The Third Degree, a 5.10b that one Mountain Project poster describes as having a “sequency crux near the top.” (Another MP commenter notes, “There was a plastic figurine super hero stuck into this route at one point. Anybody know about that?” Um, cool. Anyone have any beta for this dude?)
Alex cruxes out near the top, several feet above the last bolt, and takes a pretty huge, backslapping fall—the impact of which literally knocks his beanie off the top of his un-helmeted head.
“Head?” his belayer asks, wondering if Alex absorbed the fall with his noggin. Alex responds, “No, no, no. Butt. Butt,” at which the dutiful, sophomoric videographer begins giggling.
We know we’re starting to sound like a broken record here, but for the love of all that is holy, put a friggin’ helmet on ya yahoos! The helmet police have spoken.
2. Daniel Woods’ Carabiner-Snapping Fall On First Round, First Minute (5.15b)
Daniel Woods has been sending things left and right during his sport climbing trip to Spain, but his hot streak nearly came to a scary and unceremonious end while he was projecting Chris Sharma’s testpiece First Round, First Minute (9b/5.15b).
On one of his burns working the line, Woods took a commonplace fall but what happened was far from it. As he sails beneath the last quickdraw he had clipped, the bolt-side carabiner snaps into two pieces with a ping and a poof of dust. “Came pretty fucking close to hitting the ground/road,” Woods wrote on Instagram. “The gear appeared to be fine but ended up being choss.”
He used his close call as an excuse to issue a public service announcement that bears repeating: “Reminder to check your gear and pre placed gear to prevent anything serious from happening. Be safe out there.”
Hard, overhanging sport climbs frequently have perma-draws or old draws that have been dangling up there for too long. Before going a muerte on gear of which you don’t know the provenance, check its integrity or just pony up and replace it.
1. “How The F*&% Are You Still On?”
Goose (yes, that’s his real name) and his partner, Trevor (oh man, do we wish his name was Maverick), had just finished the slabby 5.10b first pitch of Star Trekin’, a two-pitch climb on Hawksbill Mountain, Linville Gorge, North Carolina, and were feeling good. Trevor had led that pitch, so it was our guy Goose’s lead for the next pitch of the day—the second 5.10b pitch of Lost in Space, a more popular finish than the original second pitch of Star Trekin’.
Before taking the sharp end, Goose set up his phone behind Trevor in a perfect location for capturing his lead on video. With his iPhone camera rolling, he set off on the short dog-legging pitch.
Before the crux, Goose tells Rock and Ice, “I placed two solid cams under the roof that were extended,” and “went up quickly once to take a look and placed a #1 cam that was just a bit too big.”
Even though the #1 was placement was dodgy, Goose decided to keep chugging since he had those bomber placements below the roof.
And this is where the shenanigans began. Goose found a good “high heel,” but—cruxing out and with only a mediocre piece below him—he paused mid-crux at a “perfect horizontal for a .75.” As he tried to fumble it into the crack, he dropped it, but luckily got another shot: “I caught in in my mouth and placed it perfectly.”
Unluckily, he didn’t have enough juice left to clip it. “My arms were cooked and I needed to down climb and rest back under the roof, however I was too tired.”
And so he decided to let go and take a whip.
Except, well, he didn’t go anywhere. His foot, somehow, got caught. The accidental, one-legged bat hang! “I was stuck and suspended for a good five or six seconds. I gave Trevor a funny look of disbelief and you can hear him utter, ‘How the fuck are you still on?,’ before popping off and taking a safe scratch-less ten- or fifteen-foot fall. Trevor instantly knew I was ok and we had a quick chuckle in disbelief.”
Undeterred, Goose came back to the belay, switched his jacket, and set off for round two after Trevor redirected the rope through a quickdraw on the anchor to make the pull on him less dramatic if Goose were to fall again. This time Goose placed a perfect .75 instead of the #1, and had no problems.
Well done, lads, well done.
Taking a Long Rip on “Spliff”
Turns out your mom had a point when she told you to stay away from drugs.
Evan Wisheropp took a massive rip on Spliff (5.13c) in Northern California. The climb features a massive dyno mid-route.
“The catch always involves a swing, but I swung too hard and peeled off, resulting in a nose-dive digger and a much more forceful pendulum than normal,” Wisheropp told Rock and Ice via email.
Wisheropp took a big hit—he broke his arm and split his head. He pointed out that he did have a helmet… it was just on the ground. Tsk Tsk. Seems like a safety meeting is in order so we get best practices sorted out…
We wish Wisheropp a swift recovery and hope to see him out again soon getting high on Spliff. Hang in there, bud.
Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!
Arizona making it’s second Weekend Whipper appearance in two weeks!
Ryan James was going for the onsight of Tufasize Me (5.12c) at the Homestead in Arizona. He wrote to Rock and Ice, “Being 6’2”, I generated a lot of force pulling on the 15-20lb tufa undercling and, well, ripped it off the wall.
“What the video doesn’t show is that I vice-gripped that damn hold so hard and didn’t let go, so it flipped me completely upside down, saving my belayer from a potential tufa to the face. Gotta love the unexpected whipper from tearing rock off the wall.”
Way to hold on Ryan—attaboy! Since you weren’t able to hold onto the wall, at least you got a nice souvenir to take home for your rock collection.
And we’re just going to assume your belayer was wearing a helmet to protect him in the unlikely scenario that you didn’t have Samson-like strength allowing you to hold onto that hunk ‘o tufa…. right???
Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!
40-Footer After Blowing the Clip
Brad and Sasank, two friends and members of the University of California, San Diego climbing team, got out for a weekend climb at Malibu Creek State Park as a change of pace from their weekday sessions pulling plastic with teammates.
Belayed by Brad, Sasank took a run up Luscious (5.11), a line first climbed by John Long and Joe Kristy. Sasank floated the bottom section of 5.10ish terrain and had the chains in his sights. But, wouldn’t ya know it, the crux comes right at the end on this 60-foot classic.
Brad tells Rock and Ice via email, “The clipping stance for the anchors required reaching for a slopey jug offset to the right of the anchors, and combined with the overhang angle and glassy feet made for a precarious situation.” In the video, Sasank pulls up one arm’s length of slack, holds the rope in his teeth, and reaches for a second. As he’s pulling up that second length, his foot slips and suddenly he’s airborne, with a whole bunch of extra slack in the system.
Thanks to the editing wizardry of Brad, in the video we hear bleeps instead of certain choicer words from Sasank as he free falls ten, twenty, thirty, forty feet. Finally the rope comes taut.
“I pulled as much slack out of the rope as I could and beared down to try to reduce the distance he fell,” Brad says about his split-second reaction when he saw his friend flying through the air. He says he would have “jumped backwards” to take up the slack in the system even more dramatically were it not for the belay station sitting “atop a bunch of uneven rocks that made doing so tough.” Sasank barely “missed the trunk of a nearby tree on the way down, instead brushing by a branch and escaping unscathed,” Brad reports.
All in all, seems like Brad reacted nicely to keep his buddy safe and sound.
He says, “Sasank hopped back on the route almost immediately to avoid the damage to his head game, and although he didn’t redpoint it, was able to clip the top anchors.”
Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!