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!
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