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Weekend Whippers

Weekend Whipper: Almost a Broken Skull on “Skull in a Hole” (5.12a)

Big whipper at Meadow River Gorge, West Virginia.

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Skull in a Hole. Ahh, what a name… Inviting, eh?

Located in Meadow River Gorge, West Virginia, Skull in a Hole is a devious little 5.12a.

Mitch Lehman climbed the route recently. On his second burn—immortalized forever more in this week’s Whipper—he “was able to stick the powerful dyno/deadpoint crux sequence to a decent ledge,” Lehman told Rock and Ice.

He continued, “When I went to clip I neglected to stop my swing beforehand and my foot popped right as I was about to clip. Due to the swing and overhanging natureof the climb, I fell slightly forwards and took about a 30-foot fall, clipping my belayer on the shoulder iwht my heel and then continuing to fall past him, just a couple feet shy of a groundfall.

“I was lucky to have a belayer who was competent and familiar enough with our weight difference to sit down into the catch to lessen the fall. Had he not done that I would have certainly been closer to groundfall territory.”

As you can see in the video, Lehman was unfazed by the fall. Shortly afterward he got back on the route and sent it.

Lehman had one more request: “I’d like to give a shout out to the Russell Ranch, the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC), and Waterstone Outdoors. Come visit the New River Gorge area to climb the best sandstone in the east!”

Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!

Watch Last Week’s Whipper

Weekend Whipper: Or, Rather, Weekend Ripper


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