Weekend Whippers

Weekend Whipper: Rope Management Gone Wrong

"During the fall this twist migrated onto my lead line creating a ton of friction which effectively tied me off on that side and slammed me into the wall."

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This uncomfortable-looking fall comes from Mike Klein. He took it out in in Enchanted Rock, Texas, where he has been exploring the potential for traditionally protected face climbs, or “Texas Gritstone!” as he calls it.

“Last March I started this most recent project,” Klein told Rock and Ice. “You climb Middle Crack, and 30 feet up the route traverses to the right then goes out a bulge on slopers and Gastons. I had concerns about penduluming back into Middle Crack, so I opted to use a blind placement in Owl Crack, the next climb to the right. This keeps the climber nicely centered on the face in the event of a fall.

“The gear out right is solid but difficult to get in as it is around a corner out of view. Wanting to minimize the stress of placing gear, I was climbing with the rope pre-clipped with locking carabiners. On earlier runs this led to me getting the rope tangled with my feet—also not ideal while climbing delicate face.

“In the video here, I twisted the runner to take up slack and keep things out of my way. The plan was to untwist before placing it, but once out there I just wanted some pro! During the fall this twist migrated onto my lead line creating a ton of friction which effectively tied me off on that side and slammed me into the wall.”

Mike finally got the first ascent a coule weeks ago, and named it Beam Me Up Skippy! He gave it a grade of 5.12a R.

“It’s named for Scott Harris, boss, mentor, and friend,” Scott said. “A big thanks to my brave partners, Thomas Butler, Andrew Horton, Ciara Hayes, and Kristina Chyn for giving me all day birthday belays.”

Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!


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