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Weekend Whippers

Weekend Whipper: Two Ice Climbing Lead Falls, Back-to-Back

Tsk, tsk. Don't you guys know the first rule of falling when ice climbing?

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The first rule of falling when ice climbing is don’t fall when ice climbing.

With that said, it seems silly to include a second rule about falling when ice climbing, but if you’re daft enough to botch the first rule, the second rule would probably be don’t fall again when ice climbing, especially on the same route you just fell on. I mean, come on…

Last weekend, Sam Reeves was out at Hidden Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado with a couple buddies. They decided to climb a smaller flow (WI 4+ M5) off to the right of the main flow. It was in decidedly brittle, bony conditions.

With his pal Evan West on belay and his friend Wes behind the camera, Sam starts up. He places a screw, and then—crash, he’s off. “Take two,” he says in the video.

He makes it higher on the next attempt, but nearly craters when his front points sheer off the ice yet again with a sound like shattering china icicles fall to the ground.

“No serious injuries,” Sam reported to Rock and Ice, “but my right knee is pretty bruised.”

In short, Sam, we think you got away with one (or two) here.

For anyone everyone else leading ice—if you have any doubts about the integrity of the ice or your ability to climb it without getting pumped, turn around and lower off, clip into a tool, or just throw a TR on the dang thing.

Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!


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Will Gadd’s Tips: How to Place Ice Screws

Will Gadd’s Tips: How to Place Ice Tools and Crampons 

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