Tyler Beres pumps out at the second-to-last bolt of To Defy The Laws of Tradition (5.10a), Left Flank, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.
“I freaked out when I went to clip and realized I was about to back clip because the draw was twisted,” Beres says. With the rope still in hand, he yelled “take” because he didn’t think he could make the clip, he says, right before he fell.
Lesson: Yell falling not take, if you’re above the last bolt or piece of gear and about to whip. Saying “take” informs your belayer to suck in slack as quickly as possible, which, if you’re above the last piece of pro, could pull you off the wall prematurely and could lead to a harder and more dangerous fall, depending on the route. “Falling” will prompt the belayer to be ready for a fall and manage the slack accordingly, whether a soft or hard catch is required.
And for the sake of all things good in this world, DO NOT YELL “TAKE” WHEN YOU’RE ABOVE GEAR AND THE ROPE IS IN YOUR HAND! Fortunately, Tyler’s stubborn belayer did not listen and insisted “No, get it,” instead of yanking Tyler from the wall.
In this situation, Tyler should have dropped the rope, lowered those chicken wings and yelled “falling”. His belayer—hopefully—would have recognized the extra slack in the system and reeled it in in time. Tyler then could have dropped in a controlled manner, for a shorter distance, and probably wouldn’t have smashed his ankle. Moreover, if he had managed to make the clip the first time, he wouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place. Read Clip Like A Pro – 5 Tips from Sasha DiGiulian and Sean McColl for more clipping tips.
After the fall, Tyler thought that he might have broken something, but “I was lucky enough to walk away with just a sprained ankle,” he says.
Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!
Watch last week’s Weekend Whipper: When Gear Walks