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Weekend Whippers

Weekend Whipper: Hooked Through the Ankle

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Chad Watkins was almost through the crux of Big Top, a 5.12a gear route in the New River Gorge, West Virginia, when his foot popped.
He peeled off the wall, but to his surprise, came to an abrupt stop. He hung upside-down by his ankle.

At first, Watkins thought his shoe had caught on a carabiner of the quickdraw clipped to a nut below, until he discovered that the nose of the biner had
pierced through the skin of his ankle and around either his Achilles tendon or the bone. He never weighted the rope.

“Once it dawned on me that I was hanging from the Achilles, I was like, okay, that’s a very bizarre feeling,” he says in the video.

Watkins grabbed the draw, pulled himself up and unhooked his ankle so he could be lowered. A paramedic patched him up and he went to a hospital to have
the wound cleaned. Miraculously, he has no long-term damage from the accident, which occurred on June 29, and he is already climbing again.

Happy Friday and stay safe out there this weekend!

Watch last week’s Weekend Whipper: One Cam Away