Jonathan Cheetham nearly craters on Kelly’s Overhang (HVS 5b)—around 5.10 for the Yanks—at Stanage North in the Peak District, U.K.
“I fell so far because whilst climbing the overhang, I made the decision to keep moving and place gear once I was on easier ground, rather than stopping
and trying to place gear upside down!” Cheetham tells Rock and Ice. “Unfortunately, instead of finding easier ground, I found (what I assume
is) the crux of the route and I was miles above my gear by then.”
Despite the runout, Cheetham attempted the “awkward” move, as he describes it, and just when he was off balance and without good handholds, his foot slipped
and he fell.
If not for the amazing belay—Cheetham’s belayer anticipated the fall, pulled in slack, and ran backwards to shorten the length of the fall—Cheetham
would have hit the ground and this could be a very different story.
“I walked away from the fall with a small cut on the back of the head [he was wearing a helmet] and no lasting damage so all is well,” he says. A “very
nicely seated” DMM size 5 Dragon cam caught the fall.
“I feel incredibly stupid for putting myself up there with no gear but it was a judgement call I’ve made many times on other routes. Having said that,
it was definitely the wrong decision in this situation!” he says. “It’s a bit scary how such a quick decision turned what could’ve just been me doing
the dangle of shame under the overhang, into a full on whipper.”
Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!