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Weekend Whippers

Weekend Whipper: Welding a Brassy into Place

“Brassies” are tiny chocks made from—you guessed it— brass. The soft, malleable metal conforms better to the little bumps and undulations inside a crack or constriction when weighted; they usually appear only in the smallest sizes, often as aid-specific pieces. The one thing about brassies? If you do fall on one, it’s pretty easy to get them super-duper stuck.

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This particular Whipper involves a free climbing fall on an itty-bitty Brassie. No word on if this particular brassie is there for the foreseeable future or if Sam Stanton, the climber, was able to get it out of the rock. Either way, we’ll let Sam give you the background on this little number:

“This route is called Whiskey for Breakfast (5.10+, PG13) out at Rumbling Bald, North Carolina.Most people set this up on TR. This is because the first 20 feet of the flake you follow up would break if anything was to be placed in it. And if you blow the moves on the flake, there are two ledges with very likely decking potential from the fall below. Your last piece is a tiny brass nut right at the roof you pull to gain the flake. Yikes!

“I cruised through the route on TR, and thought about leading it. Then, my friend Stephen Davis lead it for his first time (shout out to him). With my ego through the roof I decided to give it a go! Once up there, I processed the moves a little more, and found that there is a committing foot smear with lay back crimps on the tiny flake. Finally committing, as I brought my left foot up my right foot slipped, I tried to recover, but it was too late! I was headed straight for the first ledge. I remember seeing it come at me and realizing I do not know the outcome of this fall, anything could happen.

“I remember trying to roll out of the way of the ledge. And I don’t know if I’m a programmed Russian spy waiting to be activated, or if I am God’s favorite child, but the technique in which I dodged the ledge (it’s hard to see the ledge from the angle of the video), is one beyond my cognition.

“All in all, it’s good for us climbers to be gifted a reality check once in a while, and take a good beating to our egos. To be reminded what this thing called ‘risk’ truly does exists every time we go out climbing. Happy to say I came out with a few bumps and bruises, and a smile on my face.

“Shout out to my friend Steven for the amazingly quick hands on the catch, probably would’ve hit the second ledge otherwise…

“And good thing that brass nut held!

Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend!


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