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Falling on gear success stories! (Where the rock didn't completely blow out)
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By RyanO
From sunshine
Apr 22, 2011

I've got two to my name. One, a complete surprise, onto the first pin on over the hill. I made sure not to do that again.. rusty pins make me nervous for some reason.. The second was a spectacular 20 footer screaming-my-head-off whipper at the end of the second pitch (linked as one) of rosy crucifixion onto a bomber red c4. This one I knew was coming, I had pulled out a gold c4 - too small - put it back, shuffled around a little, pumped out of the cupped hand jam and had to jump. Scariest damn fall of my life, but everyone else around thought it was hilariously entertaining :) The #1 got a bit mangled, and now lives on the wall above my desk. Thanks for the catch, Steve!


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Apr 22, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

I've only whipped 3 times all on big gear but one of my regular partners whipped on an ancient ring piton. The thing was sticking out 2 inches, probably should have been tied off but he clipped the ring, he fell about 8 feet above it a little from the side so he pendulumed after the fall. He weighs ~200lbs. The thing didn't budge. Nothing like old fashioned iron.


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By Mike Pharris
From Longmont, CO
Apr 22, 2011
Belay at top of P3, "Three Tiers" Ten Mile Canyon. 11/30/12

A wise climber once told me:

"the difference between a nut you placed and the who knows how old bolt in the rock is that you can inspect the nut"

My response was, great now you got me nervous about bolted routes too.


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By Mark Roth
From Boulder
Apr 22, 2011
not climbing

Everyone has seen this unlikely success story, right?

A tight shot of the cam while he was hanging on it.  I've seen shakier placements, but never a shakier placement that actually held a fall.  After lowering and traversing back to the belay, Jeff gave the rope a flick and the cam popped out and slid down the rope into his hand.  No cleaning necessary.  Very efficient of him.
A tight shot of the cam while he was hanging on it. I've seen shakier placements, but never a shakier placement that actually held a fall. After lowering and traversing back to the belay, Jeff gave the rope a flick and the cam popped out and slid down the rope into his hand. No cleaning necessary. Very efficient of him.


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By Tradoholic
Apr 22, 2011

I've never taken a big fall on micro gear but I've placed tons of small stuff. It's all about the placement, not really the piece itself. 99.9% of gear on the market is remarkably strong and there's things that can be done to make it more likely to hold (screamer, etc).

I took a small whip on a buried #00 C3 that I thought was encouraging. I also took another small fall recently on a #2 Ball-Nut. But really it's the poor placements of the bigger gear that are suspect. I've had a string of strong gear that just wasn't going in well that really scared the shit out of me.

If you think is "sucks" it probably does so back it up or prepare for the consequences.

I pulled a nicely placed #5 Master Cam once that looked perfect in the crack. (JJ saw the fall, it was a good one). Ya just never know...


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By Max Tepfer
From Bend, OR
Apr 22, 2011

Short story: Last fall, a guy I was climbing with factor-twoed from 10' above a two screw anchor in alpine ice. We had him clipped to the top screw. Thankfully both he and it were fine and we finished the route.


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By Dave Deming
From Grand Junction CO
Apr 22, 2011

Scariest, pulled a 14 footer on a half-in #9 BD stopper, at Devil's Lake 2 years ago. Most recent, a 12 footer on a #? small WC curved hex, in Unaweep Canyon.


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By They call me Sam
From Fort Collins, Colorado
Apr 23, 2011
me

I don't fall


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By Greg D
From Here
Apr 23, 2011
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

Does an old pin in Eldo count? My fat ass (200 lbs) took a 25 footer on it last summer (Northwest Corner). Scary? But, didin't have much time to think about it. I'm still here and so is the pin. Now, do I have the sack to repeat the route? Eeek


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By Greg D
From Here
Apr 23, 2011
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

Max Tepfer wrote:
Short story: Last fall, a guy I was climbing with factor-twoed from 10' above a two screw anchor in alpine ice. We had him clipped to the top screw. Thankfully both he and it were fine and we finished the route.


What do you mean by clipped to the top screw? Lead rope running through top screw? Not a factor two. Or, tied to top screw? Or, what? Just curious.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 23, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Swiss wrote:
I don't fall


That's why they call it climbing, not falling.


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By Brett Brotherton
From Arvada, CO
Apr 23, 2011
Me and my dog hiking in Eldo.

Greg D wrote:
Does an old pin in Eldo count? My fat ass (200 lbs) took a 25 footer on it last summer (Northwest Corner). Scary? But, didin't have much time to think about it. I'm still here and so is the pin. Now, do I have the sack to repeat the route? Eeek


I haven't led this one yet but have seen a handful of falls taken on that pin. That pin must get the most action of any pin in all of Eldo. The falls I saw were not that big however!

Last week I took a 5 or 6 footer onto a 0 TCU on Zip code, that was my first real fall onto small gear.

In Indian creek I have taken quite a few falls on #1 camalots ... damn that size is tough to climb.


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By iceman777
From Colorado Springs
Apr 23, 2011
0

Longest fall was 90' on El Cap back in 1984 a nice clean fall on overhanging rock
Don't remember the piece or the route think it was the muir or jolly Roger . I fell completely up side down till I hit the end of the rope . Thankfully I had been eating nothing but cheese, canned tuna n crackers so no shit stains in the drawers.

The worst part was jugging back up wondering if I was going for a longer ride.

The second worst fall was the second pitch of Tripple Direct in the garden on a manly Old rivet that sucker held .

I've deformed a lot of aliens falling on em but never had one pull...... YET.

Pulled 3 different C-3s on 3 separate occasions I sold the whole lot guess I'm just not good enough at placing them. ????

Had a 00 Metolius hold on a 20'er that should have never held .go figure. Now I use it as key fob.

I never completely trust bolts and am always greatful when theres a place to get some gear in to back it up.


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By Max Tepfer
From Bend, OR
Apr 23, 2011

"What do you mean by clipped to the top screw? Lead rope running through top screw? Not a factor two. Or, tied to top screw? Or, what? Just curious."

Lead rope running through a carabiner clipped to the top screw. He pitched off from 10ish feet out. The rope entered my atc 2ish feet below the screw. Correct, not a true factor two fall, but about as close as any competent climber's going to come to it. (unless they're in an unfortunate position where they're unable to clip the top piece before leaving the belay)


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Apr 23, 2011

John Maguire wrote:
"Keep two good pieces between you and the hospital, that way even if you are wrong 50% of the time...".

...you only hit the ground 25% of the time.

Only fallen twice on gear. A pink tricam near my feet in a really awkward kinda shallow lumpy textured crack. It was the only thing that would stick and I am glad it did. And maybe 5 feet onto a bomber nut. It was hard to take out afterwards.


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By Terry Price
From Mancos CO
Apr 23, 2011

Here's my protection success story.

At Granite Mountain in 1980 on the first pitch of Said and Done I took a leader fall and the only point of protection that caught my fall was the rope itself where it became jammed tightly in a thin crack! This "catch" ripped a full circumference, 1" long core shot through the sheath of my partner's 11mm rope. My top piece (which I knew was poor) pulled but the jammed rope caught my fall before tension came onto my second piece (a BD #6 stopper). The rope wedged just above the stopper.

To be lowered, I had to free the rope from its pinched placement and I observed how the #6 stopper had caused the rope to line up perfectly with the crack above and cause the catch. My partner felt a lot better when I volunteered out of a strong sense of karmic gratitude to buy from him his brand new 165 foot rope at full price. I determined I had fallen nearly 30 feet because when I cut the rope at the core shot, I still had a 150 foot rope. This became my lead rope for many more years - until its retirement to a third career as multiple, 12-foot long, llama lead ropes which I still use today.

(As a sequel to the fall, I lost a second of my cat's "nine lives" that same night when driving back to Phoenix after dark I fell asleep at the wheel and jolted back to my senses in time to see the road side marker I hit the next nanosecond. Through grace, I had chosen to fall asleep on one of the few stretches of road between Phoenix and Cordes Junction with a flat, broad shoulder without any close by falloff. The only damage was an indention mark in my front bumper. "Two down, seven to go" I thought when recapping the events of that day.

Unsure how many lives I have left - but I may still have seven to go. As that fall is the last "near miss" or leader fall of my climbing career.


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By Buff Johnson
Apr 23, 2011
smiley face

mostly aliens. I know, shock and awe, they work.


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By Andrew Blease
From 4runner, parking lot, USA
Apr 23, 2011

I fell 42 feet onto a half-placed #12 BD stopper in a shallow crack on the North Side of Looking Glass. It held 2 in a row before I figured out the crux section.


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By Mike
From Phoenix
Apr 23, 2011
Doing the jump-across off The Mace.  I never get tired of this climb.  Photo by Wednesday Hugus.

Terry Price wrote:
This became my lead rope for many more years - until its retirement to a third career as multiple, 12-foot long, llama lead ropes which I still use today.



FYI, the UIAA officially recommends retiring a rope from lead llama use after 20 years. You can still use it for all following llama's though.


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By Terry Price
From Mancos CO
Apr 23, 2011

Mike: Humorous catch on the double entendre of "lead rope." I am still in the lead, on the "sharp end" of the rope so to speak, going down mountain paths with my pack string. UIAA and PETA will be happy to know that I never make my llamas "lead;" they only follow.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 24, 2011
El Chorro

My first REAL falls onto gear were on the same route, two separate pieces, about 20 feet and 5 minutes apart.

I was climbing a tough 5.9 w/ an undercling roof traverse and friction feet. In hindsight I should have cruised it but that's always the case afterwards isn't it?

I placed a purple c4 into the undercling roof and went. I fell with the gear right in front of me but I had to sling it out w/ a double length sling since it was at the beginning of the roof so I fell quite a ways. Not much force on the gear but that's not what was going through my mind at the time. I popped with no warning, and before I knew it I was looking up at the piece still in the crack. No harm done.

I got back up, climbed the traverse on the second attempt, but once out of the roof I was in a steep dihedral w/ no jams. I got pumped took a half second look at a crack to the left, slammed in an orange TCU, clipped it and I was immediately airborne. Again, small forces involved, but if I had picked the wrong size, made a bad placement or popped a half second earlier I would have taken a huge whipper w/ potentially bad consequences.

Looking back I was not at my physical limit, but I WAS at the limit of my experience leading on gear. Good confidence builder, but I guess it could have gone the other way.

Since then I've fallen on a purple TCU in Wingate sandstone that broke, but still held my fall.

I recently took quite a whipper on the Grit stone up in the UK. Again, a .5 Camalot. It was bomber, but if it had ripped I would have gone splat and really bad. I knew it was ggood and went for it and I'm glad I did. Trust your gear.


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By 1Eric Rhicard
Apr 24, 2011
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo

Last project my buddy Geir and I worked we jumped off on to a 00 TCU multiple times to convince ourselves it was good. We would climb up to the next good hold and placement then jump. We both went 20-25 feet. After that we could climb to that next placement with no fear. We still fell on it some more but we were not scared.

Of course we had bomber pro between us and the ground. I rarely ever push my limit if I don't have 2 good pieces between me and the ground.

When my buddy Jesse got into trad he got on a bolted crack, put in a lot cams some that looked good and a lot that looked like they would never hold. Then he jumped with bolts as backup and they all held. He is still scared of trad but he at least knows what can be a good placement.


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Apr 24, 2011
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

I've taken two falls on gear. The first close to a 1 FF on my first piece a #1 mastercam, the second on a #4 C4 that was placed at my feet. Not big falls but still scared me pretty good. I try not to fall while trad climbing. The first was a slip due to wet rock that I wasn't expecting and the second was a broken foot hold.

I seen my first piece of gear rip this weekend while I was belaying. The climber was caught by the same #1 mastercam on the same route in the same placement where my fall was. The gear that ripped was a poorly placed #2 C3 in a flaring crack.


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By Portwood
From Your moms house last night
Apr 24, 2011
Me

Took 5 falls on a purple Omega Pacific Link Cam in an ockward placement. It held, good thing seeing as it was the only pro between me and the ground!


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Apr 29, 2011

Took two 15 footer on a 0 Master Cam, the first time the piece pulled, I replaced it only 1/4" to the right of its previous placement, fell on it again and it held. Damn micro cams are so finicky.


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