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Falling on gear success stories! (Where the rock didn't completely blow out)
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By Ezekiel Thornton
From Akron, Ohio
Dec 23, 2012
Top of Castleton

Placed a #1 master cam in a small roof so it was already facing where the weight of the fall would. I was tired but pushed up, kept moving a bit more for a good next hold. Went in for a thin hands jam couldn't hold fell 20 feet on it and held perfectly!


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By Rafael Rovirosa
From Las Cruces, NM
Dec 23, 2012

2 stories:

1. I was on mountainproject.com/v/excuse-station/105717409 on my 3rd day at Indian Creek ever. I placed all my 1s and had to go about 10 feet to the upper part where you can get a .75 in. I put the .75 pulled up the rope to clip and my foot slipped. I ended up falling about 30 feet. I guess this doesn't quite fit into this forum since a #1 is a huge piece of gear. Even though the rock is soft the gear was huge.

2. My friend was climbing mountainproject.com/v/spocks-brain/106060847 and he made it to the jug at the top. He was pumped and fell on the mantle about 20 feet onto a 00 metolius with a high-pitched scream and everything. It held but he made me finish the climb. Even though the gear was small, quartzite is as hard as rock gets.


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By Miguel75
Dec 28, 2012

Ben Chapman - Glad you guys walked away from the fall. Apologies if this is a dumb question but was the first piece set for an upwards pull?

Edited for clarity.


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By b.r.e.t.
Jan 7, 2013

Tried out wearing a gopro and got this fall on video:


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By flynn
Jan 7, 2013

My buddy, Bruce, and I were climbing the south face of Boulder's Matron. He'd led straight up on the second pitch, missing the traverse (can't remember now where it went, but I think right). He'd clipped an old bong that was sunk in mud in the crack as the first piece off the belay. Above that, he placed a small Campbell SaddleWedge (it was awhile ago), wedging it half-in and half-out of the crack, then a couple more things that were even more dubious. His top piece, when he discovered he'd climbed into trouble, was a #2 or so Friend that he told me later was hanging by two tipped-out cams. He popped, the Friend and the piece below that gave, and he just kept coming at me sitting there on a ledge. He whistled past me, then stopped, out of my sight. The SaddleWedge had held.

He was able to climb back up to the ledge, unhurt. We rapped off and another buddy and I returned the next day to retrieve the nut. Had to pound the hell out of it to remove it.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jan 7, 2013
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

If you "zipper" 6 pieces that you thought were "good"...they were either not good pieces, slung too short, and/or the lower piece was not set to keep the rope from pulling the rest of them outward. Six well placed pieces of gear do not just pull out.


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By Austin Sobotka
Jan 22, 2013
On the uphill side of the trail, near the first set of pools. Maybe v2, but fun.

my first real fall onto gear (apart from a few small falls on hexes) i took a 20 foot fall off the roof of illusion dweller on a camalot 0, held perfectly. more recently i took two 10' falls onto a .75, again on desert granite. after the first fall it was tipped out on one side but still working passively. replaced it and tried again, after the second fall it was still in good form. it's nice to fall on gear, to remind you that it's there for a reason


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By Buff Johnson
Jan 22, 2013
smiley face

I led this insane crack in the splatte. You know you get into that rhythm, lock for lock, jam and jam, in that total zone of movement. Thrushing for each new move that you don't want to stop.

So, I did that and I popped off, zing...


But, I stopped. So I'm looking down, my last piece is still pretty far down. What the??

A #5 stopper on my harness snags the crack, and didn't rip off.


trad is so...rad


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By Alex Washburne
Jan 22, 2013
I eat crack for breakfast.

While aiding, The only placement I could come up with was the truly shitty cam in the picture below... After that, I stepped on the second step of the etrier and placed a shitty nut that survived the brutal bounce testing, so I eased onto the nut... I completely committed to the top nut, stepped up two rungs of the aider, and POP! Only thing was, I was still connected to the shitty cam with my daisy chain. Took a pretty decent (~2-3ft) static fall onto the cam. That one fall, as small as it was, went a long ways to boosting my confidence in well-placed and well-set rock pro!

2-3 ft static fall onto this one - any takers?
2-3 ft static fall onto this one - any takers?


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Jan 22, 2013
modern man

Alex Washburne wrote:
While aiding, The only placement I could come up with was the truly shitty cam in the picture below... After that, I stepped on the second step of the etrier and placed a shitty nut that survived the brutal bounce testing, so I eased onto the nut... I completely committed to the top nut, stepped up two rungs of the aider, and POP! Only thing was, I was still connected to the shitty cam with my daisy chain. Took a pretty decent (~2-3ft) static fall onto the cam. That one fall, as small as it was, went a long ways to boosting my confidence in well-placed and well-set rock pro!


that camalot looks bomber to me, at least if it was Red Rocks sandstone and not S. Utah sandstone


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By Brian Hudson
From Greenville, SC
Jan 23, 2013
Valor Over Discretion (5.8), RRG

Buff Johnson wrote:
I led this insane crack in the splatte. You know you get into that rhythm, lock for lock, jam and jam, in that total zone of movement. Thrushing for each new move that you don't want to stop. So, I did that and I popped off, zing... But, I stopped. So I'm looking down, my last piece is still pretty far down. What the?? A #5 stopper on my harness snags the crack, and didn't rip off. trad is so...rad

that. is awesome.


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By Shelton Hatfield
From Austin, Texas
Jan 23, 2013
Photo by Damien

"i think someone oiled them"
lol


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By BrianWS
Feb 17, 2013

After I led Candy Land in S. Tahoe, my partner decided he wanted to go for a lead on the pre-placed gear. This is what I learned:

1) Those jumbo knob tieoffs are as bomber as they look
2) The 000 C3 held 4-5 successive whingers from a 200lbs climber, from
10 feet above the piece. My confidence in small gear has since more
than doubled.


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By fng
Mar 9, 2013

Many falls on a lot of pieces. The ones that standbout in my mind are taking a 25' on first pitch of Nut Cracker in Yose with one brassy nut for pro. Held me from decking. Also remember taking a whipper after going up a book to a roof where I placed a wired tricam. Traversed out and up on face when a foot blew sending me pendulum into book. Piece held perfect.


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By JeffL
From Salt Lake City
Mar 31, 2013

I failed to grab 2 extra number 3's from my partner for a flare-ing fist crack on camp 4 wall. I was out of gear and 6 feet above my last piece with a ledge below me before I realized. I ended placing a .4 C4 as far as I would reach in the crack on the left side of a chockstone. When I pulled on it, I could see the chalkstone flex. I placed a #1 C4 on the other side of the chalkstone as a chalk (fully uncammed) and equalized the two. Took a 12 footer on that sketchy contraption and it fell. Most scared I've ever been on lead but now my confidence in gear is unreal!


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By T Howes
From Bozeman, MT
Apr 2, 2013

I was climbing a hard (for me) route in Gallatin Canyon last year where the crux was pulling a bulge. The crack beneath the bulge was wider than a 3,but a 4 wouldn't fit. I managed to get the 3 placed well enough and proceeded to fall on it 3 times before finally figuring out the move. No big deal, but every time I fell the 3 would rotate slightly so that the outer lobes came out of the crack and only 2 lobes were catching. It inspired confidence... and led me to add a 3.5 to the rack.


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By Edward Pyune
From Las Vegas, NV
Apr 3, 2013
Mongol Hoarde

Shelton Hatfield wrote:
"i think someone oiled them" lol


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By Mark Lynch
May 7, 2013

Biggest whip ever was a 35+ footer on last pitch of Recompense Cathedral Ledge, North Conway twenty some-odd-years ago. Hot sweaty summer day. Fell on an old pin backed-up by a small nut - ripped both. Stopped by a BD #2 Camelot! Still have the old pin. Thank you. Try not to do that anymore. :)


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By Dan Wachlaczenko
Jun 2, 2013

30 footer on Mrs. Robinson at the dacks 2 days ago. Pass the crux on the easy ground - some rotten rock and microwave size block came off in my hands, oh shit moment#1, falling and hearing my green alien pop - oh shit moment #2, finally stoping after long time in the air about 3' above the ground oh shit moment #3.
No injuries - just some minor scratches and my belayers burned skin ( time to get belay gloves buddy)

Climbed again the next day - but really trying not to do that again.


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By erik kapec
From prescott, az
Jun 2, 2013
enjoying the static, grappel and a smoke on Dana...

fell on intruder in zion, ut. A piece popped (not the rock) and i believe it was a .3 that became tipped out caught me. thought I fucked up my back, it was a weird fall.


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By Chris G.
From San Diego, CA
Jun 2, 2013
The Gallery, Red Rocks

climbed Black is Brown in Yosemite. The route definitely was harder than a .8 halfway up. Placed an awful #4 nut about a foot above an even worse .5. I just couldn't make the move and fell. Ended up falling about 15 feet and bouncing off a ledge, then rolling to my shoulder. Everything held!!! My friend ended up finishing the route and when he got to the nut, it was about 2/3 of the way out of the crack. I have a new love for small stopper placements.


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By Josh
From Golden, CO
Jun 2, 2013
Stairway to Heaven (pitch 3)

My trad falls on rock have been unexceptional, but fundamentally reassuring every time. Biggest one was about ten feet above a .5 Camalot. Everything went the way it is supposed to. I also once fell fifteen feet above a 13cm ice screw. Then went back up and did the same thing again-- yeesh (then I got the message and retreated for the day). Even ice (and ice gear) is bomber if it's in the right condition, apparently.


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By wonderwoman
Jun 19, 2013
Wonderwoman on CCK

The smallest piece of gear that I've fallen on was on Chitlin's Corner in Acadia NP. It was a gray metolius TCU (size 00). In case that failed, it was backed up by a purple TCU (size 0).

Prior to that, I did not have much faith in those cams. They looked way to small! But like all gear - it will hold when placed well!


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By ian watson
From Albuquerque, NM
Jun 19, 2013

^--- those 00's can hold some intresting things A few weeks back I put one in a shallow crack, slightly flaring (on aid) where only one and half the second lobe were in I cant believe that thing held but I had a #6 mastercam below.


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By Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Jul 24, 2013
Tebow Climbs.  Bet you didn't know that.

I just took my first fall on gear two weeks ago. It felt like an important milestone in my climbing. I just started leading 5-funs at the end of last summer, and started pushing my way up to the 5.6's 7's etc. this year. My problem was that I wouldn't push into the 5.8/5.9's I know I am capable of climbing because I still was scared of my placements. I'd place something and know it was bomber, but still be scared, so I was having a hard time leading grades that I couldn't just fly right through because I didn't have the confidence in my placements I needed.

Birch Tree at Devil's Lake has long been my kryptonite as a follower. My partner leads it like it's nothing, and I either fly through the crux or thrash about on it until I get to the nice 5-easy that it tops out with. For whatever reason, even though I can climb grades above it, the 3-4 moves that make the crux of that little 5.8 can make or break me any given day. So I set it as a goal to lead that climb this summer.

Two weeks ago I went for it. My first piece was a nut which I placed fairly directional to hold downward and outward pull. I climbed through the next good spot to make a placement, not realizing it. Rather than expend the energy to struggle with another placement I just made the key placement right before the crux which is a .75. At this point I took some deep breaths knowing that there was a 50/50 chance of me falling as I pulled the moves and that realistically I had one piece of gear that would prevent a ground fall. I inspected the heck out of the placement and went for it. Sure enough, one move, two moves, third move... and my hand doesn't quite make and I let out a big fat "shiiiiit". It wasn't a whipper by no means, a couple of feet, but there I was hanging by that lonely .75 smiling and looking up at my dad at the top of the climb asking if happened to get a picture of my first fall.

I know, it's a long winded story of a pretty uneventful, boring fall off a low grade. But I wanted to share it, because I think falling on gear is an important thing to do early on in your career as a trad leader. I haven't gotten out since that day, and it was the last climb of the day, but never before have I wanted to be on the sharp end pushing harder than I do now. I'm not ready to go do a run-out 5.11 with crap gear, but I'm ready to climb at the grades that I'm capable of now, and have some confidence that it's going to be ok, if I have an off day of climbing, as long as I never have an off day of placing gear.


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