Runout classics - ever take the ride?


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 24, 2012 - 05:58pm PT
A few weeks ago I got on Diamondback (by Sidewinder in the Outback at Joshua Tree) because it was chilly and I wanted something sunny. Little did I know the wind picked up just above the canyon walls... reaching for that last little edge on the end of that 5.9 traverse I had to wait in between strong gusts and hold on real fierce to those (thankfully) incut edges.

After cursing my idiocy (and being psyched to climb a great route!) I thought to myself - has ANYONE taken the big whip on this route? I did Sidewinder last season and the traverse seemed a lot more mild than hyped, at least in average weather, but surely - SOMEBODY has to have biffed it.

Come to think of it, even at my ho-hum level I've been on a ton of routes that could have hilariously long plunges at tough moves, but everyone I've talked to skittered past as well.

How about these routes?

Hair Lip at Suicide - I'd love to know if someone took that ride, I had thought I got through the hard part only to find one last crux a good 10 feet out from an old bolt - Weeee!

Can't believe its a Girdle - yeah I almost hate to ask...

Guillitine Flake, Suicide - seem to remember a story of a guy taking a big fall on this route...


Marginal, on the glacier point apron?

Gotta be some good stories out there...

Big Wall climber
The Bear State
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:04pm PT
I would love to hear about someone taking the whipper at the end of sidewinder... can't be pretty.

climber a single wide......
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:10pm PT
Larry Lloads on the Windowpane pitch of 10 Karet Gold

Jon Freriks yarded in a good 50' of slack whilst Larry slid and turned a 100 ++ footer into something much less dire.

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:11pm PT
I remember talking about the whipper potential on Sidewinder with each partner I did the route with....that would be cataclysmic.

I epiced on EBGB's back in the late 70's. After finally working up the courage to do that initial mantle start, I traversed left and made the step onto the main face, then began pulling on those edges in earnest.

This was the first route I had ever used these new things known as "quick runners"....and I had them on a sling over my shoulder.

Halfway up the main face, nervously eyeing the next bolt as I drew closer to it, I suddenly heard my runners go clinking down the face....the knot in my sling had come untied, and I was a LONG way above the last bolt.

The only other biner I had was a locker holding my Sticht plate, and I could not let go to take it off my harness.

My partner begged me to "just jump". Not wanting any part of that, with full cottonmouth, I went to the top of the route.

My partner was so shaken he refused to follow the route.

The whole event still turns my stomach.

Trad climber
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:14pm PT
I indeed did take a
the classic "mosquito" bike January 2012 <br/>
the classic "mosquito" bike January 2012

Credit: mountainlion
ride on a classic "the mosquito" bike in JT...after losing a bet that is.

Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:15pm PT
This is going to be good.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
Yeah, EBGB's is a stout looking route...but beautiful, almost perfect!

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:23pm PT
My biggest "ride" was on the classic Suicide route, Rebolting Development.

On the second pitch, I had gotten up to the 3rd bolt, clipped a draw to it, and poppped....a 40+ footer. Got banged up a bit, and lowered down to the belay for some water. Anchored in, untied and pulled the rope through, then went back up again.

Got to the draw, and as soon as I lifted the rope to make the clip...POP! I went again, this time a little bit more controlled, but still some rash.

Back at the belay, my partner was pretty freaked out. I looked down to the base and could see my helmet on my pack. Told my partner maybe he should lower me and let me get it. He said, "If you go down, we go down."

Not wanting that, I pulled the rope through once more and went back up....and managed to actually make that clip while I was still moving, rather than stopped.

Still my longest whippers to date.
dave goodwin

carson city, nv
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:24pm PT

That gave me sweaty palms.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:30pm PT
Yep, I've been for a couple overseas flights, curiously of similar length; but not curiously, both on slabs. First one was in 1969 on Coonyard Pinnacle, we had launched on this thinking we might get all the way to Glacier Point which had been done few if any times then. Pitch 4 or so, I think the last 5.9 pitch before it's easy to Coonyard, I wandered somewhere off route and glassed off in my non-sticky RD's from about 40 or 45 feet from the belay, zero pro. Partner hauled in a few feet but it was quite a slide: 70 or more ft factor 2 onto one single piton halfway in. Good thing it was a slab!

Decades later, failed to make the very last hard move (a thumb-toe mantle) on one of those mega-classic 11b R/X routes on Hammer Dome (at Calaveras) and butt-slid a good 75 feet there too. At that time, we had only a photo showing that pitch was supposed to be 5.8 (turns out that was a completely different route), and seeing that the 3 or so bolts were miles apart, I figured, well that's OK for 5.8 - my pitch. Ooops.

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:39pm PT
RE: EBGB's......I've done the route at least a dozen more times since then, and I ALWAYS look at that fall line as I am approaching....the landing zone is not pretty.

It's no coincidence that I always carry MORE than enough draws on that thing as well.


Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:42pm PT
good whip in the Valley- around '85 or so i'm leading Cllogdance, then 11C or so second pitch, which i had done befoer. My partner Kurt Winkler seemed thoughtful as always. i was jabbering at him all the way "ya, Ya , Ya.."

Reached up for the belay ledge and zoom off ! A nice one, maybe 40' or so. Kurt reals me in and asks if i wanna go again,, maybe, but we have to pull the rope.

Best whips have been in NH though 70' plus

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 24, 2012 - 06:42pm PT
It was Spring 1971. I think I had only been climbing a month or so and it was my second lead ever in my life (1st was Fingertip Traverse the week before). It was the Fingertrip Traverse at Tahquitz (5.7).

I was climbing in a new pair of RR blue boots and recall leading past a fixed pin about 15 ft above my belayer. That was probably the crux 5.7 lay-back. I kept lay-backing up and it suddenly starts to turn into an under-cling as it goes to the left. I only had about 7-8 pieces/nuts on the rack and it was very awkward trying to get something in while under-clinging with one hand and trying to place something with the other (blind placement) so I gave up.

I was getting incredibly pumped. I made it to the last under-cling move before you step up and left to the belay ledge. I was barely hanging on with two hands and with my feet frictioning on the face below the under-cling and was totally spent (had a lot to do with fear at that point i think). I must have been around 70 ft out or maybe more (not sure how long that pitch is) since i just had the one fixed pin as pro.

Just as I was about to step up with my left foot, my left hand slipped off the under-cling and my left foot swung out. I started to screen door. I got this intense rush of fear and adrenalin and slowly pulled myself back to the left hand pinch on the under-cling and managed to step up with my left foot. It was like moving in slow motion.

I am pretty sure that is about as close as I have come to taking the BIG one. I don't think I would have survived it (140/150+ fall). It shook me up pretty good. I never went back and tried it again. It would have been interesting to do again after I had gained more experience.

edit: that would have been one HELL of a whipper off that undercling into the dihedral that forms the layback, eh?

EDIT: GDavis: - Yep, a Hip Belay, and I had a 1" tubular webbing Swami Belt! (about 3 wraps around my waste/no legloops)!

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 24, 2012 - 06:57pm PT
150 footer onto I assume a Hip Belay...

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Nov 24, 2012 - 07:06pm PT
i did a 80 footer, hand over hand on the f/a of Reelin' In the Fears.. NH.. '81

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 24, 2012 - 07:12pm PT
I took a BIG whipper on Lichen Nightmare on the Apron ('73/'74?). The route was brand new at the time and was either missing hangers or only had one bolt at the time (i don't recall). There was just one bolt which was just above the belayer that I clipped and went straight up to the crux which is about one or two moves below the next belay ledge. I was right in the middle of the move (a crimp) and was looking for the next crimp for my left hand. I was looking to high, because just as I began to pitch, I saw it right in front of my nose. To late. I took a real winger and ended up way below my belayer. I think it shook him up more than me because as I climbed back up and was about to pass him (i guess he thought i was going to anchor in and give up) he shakes his head and says, "WELL, have you had ENOUGH?" I new I could do it and just climbed on past him as he started complaining about it being his brand new rope or something. lol It went rather smoothly since I new where the hold was.

It was the only time I climbed with the guy, but every time I would approach him and whomever he was talking to from a distance, I could see he would get all excited and start pantomiming my pitching over backwards and the big swing, etc! I'm pretty sure he thought I was either crazy or a badazz (or both) from that time on! lol

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Nov 24, 2012 - 07:15pm PT
Lots of folks have taken big falls on some of the classic routes that are known for being runout.

None other than Lynn Hill took a big fall off the top of EBGB's BITD. When I went up there to climb it, that story intimidated me, along with the broken Dave Hauser homemade bolt hangers, which are now long gone. I was so scared because back then in EB's, you didn't stick like you do now with modern shoe rubber.. I was slowly sliding off the sloping holds on the upper half and finally I had to smear a blackish knob thinking I was gonna die. I made it up without falling but was afraid to return until Fire's came out. When I did it again in the sticky boot, I laughed it was so much easier.

I saw a friend fall off Hairlip & I thought he was a gonner. He was sure to hit back on the arete/edge of the thing & be cleaved in half. NOPE!! His fall was all air & his feet just brushed the slab below as the rope came tight.

A woman I know whose husband posts here often, took a huge fall on Quicksilver in Yosemite & was badly injured including breaking her pelvis. She never did much on lead ever again. She got to the bolt stance but was too short to clip the bolt. She's only 5'2" & fell trying to get the bolt clipped.

One of my heros took a huge fall on You Asked For It in the meadows, he had done it previously. He flipped upside down during the fall & conked his mellon hard. They took him to Mammoth & I believe he may have had a depressed skull fracture.

We called I Can't Believe Its A Girdle "The Sound Of One Man Slapping" because of the Cole / Lewis route above "The Sound Of One Hand Clapping", after my friend fell on the 2nd or 3rd pitch & whipped across the roof & smacked into the gully on the other side. He was Ok but shaken up.

Another friend fell off the first pitch of Iron Cross, pulled the only fixed piton & fell behind the flake below. We thought he was dead for sure. He groaned & we thought oh no! Turns out that he was OK, just shaken up & humbled.

I'll think of more later.

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Nov 24, 2012 - 07:26pm PT
Levy- nice . I'm pretty sure I was in JT when Lynn rode off EBGB.. kept me off it for years.. broken hold ?

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Nov 24, 2012 - 07:27pm PT
You Asked for IT-- NOT a good route to fall off ! Great route though.. i guess I'm whacked, Iv'e doe it twice

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 24, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
Yeah Levy, I can relate on the shoe situation on EBGB's.

On that epic ascent of mine, I was in the green PA's, then did it a number of times in EB's.

When Fire's came out, that first sequence seemed worlds easier.
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