Runout classics - ever take the ride?


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Trad climber
Dec 3, 2013 - 08:28am PT
Shout-out for Needles/Dome Rock runouts! Rogue 'breeze' took me off near the top of Scirocco in mid-high-step mode...40+ footer. Green Tide....staring at harrd 5.10 mantle 15-18ft(?) out to reach final bolt stance. So close to sliding off that one several times. Dome many slippery scarefest's

Dec 3, 2013 - 11:54am PT
Not the big one, but damn close for my buddy.

Third pitch on the first ascent of Separation Anxiety on Fairview Dome. My partner Sean led out from where A Farewell to Kings crosses the dike. Its a beautiful stretch of slab to inch across. There are tiny, yet solid holds, but the problem was that he was leaving a right facing corner. The further he would get the smaller the holds were becoming. He slipped and fell back into the corner before going too far. It was a violent fall for how small it had been.

I could see that he was hatching a plan to try and start to get the bolt in off of a shitty stance.
He geared up and went for it again only to reach his far point with no available place for him to stance from. well, its Sean K. and he simply decided he was sick of coming back and didn't want that routine of over and over to happen so he simply went for it.

Every step he took further up and right on the dike set him up with an even worse fall. Every move.

I started to put it all together. Fun intensity went to a downright dangerous situation no matter how one looked at it.
Sean couldn't return. I could see that in his movement and breathing. So on he went even further………..this is 11- terrain for sure.
Just as he was to grab a hold that would guarantee success his feet slipped and my heart jumped from my throat. I thought he as off. His fall line looked to me like something out of a climbing horror movie. There wasn't a good thing that would come from this. He was going to get badly injured.
As he began his descent his feet miraculously (as does on slab) caught just enough to slow him to a point to gain enough of a stance to move from. He let out a funny noise and burst up to a ledge 10 feet above.

I sh#t myself so I can't imagine what he did to his mental pants. Sean is not one to show fear, or even feel it for that matter. He was shaken.

It was time for me to follow. Ugh.

Though my fall prospects did not involve a corner to rip into, I still felt very out there as I surveyed my landing path might I happen to botch it.

It wasn't over for me once I reached the point where things became serious for him. Once on that playing field I realized that I had my own ugly wipeout to keep from participating in. Whew, made it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I went back and put two bolts in that section later before we freed the whole route. Sean took the fall with the bolt in place later and gave himself a hipper that engulfed his entire upper leg. what would have happened if he took that fall the day the bolts weren't there? i don't like to imagine that.

The things we do…….

We felt the name Separation Anxiety fit and that's only one pitch of 14.

I like this thread.

Bob J.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
I'm always happy to see this thread get bumped back to the front page.

McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Dec 3, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
I ran it out on hard aid climbing at the Boise Quarry back in 77. I was at the top of the cliff, could have been 40 feet and zippered everything and hit the ground (zippered enough to hit the ground anyway). I was practicing for my Dihedral Wall solo. I punched a small hole in the side of my head above my left ear when I hit the ground. We were on the way to the hospital since it was bleeding quite a bit, but on the way canned that idea since I got the bleeding stopped. Over the next few weeks or months it seemed to heal up fine but a small bump started to grow there. I finally went to a doctor to get what I thought might be an infection cleaned out. They laid me down and slashed it open and everything and everybody, the nurse and the doctor and the wall got sprayed with blood! It was pretty funny really. I think I still had the stitches in when I soloed the Dihedral!

My latest fall was at the Alabama Hills in mid October and I'm healing up a nice broken ankle now. I missed the first clip on a crazy climb called Unknown (10b). On the climb it's really the second clip that I missed. The first clip just keeps you from tumbling down the approach slab. If I go back I will probably stick-clip the second bolt because it's a pretty dangerous setting!

Credit: McHale's Navy

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Dec 3, 2013 - 04:42pm PT
Hmmm. This thread really needs more photos!

Photo taken by Charles Cole.  Fall started about a body-length above m...
Photo taken by Charles Cole. Fall started about a body-length above me, directly on to the two-bolt belay. Quarter inchers! Accomazzo yarding it in...
Credit: CC III Esq.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Dec 3, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
My goodness, Pappy that is a horrific story I missed amidst so many other great stories.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Dec 3, 2013 - 07:33pm PT
great stuff Bob J!

Trad climber
Dec 3, 2013 - 10:16pm PT

Thanks for posting that one up. I was tempted to do it myself, but figured it was not my call.

Hope you are well.



There wasn't anything for me to do but to reel in arm loads of slack and try to keep him off of the lower knobs

A requisite belay technique for Quartz. After all, the routes were so run out you actually had time to yard in a few yards of rope.

Social climber
Lakewood, CO
Dec 4, 2013 - 12:53am PT
I was on my Honey Moon doing the climbing thing back in the early '80s. Being plugged into the C-Springs clan, hanging with Muff, etc., and being a bit of a slab dude...

Muff sent Karen and I up onto Pikes and the Crags, and some nice slabs on Old Ironsides...
What. Beautiful place, alpine, nice scenic approach... Pikes Granite... Simply Honey Moon heaven...

First we did Excitable Boy, classic C-Springs 5.10 slab... First pitch, 150 feet of no pro 5.8... To a double split-rivet belay to a stellar 5.10R pitch to the top... Loved it and he were having big fun.

So the route Muff was actually sic-ing me on was Keelhauled... Which started from the same first belay as Excitable Boy. It took off to the right with a 40+ foot run out to the first bolt.

My Dearest and I descend off off E-Boy and set up again on the two 1/4" split-rivet bolt belay and I set out on Keelhauled... Very thin, sustained, complex, right leaning... So focused on my moves in this sea of featureless slab... I find myself even with the first bolt 40 feet above and right of my wife... 8 feet left of the bolt.

Oh sh#t, i am off route! Only thing to do is work farther right to the bolt... And sh#t it is really f*#king thin... My tips are going numb, this hasn't been climbed much so lichen is an issue... My world starts to deteriorate. I realize that I am not going to get to the bolt... As my tips start melting i open up a dialog with Karen.

"Hey Honey, i am going to fall." She says "OK, what should I do?"

I say, "take in the slack". She immediately takes both hands and pulls the rope through the draw clipped into the belay, dropping the 8-ring she was belaying with...

I say, "No, pull it through the 8-Ring!" This she does all the while i feel the skin separating off my fingertips. She does it and I tell her, "Put both your hands behind the 8-Ring, she does and as I see she is set, i let go...

I surf some 60 feet riding my toes and hands down the smooth slab, right foot low, heels down, left foot and right hand controlling my balance, my left guarding my face...

Right when the rope tightened, I popped up on to my feet and run the arc of my swing out... Karen was slammed, 8-ring into the draw on the belay, and I mean seriously she hung on! I don't think an inch slipped through as I was taking 15 foot strides to run out the swing. Best belay I ever had!

As my nerves were shot and my feet were blown up, we (I) limped out to our car... Me blubbering about her great catch... Of course years later she realized I wasn't such a great catch and threw me back...

On all my other slabs I was always too afraid to fall, but on that day I had been Keelhauled.

Muff just chuckled when we told him about it.

Trad climber
Dec 16, 2013 - 03:45pm PT
Yeah, Johntp, the hip belay was a good way to go. Duane saved me from the evil pit beneath the headwall with that quick-reel method once when I came off in a dumb spot.
I've never led Big Bite. Followed it once or twice. I recently mini-traxioned it when I was back there visiting. Modern rubber has made the moves easier but I would have to spend a lot of time getting dialed into the place to have any business with that one. You also have to take into account things like temperature and humidity which really influence how hard things are there.
It doesn't surprise me where Base fell. That climb isn't over until you get to the belay. In fact the top is the least secure spot for me.
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