What's your longest fall climbing?


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 20 of total 152 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 19, 2004 - 06:00pm PT
I took a 40 or 50 footer last weekend -not sure exactly, but it was too long. My first piece of gear below me ripped after absorbing most of the shock, and I went upside down, bounced on my right shoulder and until the second piece held. Thankfully, I was completely unharmed -not even a scratch. It got me thinking about how quickly it all can end and second guessing myself a bit. My longest lead fall previously was only about 15-20 feet.

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2004 - 06:19pm PT
details, DETAILS!!!

what climb were you on?
how far off the deck?
was it a factor 2? (past your belayer?)


50 feet on gear is decent

Boulder climber
Feb 19, 2004 - 08:14pm PT
"I took a 40 or 50 footer last weekend" don't you know your not supposed to fall when your last piece is 20' below you!!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 19, 2004 - 08:31pm PT
30 feet, Footstool, Right Side, 5.8 my first leader fall.

I believe is must have been March of 1972. I remember leading up the lower part getting well off the ground. I clipped a fixed ring-angle that I thought must have been placed in ancient times (FA 1963 Clyde Deal, Steve Roper). As I moved up and in the corner it got harder and seemed more slick. I remember getting to a new, fixed, Chouinard angle, but I was so pumped out I couldn't clip it. I was sort of desparately pawing around, I even put my finger in the eye of the piton to try to get a better hold...

...at some point I remember sliding down the rock, the sound of the pitons clanging at my side, definitely a mind-dissociated-from-body experience. The tug of the rope, the gentle coming to a stop. I was head-up back-to-wall looking out over El Cap meadow. The birds were chirpping in the trees on the talus slope below, the sun was warm, a cool and gentle breeze blew. My partner was calling frantically, "Ed, are you ok?!" as I went through a mental check list of parts..."yeah I'm ok, can you lower me?" and down I went.

I probably was up 50' to 60' and fell 15' above that ancient old pin, the only one I had clipped. It held.

My partner had pretty badly burned hands and back. This was the day of "dynamic" hip belays. He was hurt a lot more then I. We packed everything up and went down to the clinic to get him cleaned up. I remember the young doe eyed nurse and my partner's compliance to her nursing...

Later that night after the evening libation, etc. durring a munchies run to the store I called my Mom, "... yeah it's great here... uh, you'll never guess what happened today, I took a 30' fall..." you have to be in quite a mental state to tell fess up to your Mom about something you'd normally understand is something she wouldn't want to hear about...

Trad climber
san francisco
Feb 19, 2004 - 08:44pm PT
I took a 60 foot fall on a 5.8 over in the Five Open Books (Caverens) after 14 months of no climbing rust build up and lack of sleep after my kid was born. Thought I'd be right where I was when I left off so was running it out a bit, plus had a piece pop --- uh oh. I listen to the gut a lot more closely now. Hard to really say how far, but I was over half way done with the second pitch and landed a little below the belay.

A piton backed up with a perfectly set #1 metolius broke the fall, which was on a smooth steep wall. I broke my rib though on the harness buckle and was out another 8 months.

Trad climber
Feb 19, 2004 - 09:55pm PT
40 footer off of Course And Buggy. Ripped 2 pieces. Unscathed thankfully. kinda of a rush.

Mountain climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2004 - 10:10pm PT
~40 feet ice climbing on the Rigid Designator. First hard lead of the season, flamed out at the top and greased out of my leash while placing a screw. Luckily I had reset my last screw placement back in a recessed pocket in the ice and the sling took most of the brunt of the fall. Screw held. Adze took a chunk out of my nose. No other damage. Hell of a scary ride with shart pointy things flying around. Re-led the pitch 30 minutes later to get my other tool back.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 20, 2004 - 01:00am PT
My long ones clock in at about 30-35 feet. It's about as hard to estimate fall distance as length of fish once caught or the length of your....

Well, just say it's easy to exaggerate.

The aid falls were clean. Fell on the groove pitch on the shield over 10 years ago and was caught by a rurp. Fell in 1981 trying to clean climb the stigma at the cookie and fell from above where the new anchor went in recently until 8 feet about the ground. One more ripped piece and I would be RIP too.

Upside down and backwards a few times on Middle Cathedral, DON'T climb to the side of your pieces with the rope between your legs!



Trad climber
san francisco
Feb 20, 2004 - 01:58am PT
agree that it's hard to tell how far, why sometimes it seems that my fall was closer to 100, no with 4-5 BEERs in me, maybe it was 200 feet. it is freaky to look up and see loops of rope uncoiling before they become taut . . . or maybe it's just freaky to think about it now.

As John Long said in some article i read, you don't see jesus when you fall, "that's a bunch of crap" I think was his line.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Marin Hot Tub Country
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2004 - 02:47am PT
It has been said that if you reduce the length of all falls and
run-outs described by campfire-spraying climbers by 50%,
you have a fairly accurate idea of what really went down...

Hardman Knott

Social climber
Feb 20, 2004 - 05:25am PT
I may be the single person in the history of Snake Dike to go really off route. I followed the wrong dike before the "friction crux", went to a manky old 1/4" bolt, thought I should turn left towards the dike and starting friction climbing some god awful (5.11 friction maybe? maybe worse?) smooth granite.

I get to within 5 feet of the dike, realize I am way off route when i see a single bolt 10 feet below me on the dike...and then the optional belay further down. Lots of rope, me in my 5 year old Boreal Ballets with hockey pucks for rubber, and a nasty fall to take.

A foot away from the dike, balancing on crystals, I stem out to the dike when my other foot skates. I take a huge cheesegrader fall, passing my belayer, leaving blood on the rock, and shredding my left side and hands.

I used to say it was a 40 foot fall. After returning last fall and climbing snake dike I realized that in fact the fall was on the order of 65 feet. My partner and I somehow missed the bolt that protects the traverse. Donīt ask me how we did it...wwe just did. Anyhow...a big fall...no big air....lots of lost skin.

Rock on

ps my fingerprints have littel blank spots because of this...

Social climber
An Oil Field
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2004 - 07:26am PT
I'm kind of locally famous for my whippers. The longest was around 100 feet. Conservatively. It was on a very run out slab route and it took all the skin off the pads of my hands and burned through the toes of a pair of EB's. I was airborne after that and finally bounced on my right thigh and ass cheek, removing most of the skin there. Duane Raleigh was belaying me and saved my ass by reeling in armloads of slack; preventing me from impacting a sea of big knobs which have since broken at least one leg.

What I was doing up there I have no idea. I had just started firing 5.10's. Duane had this sort of innocent idea that everyone was as good as him, and I thought I could do anything at the time. I was 19 or 20.

I seemed to take whippers on A1 and A2 as well. Just bookin' and jivin', backcleaning and not testing. I've taken a couple of funny ones like that. I never fell on a harder aid pitch.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2004 - 08:17am PT
My longest one was around 35 or 40 feet, but it should have only been like 15 feet max, but due to the fact I am a big dude..6'4" and like 210 lbs and my belayer weighed in at a soaking wet 145lbs or so, and like Ed the only method used to belay back then was the hip belay, well he sorta let me go the rest of the distance. I had just gotten out of the army, where I had learned how to climb Euro style, meaning chest harness only. It was on the Left Ski Track at Tahquitz at the step around move. This was in 76' and I really was a gumby of sorts. When I stopped falling I got back on the Right Ski Track and went back up and finished the route.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 20, 2004 - 09:48am PT
Mac- I've talked to at least 6 parties who got lost on Snake Dike right where you did.

Slab falls, I would have taken some 30-35 footers on the lower pitches of Hall of Mirrors on the apron but it's so low angle (lowest angle 5.11 in the world!) that I was able to (stupidly) grab the slings on my pro on the way down and turn a 35 footer into a 15 footer. The falls weren't too scary but the rubber lost got expensive.



B loop site 15
Feb 20, 2004 - 10:47am PT
I am not exactly sure how long the fall was but I went from about 10 feet below the top of the front of trash can rock to the ground. I blew a foot while I was clipping with a big arm load of rope out depite the fact I was 12 or so feet above my last piece. I went unhurt, but I smashed my belayer. Another good set of whippers was on Lost in America, I must have taken three 30 footers while trying to free climb, But it was so steep it was more fun than scary.

Social climber
Feb 20, 2004 - 11:09am PT
maybe 30 feet. with a nice swing too. but i took that fall over and over again. it was only scary the first couple of times.
Michael Golden

Mountain View, CA
Feb 20, 2004 - 12:05pm PT
My only significant fall was maybe 8 or 10 feet -- just long enough for me to have time to realize I was falling, look down at the ground, and realize I wasn't stopping quite as soon as I hoped I would.

I screamed rather loudly once that realization hit. I'm not really all that bold, I guess. Then the rope caught me and I whacked into the rock because the fall was a slight pendulum.

Afterwards I thought about the one cam that was keeping me off the ground, placed in nice soft Castle Rock State Park (CA) sandstone. I went back up to try and finish the climb -- this time placing a second cam next to the one that caught me, for a backup. It didn't help -- I still couldn't pull the crux move.


On the other hand, the bruises I collected that day from my fall were very manly.

Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 20, 2004 - 12:13pm PT
Hey Hardman...this sound familiar?

From the Snake Dike:
"My partner and I somehow missed the bolt that protects the traverse. Donīt ask me how we did it...wwe just did. Anyhow...a big fall...no big air...."

My longest are a 40 footer (aid pitch, Black Peeler Direct, pulled about 7 pieces and a bolt) and a 45 footer (west desert near Notch Peak, resulted in surgery but I didn't deck...).

Homey don't like fallin' no mo...only had a short daisy chain fall last year...knock on wood...

Brian in SLC
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Marin Hot Tub Country
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2004 - 01:23pm PT
Brian in SLC wrote:

Hey Hardman...this sound familiar?

From the Snake Dike:
"My partner and I somehow missed the bolt that protects the traverse. Donīt ask me how we did it...wwe just did. Anyhow...a big fall...no big air...."

You b*a*s*t*a*r*d!! Are you tryin' to FUCC-up my reputation as a heroic hardman?

I think you should tell the story. It would be interesting to hear it from your perspective.
Don't forget the rope diameter, the fact that it had never been fallen on,
the 2 arm-loads of slack taken in during my sprint--on the Munter-Hitch belay, ect

It was AT LEAST 40 feet! Was it Knott?

Hardman Knott

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Feb 20, 2004 - 02:01pm PT
Hiking by myself in the Escalante somewhere, I saw an alcove high on the sunny side that looked like it might have some ruins in it. The easiest climbing had some grim consequences, so I figured on a slightly harder line that would at least keep me from taking a really bad one. After about 40 feet of this sandstone slab soloing in my wet tevas, a foot slipped and I cheese-gratered down into a dish that saved me from a grounder 30' below. I was fine, except for ripping off a couple toenails and bloodying my finger pads trying to slow myself down. I got to finish my multiday hike through cowflop runoff with oozing, pussy (!) feet that hurt too much to put real shoes on.

Compared to this, the headfirst backdive off the Trip was nuthin'.
Messages 1 - 20 of total 152 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews