Jan 4, 2011, 12:14 PM
Registered: Nov 14, 2002
Lots of good stories. Thanks for posting them!
I've only really fucked up once.
It was the end of a long day and I was leading the crux last pitch of Book of Solemnity. I was pretty zonked and it was a long and very difficult lead for me. I had never been on it before, and was hoping to onsight.
Adding to the complexity, I had two seconds I was planning to bring up, and I was leading on double ropes. So I was putting a lot of thought into where to put gear both to protect me, and also each of the two seconds. And if any of you have done the climb, you know there are some spots on the pitch that are very dangerous for the second.
(EDITED to add that in all the pictures, the second rope is removed for simplicity.)
Anyway, I had made it to the top, clean, and was tired but happy. I thought I had set everything up perfectly for both my seconds so they would be protected at the crux, and also at the top of the climb, where there's a very tricky move just to traverse over to the belay slab.
So up starts second number one. He gets to the crux and I realize that I've done something really stupid. Here was the situation:
I had extended myself ten feet down a steep slab from the anchors so as to be able to see over the lip and keep track of my seconds. The belay rope was going over five feet and up ten into a piece I had placed to protect the second for the final traverse move to the anchor. Well I'm sure you can see as well as I how dumb that seems. If the second were to fall anywhere on the pitch and that piece were to blow, the second would fall 20+ feet, plus rope stretch!
And, at the crux of the route, 50 feet below me, the second fell! The piece held, but I got really nervous. As the second was hanging on the rope, I decided I didn't care any more about being able to see him, I cared more about that 20 feet of slack in the rope if the piece were to blow. So I hiked myself up to near the piece, pulling in slack as I went.
Here's how it looked now:
My second continued to try the crux move, and fell several times. Each time the piece held. And then he fell and I heard the pop. There was a moment of slack and then I was flipped over backwards and dragged upside-down to the bottom of the slab.
He had only dropped the ten feet I'd been dragged down the slab, and fortunately it was steep below him, so he hadn't hit anything. But I felt like such an idiot. To endanger yourself, as a leader, is one thing. But to needlessly endanger your second like that is so much worse.
I sure as hell learned my lesson about directionals that day.
(This post was edited by cracklover on Jan 4, 2011, 12:20 PM)