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elepita


Jul 26, 2005, 1:07 AM
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The scariest runout...
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Last Saturday me and my boyfriend went to the mountains in the north of Spain to climb this beautiful limestone tower known as the Naranjo de Bulnes. It is in a really unique environment, in the middle of beautiful mountains and valleys. My boyfriend is an experienced leader and I have been climbing for around a year/year and a half, and leading trad since 3/4 months ago, my hardest trad lead has been a 5.8. Since we both donīt have a lot of experience on limestone, we decided to do the easiest route on the tower, which goes up to 5.8. We were going to switch leads, me leading the easier pitches. Somehow, we got confused with the topo (which does not look at all like the supertopo topos) and I ended up leading the 2 most difficult pitches. I led the first one and got a bit off route, had to downclimb a little, found my way, and it was fine. My boyfriend got a bit sketched out watching me, so he did not want me to lead any more, but he! I wanna push myself plus I donīt like being the little protected girlfriend. So it was my turn to lead again, and it looked kind of easy, so I took the rack and off I went. The beginning was fine, plenty of protection, 5.7 terrain. Then I made it to this piton, I clipped it and continued, from that point the climbing became a bit more difficult, with these weird organ like tubes everywhere. No cracks where to place pro, nothing. I started to see how that piton I had clipped was getting very far below me. I had never climbed a formation like that and I definitely could not downclimb it, so I kept climbing, placing my feet as solid as I could (good friction though!), there were no handholds, just weird organ like tubes to grab. I had my piece already 10 metres below me and nowhere to place anything else. I could already see the belay station 5/6 above me. I could hear my boyfriend below me telling me to breath, relax and keep on climbing. The climbing for me felt like 5.8+, taking into account my hardest lead has been a 5.8 on granite, 20 metres and I placed 15 pieces (yeah, you can laugh), that was really taking me a lot of effort, and I was trying so hard not to let me fear overtake me....There were a couple of guys at the belay station above me watching and encouraging me....I think they could see I was suffering. When I made it to the belay I was sweating blood, I started laughing but when I looked over the edge and I could not even see my last piece, which must have been 15 metres below, I felt like throwing up, thank god I did not fall!!! I have to say that now that I think about it, if anybody would have told me I had to lead that, I would have probably never even tried it. Now that I have done it, I feel like a different climber, like almost a different person.
Maybe this is not a 5.12 story or anything like that, maybe some of you just think...it was only 5.8...but for me and my 5.8 lead limit, it felt like a freaking 5.13, especially bc at one point I felt I was soloing!!
I am sure that you guys have stories like this one, a climb at your limit with unexpected poor pro, I would love to hear them!! and know as well what are your advices on what do to in this type of situations.
So bring it on, what was your scariest runout?? Cheers!


petsfed


Jul 26, 2005, 2:01 AM
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Well, there was that time I ran it out from anchor to anchor...

Right off hand, the scariest run outs were the ones that I had to run from the belay anchor up 20 or 30 feet to the first piece. Those always scared the bejesus out of me. One of those moments when you realize that if you fly, you AND your partner could be sunk.

Easily the scariest run out I've encountered was the Sidewalk and Cork Screw on Ancient Art in the Fisher Towers. Not terrifying because it was unprotected (the Sidewalk is just that, after all) but because the rock might come with the pro.


squish


Jul 26, 2005, 2:46 AM
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Awesome!

I sometimes wonder about these experiences. The physical difficulty often takes a back seat, and rational thought becomes the crux. But when it's over, it's totally eye-opening.

Every time I've worked through one of those experiences I feel like I've learned something powerful. I can't quite put my finger on it today, but it's a feeling like you've just conquered your own consciousness and it grows to include daily experience, not just climbing. It's like a realization that one's universe is all about perception. Rawr! I am master of perception! I rule the universe!

(Now that I spell it out, that really sounds like the ego talking. It probably is, and it's just taking credit where credit is due: "Ego consists of our conscious sense of self and world [..] executive branch of the mind which leads to action [..] provides the ability to adapt to reality.")

...Or something like that. In the end, I know that my ego can't dominate gravity, and really, it could have been much more serious. Capital-S Serious, even. But damn, it was cool!

I think my first, and thus probably scariest runout experience was on Local Boys Do Good, a 5.10 slab/dyke pitch in Squamish. I still haven't done the 5.11 second pitch so I can't say much about that, but working through that first pitch was a memorable experience.


elepita


Jul 26, 2005, 6:14 AM
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Come on guys! Only 2 stories so far? I cannot believe you donīt have any adrenaline stories to tell! Give me something :evil:


tradmanclimbs


Jul 26, 2005, 6:35 AM
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Sounds like you did a good job keeping your head together. fear does no good at all in those situations. You have to somehow stay calm and do the moves as easily as you would with gear at you knees. Most of my scarriest leadsa have been ice climbs. get up sixty meters with no gear and have your newbi partner have to simo climb another 10 meters before you can find ice thick enough to make belay :shock: that really sucks when you have to trust your life to a newb not falling. whenever I get skeched on rock i allwas proclaim " that was allmost as much fun as ice climbing" when I finaly get some decent gear in 8^)


flamer


Jul 26, 2005, 6:41 AM
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Last spring...

Red Rocks, Las vegas Neveda....First creek canyon, Lotta balls wall.....First ascent of "Lost Marbles" 5.9X 4 pitch's.

Good ole's "Scary" Larry Deangelo and I had decided to do somemore climbing together and Larry taold me he had an FA in mind with my name on it...whatever that means I'd thought to myself.
Well apparently somewhere along the line Larry had got it in his head that I was some kind of runout rope gun.
Now I'm not real afraid of runouts, I've done my fair share and know the name of the game. But this ended up being different. When we got to the base Larry pointed out the line, looked doable.
John was there as well and he put Larry on belay for the first pitch.
To avoid rambling I'll cut to the chase....When I arrived at the belay I started scoping the second pitch...which was to be my lead....and it looked scary as hell....When John arrived at the hanging belay, I informed him he would be belaying as I didn't want Larry's standard hip belay for this one.
So up I go into the unknown. The climbing was on the softest Red rocks, rock...the white sugary stuff with little black and red spots/balls(marbles?). First thing get gear! I manage to EQ to stoppers in some funky dikes right of the belay and clip on a screamer...John inform's we what he thinks of that gear, "no way that's going to hold"...I know thanks for clearing it up....
Up left onto a weird flake/horn thing...which I sling and use another screamer..."you sure that thing won't break off?" comes the reply to this dubious peice...While standing on this hunk'o hanging rock the outside edge breaks off and drops me 3 inches to the main body of the flake...I look at Larry who looks back with wide eyes...not good. Up I go sending small amounts of sand down on the belay as I move up....I find 1 more peice of gear...The worst yet...then there is nothing. The fall would have been around between 50 and 140 ft depending on if the bad gear god's shined on me...either way I would have hit the slab below...

The 3 peice's I had were all in the first 30 ft...then I climbed another 40 to a big ledge, great gear, and an easy crack leading to the 2nd belay of Lotta balls.

The rest of the climb was cruiser....

josh


skateman


Jul 26, 2005, 6:48 AM
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Funny you should ask about scary runouts. This past weekend My son and I did "Toecrack to Standard route" on Cathedral ledge. I led P1 & P2. He led the scary runout P3. You see, it was scary for both of us because I didn't want to see my son fall approx 30 feet and deck.

The guide book rates this pitch 5.7R I believe. I think you are supposed to exit the cave by chimneying up the corner. There were slings there to clip into every 10 feet or so. However, my son opted NOT to go this way. Instead he did some weird face climbing with no protection. (although it may have been possible to protect the crux with an orange TCU or small tricam, niether of which he had on him at the time) The route climbed like 5.8 for sure and had a strange mantle move to exit. Had he fallen while doing the mantle, he would have decked onto an enormous ledge from about 30 feet up.

After following his route, I said SHIT, I can't believe you just lead that! He proceeded to tell me about death grips and wobbly knees. We have certainly had longer runouts, but not on such heinous terrain. I wonder if anyone out there knows what the rating is of the variation he did?

Dan


elepita


Jul 26, 2005, 6:50 AM
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Thanks Josh! Yeah, that sandsotne in Red Rcoks can be quite dubious. Last March climbing there my boyfriend was leading an easy 5.6 and a big foothold broke under the weight of his left foot, he had a big handhold though, so nothing happened.

These stories make trying those difficult climbs at the gym way easier huh? haha! :D

Good job people, this is getting interesting, keep them coming!


elepita


Jul 26, 2005, 6:57 AM
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Dan, I think that is what happened to my boyfriend watching me climb 15 metres above my piece, I was the one who could not get sketched out, but he looked quite serious when he arrived at the belay behind me :-) Had I fallen, I really donīt know what would have happened. We had a similar situation at Rd Rocks, climbing tunnel vision, my boyfriend missed the tunnel and climbed the face (we did not know about a tunnel), which was full of liquen, it was pretty obvious that was not the correct route but he could nt retreat, so he just sucked it in.

Good for your son! I totally understand the death grips he was talking about. When I made it to the belay station, I grabbed the chains so hard that I almost melted them.


timl


Jul 26, 2005, 7:05 AM
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In reply to:
Funny you should ask about scary runouts. This past weekend My son and I did "Toecrack to Standard route" on Cathedral ledge. I led P1 & P2. He led the scary runout P3. You see, it was scary for both of us because I didn't want to see my son fall approx 30 feet and deck.

The guide book rates this pitch 5.7R I believe. I think you are supposed to exit the cave by chimneying up the corner. There were slings there to clip into every 10 feet or so. However, my son opted NOT to go this way. Instead he did some weird face climbing with no protection. (although it may have been possible to protect the crux with an orange TCU or small tricam, niether of which he had on him at the time) The route climbed like 5.8 for sure and had a strange mantle move to exit. Had he fallen while doing the mantle, he would have decked onto an enormous ledge from about 30 feet up.

After following his route, I said s---, I can't believe you just lead that! He proceeded to tell me about death grips and wobbly knees. We have certainly had longer runouts, but not on such heinous terrain. I wonder if anyone out there knows what the rating is of the variation he did?

Dan

I undertand your situation. So what do you do when your girlfriend or son has Elvis leg and is 15 meters above her last shitty pro...encourage the dragon or take the wheel and lead. Itīs different with a partner. If they get hurt, it is bad, but personally not as bad as if it is a significant other. I know it is a part of the learning process, and each beginning climber has to expereince it on there own and there climbing career will either stop because they decide the pursuit is to risky or be catipulted forward by the expereince. But when it is your girlfriend, when is it over the top?


far_east_climber


Jul 26, 2005, 7:14 AM
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Yours sounded particularly scary, especially because it sounded like it was on vertical or near-vertical rock (correct)? The scariest I've had is one of my first few trad leads... I could have probably put the number of times I'd climbed trad on one hand. I climbed a very shallow, wide crack at about 5.8 or .9... the gear was O.K. - I wasn't massively confident with my placements at the time, but confident enough. Anyway... this crack petered out into blank wall onto a face which I ended up having to climb for 30ft and then finsih off with a mantle over a bulge. Very scary at the time... I think I would be much better now... still not at ease though if I lead it again.

Good job though on that lead!

Any pics or info of the area?


fear


Jul 26, 2005, 7:14 AM
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One of the best and most difficult skills is learning to downclimb and bail off an otherwise unprotectable climb.

If you're comfortable "soloing" a runout pitch at your "leading" limit then so be it. Realize that after you're runout past a certain point, you're soloing, not leading.

Unplanned and unexpected death-runouts happen to everyone but should be rare and something to look back on and learn from. Maybe you missed certain placements or were too scared/pumped/etc... to get them.

Good job keeping your shit together just remember that going down if you can't find pro is sometimes the better choice...

-Fear


elepita


Jul 26, 2005, 7:22 AM
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I have downclimbed some times bc i did not see where to put pro and it was over my limit, but this time I donīt know what was pushing me upwards, I guess i was in a special state of mind that you donīt get every day. As I said before, if someone had told me in advance how that pitch was, I would have not led it. I will download some pics tonight and post them.


cchildre


Jul 26, 2005, 7:42 AM
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Hueco Tanks,
Bouldering heaven...but we decided to put up a line before we hit the boulders...a great way to have a good long day and not blow up working hard problems before lunch. So we hit the tree route, 2 pitches of 5.9. He would lead the first pitch and I might take the 2nd depending on the scene up there. So we rig an anchor, and he works up the slab section for the first 40 feet, placing a cam or two. Then it turns up into an awkward offwidth climb up about another 60-80 feet and turns over to a giant crack where normal people build the anchor. My partner ignored the anchor point, hopped onto the face, since the crack had grown to about 4 feet wide, no pro. Then he runs all the way up the slab/face section till the crack narrows up and then laces that up to the tree, which he barely gets, stretching our 70m rope tight. The upper slab section he ran out about 80-90 feet, and a fall would have decked him on the slab section below. I got anxious 2nding it. I was in total disbelief. He tells the story better than I but he said it was a 2ct diamond lead!


floridaputz


Jul 26, 2005, 7:49 AM
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What would a runout thread be without a Stone Mt NC story. I was leading the 3rd pitch of Dixie crystals 5.9 @ stone Mt. Everything is runout here so you must get that kind of head going to enjoy it. The book showed 1 bolt about 30-40 ft off the belay, with difficulties easing off to the next belay. I never saw the bolt, going 165ft to the next belay without any pro whatsoever ! About 10 feet from the anchor I lost my nerve a bit and got a little scared. I was thinking 300 ft fall on a slab NO THANKS !


tradmanclimbs


Jul 26, 2005, 8:27 AM
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I missed a bolt on a 5.8+ slab last week @ Rojers rock. First pitch of the matrix I was in a zone and cruising. i just noticed the bolt about 20 ft. below me and it was 20 ft to the anchors. not worth downclimbing. I kept it together pretty good and got in a #0 TCU with a screamer that kept the runout to 60 ft if the pice would have held? otherwise it would have been an 80ft runnout. Most likely groundfall as I was on the first pitch. Allmost as much fun as ice climbing 8^)


jman


Jul 26, 2005, 10:21 AM
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When I was first learning to trad climb at the Gunks, I jumped on a 5.5PG route. The first pitch went well, but on the second pitch I got off route and unknowingly ended up climbing the second pitch of a 5.9R. While leading it I remember thinking to myself "5.5 my ass, either that or I really suck." While going through the runout I looked down and saw my last piece of gear at least 25 feet below me and a small roof another 10 feet above me and hoped that there would be some place under it that would take some gear. I felt a little reassured that if I fell at least I wouldn't deck, it wouldn't feel good, but I'd probably be able to walk away from it. I made it up to the overhang, found a small crack and shoved a cam into it as fast as I could. At that point I felt myself getting scared, coming to grips with the reality of the situation that I was in and as I was picking up the rope to clip it into the cam my hand started to seriously shake and I fumbled the rope some before I got it clipped into place. After that I pulled the roof and got to easier climbing above.


oldrnotboldr


Jul 26, 2005, 11:09 AM
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There are two that come to mind.

The first is,I believe, Kor's Flake, Lumpy Ridge; Estes Park Colo. We were almost through the last main pitch and I was leading it.The main problem was the rain from the night which was still dripping down a small open book type crack. I had my right hand and right foot jammed in that crack in some muddy goo and my left side spread eagled out on fingertips. Just out of reach of my left hand was a nice jug. Even on tip toes the darn thing was still an inch or so away. On my next stretch to reach the jug my right foot slipped then caught again by the heel 10 feet lower, effectively flipping me upside down. Not a long fall, or serious my any means. Did lose a bit amount of skin sliding down. The slope is not quite vertical thus eliminating a free swinging fall. Since it was pretty easy up to that point (5.4??) I hadn't placed any pro and was only 15 feet above my belayer. What was scary was hanging upside down and looking at the prospect of falling further and past my belayer and looking down the 300-400 feet to the deck. The scary was not so much the added distance to fall as much as I knew it would a bouncing fall til the rope came tight and yanked me around to bounce some more.
I slowly righted myself, got really pissed, moved a bit to the right, and finished the darn thing without hesitating any longer than to find the next hold.

The second scary spot was in northern Ontario in an area called Robertsons Ridge. The funny thing is the route is only a 5.2 with the loose section fourth class. The problem is the fourth class section is a long (60 feet) section of loose choss. Loose to the point where no pro would stay. Constant down pressure was the only thing that seemed to work, kind of like climbing a big pile of eggs. This was a situation of "it sure looks different from up here". I kept envisioning starting a big slide down the 120 feet to the scree. wiping out my partners and everything in its way, with me rolling along with the rubble. One of those crummy routes you never do again.


Partner angry


Jul 26, 2005, 11:20 AM
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My scariest runout was on Mother #1 in Vedauwoo. I've taken runouts longer than this whole climb, and every move harder but this was the scariest.

It was my first couple months of climbing, and my second lead ever. I had a set of stoppers and 4 cams, the largest was a #3 friend. Mother #1 is a big easy offwidth, all my gear was too small. I managed to get a nut in near the start really deep, then the #3 a little higher. After that I kept climbing, shaking, thinking I was going to fall, scraping my tender little body up, about to give up and just fall (then realizing if I did, I'd hit the ground).

I eventually (it probably took an hour or longer) topped it out, ran up the easy slab and clipped the anchors. Afterwards, I thought about my family and (now long time former) girlfriend, I realized that I was only thinking about climbing (basically I soloed it, 2 pieces in the first 20 feet of a 70 foot route). It's one of those experiences that is good only if you survive the experience.


golsen


Jul 26, 2005, 7:38 PM
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only my opinion but......
try
the stoned oven with a 1990 topo. V+11+VS
or Hairy Pin 10+
Super Pin in the Needles
There are loads of good climbs out there!
Another one in LCC is Cornerstone, circa 1983 5.9 A1 or 5.11 by a free variation. Scarier than any of those previously mentioned.
Or climb some Quartz Mtn Routes in OK.

The whole thing is that routes with runouts represent the true rating at which you climb. It dont matter that you boulder 5.15, if runout 5.8's are beyond you, then you are a 5.7 climber. Reality Sucks huh...


vegastradguy


Jul 26, 2005, 7:55 PM
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In reply to:
Last spring...

Red Rocks, Las vegas Neveda....First creek canyon, Lotta balls wall.....First ascent of "Lost Marbles" 5.9X 4 pitch's.

yeah, i have to admit, i was glad you got that second pitch...i know that one would have been mine had we done that another day! the pro was complete shit, though...none of it would have held. the worst part was, it didnt really matter how good of a climber you were- you were completely at the mercy of the quality of rock on that one!

i have my own scary run-out story- strangely enough it also features Scary Larry DeAngelo. This one was last fall, a second attempt on a route we had tried once before but were turned back due to said run-out (which also happens to be the technical crux of the route!)- I wasnt feeling it and Larry had injured himself attempting the moves, so we we retreated.

Deep Space, 5.9 R
Upon our return, we gained our high point quickly and recovered all of my bail carabiners that we had used last time. The situation is like this. We're standing at the base of a large chimney, about four and a half feet wide, maybe a bit wider. About 40' above us, on the main wall of the cliff is what appears to be a nice crack. Now, the left (main wall) side of the chimney (when facing out) is that slick, glassy desert varnish. The right side is that sugary, flakey stuff. It is lacking enough features to be inspiring, and more or less involves one tricky move to gain a stem and then you have to stem up and out about 40' to gain the crack. The good news is that the higher you get, the easier it gets. The bad news is that the bottom of the chimney is a nice ledge- but you're going up and out, which means a fall from any sort of height would bounce you off the ledge and into the void below. Fun fun.

Larry put me on belay (with his hip, of course!) and I made the opening moves and then eventually gained what i thought was going to be the best crack in the world (it looked like a splitter from below) and it turned out to be...not so good. This really bummed me out, especially because i was stemming at almost full length and while the holds were good, looking out into the void below was really not helping. I put in a couple of decent pieces, and then climbed yet more 5.9 moves to gain the next belay. The crack was short- maybe 20' long, but i put in about 10 pieces- thats how freaked i was from the crux chimney below.

To top it off, the belay was a piece of shit- sitting on a ledge, clipped to a shitty rap sling below me and two tiny aliens, one about 3' from the rap, the other about 7'. (This was not due to lack of gear- i had plenty...just no place to put it!) Nice. So, Larry didnt have a free ride, either. And he had hurt himself doing these moves before!

After some interesting acrobatics, Larry cleared the worst of it and made it to belay without falling.

That's my scariest run-out story, but not my only one. I have a couple of others- coincidentally, almost all of them feature Scary Larry!


curt


Jul 26, 2005, 8:02 PM
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Re: The scariest runout... [In reply to]
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I've done a couple of routes in Toulumne with 5.10d moves 50 feet above the last 1/4 inch bolt. Yikes. I was young and stupid then. Now, I'm old and hopefully not quite so stupid. Haha.

Curt


james_climber


Jul 26, 2005, 8:34 PM
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Re: The scariest runout... [In reply to]
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My scariest runout's were last winter in potrero chico México.My climbing partner and i decided to climb a 10 pitch's route called ''land of free'' rated as 5.12a
I started with the first pitch it was about 5.11a with cold rock the second pitch was a really scary traverse with an old old rope making noises like it was breaking . the third pitch about 5.10d and from the 4 pitch it was worse starting 5.11- , 5.11+ and two 5.12
I remember telling my partner every belay station i hope the next pitch will be well bolted


karlbaba


Jul 26, 2005, 11:43 PM
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Re: The scariest runout... [In reply to]
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Was climbing Lucifer's Ledge to the Oasis on the Glacier Point Apron. No pro on the whole pitch and the topo is kinda vague. The whole stone looks the same with no clear worn lichen or line of least resistance. The Anchor is not visible. 5.9x

I climb 60 feet up from the belay to the right until I can see that the route actualyy goes to the left. Oy! I was sweating bullets as I laboriously downclimbed the thin slab back down to where I could head left. It was a long, long way but I had no choice.

When I finally completed the actual 100+ foot runout to the real belay, it turned out to be one fixed angle piton with no possibiltiy of other pro.

I think I swore I'd never go back, but, like an idiot, years later forgot how nasty it was and went back and rope soloed the whole 14 or so pitch affair and got benighted. There is a Trip report of that epic on my site at

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/LucifersLedgeSolo.html

for a worse solo epic see this one

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/...ton_Column_Solo.html

Peace

Karl


elepita


Jul 27, 2005, 12:10 AM
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Re: The scariest runout... [In reply to]
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Well, based on some of your stories, I mean, climbing or soloing routes rated X, arenīt you kind of looking for that dangerous ``runout situationīī? Not saying there is anything wrong with it, but you are kind of looking for it, right?

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