Monday, September 17, 2012

Check Yo Self (and your partner)

I was climbing with Erika tonight and she was nearing the top of a yellow 10.D when I noticed a couple of lead climbers next to us starting a pink 11.B. The guy was struggling with the start and I did think to myself that he probably shouldn't be leading the climb if he was having so much trouble. 
Erika finished up and I tied in but decided to wait until he got closer to the top. The two climbs overlapped slightly and as a general rule preference is given to lead climbers in case they fall. So they don't fall on you. 
I top rope- which means I'm tied into my rope which is strung across the top of my climb- so theoretically if I fall I shouldn't go too far. Lead climbing requires the climber to take the rope up with her and clip in along the way- more diligence from their partner in taking in and giving slack to the rope- and when they fall they drop twice below their last clip- 10-15 feet depending. 
So the climber is nearing the top and I decide to start my climb. I'm standing almost directly below him- slightly off to the right. The next thing I know I hear a yell, look up, and in slow motion see this guy falling off the wall. Except he doesn't catch. Just as he hits the mats his belay partner catches the rope and goes shooting halfway up the wall and the climber lands with the slightest of bounces. Everyone was fine.
True story. That's the wall.