/ Narrow escapes and bad decisions

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Duncan Bourne - on 31 Dec 2016
You know the sort of thing. "I'll just do this it will be fun" and then you are staring death in the face and promising never ever again to try Indian Face in trainers.
I remember once seeing a pair of climbers in Huntsman's Leap who pulled their ab ropes after abbing in. They were attempting to climb out via Honey Monster and the leader was having a slow time of it. By the time we topped out on Shape-up the belayer was up to his waist in water.
My own personal cock-ups are various but one that stands out wasn't even a proper climb. Finding myself alone in the Pass one day I decided that a scramble up onto Crib Gogh ridge would be good and I decided to go via the desent gully on Dinas Mot and then scramble up "easy" ground to the ridge above. Well the dsent gully was exciting in big boots but quite "do"able. On reaching the top of the crag I set off up over mixed rock and heather. It was wet and a bit loose but I reckoned that the angle would ease and it would get better. It didn't and after 25 mins I pulled on a seemingly solid block which shot down to the valley at an alarming pace. At this point I realised that I was stuck on a crumbling wet face of absolute choss that did not, as I had earlier thought, look likely to improve anytime soon. The face was loose shattered blocks of rock held on tenuously by equally loose heather. Water was running in rivulets down and through the cliff and practically every hold moved under me. I gradually retreated, taking over an hour to retrace my steps, carefully testing as I went and trying my damnedist not to shock load or add more weight on to a hold then was necessary.

So what is your "favourite" narrow escape?
abseil on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Soloing a route [I think a Severe] at Cheddar in winter, no-one else there, well above the deck, I grabbed the top of a giant spike/ pinnacle and swung round to the left on it, The spike/ pinnacle swung out to horizontal with me hanging on to the tip but miraculously didn't detach. I was left hanging in space on the end of it, feet flailing. A very rapid leap and udge to the left and I escaped and finished the route - heart pounding.
Kevin Woods - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
One from my early days, and will probably always will be the biggest close call: up the steep side of Beinn Narnain in early season winter conditions without an axe or crampons. 16 years old, first time out in winter, teetering up ice on fingertips, the hillside shooting off below, panicking, right on the verge of self control, followed by utter dread, imminent death, ploughing through on adrenaline and sitting on top having felt something very, very awful in my head. Not so much a bad decision, but a lack of making any solid decisions altogether.

There's being scared and there's being completely gripped. But then there's *that* - a feeling so far beyond anything else you should experience in life. I can't put it into words because I can't relate anything else to it, and it completely rocked me.
Post edited at 14:08
abseil on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Kevin Woods:

> ....Not so much a bad decision, but a lack of making any solid decisions altogether... There's being scared and there's being completely gripped... a feeling so far beyond anything else you should experience in life. I can't put it into words...

Been there done that, on at least 3 other occasions apart from at Cheddar - why do we do it? But of course I know the answer. (You did put it into words though, very well)
kevin stephens - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne: Soloing Gene Genie at Trowbarrow.
The previous week I had lopped off the very tip of my finger down to but not into the bone chopping firewood after returning from the pub. I bought a tubular bandage for it which came with a plastic thimble type applicator, I found that securely taping the applicator over the bandage added some extra protection.
Anyway back to Gene Genie. I was enjoying the climb until a solid finger crack about 2/3 up. My applicator opened up in the crack like a cavity wall fixture. I was wallplugged solid to the crag and couldn't move starting to get really pumped. Eventually after maybe 20 minutesI managed to tease out my finger from s wider part of the crack and made it to the top.
dmurray on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I've had incidents with worse consequences but the "F*ck I gonna die" narrow escape moment really sticks out

Isle of Skye, Sron na Ciche, started up CD ROM which was easy until we reached a sopping wet gully. So traversed out right to continue up Crembo Cracks (HVS 5a)
I was on lead and it was an ABSOLUTE F***ING NIGHTMARE. gear was shit and small, holds were soaking, a cloud engulfed me (lost sight of by belayer) and it started raining.
I was freaked, feeling I could come off any second and kept thinking "my last piece is a few metres below and is irrelevant. If I fall, hopefully I'll only smash an ankle. Then it'll be x abseils to the ground and normally a ~2hour hike to the campsite. and then however long a drive to a hospital. And we haven't got any phone signal. F***".

gained a psychological boost from the very dubious peg (second said it nearly snapped when he unclipped it), survived unscathed, bailed in the rain, and rewarded our lack of incident with a pub dinner
Lesson learnt: avoid serious mountain climbs in the wet

Kevster - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
I'm not sure favourite is correct:
Stood at the bottom of a choss fest with no gear watching a mate scketchily make the final tough moves 20m above rocks. Belayer was redundant pretty much from the moment of tie in.
Thankfully, we were lucky. It could have been so different.
Post edited at 15:27
Chris Craggs - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Bircheff-Williams (5.11b)

Started the route in the cool of the evening and it went dark on p5. We did one more pitch in total darkness with the aim of joining the Kor-Beck and abseiling down this.

On the 1st abb I ran out of rope so put a couple of cams in a crack and called Parky down, expecting to spend the night there. He found a chockstone which he threaded with our chalk-bag straps (in total 100% darkness) and set of down the next abb - finding a tree with slings.

And so it went on. Eventually we reach levelish ground, hoping we weren't on a ledge still high off the ground. We found the bags by touch then crawled through the woods back to the road and drove straight to the Mountain Bar. We ordered two big jugs of beer and were informed it was 10:55 and the bar would close in five mins - "make it four jugs then".

We must have been on the descent about 4 hours, of sheer terror.

Rigid Raider - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Nothing like as bad as the above but one incident that always sticks in my mind was the winter's day in 1980 I spent on the Aonach Eagach with a girl novice and a couple who were established members of the club who had organised the week, from a midlands town beginning with W. We started too late and the couple went off leaving me shepherding the novice, which required the utmost patience as conditions were snowy and icy and she was ill-equipped, frightened and slow. The couple disappeared into the distance without waiting for us and we found ourselves in gathering darkness on Sgorr nam Fiannaidh. "Time to get the torch out!" said I. "What torch?" she replied. The most obvious route seemed to be straight down the Clachaig gulley to the hotel, which we accomplished in a couple of slow, dry-mouth hours, me moving then shining the light for her to descend a few feet then repeating. Luckily my torch battery didn't give out. When eventually we made it to the bar well after 8pm the couple who had been in the bar since dusk showed no concern at our late arrival, merely laughing: "Oh, you should have gone on to the Pap and glissaded down from the col like we did."

Our narrow escape was getting down the Clachaig gulley in the dark safely and the bad decision was mine, out of unfamiliarity with the mountain.

I thought climbing clubs were about mutual support and encouragement and I was so disgusted at this cavalier treatment of a novice and a prospective new member that I binned my idea of ever joining the club.

fmck - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Climbing a mixed route with turf snowed but not frozen. Turf was the only protection and pretty much useless. Second pitch relied on pulling over a bulge on the turf above but was just ripping so down climbed to the belay. Explained the situation but my mate wanted to see for himself. As he set off I said to my second mate why he hadn't hammered in his tools into the turf to secure himself he replied " Is there any point" He was right as mine were next to useless. The leader shouted down it was pointless to continue and was now down climbing. As he did so we discussed options of getting off at this point the leader gave yell and flew by us. It all happened so fast but I was yanked off and sped down the granite. Suddenly I was stopped and assessing the situation realised our rope between us had crossed a shoulder of rock and held.
Once sorting ourselves out as we were practically at the bottom at this point. I shouted up to the belay to our third member of the party. He was no longer there! I suddenly realised as I was being yanked off the belay I instinctually grabbed the nearest thing. It being him and unfortunately I had taken him with me but he wasn't attached to anything. Including the rope.
We both looked down and near the basin was a figure lying in the snow. As we yelled down at him he sat up. He got up to our relief and started stamping up the slope. Then came the yell "McKie you F###### B######"

I've always felt a bit guilty for that one even though it was decades ago. Must of been quite a ride.
kermit_uk - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Never any real danger but silliest mistake ive made abbed first into dream of white horses this year however i was not planning on leading first so abbed in with zero gear on my harness!

Managed to wrap the end of the ab rope round a vague spike and hung on that whilst second came down. Avoided a very big prussik back up but it wasnt what i would describe as a bomber set up!

Added to the fun.
deacondeacon - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Kevin Woods, Kevin Stephens & Kevster:
I suppose one lesson to learn is never climb with anyone called Kevin ;)

Kevster - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to deacondeacon:

But we all survived! So maybe best people to climb with?
deacondeacon - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Kevster:

> But we all survived! So maybe best people to climb with?

Good point
Duncan Bourne - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

One narrow escape I was not aware of until after it had happened was one time when I was new to climbing and seconding Bachelor's Left-hand HVS on Hen Cloud. I popped off on the crux traverse from the first crack to the second crack and to my utter surprise found my feet brushing the grass below! It transpired that my leader (who had cruised it) had been a bit lax in setting up the belay with a considerable amount of slack in the system and had been pulled off the stance at the top. thankfully he had held the rope but was now dangling several feet below where he had set up.
danm on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to abseil:

Your tale has an eerily similar ring to my closest brush with the reaper when climbing. I was soloing Wrinkle in the Pass. This was in my youth, and having split up with my girlfriend I was "getting over it" by getting stoned and going soloing. Yeah, I know, as dumb as can be. High up, I pulled on the end of one of the weird hexagonal pipes which give the route its name. It smartly pivoted out and away from the rock face, with me still attached, but somehow remained in situ. I gently swung back in to the land of the living, by now suddenly sober as a judge. I gave up soloing for a while and never climbed after imbibing "the chronic" ever again after that.
thlcr1 on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I can think of few, but this is perhaps my "favourite". Was soloing in Cwm Glas in winter. Started up Sargents Gully which is one of my favourite easy ice climbs and was in great condition. Then did the first two pitches is Sinister Gully, but backed of the crux of that as it wasn't in great condition. So traveresed right to get to base of left hand parsley fern wich was in excellent nick. Full of adrenaline I decided to descend right hand parsley fern. A few feet down the Gully I recalled the amusing description from the guide book " a fast descent for the competent even faster for the incompetent ". Laughing to myself I thought " rubbish I bet you could do an ice axe break even if you slipped". In a sudden fit of over confidence the idea pooped tnto my head "let's find out" and jumped off! In short no you can't. Fortunately the axe didn't rip out of my hands I stayed pointing feet first and didn't hit the sides but fell the entire 900 foot at a great rate of knots. I can still close my eyes and see the Gully walls rushing past like a rear view camera in a bob sleigh. I'd have got away with it, but to compound my stupidity I had my ice hammer on a leash to my left hand which proceeded to batter me around the head the whole way down. When I stopped I was treated to the sight of a large pool of blood spreading into the snow from a large cut above my eye. I managed to patch myself up with a dressing and bandage and realised it was now dark and there was nobody else in the Cwm (mobiles not yet invented) so nothing for it but to set of down. It was a long wobbly and painfully walk back to car with several stops to throw up. Then drove myself to Bangor hospital where they put several stiches in my head, kept me in over night for concussion and gave me severe bollocking for driving the car in that state.

In short the guide book was correct, a very fast descent for the incompetent!

Mark Harding - on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to kevin stephens:

> The previous week I had lopped off the very tip of my finger down to but not into the bone chopping firewood after returning from the pub. I bought a tubular bandage for it which came with a plastic thimble type applicator, I found that securely taping the applicator over the bandage added some extra protection.

Hi Kev, I remember the wood chopping incident well but wasn’t aware of the subsequent “rawlplugging” .. . An excellent story, you didn’t mention that you presented the very tip of your finger on a plate for everyone to look at ... it looked like a red Smartie!
Lion Bakes on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Remote valley in the Himalaya. I'd ascended solo a 5,600m peak via the normal route. So no great height in context. Decided I wanted to traverse peak. So continued over and started quite a technical descent. Mist descended as I came down the mountain. Eventually found myself on loose scree about 20ft above a big cliff with the sound of a raging river below. Managed to reverse up sliding scree and rocks and find my way back to the top and down route I'd ascended. Still have scars on arms from almost 20 years ago of that escape.

abseil on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to danm:

> Your tale has an eerily similar ring to my closest brush with the reaper... soloing Wrinkle in the Pass... pulled on the end of one of the weird hexagonal pipes... It smartly pivoted out and away from the rock face, with me still attached, but somehow remained in situ...

Eerily similar is right. You and me, danm, you and me... Still alive, still alive. Wishing safe climbing always to you.
NigeR on 31 Dec 2016
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

In the late 70's I was hitching out of Capel Curig heading for Llanberis. A battered van pulled up and offered me a lift.

As the scenery flashed by in a terrifying blur, I suddenly started to realise who's van I'd stupidly got into.

Barely 10 minutes later I staggered out of the van in Llanberis high street with an arse that was still twitching a week later.

The driver of the van...Al Harris.
Toby_W on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Unknown route in Avon gorge. Only clipped in to two rusty pegs on the belay ledge, partner went off the wrong way, got pumped dropped off onto me, WAIT, THIS WILL BE A FACTOR TWO FALL. Next thing I know I'm hanging upside down looking down at him. I regain the belay ledge to find one peg had sheared off and we'd both been hanging off the other rusty peg. A few weeks later the whole ledge collapsed. 3 points from now on and get that first bit of gear in!



Michael Gordon - on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Some quality stories on here, and surprisingly amusing! What a great thread.
NigeR on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to NigeR:

> In the late 70's I was hitching out of Capel Curig heading for Llanberis. A battered van pulled up and offered me a lift.

> As the scenery flashed by in a terrifying blur, I suddenly started to realise who's van I'd stupidly got into.

> Barely 10 minutes later I staggered out of the van in Llanberis high street with an arse that was still twitching a week later.

> The driver of the van...Al Harris.

Out of curiosity, why 3 dislikes?
Andy Clarke - on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Annual club trip to the Alps. A largish party had already had to retreat from the traverse of Piz Palu a few days previously due to bad weather. Now a smaller and more reckless party was back for a second attempt, determinedly ignoring all negative aspects of the forecast. It'll be fine. Half way across the snow started. No point in retreating, so press on regardless. Ah, so this is what a proper white-out looks like. I was in front, with my partner roped to me about 10 metres back. A second pair were following. Shuffling slowly forward, it was impossible to tell sky from ridge, which was building so rapidly to a knife-edge of snow that I was stamping it down three times with my right foot and once with my left, each tentative step, trying to level out a thin path. Suddenly I stepped onto air, lost my footing and started sliding down. Amazingly, I managed to ice axe arrest within a couple of seconds, before attaining escape velocity and dragging us both into space and the next world. Luckily, visibility was so bad and ropework so slack that partner remained completely oblivious. Who'd have thought those jokey sessions sliding down snow banks head first on your arse would actually pay off!
gethin_allen on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I was up in North Wales one winter climbing Snowdon in fairly good winter conditions with some friends who were pissing my off by faffing about wasting time so ridiculously. After a while I just decided that as they were never going to make it anywhere near the summit before dark I would just nip up to the top and back on my own.
I climbed for a while until the fog clouds came down and the wind was picking up a lot and I decided to back off. On the way down I lost the path in the cloud and snow so was just picking my way down a random route somewhere between the miners and pyg tracks. I reached a small 6 foot step down and while sidestepping down with my axe in the wrong hand I wobbled, stuck my left crampon in my right calf and getting it caught in my gaters wobbled a bit more then fell headfirst down the 6 foot drop onto my back and then slid headfirst on my back over another 6 foot ish drop landing on my back again on a load of jagged rock with a light snow dusting.
This was absolutely terrifying as I had no idea how far I was going to fall or what I'd fall on. Luckily it was only 6 foot and I had a bag with some spare clothes in it to cushion my fall a bit so all I ended up with was a cut calf and a suspected broken rib (the doc didn't bother sending me to have an x-ray as he said there's little they could do anyhow. It could have been very different as i wasn't wearing a helmet and nobody had any idea where I was.
gethin_allen on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to NigeR:

Before properly clocking the date I initially thought you were going to say it was a certain Mr Dawes but, he would have been about 15 in the late 70s I guess
john arran - on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

> Before properly clocking the date I initially thought you were going to say it was a certain Mr Dawes but, he would have been about 15 in the late 70s I guess

Not sure that makes it much less credible ;-)
Gary Gibson - on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne: fell off the top of Moat Buttress in Water cum Jolly trying to find an easy way down: just found the quickest. Fell about 70ft and hit the banking with a thud, hence the route name No Mud, No Thud. Oh, by the way, there was no Moat at the time!

mountain.martin - on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

30 years ago, within my first year of climbing I fell off the top of agrophobia at Symonds yat, due to the finishing holds being covered in loose soil and leaves. It was graded hvs at the time, now reckoned to be a hard e1. As a novice my gear placements weren't very good, so I went the full height of the crag, probably only 40ft but enough to seriously injure me, or worse, luckily to touch the ground on rope stretch before being held by my partner who ended up above me with only a rock 3 between us. My closet escape, by far, in over 30 years of climbing.
Mark Kemball - on 01 Jan 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

Yes, a trip from Manchester to the Roaches with a young and reckless Jonny driving has to be one of my more frightening climbing related experiences.
fatboyslimfast - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Symonds yate, hole in the wall soloing must of been '85. Right at the top and I'm holding on to two big jugs. My right one snaps causing me to swing onto my left and both feet come off and I spin around to face the valley. How I remained in contact I don't know but pulling back on and getting off the top were interesting to say the least.
moac - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to danm:

Wrinkle, yes I was thinking of mentioning my tale about Wrinkle but you got there before me. I'd not been climbing long and decided to lead Wrinkle, it was unlike anything I'd climbed before and the protection seemed very sparse on the fluted pitch. The hollow flutes felt very suspect and I was one relieved soul to get to the top of that one. It was graded HD in the early 70s but it seemed much harder and was amazingly intimidating for me.
eroica64 - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Hardd (E2 5c) Led Hardd up to belay and used first peg by belay ledge as a final runner and second peg at belay ledge as, well, a belay. Up comes my doughty second who gets on to the difficult traverse and falls off, with a swing. (Insert leader running belay failure here.) The shock of the fall snaps the belay peg and I'm pulled off the ledge with both of us now hanging from the running belay piton, and swinging in space. My second cottons on quickly and says carefully and loudly to me; "Don't let go of the rope!"

Which gets me realising what's happened and I lower him to the ground and then lower myself. I learnt a lesson about not trusting old pegs that day.
Hugh Janus - on 02 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
(Zero Hour HVS 5b - St.Govan's Head)

After a little bit of the tricky start skirting around the roof, I headed up the main groove without much incident. About 6 feet below the top I thought I'd put in a largish wire behind a large flake which I was holding as I hadn't placed anything for about 10 feet. As I moved up to top out I felt this slight pressure against my leg. "That's strange" I thought and looked down. The hole flake was resting gently against my legs and dust, debris and my wire were skittling down the cliff towards my brother who was belaying. "Bollocks I thought, what am I going to do?" I knew as soon as I moved the flake would go, so I shouted "Below! Get the f*ck out of the way!" and scrambled with legs and arms flailing for the top, hoping for all sorts of things! That the rock fall wouldn't catch the rope and drag me off, that the brother wouldn't drag me off whilst running for cover and of course, that what was about a quarter of a ton of rock wasn't going to hit my brother. Luckily none of that happened. My brother is a pretty switched on guy who ran under the roof whilst paying out rope, knowing I would need it. The rock landed where he was previously standing! Also, very luckily, it just missed the ropes. A lucky escape for both of us!
Post edited at 22:42
Toerag - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Seacliff new routing on a small arete in the back of a gully, my second arrives at the belay, we coil the ropes then decide to scramble up & out instead of down as it looks easier - 5 minutes and 30ft higher we're 80ft above the boulders in the gully on steep soft earth kicking steps and punching/excavating holes for hands with no prospect of rescue or descent. We topped out OK, but everytime I walk down the ridge past the slope I look at it and amaze myself at the ridiculousness of the ground we climbed.
jkarran - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> So what is your "favourite" narrow escape?

For reasons I forget my partner and I split up at sea level after climbing or exploring, again I forget a huge, loose headland on the Isle of Man called Bradda. Out of sight and earshot of all but a few gulls and seals on confusing 3d terrain I'd yet to learn I picked a likely looking set of ramps to a gully of ferns, the odd block and rampant orange montbretia. As I climbed into the ever steepening and narrowing gully the ground crumbled beneath my feet and between my fingers like wet snow; sandy soil, boulders, plants and biting insects tumbled out of sight toward the rocks and sea far below. Armpit deep in loose wet plants, drenched in terror, very alone and far past the point of being able to stomach a retreat over the loosened ground below I eventually summoned the courage to crawl over the final bramble cornice only to find the usually unflappable Doug sat ashen faced in a hollow out of the wind having endured a similar, if not worse ascent on the rotting rock I'd presumably rejected. Bad decisions all round that day.

I'll also add falling into a narrow zawn/cave with a big sea running to the list of things I'd prefer not to repeat.
Post edited at 14:31
Rog Wilko on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Had just completed a leisurely ascent of Palavar-les-flots at Ailfroide with Mrs Wilko. In those days we had two 45 metre ropes. This was pretty normal at that time. For the 5 or 6 stage ab piste down the front face of the crag the guidebook said you could manage with that. When arriving at one of the ab stations, a hanging “stance” on a totally sheer wall with nothing to stand on I realised that I was only reaching the chain on the rope stretch, which gave some food for thought. The prospect of the two of us marooned in such a position with the ends of the ropes out of reach on an unclimbable wall of sheer rock was not pleasant. Somehow with prussiks and things we managed to keep a hold on the end of the rope we needed to pull down and so managed to avoid that scenario and reached the foot of the ab piste still gibbering. Now Mrs Wilko is a tough cookie and probably is less prone to lachrymosity than I am, but as her feet touched the ground she burst into the biggest flood of tears I’d ever witnessed.
petellis - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> So what is your "favourite" narrow escape?

Skiing the mer de glace in full whiteout conditions and advancing dusk, I'd only been skiing less than 3 weeks... Hats off to a person with a steady head that made most of the navigation/avalanche decisions. I was too busy falling over to be much help, blindly heading cross slope and it switching to windslab without realising the aspect had changed whilst all the time being hemmed in by crevasses must have been a tricky brief.

That I have seen happen: My sister clipping one (of two ends running round a tree) side of the ab-rope and leaning back...
Denzil - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne: winter climbing in Glen Coe in the early 90's. We started late on Rev Ted's Gully out of Lost Valley, and let a pair overtake us half way up who had been moving faster than us. They were so slow on the final pitch that by the time Chris started to lead the pitch it was dark and snowing. Steady progress, then everything came to a total stop. No response to tugs on the rope, and the wind was such that I couldn't hear any shouts from her. Eventually I put a prussik on the rope and started soloing. I got to a spot where the rope had jammed on a big chockstone so once I had released it Chris was able to take in the rope. Found her on a steep snow slope having only been able to dig a seat in the snow and plant her feet. We soloed the final section, then had to find our way down the zigzags with virtually zero visibility and no footsteps to follow. Neither of us had used it as a descent route before... Back at the Clachaig, it's the only time I've walked into a pub still wearing harness and helmet for a pint. Mates had been within a few minutes of a callout to the local rescue team.

harold walmsley - on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I know there are many times when I have had the prolonged "oh shit what the hell am I doing here, I'm stuffed" feeling but somehow my memory has erased all but the feelings of horror and I couldn't quote chapter and verse. The things I remember in more detail are those when something suddenly happened that was very nearly serious but I got away with it. The three that stick in my mind are:

Once I soloed Diagonal on the Mot. I was worried about the crux but it went OK. I hadn't done the top pitch before but the grade suggested no worries. At one point you transfer from one groove to another. There was an obvious chockstone. It looked sound and well used so I just grabbed it. The top rotated an inch or two. I thought it was coming right out and I was gone but it stuck again. I later read/heard that it was known to do this.

Another time I was soloing Pyramid Gully on the Black Ladders. The ice was good and there was a line of slots already present. I was feeling confident and just placed the tips of my tools in the slots with no force. At one point as I moved up quite high on a placement it slid out. I barn-doored about the remaining placement then swung back in. Heart pounding I hammered in every placement after that.

I had always wanted to do Heavens Door on Stackpole. Got down there on the first day after the bird ban one year and did it on a hot August day. Feeling euphoric went to hold my mates rope on an E1 on Gun Cliff. Lay flat on my back on a rock platform looking up and holding the rope. He failed at a bulge. I went up and did it but when I got hold of the next break a TV -sized section came away with both my hands on it. There was a runner not far down so I was OK but the block hit the rock platform just where I had been lying dreamily on my back. Fortunately my mate was more sensible and was belaying standing up to one side.
radar on 03 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Late 80s, first year at Uni in Lancaster and first attempted E1 lead, Plastic Iceberg in Warton Main. All was going well, set off from the stance halfway up and a Hawker Hunter (with Soviet markings) closely tailed by a Tornado flew alarmingly low over us. Warton Main, not being known for being the most solid of crags, started to deposit itself on our heads, the very low flying jets triggering this disintegration. Bade a very hasty retreat from a dodgy peg at the stance.
Mark Haward - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to mountain.martin:

Hey, I did exactly the same on exactly the same route also about 30 years ago. Feeling cocky, climbing well, not paying too much attention to gear because I was climbing too fast, not noticing my belayer standing too far from the base of the crag, looking forward to a pub meal. I was an invincible 20 year old climber - who didn't know what he didn't know! Then the horrible moment of both hands over the top slowly sliding on the ball bearing sand and gravel - slapping like a cartoon character on the edge of the cliff, toppling oh so slowly backwards.
Gear pulled out, I hit the ground from the top. Fractured ribs, punctured lung, abdominal injuries including bladder, spleen and kidneys. I remember coming round looking up at loads of concerned and friendly climbers who wanted to help. Ironically, I had just completed a mountain rescue first aid course the week before - and was the only first aider around. So I self examined, noticed my abdomen was as hard as plywood ( which believe me is not its natural state! ) and, with no other apparent injuries I less than politely suggested to the onlookers that we shouldn't wait for an ambulance (who thought they couldn't even arrive at the scene for at least an hour) but that they could help me get to the road as fast as possible.
A painful recovery, a lot of lessons learned. I still don't know what I don't know - but I make lots of effort to learn from those with expertise and professionals, observe and sometimes learn from other climbers including those in other regions / countries, read a wide variety of climbing texts and practise. Above all else, still love all aspects of climbing with even more enthusiasm than before.
SenzuBean - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

We had an extra day while on a tramping trip in New Zealand, so decided to do a peak - Mt Harper. It's 2222m tall and would be classed as alpine (because of how far South it is. It's right next to a large hanging glacier too). I thought we could just follow the ridge to the summit, descend via a col to a track by a river. But actually we ended up soloing an alpine rock route in summer, with almost no equipment. Loads of loose rock (I'd rather have climbed a pile of biscuits), and at one very steep part above a convex slope, not far the from summit, in a sea of scree, nothing secure - I had one totally loose handhold, and was reaching for another. The second hold pulled out entirely - releasing a conveyer belt of scree. The scree inexorably slid down pulling rocks down - all on top of my head, all I could do was shout "Ah f*£k... F(&K!... F(*&£^^£^£&KKK!!!!!). One of the bigger blocks hit me square on the head. I've been punched in the face before and lost consciousness, and this was not much of a weaker hit if at all. If I had lost consciousness, I almost certainly would've been found at the valley floor... I started feeling very faint immediately after being struck, and blood was pouring vigorously out of my head. I had a feeling of impending doom, that this was it - I would die here. Somehow the thought wasn't troubling - just "so soon?", "like this?". I still only had a handhold that was really just a rock sitting in the scree rather than actually being attached to anything. We had a PLB which we could've used, but luckily my wound stopped bleeding, and we were able to get to safety eventually (the rest of the day was an epic in itself)
I'm still ashamed of the atrocious decisions I made that day.

My profile photo is of the summit - all that black stuff on my face that looks like a shadow? Yeah not a shadow. ;)
ANdrew123 - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Here's a lucky escape. Two days ago i was doing some indoor leading on with a 30m rope my brother, who's away, gave to me. I'd done 3-4 4/5 routes and the went round to the other-side of the wall to do an overhanging 5+ route. It was all going well until the second to last clip and i don't know what happend but the next thing i know im surrounded by wall staff holding me down and reassuring me with a thumping pain in my pelvis, back of the head and right ankle. I didn't know the date, what GCSE's im doing or most of my teachers names. I asked while on the floor and apparently i fell 8.5 meres straight down without the rope holding me at any point. Later in the ambulance i was able to piece together what happend. I couldn't and still can't remember falling of but i do remember seeing the wall flash by and the instant after hitting the ground. I initially thought the rope stretch meant i hit the ground but the pain and the fact i was lying on my back made me realize i'd just fallen of and hit the ground. After being rushed to hospital and being assessed by the major trauma unit i was releases yesterday morning after being x-rayed to show no fractures. I was very lucky to have only sustained concussion and a badly sprained ankle as well as badly bruised pelvis, especially as i landed almost perpendicular to the ground. One to remember, and hopefully not to be repeated.
neilh - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
Ist year at Sheffiled Uni ( my only year I asten to add) there was a New Years eve meet at their hut on Helvellyn, Ruthwaite Lodge.This was in about 1979.

After family Christmas I caught the bus from Manchester to Keswick which stopped off at The Travellers Rest outside Grasmere. From there you could walk up and over the hills to where the Hut was. It was 11 pm, and whiteout and blizzrd conditions. like an idiot I set off up the hill. Got completley lost knee deep in snow and ened up having to bivvy with crap gear. Blizzard eased off in the early morning and carried on to reach the hut.Realised thta nobody had a clue I was walking over and I was a bit lucky ( understatement). I got a snow shovel at the annual dinner "awards".

Abbing down to do T Rex at Gogarth in the early 80's. Rock too greasy. Bailed out only to find the tide was in and we had to swim across the zawn and then climb out as we had not left in place an abb rope.The sea was a bit rough.Very exciting.

Doing a route on Tryfan, the one with Knights move, when my partner fell off and had a head injury ( before helmets became reaaly poular to wear ). It was mid week, nobody else around at all. I was on the belay about to leave my mate to get MRT with blood coming from his ear and about to abb down 2 pitches. When a school party led by a guide passed walking along Heather Herrace. The instructor called up a helicopter ( he was in MRT).helicopter whisked him off the belay under instructions from me to get him to hospital fast and i would make my own way down. Another 40 minutes and he would have been dead from heamoraging.There but for the grace of god.
Post edited at 13:39
discosucks - on 04 Jan 2017
I had a really sketchy moment while doing a rope access exam a few years about .

while doing an I beam traverse I someone managed to allow my self to end up on one point of connection .

I didn't notice it and when i came to a junction in the I beam where it meant removing that point to connect to another one I almost disconnected my self totally . Luckily at the last moment I came around to my self an noticed what a dope I was being
(It had been a long week of jamming up ropes and tricky rope work ).

I quickly attached via two points again and passed the test with out a mark and and saved my self a 10 meter fall onto my tail bone .

I'm still not sure how it happened as i was being super careful but my only guess is i didn't screw up the gate on of the crabs and while i was moving along the beam it somehow managed to open .

Another hearth in mouth moment was when I climbed a route called ''muck on top '' in sligo ireland . Once at the top I built my belay and connected to it as for out of reach ( clove hitched to my loop ) . Now up untill then i was a bit silly and sometimes didn't tie the clove hitch till i got a close to the edge and had roughly enough rope paid out . but this time after watching a video on this method i decided to do the right thing and hitch in right away . Needless to say when i got about 2 feet away from the edge I slipped on the ''muck on top'' in my climbing shoes and fell towards the edge . The clove hitch did its job and instantly closed saving my bacon . I pretty sure i had shouted safe at this point too it would have probably meant a full on fall to the ground .
discosucks - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to ANdrew123:

What had happened then? did you miss a clip or something?
Michael Gordon - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to ANdrew123:

Sounds as though you're still unsure of exactly what happened. Surely your belayer should have a good idea from having watched you lead the climb? Alternatively, if they can't tell you and you hadn't climbed with them before, I would perhaps be suspicious.
jkarran - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to ANdrew123:

Take it easy for a few days with that concussion or you'll regret it later.
Andy Say - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Trod on an electric railway line in the Chamonix valley some years ago. I learned:
a. Not to do it again
b. Climbing is not necessarily the most dangerous thing you do
c. 10,000 volts makes your pupils dilate.

petellis - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to discosucks:

> What had happened then? did you miss a clip or something?

I think the clue is here... "doing some indoor leading on with a 30m rope my brother, who's away,"....

He forgot the belayer... silly mistake, it can happen to anyone...
Timmd on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> Sounds as though you're still unsure of exactly what happened. Surely your belayer should have a good idea from having watched you lead the climb? Alternatively, if they can't tell you and you hadn't climbed with them before, I would perhaps be suspicious.

Yes. Assuming Andrew clipped in correctly all the way up and he was tied in correctly and the rope didn't break, it could be something the belayer did if there's nothing wrong with any of the wall fittings.

I don't suppose hi belayer will do it again though..?
Post edited at 15:48
Kean - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Did a winter ascent in the Dolomites. Roped, ice axe, crampons, pitched, but fairly easy. On the way up, I had slackened off a knot on a sling with the intention of using it, but then changed my mind. On the descent, we had to abseil from a spike of rock. I put said sling round spike without re-tightening or checking aforementioned knot, clipped into it, and leaned back in preparation for dropping rope down face, which was just a short distance down the snow slope from the spike. Suddenly I was airborne, and just as suddenly I landed, in perfect balance, in the snow right on the lip of the drop off. A jump of about a metre. The loosened knot had given way. Very shaken. Hadn't smoked for about 5 years but sat down and had a cigarette after the abseil.

Did Cevedale in the Stelvio range in Italy with my then girlfriend, now wife. A roped walk up a crevassed glacier. We were walking down a steepening crest from a subsidiary peak, me in front, her following. There was a 100m drop to our left down to the glacier floor. Just in front of me I encountered a rather oddly sited crevasse across the ridge which required a long step to cross it. I stepped over, alerted my g/f and walked on. Just as she placed her foot near the crevasse the edge crumbled slightly causing her to lose her balance and I watched as she stumbled and fell to her left and onto her back and started careening down the slope. I plunged my ice axe, dropped onto it and "braced for impact", thinking "This is it! This ain't gonna hold". But there was no impact. I looked up to see she had dropped into the same crevasse up to her waist and wedged. It had curved round a few metres below the ridge, just enough to block her slide. I set up a belay & she was able to climb back up, shocked to the point of tears but otherwise OK.

"Keep 'em coming"...
ANdrew123 - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to discosucks Micheal Gordon:

My dad (the belayer) dosent know and neither do I. He's been belaying and climbing with me and my brother on top rope and lead as long as i can remember so a good 15 years. We think he misinterpreted me and thought i'd clipped in. He did say he wasn't looking but its not like he hardly ever looks to check what im doing when im climbing. I think i was clipping in when i fell off but im not really sure. I vaguely remember stepping down but whether that was as i was falling off or not i don't know. We've both been playing it over in our minds and neither of us have no idea as to how it happend. The head of the climbing wall said to not worry about it and said it was one of them one in a hundred things. And hes a climber himself so ive taken his word for it and left it at that.
ANdrew123 - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to petellis:

Very drole
ANdrew123 - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Timmd:

Yeah, i think he was momentarily distracted meaning that he didn't have a chance to move away from the wall and take in the slack which he would have done and i have seen him do when belaying. From the climbing centres point of view we haven't done anything wrong and we've even been given 5 free climbs each. We were talking to the manger yesterday because we went in to say thank you for getting the ambulance etc and his main concern was 1) making sure my dad wasn't being to hard on himself, these things happen. 2) we we arent put off climbing for life
john arran - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to ANdrew123:

It's right that you're trying to figure out what could have gone wrong so you can help make sure it doesn't happen again. One important factor is whether any of the quickdraws you'd clipped had unclipped itself, the rope coming out of the quickdraw before or during the fall. Very rarely this could happen even if it was clipped perfectly but if the rope was back-clipped or twisted in the quickdraw it could easily become much more likely. Obviously another factor is whether the rope was still properly attached to your harness after the fall. Also possible, if you were using a grigri, is that the rope was inserted the wrong way in the gri gri by mistake and so didn't lock when loaded; this can - and does! - happen to anyone, so I always advise when starting to belay a leader each time, to give a quick tug on the leader's rope as it comes out of the grigri, just to make physically sure it locks up.
Hugh Janus - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to john arran:

"Z-clipping" can also lead to some spectacular falls, combined with slack in the system and/or back-clipping it could easily lead to decking from 8 metres.
Chris Craggs - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to ANdrew123:

> The head of the climbing wall said to not worry about it and said it was one of them one in a hundred things.

So it will happen once every 10 or so visits to the wall?


ANdrew123 - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

Thank you for raising the issue of back clipping. I didn't know what it was until i looked it up a second ago. I have back clipped in the past out of ignorance of the consequences
ANdrew123 - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to Chris Craggs:

He didn't say that and that was not what i meant. i meant that his attitude was its better for me and my dad to educate ourselves as to what we could be doing wrong potentially instead of being hard on ourselves for it happening at all and not going climbing.
Hugh Janus - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to ANdrew123:
It was John who first mentioned it as a possibilty, but yeah, it's easy to do, I'm sure we've all done it.

I actually broke a draw once whilst taking a pearler, luckily I was plenty high enough for it not to matter. I think it must have banged against the wall whilst being loaded and opened up the gate. It was an old style solid gate and wire gates don't tend to do this. If you get hold of one bang the back of it on your hand and you'll hear the gate snap shut after opening a fraction.
Post edited at 18:15
Michael Gordon - on 04 Jan 2017
In reply to ANdrew123:
> Thank you for raising the issue of back clipping. I didn't know what it was until i looked it up a second ago. I have back clipped in the past out of ignorance of the consequences

Think you may well have diagnosed the problem (a good thing!). Back clipping is very risky and easily done if you've never purposely learned to avoid it. It is however easy to learn to recognise it and to get in the way of clipping correctly almost every time - well worth spending a session sorting this out.
Post edited at 19:14
mountain.martin - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to Mark Haward:

Wow, interesting to know what the likely outcome would have been if my rock 3 had come out or been placed a meter lower.

Glad to hear you made a full recovery and you are still enjoying your climbing.
Rob Exile Ward on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

This is an account of a good decision!

I took my youngest son up Rib and Slab on Craig Ddu, which he managed easily. At the top I would normally have unroped, and thought nothing about it; this time I didn't. Sure enough as I scrambled off to the left I stopped for a moment to watch Sam traverse towards me over the wet grass; and sure enough he slipped, and arced around towards the edge and a 150' fall to the deck. Fortunately there was a spike to hand and I looped the rope over it, which was enough to allow me to belay him, Alpine style. It was a close thing.
zimpara - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I've had a few narrow escapes on UKC. Wouldn't want to finger out a favourite though.
MischaHY - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Earlier this year I was nursing a finger injury and so decided to tick off the Stanage VS challenge as a nice day out with no crimps. Nobody was about to do it with me but not to worry, it was only VS.
17ish routes in I was going strong and thinking this was an absolute doddle, and then came The Punk (VS 4c). I set off happily round the corner in the hand crack out onto the face, happily shuffling along in my bubble. Upon reaching the finishing crack with a mere metre or so to go to the top, I threw a foot up into the hand crack and slapped confidently up into the edge of the vertical upper crack only to discover that it was not in fact the expected jug but a horrible damp sloper.
Thus ensued a millisecond of desperate udging followed by both foot and hand pinging off the wall, leaving me swinging from a thankfully bomber left hand jam. I rammed my right hand back into the horizontal crack, gibbered internally for 30 seconds and then edged my way to the top with extreme caution.
After topping out I sat down on the top of the crag and had a very stern word with myself, then polished off half a packet of hobnobs and went off to finish the job. A happy ending, although I've still got the scar on my left hand.
The Ivanator - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to zimpara:

Not this one then?
Exceptionally scary! Never been so gripped in my entire life. Tricky slab, thuggy bulge, spicy run out onto a grass laiden sloppy ledge-mantle the ledge thinking, f*ck I'm going to die. I'm gonna fall and f*cking die and then I'll be f*cking dead. F*ck, f*ck, f*ck!
My favourite logbook comment on UKC!
zimpara - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to The Ivanator:

> My favourite logbook comment on UKC!

Now that would make a great thread.
nniff - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I suppose mine is one of those events could have been reported as 'Tourist killed in cliff fall'.

We went on a family holiday to Turkey. Having had a look at the area via a web cam, I packed rock shoes and chalk bag as the area appeared to be surrounded by lots of limestone.

Not far from where we were staying, there was a long, easy angled limestone ridge heading up the hill side. I left the family by the pool and drove a few miles to a convenient spot. As expected, the limestone was perfect, solid and grey and about v diff and about 600 feet long.

I made good progress until I swung up a steepening arete on a big jug. Instantly I found myself in a thorn bush 15 feet lower down, somewhat bruised and bleeding from a few places. Clearly, the jug was not quite as perfect as the rest. For one reason or another, going down the way I had come up was not particulalrly viable, and so with greater care I made my way to the top.

The view was magnificent, at least that bit of the view that was not obscured by thorn bushes and industrial-grade brambles. At this point, it is worth pointing out that I was wearing running shorts and a singlet. There were goats around, which had made small goat-sized tunnels through the thorns and brambles. With the best will in the world, I was bigger than a goat, and the goats had showed little interest in making a tunnel that led to the car. For some hours I crawled and crouched and shuffled and waddled on my arse and sweated and bled my way towards the car. The bits of me that were not dripping with gore were dripping with sweat and dust. I was further decorated with bits of twig and bramble. I eventually got back to the car.

Of course, then I had to return to my dearly beloved by the pool, in front of many others with nothing better than to look (and piss themselves laughing)

My wife is not much given to invective but she took one look at me and said 'What the f*** happened to you!'
Rigid Raider - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
Since this thread seems to have morphed from "narrow escapes and bad decisions" to just "lost one of my nine lives"; I was at Causey Quarry once with a GF and I walked round to the top to set up a toprope. Carelessly walking down to the edge I tripped over a tree root and plunged headfirst towards the 80' drop, I guess. As I went over the edge one flailing hand somehow found a root and grabbed and I stopped my plunge with well over half my body in space, staring straight into the shocked eyes of my GF right below me. Yes, the headline would have been "Climber killed in quarry plunge". I was only 18.
Post edited at 16:45
Hugh Janus - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to nniff:

Hearing your story reminded me of another one of mine.

I was in Sydney and living in Manly (one of the natural harbour walls). I decided to walk as far around the harbour as I could be bothered. After 3 or 4 miles I passed a sign saying "Foreshore Impassable". Bollocks I thought, I'm a climber. I soon came across a cliff about 150ft tall and no end in sight, but I thought the traverse looks easily doable. So off I set in shorts and trainers and a small backpack. All was going fine for about 200 yards but then I started to get pumped and eventually fell of into Sydney harbour. There was a swell coming in from the heads so i got battered against the cliffs and cut all over by barnicles on the rocks whilst trying to scramble back onto the cliff. I eventually I got to a hands off safe spot. I looked along the cliff and saw a corner about 50 yards away, but couldn't see if it was the end. So, exhausted I decided it was best to return and ended at the start after being in the sea again on several occasions. I got some looks walking through Manly cut and bloodied, I can tell you.

A few days later I was on the ferry from Manly to Circular Key and looked over to what I had done. I worked out where I had got to and to my annoyance the cliff ended in a perfect sandy beach just around the corner I couldn't see around. So, cut to ribbons and no tick either.

But alive!
john arran - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to MischaHY:

I'm sorry but it's fundamentally impossible to have an epic while you have a "bomber hand jam" in! ;-)
SuperLee1985 - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Came very close to sending a Novice Friend of mine plummeting to almost certain death.

Was climbing in on Milestone Butress, Northwales in a 3 with me as the Leader, an Experience Second and one Novice. I geared up and set off up the first pitch, trusting my belayer to sort out the newbie (helping him harness-up and tie in), sending him up after me with my belayer coming up last.
We top out after 3 pitches and I set up a ~50m ab to return to the ground. My belayer goes first to sort the ropes out as he descends and to show the newbie how it is done and of course I go down last.
Set up on the ab, the newbie backs towards the edge of the gulley and then begins to weight his harness. As he does, the waist belt of his harness suddenly pops!!
Fortunately he has a firm grip on the rope and he remains upright and doesn't tumble out of his harness completely. I drag my very shaken friend back to the safety of the cliff top.
It took quite a while to work out what happened, the harness looked to be in perfectly good condition and there was no reason it should have slipped if put on correctly.
I started to question how my friend had put on the harness, 'Did you put it on correctly?', 'Yes', 'Did you double back the buckle?' - 'Yes', it seemed like he'd done everything correctly.
He had no wish to put his life in the hands of a bit of gear that had failed him once, and there was no other way off the mountain that I knew of. I kept insisting that if it was put on correctly there was no way it should have failed and if I supervised him putting it on it should be fine. I even offered to swap harnesses with him so I had the 'dodgy' one. But he was not happy (understandably).
Eventually I got him to show me how he had put on the harness, it turned out that when my belayer had told him to double back the buckle, he had re-threaded the waist belt back the exact same way that it came through on the first pass, so the only think holding the harness together was the friction of two layers of webbing passing through the buckle instead of one.
Once he understood the mistake he was prepared to trust the equipment again, when used correctly and we managed to get him down.

Dave Garnett - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to danm:

> This was in my youth, and having split up with my girlfriend I was "getting over it" by getting stoned and going soloing.

Been there, done that. It was long ago and I'm still here but yes, spectacularly poor idea!
MischaHY - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to john arran:

Duly noted, I'll re-categorise it too 'Campus jamming'
Hugh Janus - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Me too.
andrewmc - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to SuperLee1985:

I'd push the belayer over the edge for telling a novice to do something that is not straightforward (I've seen the same thing done before with a leg loop) and then not checking it carefully. Especially if the belayer was one of my friends (I expect better from them!).

If I was feeling generous I would have them tied off after a few metres or so...
tonanf - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Abbing into the only spot on the boulder beach at swanage, not being Drenched by the waves. Then ending up hanging on the end of the rope in those waves!
Tom Loughlin - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Early days in my climbing and one of the first time I went out without the (competent) bloke who taught me how to climb.

Me and my friend went to pontesford rocks and lead several of the really lovely v diffs there. To finish the day off we decided to top rope the pontesford needle, I set up the belay and sat on the top bringing my mate up the e1 or e2 wall climb.

My friend got near the top and was really struggling, saying he was about to come off and make sure the rope was tight. He just about managed to make the last move to the lip and he came and sat down, jolly good show and all that. I started untying from the belay so I could walk down and have a go and realised I was anchored by my gear loop.... ooops
SuperLee1985 - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to andrewmc:

I feel some responsibility, as the most experienced member of the group and therefore the one responsible for the other two, I probably should (in retrospect) personally supervised the novice in getting his harness on etc. and checking everything over before putting him on the ab.
The novice is also an engineer and therefore really should have been able to see for himself that the way he'd threaded the harness wasn't sensible.
The important thing is that disaster was averted and we all learned from the experience.

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