Unbelayvable: A Surprise Visitor

SCARY (AND TRUE) TALES FROM A CRAG NEAR YOU
By Kevin Corrigan ,

Every Monday we publish the most unbelievable stories of climbing stupidity submitted by our readers. See something unbelayvable? Email unbelayvable@climbing.com and your story could be featured online or in print. For more Unbelayvable, check out the Unbelayvable Archives.

Hello! Photo: FreeImages.com/Natalia Pankova

I was projecting a sport route outside and had just reached the crux. I was preparing for the move—a dyno around the lip of a roof to a bad hold—when I heard a cheerful “Hello!” I looked down and saw that someone was climbing underneath me on an adjacent route. The climber was so close that I could touch her, but had no idea that this was unsafe. I was looking at a 15-foot fall, landing on her and taking her with me. My arms were so close to giving out that I didn’t have time to think. It probably wasn’t the best idea, but I was panicking: I went for the dyno. By some miracle, I stuck it. Meanwhile, the climber continued her route, none the wiser.
—Charlotte Bansal, via email

LESSON: As climbers, we should always be aware of our surroundings—including other people. Before starting up a route, take note of where the line goes. Some crags make use of every square inch of rock, and as a result, some routes are bolted so close together that it makes you wonder if they’re even separate lines. In the event that you can’t climb an adjacent route without interfering with someone climbing above you, or without entering her fall line, then you need to wait until she finishes her route before starting yours. It’s safety, but it’s also basic crag etiquette. Don’t crowd that crux!™

We want to hear your Unbelayvable stories!
Email unbelayvable@climbing.com and your story could be featured in a future edition online or in print. Unbelayvable photos are welcome, too.

Join the Conversation