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We climbers rely on our gear to save our lives. From catching massive falls to protecting our heads, these nine stories, submitted by our readers, reveal how that one piece saved our bacon, perhaps nobly “sacrificing” itself in the line of duty.
“After two nuts ripped on soft Blue Mountains sandstone, this yellow Alien caught a 60-foot whipper, catching me at eye level with my belayer.”
“I took a big fall on RMNP’s Petit Grepon, and this lone pin and biner held me from what I was certain was my death.”
“When a 30-pound rock hit Kimbo’s head, we thought the worst. A helicopter flight brought him to Liverpool Hospital where he recovered.”
“In June 2016, on El Cap’s Lurking Fear, I slipped just shy of an anchor. My gear ripped and I went 140 feet. I just missed landing on my partner.”
“On a new 5.12 thin crack in the Red River Gorge, I took a massive ride onto this 0/1 Offset Master Cam in a horizontal.”
“On El Cap’s Salathé Headwall, a micronut popped, zippering seven pieces. The GriGri blew its handle, but the core held my 70-foot plunge.”
“While bailing from a Smith Rock choss face, an entire boulder exploded and with it my No. 1 cam—half of my anchor. This 1970s-era piton held me.”
“One moment I was climbing Martha’s Couloir in RMNP, and the next I woke up in the hospital after breaking my head and my neck.”
“I was six feet above this gold Camalot in Indian Creek, and the piece had walked a bit. Still, it caught me when I fell.”