Photo Gallery: The Anatomy of the Whipper

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10 Whipper Photos

Mark McGwire, Land of the Lorax (5.12d), Nevada Desert, NV


Too pumped to clip and skipping bolts—sometimes it works but often it results in serious airtime. Grab your rope and hold on.

Peter Vintoniv, Land of the Lorax (5.12d), Nevada Desert, NV


Same climb, same fall, different style. Which one are you?

Greg Kerzhner, Bohica (5.13b), Red River Gorge, KY


The Madness Cave could be the cliff with the most air miles in the country, or maybe even the world.

Monique Forestier, The Madness (5.13c), Red River Gorge, KY


While little Greggy joyously takes the victory whip in the previous slide, here a visiting Australian climber takes the “working” whip. No matter the type, those air miles keep adding up. 

Cody Roth, Greporo (8b+/5.14a), Covolo, Italy


In between the working whip and the victory whip is the heartbreaker whip. This usually occurs when the send is within reach, or in this case, the onsight. Punting always sucks.

Andy Anderson and Cedar Wright, Calamari (5.12b), City of Rocks, ID


Remember the belayer is always there to catch you.

Jonathan Thesenga, Orient (7b/5.12b), Aladag Mountains, Turkey


The unexpected happens even while sport climbing and results in one of the most dangerous situations for the belayer. Cat like reflexes for both help. 

Shingo Ohkawa, EBGB’s (5.10d), Joshua Tree National Park, CA


The results of the notorious cheese grater slab fall. Remember: Run backwards. Luckily he kept upright. Yes, the fear is real.

Alex Honnold, Eurasian Eyes (5.13b), Squamish, Canada


See folks he is human after all, well kind of. Alex falling, but with a rope. Phewwwww.

Melissa Lipani, Vulcan Crawl (5.13a), Logan Canyon, UT


No matter how many times you fall, it’s still scary—at least for me. Maybe there is something to Arno Ilgner’s Rock Warrior’s Way.

Falling. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes falls are intentional, like taking the victory whip instead of clipping the chains. At other times they’re quite abrupt, terrifying, and wholly unexpected. These 10 photos will either make you stoked to go whip on your proj, or stoked you’re not the climber in the picture.

More photo galleries by Andrew Burr:

Want to face your own falling fear? Check out Arno Ilgner’s new AIM Adventure U course, Overcome Your Fear of Falling. Designed to be taken over five weeks, this course will help you incorporate falling into your repertoire as a foundational skill, freeing you up to climb your best—and hardest.