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Weekend Whipper: Massively Runout on “Rhapsody,” 5.14 Trad

This fall logs about as many air miles as one could hope for while still walking away intact.

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Readers, please send your Weekend Whipper videos, information, and any lessons learned to Anthony Walsh, awalsh@outsideinc.com.

This week’s whipper is a 2-for-1 deal.

In one camp (the obvious camp), we have pure, unabashed whipper footage: James Pearson takes the ride off of Rhapsody (E11 7a or 5.14b/c R), logging as many air miles as one could hope for without smashing both legs on the ground. Of the fall, Pearson later said it wasn’t necessarily his biggest fall ever, nor was it the most dangerous runout he’d ever taken (you’ll notice that, upon impact, Pearson is wholly intact), however it was “still a fairly exciting ride!”

While Pearson is now a household trad-climbing name, having climbed E11, Power Ranger (5.14 R), and of course Tribe (ungraded and widely considered the world’s hardest), he wasn’t always this well respected. Which brings us to the second part of this week’s “twofer”: its implications for your Friday-night plans. This whipper is excerpted from Redemption: the James Pearson story, a film by Paul Diffley and Hot Aches productions, who chronicled Pearson’s turbulent entry into the world of high-end trad climbing. (Pearson made the grave mistake of over-grading a new route, making it the hardest trad route in the country, before repeating lower-grade routes to influence his proposition.) Redemption is available to rent or download here, and is well worth your evening.

Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.

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