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Readers, please send your whipper videos, information, and any lessons learned to Anthony Walsh, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s whipper gave us faith that we could fall while clipping low to the ground. But make no mistake: his belayer is in the top one percent.
Jan Špiroch was attempting Tandem (5.13a/b) in the Czech Republic’s historic Elbe Valley. It’s a beautiful route: technical, sparsely bolted, and bouldery with a difficult second clip, as Špiroch learned. “But I knew I had my Lucy [Hrozová] as a belayer,” he wrote to Climbing, “[and] in this case she did the best thing: gave me more rope so I had no drag while [clipping] which could cause a fall.” But Špiroch heel was “stupidly placed so I slipped and fell anyway.”
Thankfully, Hrozová is an accomplished competitive sport climber who has caught her fair share of awkward falls. “In that small time I had to make some decisions,” she told Climbing. She had two possibilities. Running away from the wall would eliminate a lot of slack, but given how close Špiroch was to the deck and the uneven ground around her, Hrozová said she wouldn’t have made it far. The other option was to reel in as much slack as possible and sit back hard in her harness. “I knew that because I am lighter than my partner I will go up for sure, which happened, but thankfully [Špiroch] didn’t hit the ground with his whole weight,” she said.
Looking back, Hrozová said she was thankful to be watching Špiroch so closely. A lapse of attention–or anything less than the best belay she could give–would have had a much more gruesome ending.
Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.
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