Weekend Whipper: This Cam-popper Was “Cooler Than Any Roller Coaster Out There”
The Gorge is a "wild land of superb and serious climbing where every climb is unique, and demands technical skill, unadulterated burliness, and usually a key piece of gear that keeps it G rated."
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Weekend Whipper’s don’t always have to be horrifying. In fact, we like them better when they’re not. That’s why Bennett Stone’s submission this week leaves us with a smile on our face, and inspires us to dig a little deeper on our own projects this weekend.
The route on display here is called Creatures Void of Form, at Tallulah Gorge, in Georgia. At the time of this video, it had not yet seen a second free ascent and Stone was fired up to have a go despite the less than ideal conditions. He wrote us 1,000 words about his experience, so we’ll let him (briefly) take it from here:
The cliff is south facing, and after spending some time working the first pitch in the morning (permit system doesn’t allow you to get in until 8 a.m.), the sun began to creep up on pitch two. The rock here is slick all the time, and the humid, 90-plus-degree conditions in the sun can be on the upper end of miserable, exacerbating the grease factor. My chalk was dissolving.
In those conditions, most of us would set one foot out the door and dive back inside. In fact, we wrote an entire column about it, aptly titled “Forget Sendtember—It’s All About Surviving ‘Don’t-Try July.’” Stone didn’t get the memo. He writes:
I’m learning to persevere and try hard, despite the conditions I encounter. You can always be stronger than the humidity. I’ve been coming to the Gorge over the summer as a way to intentionally pseudo-sandbag myself against the horrid conditions, so that the climbing feels that much easier when perfect winter conditions roll around.
Well, more power to you, Stone. It doesn’t sound like the gear placements were all that straightforward either. Stone says he learns a valuable lesson or two each time he visits the Gorge, a “wild land of superb and serious climbing where every climb is unique, and demands technical skill, unadulterated burliness, and usually a key piece of gear that keeps it G rated.” For Creatures Void of Form, Stone says he learned the importance of never rushing a cam placement, and that he could act just as fallible as when he first began trad climbing. It was a 0.4 that ripped, in “such a splitter placement,” but one that he rushed, assuming it would be fine.
Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.
Weekend Whipper: One Cam Rips, Another Unclips. Massive Fall Ensues.