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Weekend Whipper: Cheese-grater Slab Will Make You Wince

Those “easy sends” can still leave a mark. 

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

Little John’s Crack (V0) is a classic 20-foot problem in San Diego County’s Mount Woodson. The crack begins with steeper jams before easing off in angle and offering a choice: tip jam/crimp the seam, or layback the offset. Either way, trust your feet.

“This crack looked like an easy send,” the climber, Russell Woo, told Climbing. “But before I try any climb I consider the possibilities of what a fall at any point would look like.” Woo said he knew a “cheese-grater fall” was highly probable, and had anticipated such a return to earth. “As for the direction of fall and pad placement, that comes down to perception. My spotter and I thought that I would fall to the side, considering that I was climbing most of the crack as a layback. That’s why the pad wasn’t directly below me. My spotter was prepared for the fall, though, and did an amazing job catching me.”

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Once Woo’s feet greased off the smooth granite, his mind switched to the “fall plan” he had prepared before starting up the crack: “I turned my body to spot my landing, avoided cheese grating the front of me, and prepared to roll out of the landing to reduce impact on my legs. But I didn’t have to roll because my spotter grabbed me,” he explained.

Looking back on this fall, Woo advocates for practicing controlled bouldering falls, rather than “mindlessly fall[ing] because you don’t think you have any control over your fall.” Even midair (and, ideally, with a premeditated plan) climbers have the ability to make minor bodily adjustments, saving themselves from rolled ankles or worse. “The more you practice falling the more instinctual good form becomes and the less likely you are to get injured. Yes, the goal is not to fall but the reality is that we all will at some point.”

Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.

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