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Weekend Whipper: “I’m Really Scared” Blown Onsight on Runout 5.12

A botched sequence, a foothold missed, and a long fall over opposed nuts!

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This week’s whipper stars Jamie Hamilton and his onsight attempt of The Past Recaptured (5.12a) at Millbrook, Shawangunks, NY.

Onsighting in the Gunks isn’t like your first go on Supercrack (5.10) or Squamish’s Crime of the Century (5.11c). Hard trad here requires top-notch composure, not knowing where the next horizontal gear placement will be, but continuing on, pumped, anyway.

The almost 10-year-old video was recently revived by the first ascensionist and filmer, Christian Fracchia, who told Climbing, “Millbrook is the most infrequently visited cliff in the Gunks with the majority of climbing between 5.10 and 5.12, most of which has some R or X terrain. The Past Recaptured doesn’t get R because even though the fall is long, it’s a clean fall.”

Hamilton can certainly confirm this statement. He flows through the route’s opening moves, pulling roof after roof with confidence. But after a tenuous press above his head, you can see his composure wane. His left arm is sewing faster than a Singer while his right foot pastes to blank wall.

With a pair of “opposed nuts below a small overlap” a little ways down and forearm pump at terminus, Hamilton pops off for the long ride.

Many thanks to Christian Fracchia at gunksapps.com for the video and Jamie Hamilton for the entertainment! Readers, please send your whipper videos and information—and any lessons learned—to Anthony Walsh, awalsh@outsideinc.com.