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Weekend Whipper: Imagine This, Rope Unclips Itself as Climber Leads

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This week’s whipper is a new one for Climbing’s staff: a rope unclips itself with seemingly no effort at all.

Dylan Ehrenburg was climbing on his longterm project Kun Lung (7b/5.12b) in Koh Tao, Thailand. Ehrenburg had taken this exact fall many times before—six times that day to be precise—and felt confident in his beta. “The only left foot hold I could find was directly under the third bolt. I had tried having my foot over and under, but felt safer with my left foot under,” he wrote to Climbing.

On Ehrenburg’s seventh attempt that day, the fluke of all flukes happened: his knee rubbed against the wire gate carabiner, unclipping the rope, and leaving him in ground fall territory. “I took a nasty whipper just inches from the ground and gouged my leg,” he said. “The wound took a good three months to heal due to multiple infections from living on a tropical island in Thailand.”

So how did this happen? Ehrenburg said the carabiner functioned normally, but its wire gate was wider than its spine. “I could easily push the gate open by rubbing it against something with not that much pressure,” he said. Ehrenburg has since returned to Kun Lung, though not without several new tactics; he uses a lower foothold, a longer quickdraw, and a solid gate carabiner.

Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.

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

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