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Weekend Whipper: Even “Bomber” Gear Has Its Limits

A small cam provided a secure catch for five sessions. The #0.2 was bomber, until it wasn't.

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

What makes a gear placement “bomber”? Does it have to be in golden granite, or compact quartzite? Is there a minimum size requirement? Black Totems only? We’ll leave it to our Facebook audience to debate the definition of that one, but, for Franky Lapitino, “bomber” gear is an ever-changing term.

Lapitino was projecting Vermont’s hardest all-gear line, The Hunter and His Dog (5.13b), at Smuggler’s Notch. The final crux, a crimpy and gently overhanging V7, has a stimulating runout above a #0.2 cam. The small cam wedged into Vermont’s famous schist and provided a secure catch as he whipped onto this placement over five sessions.

“I‘ve taken probably 10 or so small falls on the cam (less than 10 feet) and I think three proper whippers (20+ feet),” Lapitino wrote to Climbing. Despite the placement being “just about perfect,” Lapitino said the cam’s lobes had begun to flatten out where it pinned against the schist, perhaps reducing the placement’s strength.

“As it turns out, even the most bomber gear has its limits,” wrote the filmer, Emily Wrenn, to Climbing, “And [it] finally popped when Franky fell off the final sloper.” A #2 nut kept him off the deck and he walked away uninjured, with a new appreciation for bomber gear.

Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.

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