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Weekend Whipper: Even Crag Bystanders Can Take the Whip

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This week’s whipper is not your usual head-smacking or gear-ripping fall. But who says bystanders at the crag can’t take the whip?

That’s the case for Léa Chapuis, an aspiring pro skier, who took this video while cragging at Val d’Isere in the French Alps. Chapuis had lowered off a pitch and took this video as her friend went up. The climber, Sebastien, climbs easily through the blocky, vertical terrain down low, before throwing his left heel above a roof and reeling himself in.

Chapuis, who was parked below the cliff without a helmet, saw the heel hook dislodge several loose blocks.

“The rock was as big as an American football,” Chapuis wrote to Climbing in an email. “It bounced and went in a completely different direction than expected….I could have taken it in a horrible way….One side of the rock was very sharp.”

The largest rock smacked Chapuis on the top of her head, leaving a bit of blood, a concussion, and a newfound awareness of dangers at the crag.

“I know now that even if you are not belaying or climbing, even if you are far from the climbing route, the risks are absolutely everywhere and we must always stay focused,” Chapuis wrote.

Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.

Readers, please send your whipper videos, information, and any lessons learned to Anthony Walsh,

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