Weekend Whipper: Dumb Luck Keeps This Climber Intact
How did he get away with that?
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Is it better to be lucky than good? The New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez thought so when he said something along those lines in the 1930s, but here at Climbing we’d advise you to stack the survival-odds in your favor by learning what you can to minimize error and death.
Even so, climbers get lucky. Take, for instance, Riccardo Grifalconi’s unbelievably close call last year. He had all but finished a short and punchy sport route but was struggling to clip the chains. Under normal circumstances, and from a decking perspective, the safest place to fumble a clip may actually be from the anchor; as long as there isn’t a serious runout below you, you are as far from the deck as you’ll ever get. But Grifalconi, as you’ll see, had two things going very much not in his favor: 1) his route was quite short, and though he was high on the route, he was definitely still in decking territory; 2) he’d wrapped his leg around the rope.
Now watch the dumb luck swoop in: as Grifalconi drops the rope and whips, his flailing legs somehow accidentally undo this catastrophic rope error and keep him upright. Without this luck, we’d wager, he would have fallen directly upside down, without a helmet, and would have tombstoned himself.
Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.