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Weekend Whipper: Too Pumped to Place Gear, He’s In For a Head-Smacking Fall

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This week’s whipper proves that with enough forethought, trying hard above your gear can be a safe—if slightly jarring—activity.

Isaiah Vaught and the filmer, Simon Mrowiec, were projecting Straight No Chaser (5.11c) at Petenwell Bluff in Wisconsin. The route was hard for them and famously sandbagged—”Rebel Yell (5.12a) to the right is significantly easier,” Mrowiec wrote to Climbing in an email—so they decided to top rope it first and sort out gear beta.

“The reason for headpointing [was] to find the least strenuous stances to place pro, since you can’t sew it up,” Mrowiec said. After finding an acceptable amount of placements, Vaught pulled his rope and tied in.

He climbs smoothly through the initial moves, but hangs around far too long trying to fiddle in a nut placement, dashing his redpoint dreams. “At the time we thought the beta was to slip a blue DMM offset nut in the slot up top, but you’re doing it off pretty mediocre crimps and the pump wants to throw you off,” Mrowiec said.

Indeed, Vaught is taken for a ride, and the excess rope finds its way behind his leg. “[He] flipped upside down but [was] unscathed,” Mrowiec said. “Helmets are mega! Only a #2 lobe bruise on his back to show for it.”

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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