Weekend Whipper: Clipping Ledges By the Sea

Did anyone else feel their ankle snap just watching that? No? Just us? No matter—the climber, Maissa, is A-OK.

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Photo: Dylan Ehrenburg

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

This ankle-roller comes to you from the Lost Faces crag, in Koh Tao, Thailand. Maissa was on her flash attempt of the classic Petrichor (6a+/5.10c): a technical granite pitch that rises right from the sea. She tick tacks her way up the first few bolts before copping a rest on a generous—perhaps too generous—ledge. She climbs a few more moves and locks off on a slick edge to clip the next bolt above her head—not realizing a jug lurks off to the right.

Lactic acid builds fast in her right arm. “I heavily considered grabbing the quickdraw and dogging instead of clipping off the crimp,” she wrote to Climbing, “but I wanted the flash.” Maissa fumbles the clip just as her sweaty fingers pop off the crimp and down she goes, grazing a ledge on her seaward descent.

The fall looks harsh. (Sure, some will moan, You call this a whipper? I snapped both femurs in a grounder back in ’78 and still walked to work at the smelting factory the next day—but those people are tougher than this Whipper curator.) For those among us who like airy, ledge-free falls, we understand that clipping even the smallest of rock features—foot edges, belay ledges, the deck—can bust up our achilles tendons, calcanei, or worse.

The video’s filmer, Dylan Ehrenburg, says Petrichor is a tricky route to belay, with the belayer hanging from a bolt at the edge of the water and no view of the leader. Thankfully, Maissa reports that her fall looked “a lot worse than it felt” and she hopped back on the route without issue, redpointing it later that day.

Maissa also had a few learnt lessons to share: “Dog the climb sometimes? Don’t miss the perfect jug? Or don’t fumble the clip just as you fall?” All good tips, no doubt, but here’s one more: “Go to Koh Tao, slightly off piste but some beautiful granite, stunning scenes, good food, brilliant people and make sure you are there on a Friday for [the] clubs.”

Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.

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