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Weekend Whipper: Leader Nearly Eats Loose Block on J-Tree Sport Climb

Steep, sandy jugs—what could be better?

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

This week’s whipper comes to you from nearly a decade ago, from the trad-climbing crucible of Joshua Tree, CA. In it, Gavin Funabiki takes on Way of Life (5.11b), a steep lip traverse with several protection bolts.

At the time, Way of Life had a reputation for loose holds and crumbly rock. “The block felt solid—I didn’t think it would break,” Funabiki wrote to Climbing. “That section of route had a lot of broken rock crumbles.”

Funabiki pulls off a smaller stone with his right hand and warns, “Oh shit, a rock.” Then sand begins to pour from his left and a block pulls loose: “Oh, shit!

Climbing steep sport climb in Joshua Tree, California.
Gavin Funabiki on his second go, after pulling off the block. “What was left of the hold wasn’t good, and when I went to clean the route I had to do a big cross,” he said. (Photo: Haidang Lin)

“It broke into many pieces tumbling down the left side of the wall, so no one got hurt,” he said. Including himself, falling roughly 15 feet onto a solid bolt.

“I finished the route and the overall character of the route didn’t change [much]: still pumpy and overhanging.”

Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.

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