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Weekend Whipper: Here’s What Happens When You Heel Hook Over the Rope

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This week’s whipper reminds us of our love/hate relationship with heel hooks. They let us snag out-of-reach holds, take weight off of our sorrily pumped arms, and add balance at key moments. They can also chuck us around like a lone sock in a washing machine.

That was Hayden Rovelli’s experience, anyway. He was trying Shape Shifter, a 50-foot 5.12c on Connecticut’s Eastern Coastal Slope. Despite the severely overhanging roofs above, Rovelli was actually through the route’s crux, and had latched a jug when his heel popped off the “overhanging pillow slopers.”

When Climbing reached out for comment, we asked if he needed new beta following this jarring whipper. Unfortunately, Rovelli says this is the best beta: it’s a bit of a Russian Roulette every time he snags that greasy heel hook—his foot hovering behind the rope. Fortunately, however, Rovelli has recently sent Shape Shifter and doesn’t have to be featured on Weekend Whipper again!

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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