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

Video loading...

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

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.

This article is free. Sign up with a Climbing membership, now just $2 a month for a limited time, and you get unlimited access to thousands of stories and articles by world-class authors on climbing.com plus a print subscription to Climbing and our annual coffee-table edition of Ascent. Please join the Climbing team today.

Trending on Climbing

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.