Monday, October 22, 2012

Famous last words

L: I'm going to stay [clipped] on your rope so I don't land in the cactus.
Me: OK

2 seconds later...
Me, swinging into the cactus: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was lowering L off his last climb and he was cleaning as he came down. While cleaning on the way down, it's often standard practice to clip into the other side of the rope, especially on an over-hanging route since you would otherwise swing out from the wall and not be able to reach the clips on the wall. In this particular scenario, the climb tops out nearly directly over the cactus and I was belaying between the cactus and the wall. Before L. unclipped the last draw he had to clean, he tells me he's going to stay clipped into my side of the rope so that he doesn't get lowered into the cactus. That all made sense for about two seconds before I remembered he's about 30lbs heavier in addition to the momentum of swinging out from the wall. As a result, I was pulled into that bush of cacti you see on the left. The bush was about chest high when I got pulled in. And if you know anything about cacti spines, you'd know that I felt every one of them that went in and every one of them that got pulled out. Luckily I was using a Grigri to belay L, which helped catch him during all the cactus madness. Though my whole body was so tense bracing for the impact that I don't think belaying with an ATC would've been an issue since Ian had to tell me several times to relax my grip on the break end of the rope. My climber's safety is #1, of course =p

I just can't get over how ironic the whole situation was.

On a more positive note: I led my first 10's outdoors!