How Not To Die When You Fall 20ft

Answer: Have a good belayer…

This morning started off pretty incredibly. I woke up at 5 and left my house at 5:30 to meet up with a friend to go climbing. I can’t describe just how perfect the morning was, as the sun crept over the mountains and we started up a trail to our first set of routes. The temperature was perfect, the early light was gorgeous and the silent ambiance was near perfection.

We started up a couple routes up Big Cottonwood canyon, and warmed up a bit. It was so perfect and probably the best way you can possibly start a morning. I lead the first route, and my friend the second and that is where the fun began.

When he got to the bottom, I cruised up that route and cleaned the top and came back down, and then decided I’d like to lead the next route. So I started up the route and all was well. As I approached the top of the route I crept past the last bolt before the chains. Within one move of reaching the top I suddenly lost grip of my hand and began plummeting to my death… ok that’s a little dramatic, but I did fall completely off the wall!

Fell past 1 bolt, then 2 and came to a stop, only to look down and see my buddy flying through the air toward me as he locked off any more slack from coming out. I laid there momentarily a bit freaked out from the fall and then thanked my friend for saving me.

The problem was I was almost 10 feet above my last bolt, so I fell that distance to that bolt plus the slack I had taken out as I approached the top of the route, luckily for me I had a great belayer who was paying attention and caught me before it got worse.

Of course, I rested for a moment and then finished out the climb, cleaned the route and came down. I was pumped out and could barely untie my own knot but all was well.

There comes plenty of moments in our lives when we lose grip completely and slip away and begin to fall. We fail from time to time, but that’s never a good enough reason to not finish it out. It’s merely an opportunity to learn, take additional precaution perhaps and attempt it again. It’s in the falling that we really learn, and are able to correct those mistakes from happening again.

Thanks Christian for saving me today, and also for a super sick epic climbing morning.