Climber Confessional: That Time “I Almost Let My Friend Die”

My climbing confession

A Climber ConfessionalI almost let my friend die on a short sport climb in Red Rock. We were using a rope that had a core shot about ten feet from the end. The leader had lead on the end without the core shot, so my friend was to tie in to the core-shot end to clean the climb on top rope.

To keep the core shot out of the system, I tied an eight on a bight above the core shot and clipped him into that on a locking carabiner. Thinking everything was safe now, I let my guard down.

 

Related: Campfire: Anchorless

 

When he got to the top of the climb he went direct onto the anchors and clipped the rope through the permadraws. HOWEVER, he had two ends of rope hanging from the locking carabiner on his belay loop: one end went back down to the belayer, and the other went down to the core shot and the end of the rope.

He clipped the latter end through the permadraws, went off direct, and leaned back to be lowered.

It wasn’t that steep up there, so he didn’t realize the rope wasn’t tight until he had gone down a few feet. Then, he panicked and grabbed the core shot end of the rope, effectively holding his lifeline in his hands. We had him swing over to another permadraw and go on direct to that, and we got him down, but it was a really scary experience.

 

The lesson I learned

Always weight the system before you lower. Double check your system! When you find a core shot at the end, cut it off immediately. Keep an eye on your partners!


This a Climber Confessional: an honest recounting of a climbing experience you’re less than proud of but have learned a valuable lesson from. Have your own story to share? Submit a confessional.

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