Unannounced Victory Whip


Original Post
Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Younger guy leading a route in the gym, working a 5.9 on overhanging wall with a couple takes. Gets to the anchor and all of a sudden comes halfway down the wall. His belayer caught him but looked a bit shocked. I asked, "Did you just slip at the anchor!?". He says, "No, it was a victory whip, I took out a bunch of slack and jumped. My friend told me every now and then you gotta surprise your partner with one of those."

The consensus from us "old dudes" (meaning around 40) was that surprising your bealyer with an intentionally aggressive fall came under the "not cool" heading. 

His belayer kind of laughed it off, but, needless to say, I added a name to the list of folks I don't want on the other side of my rope.

Thoughts?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

A "victory whip" sounds dumb to me.

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

Ha ha!! With a couple armloads of slack. That's great. 

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 307

boo hoo

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

I think the climber is asking for a well deserved, unannounced, victory drop.

Scott Baird · · Hagerstown, MD · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 115

I know right away before I get on the route if I'm going to intentionally whip it, and I tell my partner before I climb, and I never take out extra slack for it. I already outweigh her by 50ish pounds, no need for more slack.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

An overhanging 5.9 on the lead wall? That itself seems odd. I'm sure I'm just a crusty old fart but I'm NEVER looking to surprise my belayer, except in a good way.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

Well, since the climber can fall anytime without notice and sometimes unexpectedly, the belayer should catch any fall, anytime, anywhere, without warning.  

jleining · · CO · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 33
Greg D wrote:

Well, since the climber can fall anytime without notice and sometimes unexpectedly, the belayer should catch any fall, anytime, anywhere, without warning.  

^Right!

The belayer's job is not done till both feet are on the ground and the climber has un-weighted the rope.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 478
Greg D wrote:

Well, since the climber can fall anytime without notice and sometimes unexpectedly, the belayer should catch any fall, anytime, anywhere, without warning.  

This. Although the climber might not expect a perfectly timed soft catch if they take an unexpected fall.

Mitch Alexander · · SLO, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 20
Greg D wrote:

Well, since the climber can fall anytime without notice and sometimes unexpectedly, the belayer should catch any fall, anytime, anywhere, without warning.  

It seems from the OP that the belayer did catch. Still not the coolest move to make someone panic unneeded, especially since falling that far in the gym is usually unexpected. 

jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

The bigger issue is victory whipping a 5.9

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

I think that surprise falls, planned or unplanned, are really good practice in the gym.  As said, you should be prepared to catch a fall at any time, even at the anchors.  It sounds like an unrealistic amount of slack was used, and I'm not a big fan of "victory whips" (announced or surprise), but if the goal is mental training for big falls, that would generally be the safest place to do it.

michael sticher · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2011 · Points: 0

Kinda weird to me. The reward you grant yourself for not falling is to fall really far? How about a victory down climb. That'd be hardcore

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 35
jmmlol wrote:

The bigger issue is victory whipping a 5.9

after taking lololol

Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 775

Victory whips are full stupid, the invention of teenage males. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
Matt Carroll wrote:

after taking lololol

Yeah...I don't get why he didn't just sack up and take the whip then.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265

Aiming to take a fall that could take the belayer to the first bolt? That climber is off my dance card, and I'm used to flying off the ground. Catch a newer belayer off guard who isn't? Ground fall, and climbers fault.

That said, we had a great night at the gym last summer, with several guys taking turns practicing lead falls and bigger catches. All of us were in on this.

They unclipped the first bolt, were on an arch, and we're "blowing" their clips on a part that went horizontally working over to the arch.

At the fall, the climber takes a big whip, the belayer (even a heavier belayer) is very much airborne, and we are all standing clear of the two missiles flying across the area. Fun!!

It isn't just the belayer that climber is endangering, but others in the gym as well.

Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Yes, the belayer made a great catch regardless.

Yes, I am also for unannounced fall practice, but this seemed excessive.

Yes, was scratching my head on the 5.9 victory whip.

Abbie R · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 5
Ted Pinson wrote:

I think that surprise falls, planned or unplanned, are really good practice in the gym.  As said, you should be prepared to catch a fall at any time, even at the anchors.  It sounds like an unrealistic amount of slack was used, and I'm not a big fan of "victory whips" (announced or surprise), but if the goal is mental training for big falls, that would generally be the safest place to do it.

I agree with this. I like to practice falling in the gym. Usually I tell my belayer beforehand if I'm planning to fall (on purpose) on a route, but sometimes I don't. I also never take out extra slack -- I don't see the point in making the fall worse than it would ever be in reality. The goal for me when I fall on purpose is to recreate an unexpected fall so I can practice not freaking out, ha.

From the OP, it sounds like the climber was "giving" his belayer some "practice" catching falls, which is not my goal when I -- as the climber -- fall on purpose. My goal is practice for myself, which is why I usually tell my belayer if I'm going to do it, and I only do it with partners I've climbed with for a while and am comfortable with. Incidentally, I don't mind if a climber I'm belaying in the gym falls on purpose without telling me. I've caught a lot of falls in the gym, and only a small percentage of them completely surprise me because I'm always watching. I would, however, give them the side-eye if they took out a bunch of unnecessary extra slack first "just for sh!ts and giggles."

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
 Greg D wrote:

Well, since the climber can fall anytime without notice and sometimes unexpectedly, the belayer should catch any fall, anytime, anywhere, without warning.  

I agree wholeheartedly.

However, belaying is not without risk.

I was reminded of this listening to the most recent Training Beta podcast with Esther Smith (a PT from SLC.)

She was belaying her husband, caught an unexpected fall and struck the gym wall with her foot, sustaining a lisfranc fracture/dislocation which usually requires surgery.

So if someone wants a victory whip with extra slack, OK by me, but let me know first.

Otherwise I'm not belaying you again.

Victory whips are like rope swings, idiotic but fun.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply