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When was the last time you bailed?

Original Post
Brooks Andrew · · Shenandoah Junction, WV · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 67

Some days just don't go according to plan. I wrote down some thoughts about crummy days here: http://www.dirtbagjesus.com/2017/12/11/high-gravity-days/

When was the last time you called it early, how do you decide? Or do you always keep pushing on?

Daniel Joder · · Barcelona, ES · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Yesterday. Left two biners at the top of the second pitch and rapped off of two bolts—one good, the other a bit rusty. Neither of us were “feeling it”.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 184

Define: "called it early." There have been plenty of times I was not feeling it and skipped or stopped climbs I had planned on doing.  About a month ago I decided to nap at the base of Pope's Crack in Josh instead of trying it.  I have never, however, left gear on the wall to get off a route.

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

I bailed the other night last week passing from quite bizarre quite strange date arranged from the internetz dating app! Upon arrival and introductionz and brief chattering, I immediately realize I am not attract to this person. Next, she would be saying that she never does worry about anything never haz had any regret, and has no empathy for others, and has been told it is like sociopathic tendency!

She is already buzzed having had 3 drinks at work party in the hours passing and talks of continued abuse of the alcohol as an adult. Some 15 minute later, her friend is appearing and sits with us. Qutie strange, and I am getting the impression this is possibly planned. Her friend very much enjoy listening sound of own voice, going on about international travels, drug use, promiscuity, meeting a gypsy in Australia who said things that changed her life (which she would not tell to us what these things were), and being an intuition coach. I would be thinking what in actual fuck is happening here, for I am perhaps quite thoughtful sensitive and kind beneath my formidable exterior, impressive muscles of considerable size and definition, chiseled abs, and stunning features, very much like white norwegian oreo cookie, with thick outer crust covering the soft, gooey interior.

Worry not, for I shall remain ever bold while fast approaching death alone.

Just follow your heart, that's what I do.

"Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."

- William Shakespeare

- Aleks Zebastian

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 768

Forbidden Peak back in September.

Ryan Valentine · · Louisville, KY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

A couple years after Reardon's solo, I walked up to and then bailed from EBGB's in J-Tree what must have been a half dozen different times. Most times I'd usually go as far as to rope up, clip the first bolt, wrestle with the mantle move, and then eventually back off once I started to round the corner and was able to stare up at that face. The entire time the voice in my head thinking about the supposed long run to the anchors and someone in the campground telling me that they, "heard Lynn Hill broker her leg on that one." I never left any gear though. 

That said, I finally just went and climbed it, and it was pretty smooth sailing. Taught me a good lesson about letting too much beta and other people's commentary get in my head and shake my confidence.

Bill Kirby · · San Francisco CA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

It’s early season for ice... I don’t know, yesterday! 

Suburban Roadside · · Abovetraffic on Hudson · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 2,424

 a consummate Yo Yo,I always return from terror familia'  back to terra firma, I make that my one rule 

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

Last time I bailed was after spending 2 days driving 38 hours to vegas non-stop with a friend... than we did some casual climbing the afternoon we got there before running into a massive wind storm and getting no sleep that night. So basically after getting less than 4 hours of sleep over 2 days and driving over 40 hours we hiked in an hour and only got up a few pitches before calling it a day from just being tired at red rock.

Barry M · · WV · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

If I get in over my head or have gotten on something at my limit when I'm not feeling strong I tend to fight it out till at least the top on single pitch or the first rap station on multipitch. Sport or trad, I'd rather go bolt to bolt or gear to gear then give up and bail. 

Sam Sala · · Denver · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 82

This past July from Lower Exum. Party of three. Plan was to lead the entire lower, then swing leads after Wall St. Decided I had enough at the base of the black wall pitch, after a dismal morning and the approach of a fast moving storm caught us by surprise. Woke up that morning with a weird feeling looming (should have just called it then in hindsight), super-sluggish snow approach from our camp at the moraine, bullet proof snow/ice slopes layered between runs of scree (stopped for crampons on/off several times along the way) to the base of the 4th class ramp. Soaking wet 4th class slabby ramp all the way to the base of P1, chimneying P1 with ice axes strapped to packs full of mountain boots and crampons, b/c the right face option was taken by another party. One partner with pretty bad intestinal problems that started at the top of P1. Somehow, I managed to get WAY off route on our P3, got super sketched on some X rated choss before slinging a mostly-detached horn (best option I could find without burning more expensive (and limited) gear. Retreating to the belay to try again. Fast moving party came up while I was getting my shit together so we opted to let them climb through which caused a bit more of a delay. Weather was still gorgeous, so didn't think too much of it at the time. More chimneying/flailing with ice axe on pack, before eventually ditching and trailing the pack while mega runout (cracks that fit the light rack I had on-hand were iced up). Temps plummeted, rain/hail/snow while bringing up my 2nd/3rd. I was over it and made the call to GTFO from the station just below the black face. Tossed the ropes (twin 70s) and started rapping. Ropes stuck on the last pull (thankfully here and not higher up), scrambled up a bit and cut the ropes at the half-marks, to salvage what we could for the ramp below. Soaked in cold rain, welted from hail, downleading wet 4th class which was now a small river, while lightning exploded all around us (at least we weren't on the summit like so many others that day!)

Definitely one of the worst times I've had on a route, but so much adventure, and fantastic to see our party function well after shit hit the fan. Type 2 day for sure, but wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

For me, the call to bail is usually pretty clear-cut, even if I second guess it a few times on the hike out...what I kept pondering after this one was, when do you listen to your gut on the approach? How do you know the difference between a case of the normal old jitters, and something more serious? IS there a difference? Do you create the more serious feeling? Does its creation happen in real-time, or is created afterwards, during reflection on the event?

germsauce Epstein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 55

I'm bailing from work in a couple hours to go climb, does this count or is this a reverse bail? 

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

bailed of an ice climb  3 weeks ago as the start was too sporty for me. climbed it yesterday and it was in even worse shape. Got past the  1st crux and yelled down to isa, that was really stupid! not much gear where you needed it. good gear on the easy sections... mandatory steep  dry tooling 5 pitches up... Sparks were flying.....

TBlom · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2004 · Points: 360

Bailed off the Yellow Wall on the Diamond a few pitches up.  I was super exhausted, didn't get any sleep the night before, and started falling asleep at a hanging belay while belaying.  Add a possible thunderstorm that looked like it was approaching and we decided to bail.  Kinda bummed that I never made it back up to the diamond while I was in good enough shape for it. 

Ryan Marsters · · Golden, CO · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 1,366

A lot of non-starts due to wind or route conditions, but the last major bail was probably 11,300 in the Ruth Gorge this past spring.

We had a group of three with no meaningful Alaska experience between us. Well, one guy tried Moose's Tooth the week before so he was our sage.

We're cheap. Our weather guru is a friend and a former pilot. We figure that's better than shelling out a couple hundred for a meteorologist. Our first day, forecasted as horrendous, is spent idling at camp under blue bird skies. Good enough weather to gawk at Huntington's mile high face and impressive serac falls which would cover our tents in an inch of snow dust. Each of us shitting bricks with each boom and roar but nervously laughing in a manly fashion. 

The following day, our weather guru says go time. Two days of beauty. A third maybe. Out we go, high angle swimming through two feet of sugar atop dry old snowpack. We can see another party's tracks on the descent route high above. A steady trench terminating in a mile-long avalanche scarp. Distances are deceptive here. The pair told us earlier the avalanches were no big deal. They were roped and at the crown, snowstorm obscuring just how big it ripped below. 

We keep swimming. No ice. Lots of sugar excavating and easy ridge split by 50 ft cruxes. With a party of two, no problem. Simul it out and cruise on through. But we had a party of three and twin ropes. And pretty much zero experience switching between three person simul and short pitching with any resemblance of efficiency. We had hoped to make it to the Thumb, but the cruiser snow slopes just below were riddled with avalanche crowns and the morning's two feet of sugar were now white frosting and sticking to our crampons like yeti feet. 

We decide to camp at the first col and let the slope firm up overnight. Great views. The kind of place you could almost forget it takes a solid ten minutes to strip off layers just to use the bathroom. We ruin the experience by shoving the three of us into a 2 person Firstlight, promptly tearing the corners. Sardines in a can with three rounds of Mountain House thrown in for flavor.   I can't even turn away to avoid friendly fire.

Anyways, our weather guru hits us with bad news. We have one day of okay weather followed by a "stare at the tent walls for a week" storm. Eight feet predicted. Shit. At our pace, we'd probably make it to the summit before the storm hits. Then sardines in a damaged can and quarter rations of mountain house before running the mega avalanche slope and stuck rope rappel gauntlet descent. We want to bail but again, what kind of guy wants to say it first?

Luckily, an earthquake hits that night. Small one. Enough to get the col camp swaying and a staccato serac drop on all sides. A mansion-sized serac drops three thousand feet off Huntington and a few trailer homes drop off the Rooster Comb. The valley below looks like a scene from The Mummy. Beautiful. Well, until a little squall hits. I think only six inches in an hour. 

We mobilize to see the anchors and slopes are sheathed in white. Slough avalanches lazily drifting on down the fluted slopes. I'm not sure if the word "bail" is ever actually uttered, but we're all moving and generally in the downwards direction. Bailing still takes a dozen single rope rappels, having learned our lesson turning doubles into a spaghetti fest, and a couple nut donations. Luckily, most of the stations are fixed and we know a party bailed just a couple days prior during another storm. I think it takes us five hours, brushing off anchors, searching around, simuling where we can. 

We flew out just before stormageddon hit, glad we dodged a bullet. Our pilot, with the last name of Sheldon, knows a thing or two about those mountains and the weather patterns. "Oh, they say it's supposed to be nasty tomorrow. But I don't think it'll amount to much."

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 276


Great story and well-told!

webdog · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 0

I don't know how to bail until I buy the firefly

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86

Yosemite last year. Got off route and bailed back down to where we could walk off. 

If it is bolts I just stick clip to the top. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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