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What was your biggest, scariest, or most destructive fall?
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Dec 1, 2009
Longest fall was on the first pitch of Deep Freeze in RMNP - A harmless fall down a long snowy chimney onto a good stopper. My worst fall however, occurred when I fell down the entire flight of wet stairs in my ice boots at the Ouray Ice Fest pancake breakfast. Ouch! Alan Ream
From Lafayette CO
Joined Feb 8, 2006
15 points
Dec 1, 2009
Longest: From the top bolt on Little Eiger with an arm length of rope about to clip, I ended up within a few feet of the ground. My belayer, a light weight woman, ended up at the first bolt.

Scariest: Simulclimbing (unroped) up the 3-4 Couloir above Moraine Lake with Jason Maitland. He looked up, saw rocks flying toward his head so he jumped back, planted his crampons into my knee and jumped out. All I saw was him flying thru the air doing a back flip. He self arrested (amazing considering it was early September ice). I ended up with crampon holes in my knee.

Most distructive: Leading Splashtics in the Gunks with Andre Siobovich
I reached above the roof into a wasp nest. I got stung, swelled up like a balloon.
Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Joined Nov 1, 2007
165 points
Dec 1, 2009
I have never fully recovered from the massive injuries that I incurred many years ago when I decked from a quarter of the way up Castlewood Canyon's testpiece, Litte Devil.
The psychological damage alone kept me out of climbing for the better part of a year.
Tom Hanson
Joined Jan 1, 2001
890 points
Dec 1, 2009
i think i would label it as 'most unpleasant' fall

scraping down slab face about 15ft trying to keep my feet clear of pockets hoping and praying to feel the tension in the rope before i would deck 25 ft below...instead got caught by a tree between the legs. what i would have given for more cushion, i was planning my commando roll if i touched ground...there's no preparation for the off-chance of catching a tree! thought about quitting for a while, was a belay b!tch for three months in new zealand (i know, of all places to have a change of heart for rock).

the boulder fields called me back, thank god for castle hill!
From seattle, wa
Joined Apr 26, 2009
505 points
Dec 1, 2009
biggest was like a 20fter on sport

scariest was a 10ft fall onto my only piece of pro, a stopper in dakota sandstone...held which was cool.

most destructive was a 30+ fall while soloing on wet limestone (stupid i know) split my palm and bruised up my ass pretty thoroughly. then i got to hike out in the rain and hop a couple stone walls and barbed wire fences haha super pleasant.
Sam Feuerborn
From Durango, CO
Joined Aug 4, 2009
630 points
Dec 1, 2009
You'll get some destruction here, and feel free to add...
Evan S
From Erie, CO
Joined Dec 30, 2007
275 points
Dec 1, 2009
Longest: Back in 1983? '84? There's this point on Rain (Eldo) where you're up about 15 feet over the bolt and you start fiddling with an RP. After about 10 or 15 seconds (2nd nut by then) you start to think that the jugs are just, what? 3-5 feet? So, I decide quickly to just puuulll. Which was working pretty well; but in slow motion, with my nose just inches from the rock, it struck me odd that the rock was moving in the wrong direction. I have a vivid series of vignettes: The rope flapping above my feet against the sky; the oddly juxtaposed skyline; the red quick-draw distended from the bolt in freeze-frame with a wide arc of rope silhouetted; the tan guy in khaki shorts in the bouldering cave across the river who was holding his head with both hands, half-crouched in a standing fetal position his eyes wide and mouthing the word "Nooooooo." When the rope came tight (Thanks, Bill.) I was facing straight down at "the guys" and watched my brand new glasses spiral down and out of focus to disappear on the rocks: What an INSTANT headache! 40+ foot fall without a scratch. [Aside from my buds, who I left to fend for themselves, 2 people spoke with me. 1st guy was a non-climber with a cooler on wheels who said "You fell so far he didn't think there was a rope." The second guy said the bolt I fell onto was the worst bolt (he?) ever placed in Eldo' and couldn't believe it held. Lucky is good. A lot of us have been lucky. rob bauer
From Golden, CO
Joined Dec 2, 2004
2,416 points
Dec 1, 2009
A bad fall on the apron. Fifty footer and the left bun of my ass being badly ripped by a Leeper bolt hanger as I past it on my way to a unexpected visit with my partner. Besides the slash, I got a hell of a case of road rash. Ouch! Allen Hill
From FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Joined Jun 12, 2004
1,065 points
Dec 1, 2009
My scariest was stepping off a bouldering traverse when I crossed my hands out of sequence. Before switching hands, I stepped backwards onto a rock that had a rattler under it. Its head was whipping back and forth violently, with each whip it came out a couple inches farther and was just within strike range when I stepped back up onto the traverse, hands still crossed over. I pulled off an adrenaline blast up and over the rock, probably many V-grades harder than I can normally do. Mike Lane
From Centennial, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2006
210 points
Dec 1, 2009
I took a 10000 footer out of a plane, would that be a biggiest??

scariest was watching Hasbeen get toppled by the Devil -- I got you, I got you ... oops
Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
545 points
Jan 16, 2010
Scariest by far for me , out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of purple go off the east side of Lunch Rock.
I was belaying my other daughter knowing that purple was my other daughters sweatshirt.
So seconds seamed like hours to secure the daughter climbing and run over and look at my daughter who fell. She was curled up in a fetal position. As I was climbing down she looked up and said IM OK dad.
The only damage was a very small nick on her knee and small tear in her climbing pants.
That was about twenty years ago and it still gives me the shivers.
Most damage to me was being dropped by a belayer looking over at two gals sun bathing rather than watching me.
Tore ligament and tendons, the Doctor said you will regret not breaking it. Still hurts before a storm but not too bad.
From Centennial
Joined Sep 26, 2007
0 points
Jan 16, 2010
it wasn't but a month ago that we had to hear about "Hasbeen" never taking a fall in his whole climbing career stating some b.s. about not wanitng to lose control. well what is the real deal.....I think that I must be missing something here. is the devil thing a 16 foot boulder problem? Jim Gloeckler
From Denver, Colo.
Joined Jul 7, 2004
20 points
Jan 16, 2010
Jim Gloeckler wrote:
it wasn't but a month ago that we had to hear about "Hasbeen" never taking a fall in his whole climbing career stating some b.s. about not wanitng to lose control. well what is the real deal.....I think that I must be missing something here. is the devil thing a 16 foot boulder problem?

The word "crater" originated at the base of Little Devil. When it spits you off, you literally form a crater in the dust at the base. It is a Thermodynamic Anomaly, akin to the Bermuda Triangle, only smaller.
We ask that you leave a DNA sample at the visitor center when you come here to try this thing as often that is the only way to identify the remains from a failed send. Those of us who witness the pure insanity of a Little Devil attempt often need PTSD counseling.
Mike Lane
From Centennial, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2006
210 points
Jan 16, 2010
Thermo dynamic anomaly? otherwise known as a footprint :)
Mr lane; you might look into other counseling if you truly think that I bought into that one. Not only that, but I doubt that you work at the visitor center collecting D.N.A.! If so, it's probably a cesspool of contamination like the L.A. crime lab :)
Jim Gloeckler
From Denver, Colo.
Joined Jul 7, 2004
20 points
Jan 17, 2010
I'm afraid mike isn't kidding. there have been a few documented cases of people taking nasty falls solo on the little devil and because the landing is so chossy and jagged that dental records are often of no use and DNA is quiten necessary. I'm starting a petition to have to boulder destroyed as it has become a public menace being such sand bagged testpiece. I think those of us who have given it a go and failed and survived can agree that it's atleast 2-3 grades harder than what it's currently rated and this only serves to lure in unsuspecting high ballers. Jessica Vose
From Durango, CO
Joined Dec 7, 2009
0 points
Jan 17, 2010
worst and scariest fall.... tripped on a crampon point and fell into a river at the base of an ice climbing chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
Joined Jul 24, 2006
140 points
Jan 17, 2010

Got off route at the top of an easy runout sport climb (5 bolts in 100 feet). I fell from the top trying to mantle onto a dirty shelf, onto a bolt 20 feet below in a soft sandstone slab. I got flipped upside down while trying to backpeddle down the slab. My belayer ended up about 10-15 feet in the air, and I was about mid-route after the fall. Guessing about 50 feet all told. My neck muscles all the way down to my groin were sore afterward from preventing my head from whipping into the rock at the end of the fall.


Was soloing at sunset on Lambs Slide in September on alpine ice (I know...kind of the wrong time of day to top out!) There was a rotten/poorly bonded layer of new snow over the ice at the top of the route. While resting and checking out the view near the top, both of my crampons and one axe blew through the rotten layer. I was accelerating rapidly downward over lumpy old alpine ice on my belly, about 1000 feet of couloir below me. I tried to 'claw up' by getting all of my weight on my points and axes, but that didn't work. I was now bouncing more wildly, sprawled out and afraid of getting flipped by my crampons. I let my right axe go (still attached via a long keeper cord below my feet), and managed to pull off my very first ice axe self arrest with both hand on the left. Although I was aware of how to self arrest, I had actually never done it. When the axe caught in solid ice, my whole body whipped downward onto that single point.

The whole event probably took 5 seconds, I guess I slid around 30-50 feet before arresting, and I was definitely near a velocity of no return. The rest of the evening, searching for Clark's Arrow by headlamp, hiding from 70 mph winds (I have an anemometer, so I do know what 70 feels like... pretty much knocks you off of your feet!), getting hypothermic, and racing to the keyhole hut to finally warm up. All of that was a mini epic in its own right, but the fall was one of those "damn I'm lucky to be alive" moments.

Moral of the story... don't take your heartbreak out on soloing Longs in the dark. I totally underestimated how much more difficult that route would be in the dark.
Joined Jun 29, 2004
95 points
Jan 17, 2010
My biggest happened when I was trying to redpoint the 100' first pitch of a new route in Oregon for the second time. The 5.11 crux is near the top. I had placed a purple, blue and yellow Metolius each about 8' apart. As I was trying to clip into the yellow useing an oval I got a bad case of the sewing machine leg with an armful of slack pulled up. I began wimpering my belayers name like a little girl. I thought OK the blue one held on the last attempt. It didnt!
As I came to a stop about 30' feet later I looked down to see my belayer who had just jumped back into the brush to make up for the slack that I had out,get beaned in the elbow by the chunk of rock the blue Metolius had broken out. Then I realized I was hanging from the smallest cam on my rack. I couldnt get back on the rock fast enough! No injuries just a sore ankle for me and a sore elbow for my belyaer. One of the lobes on theblue was deformed so much that it would no longer work. Later I took a file to it to get it to work but never put it back on my rack. This experince helped me trust properly placed gear and become very suspicious of semiblind placements. A year later I came back armed with a new cam and redpointed that sucker.
Reed Fee
From White Salmon WA
Joined Oct 14, 2008
20 points
Jan 17, 2010
I have to have taken 20 footers on bolts. I fell once soloing in the dark a long time ago and walked away without a scratch. My first real trad fall (onto a blue TCU) was scary but taking a ride down Dreamweaver has to win biggest, scariest and most destructive.

Chad and I were soloing the lower snow slope almost to the rock and I had a bad feeling which we quickly discussed. We then gunned for the final 40(?) feet to safety since we had no better option and POOF I saw the slope rip above us. Time for a quick "FUCK!", step left, sink both tools and then get run over by god knows how much snow. We both went 300-400 feet, flew over the final cliff/steep spot which luckily popped us out on top of the snow and somehow go kicked left into more snow instead of the uncovered talus slope. I still remember fighting in the blackness, bouncing off stuff upside down and backwards and then finally slowing and seeing daylight again. 7 hours of crawling and hobbling later we drug our asses to the car each with a broken ankle and him a messed up wrist.
Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2007
245 points
Jan 17, 2010
From the original post: "The older guy rope soloing the route next to me suggested I don't take falls that big onto gear. I agreed."

Baloney. Well-placed gear in good rock will hold a big dude traveling at terminal velocity. The stuff works. Not saying you won't be really messed up, depending on the circumstances... Oh, and I'm not assuming you're big, or a dude, either one.

Apologize if someone already rebutted this, I didn't read the entire thread.
Will Eccleston
Joined Nov 2, 2006
15 points
Jan 17, 2010
biggest, scariest, most destructive: ~800 feet when the steep slope ripped out moments after I had dropped in. the avalanche took me off a 40' cliff into a narrow, curvy gully.I bounced off rocks, hit trees, felt the snow crushing me. there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to die so it wasn't that scary until I came to the surface for the first time hauling ass down the slope with my snowboard attached to only one foot. Rode it out all the way to the bottom of the slope and somehow came out on top more or less. Ended up with a cut-up face, dented helmet, and back and wrist problems that still persist a year later. The funny thing is, although snow scares the shit out of me now, my head is way cooler on rock and pretty much everything else.

wear your helmet!
From Juneau, AK
Joined Jan 11, 2010
0 points
Jan 17, 2010
biggest: intentional 70-footer at the Motherlode in the Red

scariest: 35 feet off a frozen waterfall in Grafton Notch, ME. My buddy, standing next to me at the top of the falls slipped and grabbed my leg, taking me with him. He went over first and, so I didn't land on him, lunged outward as I went off breaking through the ice at the pool, half submerged and soaking wet. Tweaked my knee and some ribs, rushed down the mountain about 2 miles to the car before we froze to death.

most destructive: this past august off a rope swing into the Owens River. 15-20 feet into a foot of water. broke my ankle real bad. I'm still healing...
From NH
Joined Apr 6, 2007
5,050 points
Jan 17, 2010
I was climbing Blue Gramma in Indian Creek with my Ex-girlfriend, I was just below the five or so blown out cam placements. I put in a green Camalot, and by that time was pretty pumped, I knew it was only another twenty feet or so, so I said fuckit, running it to the first shit sandy slopers, getting more pumped, almost there, fuck, here we go... 40 feet, ripping the ex off the rock she was sitting on. Scared the shit out of her as she was upset and crying. It was a fun one, I loved the silent sensation of falling 2 feet away from the rock.
From SL,UT
Joined Jan 22, 2008
30 points
Jan 20, 2010
Was still in my first month or so of leading trad and was unaware of how important it was to extend slings. I was on the second pitch of a widely traverseing route and before i knew it i had to yank up a few feet of rope before making each move. It also didnt help that i was about 20 feet above the intended route on terrain much harder than i had set out to climb. After climbing about 15 feet to the right and up from a solid .75 C4 i placed a piece of psychological pro ( a 00 TCU in a shallow flairing crack ) and dead pointed to what looked like a big jug by a crack that i could make an anchor in. The jug turned out to be a loose rock and i went for a ride. All in all i took an arching 45 footer through space and collided with the wall heels first. There was so much tension in the rope that my belayer barely felt the fall. I was more scared hanging there on that piece than the actual fall scared me. ( the next peice was another 15 feet to the left and there was quite a large ledge below me ).

I learned quickly that knowing when to extend slings was an important skill to have. I had to hobble around for the next few weeks with swollen ankles and bruised heels.

Was climbing some steep, thin, airated ice. I got to a stance and felt as secure as could be while i looked for some pro. The next thing i know i hear the infamous cracking sound and was flying through the air. (the ice ledge i was standing on completely fractured off ). I hit the ground from about 30 feet on my butt / back. Luckily it was about 4 feet of snow and i was fine. My belayer was more freaked by the fall than i was. I got back up on the sharp end and took a different route up some more secure ice and finished the lead.
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jul 7, 2009
0 points
Jan 20, 2010
My ONLY fall of note:

I had wanted to climb for a few weeks but all the usual suspects had to work, so I called a girl I had worked with in Estes whom I knew would be excited about getting out. We went up to Jurassic Park above Lilly Lake and started racking up for an easy crack. It was April so there was still plenty snow on the ground, so I was careful not to get my shoes too wet. All of the sudden, about 15 feet up with no gear, my feet slipped and I went for a ride. I landed on my back in the snow, wind knocked out.

The worst thing about it was the IDIOT who I was climbing with laughed and said in her best valley-girl voice "HAHA OMG like, are you ok? hahahahah. That was like, sooo funny.". As we descended she kept talking about how me falling was the most hilarious thing she had ever seen. I wanted to punch her in the face. We never climbed together again.
Andy Novak
From Golden, Co
Joined Aug 22, 2007
5 points

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