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catbirdseat

Fatboyed on Tahquitz Rock

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I was belaying my partner up after leading the first pitch of White Maiden's Walkway when I happened to see two other climbers who were either on Whodunit, or something to the left of that route. One of them had just led the first pitch and had set up a belay. The other was about 30 feet off the ground with a huge bight of rope hanging below him.

 

Near as I could tell he had grown impatient with the leader, and instead of waiting for him to pull up all the rope and be put on belay, he started climbing. When the bight of rope he was trailing caught on a rock horn, he was effectively fatboyed. He couldn't go up and he couldn't bring himself to downclimb.

 

There he was stuck in a precarious position. After some minutes they seemed to have figured out a solution to the problem. Apparently, at least some of the rope had been pulled up, because I could see the follower being lowered. He must have tied a figure eight loop in the anchored strand and clipped in.

 

Had there been no coils of rope at the belay, it would have been a bit stickier. A Prussik knot would have been the solution, but I doubt this particular climber would have had a hero loop or known how to tie a Kleimheist with a Spectra runner.

 

This story could have turned out badly, but fortunately did not.

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Downclimbing a few moves ought to be no more difficult than configuring and clipping in to a prusik. But then I hardly climb rocks anymore, so what do I know?

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