My First Fall

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My first outdoor lead fall was only a couple of years ago, [Mark Warner].

I was out at Poll Dubh crags in Glen Nevis climbing with my brother Graham and my colleague Max who was working with the Ice Factor for the summer.

We had been climbing nice easy routes all day it was Grahams second ever experience of outdoor climbing and after leading him up several Severes and Vdiffs me and Max felt like trying something a little harder at the end of the day.

I suggested we head down to pinnacle ridge where there are 2 nice crack lines “Severe Crack at VS 4C” and “Clapham Junction at VS 5a” that i had climbed earlier in the summer and thought Max would like.

We both lead Severe crack nice and smoothly, it just eats big bomber nuts so gives you a real feeling of confidence!

We then turned our attention to Clapham Junction the crack line just to its left this is a little steeper, more polished and pumpy, i started out nice and easily placing good gear love the DMM offsets! and worked my way up to the rightwards  hand traverse at the top  that i had found easy earlier in the year. This time however I remember really struggling to place the top wire and then the pump really starting to build and then as i started to move right my left foot popped on the polished rock and a split second later i was downwards the rope came tight, my last fiddly bit of gear had held as i fell however i somehow managed to catch my foot and inverted knocking my head against the crag as i came tight on the rope. Slight cut and down to the Belford to have it stapled! I had forgotten my helmet at the start of the day! No harm done it could have been a lot worse!

My first fall was at a place called Dalkey Quarry in Dublin (I forget the name of the route now) about seven or eight years ago, [Conor McCarthy].

I was fairly new to lead climbing and taking it slow. It was towards the end of the day and I was feeling strong, clearly stronger than I actually was, and decided to try something a little harder.

About half way up the climb the nerves were starting to build and my nemesis “disco leg” started to rear its ugly head. I’m not exactly sure what happened but the next thing I new I was off. Once I’d stopped falling and having made sure I was still in one piece I noticed that my rope was still slack. It had never come tight on my last piece of gear.

Confused, I looked down at my belayer who looked even more dumb founded than me. It turned out that as I fell a quickdraw which was on one of my gear loops had become lodged behind a flake and caught me! I couldn’t believe it! I did manage to get back on the wall and finish the route with both my ego and my quickdraw a little bit scratched.