Thursday, January 29, 2009

Easy Street? Never mind.

A couple weeks ago I posted about risk in climbing relative to driving a car. Uh, yeah, well never mind. Danger is everywhere.

Yesterday, my friend Steve and I were at a popular local sport crag that we visit every week or two. He was lowering me off a route just at dark and I was swinging over to clean our draws off an adjacent line. I grabbed and pulled sideways on a feature that usually gets pulled straight down on. I unclipped the draw and still held on when to my dismay the feature rolled out out from the wall under my hand and went spinning toward the ground. It happened too fast to even yell ROCK!, though I might have yelled something else as I suddenly went flying through space. The 18" rock plate just missed Steve's head and glanced off his gloved brake hand.

It was a sobering moment. When you climb at your backyard crag all the time the risks seem to be under control. It seems like nothing can possibly happen there. It can.