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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
A short story 25-Jun-2004 At 10:45:08 AM IdratherbeclimbingM9
Belayer vsn of Ozy Direct -roof.

Excerpt from I. K. diary; (being a different perspective of the same event); My eternal thanks to him for sharing the adventure with me ...

After joining me at the belay, and exchanging gear, Rod commences to lead what I feel will be the most exciting and challenging pitch (rope length) of the climb. Pitch 7 runs up the arete on bolts for 4 to 5 m and then breaks through the roof on fixed gear. Once out through the lip of the roof a magnificent corner shoots up to a hanging bolt belay called the Gledhill Bivvy. (Named after the Gledhill brothers who pioneered this line through the golden roofs).
It is mid afternoon when he commences leading and he quickly gets up to the roof but then has difficulty with the traverse out under the roof. The sheer amount of gear he is carrying (due to the unknown above) on his chest harness slings is causing him to topple over backwards. This forces him to hang on with excessive arm force and he is becoming fatigued. He manages to re-clip his gear loops and thus prevent them from swinging him down while clipping the next piece. The time ticks away !!!! After using the three fixed pieces in the roof he finally makes it to the lip, but as he is stepping up to clip the first piece in the corner his protection rips and he falls. This caught me by surprise even though I had him locked off instinctively. The climb had progressed so well that falls were few and it was easy to become bla-se. I constantly had to discipline myself that I was on belay duty and to stay alert for any such incidents.
The fall shook me up a little. I was concerned for him injuring himself but as it was a fall into free air this averted any impact with the rock. I constantly thought of how I would cope if I had to evacuate an injured partner off a wall. I hadnít as yet practised any rescue techniques on rock. It looked totally outrageous as he swung off the fixed wire in the roof with nothing but 200m of clear air to the ground beneath him. This incident only set back his lead further and after gathering his thoughts he commenced leading once more. This time negotiating the lip of the roof with no problems and began to plug away at the crack leading up to the Gledhill Bivvy. For me the most sought after and anticipated belay spot on the entire climb. Probably the whole of the North Wall for that matter.
I settled back into the routine of paying out rope, locking off, waiting, listening, waiting, adjust the body position, look for any upward movement in the lead line, waiting, stretch the aching legs, check the belay, all ok, look around enjoy the view, adjust the body position, waiting, pay out some lead rope, lock off, and so it went for what seemed like an eternity.

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