Finding the perfect Weekend Whipper is as elusive as finding the first 5.16. It may be out there, maybe not. Or it could be years in the future.
No matter the whip—clean and massive or brutally painful, preventable or accidental, helmet cam or hand cam, horizontal footage or vertical footage—ruthless commentary (as well as some good) spews in faster than a Gumby flies off a first lead. From that was lame to that was a crater, not a whipper! to all the armchair critics tossing in their expert advice. And of course, “WHERE’S THE HELMET!”
Nevertheless, we dredge the bowels of the Internet every week in search of the Perfect Whipper. So what would make the perfect whipper? Based on comments, it would be something like a 90-foot, gear ripping, climber flipping, fall that comes an inch above the deck, belayed perfectly, filmed in HD with your all-time favorite song. And the climber is wearing a helmet. In other words, like 5.16, it doesn't exist (yet). Moral of the story…well, I’m not sure where I was going with this. At the end of the day, when the last nut is placed, it all comes down to personal taste anyways.
Weekend Whippers are equal parts learning from others’ mistakes and simple entertainment. So whether you love them or hate them, have even read this far, without further ado, by popularity, here are the Top 10 Weekend Whippers of 2015:
10. Weekend Whipper: Skyhook to the Face!
Robbie Phillips was filming his friend Adam Lincoln attempting a wicked slab climb in Northumberland, England, called On The Rocks (E7 6c) when Lincoln slipped above a marginal skyhook.
The skyhook pings off and nails him in the face. Phillips comments: "Adam is completely fine although there was a bit of bloodshed that at the time looked a lot worse than it actually was ... He is a bit of a drama queen if I'm honest!"
9. Weekend Whipper: Back Slapper Off Bold (and Slabby!) Route
Bold Scotsman Robbie Phillips (see a trend here?) has climbed 5.14, so a route as slabby as Peak Technique (E6 6b) in Northumberland, England, should be a cinch, right? Well, not exactly. This route has about as few holds as it has gear placements! As Phillips piles tenuous move on top of tenuous move, he gets farther and farther out from his last piece of pro, but then he slips and takes what he says was a corker of a fall.
"Missed all the mats too so landed flat on my back!" says Phillips. "Winded me proper but I think I just got a bruised rib and some minor back stiffness ... couple of days and it'll be sorted and back down to finish it off!"
8. Weekend Whipper: Spine Cracker (Again!) on Peak Technique
In Weekend Whipper #9 of the year, Robbie Phillips took a nasty fall off the bold slab, Peak Technique (E6 6b), in Northumberland, England. In case you thought the route looked a little easy from that angle, here's another perspective and a different climber once again tempting fate on the slab. After Pete places what he says are two bomber tri-cams and another cam in a shallow flake, he sets off for a no-holds dance up the dangerous face. But just like Phillips, Pete has a little slip that costs him ...
In his words: "After I had stopped crying I wanted to get back on, but my mates talked me out of it by saying we were going to the pub lol."
7. Weekend Whipper: 60-Footer!
Tuna Town is a 5.12d at the Motherload in the Red River Gorge that boasts big holds for its entire 80 feet. Perhaps more fun than climbing the route, however, is skipping the last draw and jumping from the chains, which you can see in this Weekend Whipper.
6. Weekend Whipper: Grampians Grounder!
Neil Monteith falls during a first ascent attempt in Grampians National Park, Australia. His "two bomber bits of gear" popped, sending him to the deck. Luckily, he was alright. Monteith commented that he handed off the project to a friend, who climbed it at Australian grade 26 (5.12c). Be safe out there!
5. Weekend Whipper: 40-Foot Cam Popper onto the Anchor
Last weekend, two climbers were enjoying the classic five-pitch Nutcracker (5.8) in Yosemite Valley. On the third pitch, the leader placed a cam roughly 10 feet out and started lie-backing his way up the granite splitter ... until he slipped. When the rope came taut on his single piece of pro, however, the cam blew out of the crack, sending him for a 40-foot plunge onto the anchor.
4. Weekend Whipper: Victory Whip Off Omaha Beach
Sometimes, a hard send calls for a little celebration. For this week’s Weekend Whipper, Chris LoCrasto takes a victory whip off the 130-foot sport route Omaha Beach (5.14a), Madness Cave, The Motherlode, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.
3. Weekend Whipper: Inches From the Ground!
This is as close as it gets. After dropping a tool on the mixed climb Ibex Direct, Sam Hinton tries to make the next clip. But while pulling slack, his crampons skate off the stone, sending him flying towards the ground face first.
2. Weekend Whipper: Terrifying Scottish Mixed-Climbing Fall
Scotland is known for its bold winter climbing, but no matter how many photos you see, they will never portray the fearsome climbing as well as this Weekend Whipper. This GoPro footage is from a climber attempting Head Hunter, a 60 meter Scottish VI, 6 covered in a thin dusting of ice and snow. Without any pro beneath him, this climber slips, and goes for one gnarly fall!
1. Weekend Whipper: When Belayer Stops Belaying...
And here it is, the Whipper you've all been waiting for! The number one watched Weekend Whipper on rockandice.com in 2015 - When Belayer Stops Belaying. YouTube description: "Clare takes a giant nasty whip to scare the kids at Earth Treks." Staged? Maybe so, but that scream and "Oh shit!" seem pretty real.
Mike Burdon "gettin' thuggy" on Bottom Feeder (5.12d), El Potrero Chico, Mexico—with a send and victory whip.
Bottom Feeder was established by Rock and Ice editor Jeff Jackson in the 1990s.
Weekend Whipper: No Hands Belay and a Near Grounder
Riddle me this—a climber falls on Contemporary Cuisine (5.10b) at Heart Creek, Alberta, Canada when his waist is well below a bolt. He whips 55 feet, stopping just shy of the ground. What the #&% happened?
Spitz happened. The belayer had his brake hand in a bag of sunflower seeds the moment the climber fell. Miraculously, by rope drag and hand friction (above the ATC-style belay device) alone, the belayer stopped his climber from hitting the deck. Can't imagine what his hands looked like afterwards.
The brake hand never leaves the rope. The brake hand never leaves the rope. The brake hand never leaves the rope.
Weekend Whipper: As Close As It Gets
“I don't think I realized how close my head was to hitting the ground until I watched the video,” Steve tells Rock and Ice.
He’s lucky to be alive. Another few inches and he would have been eating from a tube for the rest of his life.