Listen to Niall Grimes, an Irish climbing legend, narrating an article from his Lines of Weakness column that first appeared in issue 219 of Rock and Ice. He retells his interesting adventure to Germany to confront old ethics, knotted slings and curious locals.
“When you’re climbing you can always do something: downclimb, rig a rappel, or press on, just move. This was different, but I kept moving anyway, breathing, getting ready, keeping my boys close, and calling everyone I loved.”
“Eddy’s foot slipped. He barreled down the nearly 60-degree slope straight at me. His crampons hit me as he slid through the anchor. The belay ripped. Wham!”
“”The pilot transmitted a mayday moments before ditching in the open ocean. Frank, wrapped in Ken’s pullover and new windproofs, was still lashed semi-conscious to the stretcher. Sugar couldn’t swim…”
“If you’re ever having a heart attack high on an overhanging wall, be sure to have Bob Almond with you.” – Ed Wright describes a medical crisis high on a 600-foot wall.
One beautiful October day I was bouldering a perfect set of finger locks at the bottom of a route at Vedauwoo when I reached a flared hand jam, groped and fell. I heard my ankle snap like the rap of a gavel, and I broke out in a nauseous sweat when I saw my foot, completely detached from my ankle, turned in 90 degrees to my knee. Alone, I crawled half a mile back to the car, which sucked but I did it, then experienced a second crux in realizing I couldn’t drive a standard shift with a broken left ankle.
For a moment, I was suspended in silence. Darkness rushed in around me, dreamlike. The panic disappeared, and I felt totally calm, accepting my fate. Was I about to die? For the next five seconds, I bounced violently down the slab, gear banging…
My right arm was bent over halfway down my forearm, where the bone had broken and pushed thorough my skin. My legs were lifeless, directed only by the pull of gravity. I was certain I was paralyzed.