For our latest Facebook Experiences competition we asked you to send in a tale of your nightmare climbing or walking trip. The response was phenomenal: over 100 tales of woe. But there could only be one winner.
To win the two places at the Chamonix Mountain Festival, free BMC insurance and two pairs of DMM axes, we asked for your holiday nightmares - and you didn't disappoint.
From bad weather, unreliable partners and breaking limbs, to just being plain stuck in an office, we ploughed through the pile of entries. The criteria was simple: a tale of woe to make us gasp, and with one eye-watering line, we knew that we had found the winner.
So, congratulations to Michael T for winning, commiserations to his belay partner at the time and a huge thanks to everyone for entering. It's been a blast; we'll run another one soon.
The winning tale:
"In the late 80s I went to climb a three pitch climb, I vaguely remember was called Skrik, in the Magaliesberg with Lobster. Our plan was to climb the first two pitches and then do a hard new direct finish. The first pitch was uneventful, the second was a scary traverse on a nose of rock running at 90 degrees to the main cliff so completely undercut. This too went fine.
We then proceeded to beast ourselves on the twin cracks we'd planned to conquer that were hard to protect and well beyond our capabilities. After an hour we decided to call it a day and do the standard finish up an overhanging rightward slanting crack. Lobster lead without too much trouble. I followed, and 10m from the top I was stopped by a cam that had walked in to the crack. I clung on and tried to remove it but it wouldn't shift. The pitch was steep, and undercut so was mostly on my arms. Eventually I needed to rest and asked for tight. Seconds after I relaxed I heard Lobster scream and shout "I can't hold you! I've got to let you go. Hold on to something!" (I may have rewritten his words slightly as they were quite Anglo-Saxon). I grabbed the cam I'd been fiddling with and clipped it to it preying it would hold. For 5 minutes I just stared at the cam watching for any sign of movement, expecting it to pop and me to fall. Lobster eventually took me on belay, I removed the cam and climbed up to him.
Arriving on the ledge, I saw a pale Lobster with his hands covered in blood. He had, rather reasonably, wanted to let me go because as I weighted the rope his scrotum got caught between the belay plate and rope and his gentleman area had ripped open. It was the 80s and we were in Lycra. I nearly plunged to my death because he gave himself an impromptu vasectomy.
After a little first aid and recovery we abbed off the overhanging cliff. A 60m ab on 50m ropes made possible by rope stretch and landing in the top of a tree. Half way down I got my long hair caught in the belay plate and was left dangling in an awkward position with arms now too tired to pull myself back up and release the hair. I was forced to pull large chunks of hair out rather painfully in order to land safely in the thin, wobbly branches of the tree.
Suffice to say, that after this we decided not to push our luck any further and went home."
Come to the Chamonix Mountain Festival
Didn't win the competition? Give yourself a consolation prize by coming to the Chamonix Mountain Festival - the best-value way of experiencing Chamonix valley this season.
Many thanks to Chamonix Mountain Festival and DMM for supporting this competition.
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