Sorry if you are foaming at the mouth for some real excitement....but I am not much into sharing any serious circumstances with you folks...so any post from me must be anticipated as lacking juice despite the headline.....that being said, humor is not lost....so fire away.
My wife and I are always amazed at the series "I shouldn't be Alive" on Discovery Channel. During many of the episodes we watch, it often appears the individual(s) involved try really hard to put themselves into harms way and stay in it....not all, but many of them appear to have this angle. Yesterday with glee, I met her at the barn with my partner in tow exclaiming "I shouldn't be alive".....code for I did something pretty stupid (with the seriousness of it all exaggerated of course).
In 20 years of climbing, whenever at a crag, leading and rapping a pitch, I always (normally) put a bite into the rope and attach it to my harness before untying and threading the rope through the anchor. This should be one of the first things you are taught in climbing dicipline. Yesterday, was my partners (a friend from Vermont) rest day from working on 5.14's with the local hard crowd. That meant he was not climbing, giving his fingers a rest, but was more than willing to give me a belay while I showed him one of local best kept secrets, the Underworld. The day before I was climbing with my wife at one of the more popular local crags, Black Rocks. I typically lead the pitches, top rope her, then climb them again to clean the anchor and rap the route. At Black Rocks, if you dropped the rope during the rap set up, you can easily climb over the top of any of the stations and scramble back down to the base. This fact causes me to be quite lazy at Black Rocks and not put a bite into the rope (saving me a whopping 5 secs per).
From Black Rocks to Underworld. Underworld is not so forgiving. It is a 200' basalt cliff full of Indian Creek type cracks with most routes ending at 100' below the top. My partner brought no shoes or ATC, just a grigri to belay me all day. I would lead a pitch, if I did not get it clean, I ran back up top roped. I ran into a pitch I did not nail on lead, I cleaned it, removed all gear from my harness and ran back up top roped....during my half victory excitement of at least getting it clean on TR.....with the day before bad habit still fresh at hand, I did not put a bite in the rope and secure it before untying. Well you know what happened next.....bye bye rope. My partner was good natured about it and did a quick scramble around the bend out of sight to reach the top of the cliff and lowered me my rope so I could rap. But the pure desolation that is the Underworld, with my partner completely out of site for a period and me (a tiny speck in the middle of no where) hanging off of the fixed station with zero gear to aid my way back down.....I could not help but start to chuckle and lament, "I shouldn't be Alive".....stupidity, laziness and unpreparedness were in play
...now all I needed was to ask my partner to go home and tell my wife to leave me up there for three days without food, water and shirt.....and I am pretty sure I would make the cut for Discovery Channel.
Lesson for "Technique and Training", secure your rope folks, even if at a crag where there are not consequences.....don't allow a bad habit to bite you in the but when it matters!