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More Close Calls & Scary Experiences

More Close Calls & Scary Experiences

Who says scary stories are only for October? Here's another horrifying tale from the canopy!

 

 

It was a dark and cloudy day {or is that just how I remember it?) It was a typical "get in and get out" removal job. It was meant to be easy. There was some light rigging going on during this operation but nothing crazy. Just to give you an idea, I was rigging from my Omni-block/sling combo the majority of the time.

As I descended, blowing down chunks, my top handle saw was reaching its limit. I called down to my ground crew assistant for something with a little more oomph. My coworker walked over with the big gun, and I began to disconnect my top handle saw in order to send it down on the rig line. It was something I had done hundreds of times with no issues. I placed my saw on the top of the spar as I disconnected it from harness in preparation to send it down on the rig line. I went to clip the carabiner from the saw onto the rig line but when I did that, I bumped the saw and it just started going down!

I panicked. I let go of the carabiner and threw myself toward the saw in hopes of catching it, but it was no good. The saw was already too far down! At that moment, my friend was already tying the bigger saw to the tail of my climb line. At the top of my lungs, I screamed

"HEADACHE, HEADACHE, STAND CLEAR!"

It was like watching everything unfold in slow motion.

 

My friend didn’t have enough time to get the hell out of dodge, so he just ducked down and put his hands over his head. The tip of the bar grazed the visor that he was rocking on his KASK Zenith helmet! It could have gone so much worse.

Still up in the canopy, I was dreading I had just killed my friend. The feeling made me want to throw up. It was bad.

Good news is he wasn't harmed. I had to take a hot minute to regain my composure. Eventually, we finished the job but I couldn’t stop apologizing to him. We’re still friends but I now think that he thinks that I’m out to get him.

Our team did go over the incident and we were all thankful that he was okay. I felt like these accidents aren’t supposed to happen to professionals, and yet it happened to me. It really made me more aware of myself.

I’ve gotten my scars and bruises, but this was the biggest eye opener for me! Every time I go to switch out saws while aloft, you bet your ass I take extra measures to not drop that saw. I do a triple check before disconnecting any gear. Learn from my mistakes and don’t let this happen to you. Climb safe!

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