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Fall on Rock, Inadequate Belay, California, Mount Whitney

FALL ON ROCK, INADEQUATE BELAY, POOR COMMUNICATION

California, Yosemite Valley, Lower Yosemite Falls

On June 24, Raj Dhingra (39), my brother Hugh (34), and I—Dan Sakols (37)— decided to tackle Commitment (three pitches, 5.9), one of the “Five Open Books” west of Lower Yosemite Falls. We got an early start to avoid the crowd and finished the first two pitches, both 5.8, with no complications.

Hugh led the third pitch, which starts with 5.9 moves around the right side of a big roof, then finishes up a right-facing 5.8 corner. After Hugh climbed out of sight at the top it was impossible to communicate, even by shouting.