The Sharp End

The Sharp End

United States

A podcast from Accidents in North American Mountaineering, hosted by Ashley Saupe.


Hanging By A Thread (Ep. 7)  

Three experienced climbers were enjoying a warm winter outing in Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon when rockfall destroyed their belay anchor and nearly killed them all. Ashley interviews climbing guide Carl Dec about what happened that day and how good anchor-building decisions saved their lives.

Caught In a Bad Place (Ep. 6)  

Nick Thurston and his climbing partner were surprised by a severe thunderstorm high on California's Bear Creek Spire. In this episode, Nick describes the lightning bolt that struck his partner and how they escaped without more serious injuries. Plus: Ashley suggests ways climbers can minimize their risk of lightning strikes when they are caught out.

Bomber Anchors or Ticking Time Bombs?  

We think of bolts as offering bomproof anchors and protection. But many of the bolts used by climbers today were placed at least 20 to 30 years ago, and they were never designed to be used by climbers in the first place. In 2015, a climber in California died when an old bolt failed under his body weight. In this episode, Ashley speaks with Jason Haas and Brady Robinson about bolt safety. Should climbers blindly trust bolts? And what are leaders in the climbing world doing about the problem of old bolts?

Denali Ranger Dave Weber: A Day in the Life  

Mountaineering ranger Dave Weber describes a sobering incident in the Ruth Gorge of Alaska. Plus, Dave and Ashley discuss the realities of rescue missions and his thoughts on avoiding accidents in the mountains. Read the full story of this accident:

Rescue in the Palisades  

Eric Hengesbaugh had planned an expedition into the Palisades section of the High Sierra, with support from an AAC Live Your Dream grant. But a fall during his very first climb left him with a broken ankle and back injury, hundreds of feet above the ground. Amazingly, Eric captured the entire incident on a portable recorder. Afterward, he crafted a moving podcast telling the story of the accident and the people who rescued him. In this special edition of the Sharp End, Ashley introduces Eric's story and then interviews him about the lessons learned. When you're done, you'll definitely want to hear Eric's full hour-long podcast, "Fall Risk," at this link:

A Rope Too Short  

Blake Bowling aimed to redpoint 1,500 routes in Kentucky's Red River Gorge. The Madness, a 5.13 route at the Motherlode, would be number 1,499. When a friend came by his camper van and asked if Blake wanted to climb, he grabbed the rope he'd already used many times before while rehearsing the moves on the Madness. This time, however, using that rope would be a near-fatal mistake. Sharp End host Ashley Saupe interviewed Blake about his accident and the very simple steps he could have taken to prevent it. Blake and his belayer had 52 years of combined rock climbing experience, proving that experience is no guard against serious accidents. Blake's story and photos can be seen at the Accidents in North American Mountaineering website:

The View from a Crevasse  

Ashley interviews Seth Adams, who fell into a crevasse in Alaska's Hayes Range last spring. Hear Seth describe this scary incident and what he learned about traveling Alaskan glaciers. Here's a link to the report that will appear in Accidents 2016: And here's Seth's original account of the crevasse fall, republished at the Climbing Zine:

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