Andrew Smith from Texas dreamed of climbing big walls in Yosemite Valley. He had learned to climb traditional routes with an experienced mentor and had practiced aid climbing in a specially equipped gym. When he decided to try his first outdoor aid climb, he chose the nearby Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. But things did not go as smoothly as he'd hoped. Andrew fell near the top of his climb, pulled out multiple pieces of protection, and nearly hit the ground. In episode 43 of the Sharp End, Andrew and Ashley talk through his preparation, the fateful climb, and what went wrong that day.
The Sharp End is presented by Mammut, with additional sponsorship from Suunto and the Colorado Outward Bound School. This episode received additional support from Matador Adventure Travel Gear and Tribe Alpha. The Sharp End podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.