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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

How to Fall off a Rock and Not Die

Author: Guest Writer/Friday, February 15, 2013/Categories: Uncategorized

By Reilly Capps

It’s never easy being a pioneer. (See: Magellan, Philippines.) The first person with an idea often suffers. (See: Curie, Marie.) Better to be the second person into the breach.

So it wasn’t easy for climber Matt Maddolini to be the first to try a new kind of climbing, a kind that doesn’t use a rope or a mat but a net, a net stretched between rocks and trees and situated underneath the climbing route.

When he lost his grip, he fell into space.

“It was terrifying,” Maddolini told me. “We were using a fishing net at the time – it’s not exactly designed for that.”

They set it up on a rock in British Columbia called Young Blood. Before the net catches, it drops ten feet, and part of Maddolini wondered whether it was going to catch at all.


As far as he knows, it’s a system that’s only been rigged up twice, on two different routes in Squamish, BC, where Maddoloni lives.

“It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had,” Maddolini told me. “Just to jump into the net is hilarious.”

National Geographic featured Maddoloni here.

Since it has worked 100 percent of the time, the net is, statistically, the safest way to climb (right?). This time, being the first to try something has worked out.


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