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Short Post: Bourne Double, more “Secure” insecurity.

Date: 8th December 2011

It’s been a mad two weeks–rigging on a commercial with some good friends, stunt doubling for Jason Bourne in the new Bourne movie, now packing and getting read to head for my level 1 avalanche course. Love it!

There’s a good discussion going on over on gravsports-ice about a climbing accident, worth reading. Excepert below, with the quote in Italics and mine normal:

Last Saturday (Nov 27), our group had an incident on GBU. We thought our lessons worth sharing…

1. COMMUNICATION. This is number one, no doubt. It was quite a windy day and it was not clear to the belayer what was said at the top of the climb. The interpretation was “secure” (rather than “lower”), so some slack was fed out and a few steps taken forward (the belayer imagined the climber wanting slack to feed through the rings).

And yet once again “Secure” is used to mean something other than “Off Belay…” I really wish that people would stop using “Secure” if for no other reason than obviously so many people disagree on what it actually means. In the guiding community everyone thinks it means, “off belay.” Had the belayer been trained to think “Secure!” meant “off” he could have undone the belay device… The meaning of “Off belay” is explicit, unlike “Secure.” “Off belay” suffers from no potentially fatal misinterpretation. Glad everyone is OK. I completely agree that communication was the main problem, the rest is just details. Kelly Cordes was badly injured in a not-dissimilar situation.

Pay attention when lowering; on the Bourne job I was just on I had to really trust my belayers (it took two to keep it safe) as they had to put me back into position as fast as the helicopter shooting the scene could reverse direction. I was happy to have super competent people, but we still made eye contact on each and every lower before I was sent out of view. Same with the nearly 200 lowers into Ouray’s box canyon I did during the Endless Ascent with the dZi foundation. I had an all-star cast of people helping, but we still made eye contact on every lower. For the record, Conrad Anker had the fastest consistent lower, although Andreas got me down the fastest on the final few laps to finish the climb, great memory.

Thanks to Dave Stark, Barry Blanchard and John Freeman for a safe shoot, it was tough job!


Posted in: Blog


  1. Siew Moi Khor   December 11, 2011 11:16 pm

    I love the Bourne series! I’ve watched them several times. Can’t wait to see the movie and you in it as a stunt double ;-) How exciting to watch it when it comes out knowing you’re in it!

  2. Chris (i-cjw.com)   December 14, 2011 12:23 am

    Will, any thoughts on 2-way radios? $30 well spent, and I’ve been very glad of mine on drawn out pitches when I can’t see the belayer any more…

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