Craig DeMartino describes his 100-foot fall during a climb in Colorado.

Good equipment isn't always enough. Photo by chriscom

Not all falls are fatal. Craig DeMartino’s plunge, however, should have been. Craig fell over 100 feet onto a talus slope, shattering the bones in his feet, lower back and neck.

I’d be lying if I said that thoughts of taking a catastrophic fall didn’t creep into my mind when I’m on a wall. They do. And I’d be double-lying if I said that hearing stories like Craig’s didn’t induce a pucker response when I feel my fingers slip from a pinch-hold.

What makes these stories worth hearing, and keeping in mind as I climb is that they remind me exactly what I’m doing up there in the first place. sure, I could fall and get hurt or killed. OR, I could be on the ground, looking up, bored out of my mind, wishing I could see the world from up there. Letting fear of death stop me from living would be more crippling than the worst thing that can happen up there.

Video created by Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith.