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Fall in the BRC last week?
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By John Keller
Dec 17, 2012

Anybody know anything about the fall that occurred at the BRC Friday, Dec 14?


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By KDog
Dec 17, 2012

I didnt hear about that one, but from what I heard there was a fall at Movement last Wednesday. It sounds like the person might have broken their back (??)

I was also at RandJ North last Tuesday and watched a girl fall from about 20 feet up on toprope.....she hadnt finished her figure 8, leaned back and fell. Luckily she wasn't up any higher or it would have been much worse.

Double-check each other! Just because it's the gym obviously doesn't mean it's safe. Hope all 3 are going to be okay.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Dec 17, 2012

There are about 10-15 ceiling-to-floor falls in the BRC every year - about once a month. Whatever happened last week has already happened dozens of times and will happen again in a few weeks, no matter what they try to do. Good thing for padded floors. Incompetent belaying and not clipping into the auto belay are the two top causes.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 17, 2012
Sure, I can belay

This

JLP wrote:
not clipping into the auto belay


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 17, 2012
Sure, I can belay

Kbird wrote:
she hadnt finished her figure 8, leaned back and fell. Luckily she wasn't

using a bowline

Kbird wrote:
or it would have been much worse.


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By bearbreeder
Dec 17, 2012

JLP wrote:
There are about 10-15 ceiling-to-floor falls in the BRC every year - about once a month. Whatever happened last week has already happened dozens of times and will happen again in a few weeks, no matter what they try to do. Good thing for padded floors. Incompetent belaying and not clipping into the auto belay are the two top causes.


something is really wrong with a gym if there are really that many grounders in a year ...

REALLY WRONG ...


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By Tony Hawk
Dec 17, 2012

how can you climb the auto belay WITHOUT clipping into it first? does not make sense to me. seems like the gym would have more accidents than outside - false sense of security leads to errors easily.


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Dec 17, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

Tony Hawk wrote:
how can you climb the auto belay WITHOUT clipping into it first? does not make sense to me. seems like the gym would have more accidents than outside - false sense of security leads to errors easily.


AND a larger number of people who just plain don't know what they're doing (because of that "security", the gym is safe and made for learnin. Summon'll tell me if i'm gunna die... right?)


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 17, 2012
Sure, I can belay

Well, in this case the injured climber was quite experienced.
I think it's easy to make a mistake when you are climbing on auto-pilot, whether inside or outside.
Lots of climbing gets done indoors, so there are lots of accidents. Fortunately the mats are a lot softer than the ground, so people are able to get away with a little more unplanned air time.


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Dec 17, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

I'm guilty of "auto-pilot" mode. I was belaying someone that had climbed 10' of a route on TR (back at Paradise gym when that was still around) before I realized.. they were not tied in. At all. We both could have missed that entirely, and he would've kept going to the top, at which point...

It seems that this mode is to blame for pretty much all of the accidents we've been hearing about lately. It's important to remember to check our partner's set up every time, and our own.

I do see a fair share of people indoors and out (mostly experienced climbers) who just seem to be on cruise control/conversation mode and step up to start a climb only to realize, shoes aren't on. Or knot is not backed up. or leg loops not double backed or even tight... etc.

I have also seen a lot of beginners in the gym, just going for it. Doing something totally wrong... Assuming that others will point out their errors... But what happens when no one is paying attention to how you've just z-clipped the pink route... not even your belayer (hell, maybe your belayer doesn't even know what that means)?

It's a good thing to remember that ultimately, if your knot or harness or you fail, it's you who will suffer the consequences. Conversely, if your belayer is not paying attention or has you set up incorrectly, it's still you who will suffer the consequences.

Pay attention. And don't be afraid to give someone shit if they're wrong. Chances are, they'll better remember to do it right next time. And being momentarily embarrassed is a lot better than a broken leg (or worse).


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By Andy R-P
Dec 17, 2012

I took about a 30ft fall at the BRC about two weeks ago. Lucky to have walked a way with a small chipped bone in my ankle.


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By TWK
Dec 18, 2012

Jon Zucco wrote:
I was belaying someone... before I realized.. they were not tied in...at all.


I fail to understand how this is even possible, especially in a top-rope or gym environment, unless both parties were stoned out of their brackets.

From my 14-year-old's personal essay: "My dad had told me one thing that was essential to a safe and easy climb. "Never untie from the rope. When you're on belay, you won't fall far, as long as you stay in your harness and tied in to the rope."

It's just not that hard to keep it safe. Our exposure to dangers shouldn't go much beyond weather and rockfall.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Dec 18, 2012

TWK wrote:
I fail to understand how this is even possible.

Your attitude is by far the most dangerous, IMO. Humility and understanding that an accident can happen to anyone at any time is the first step.


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By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Dec 18, 2012
Wall Street, Moab, UT

JLP wrote:
Humility and understanding that an accident can happen to anyone at any time is the first step.


I agree with this. My experience with the BRC (and every other climbing gym I've been to) is that it can often be louder, more "social", with more distractions than climbing outside usually is. I've seen more than one experienced climber forget to double back their harness belt, not tie in through both points, etc. Sometimes the more experienced and comfortable someone is with a dangerous activity the more danger they're actually in, while beginners are often scared enough to check everything 3 times.


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By TWK
Dec 18, 2012

Perhaps I was misunderstood, or as the politicos often say, "taken out of context".

What I mean to say is that I find it so hard to believe that anyone could fail to pay attention, triple check their own stuff, and their partner's, when gravity is a basic law we live by.


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By zenetopia
Dec 18, 2012

I was at the gym the other day, on my way out through the lead area, when i walked past a duo and noticed the leader had Z clipped and was still trying to climb but couldn't because of the Z clip. I said, 'you're Z clipped there, man." To which, both he and his belayer said, 'What's a Z clip?'


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By bearbreeder
Dec 18, 2012

if there are this many incidents at a particular gym ...

it has a serious testing, training and supervision issue ...


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Dec 18, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

TWK wrote:
I fail to understand how this is even possible, especially in a top-rope or gym environment, unless both parties were stoned out of their brackets. From my 14-year-old's personal essay: "My dad had told me one thing that was essential to a safe and easy climb. "Never untie from the rope. When you're on belay, you won't fall far, as long as you stay in your harness and tied in to the rope." It's just not that hard to keep it safe. Our exposure to dangers shouldn't go much beyond weather and rockfall.


Yeah. There is no excuse really. We were both just spraying about another route as he was starting up. I had the rope on belay just fine, but neither of us realized that he was not tied in. Fortunately, I noticed before he was very far off the ground (as I was taking up slack and didn't feel any resistance from him/saw the rope being loose). That was enough of a scare and early enough in my climbing experience to really scare me into always checking every time.

I think the rest of my post illustrates your point. Distractions can happen, if you let them. So don't.


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By pfwein
Dec 18, 2012

bearbreeder wrote:
if there are this many incidents at a particular gym ... it has a serious testing, training and supervision issue ...

Maybe, maybe not. We can have reasonably different views of what additional steps gyms should do to try to reduce user error, if anything.
There is nothing uniquely dangerous about the particular gym, or its Boulder competitor which is also the scene of numerous ground falls.

I imagine insurance company's views of what gyms' obligations are have the most weight and that the particular gym complies with its obligations, but that's just my speculation.


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By Kenan
Dec 18, 2012
Shelf Rd

pfwein wrote:
There is nothing uniquely dangerous about the particular gym, or its Boulder competitor which is also the scene of numerous ground falls.


I agree, and I would bet money that the number of ground falls in those 2 gyms is comparable to any other gym per capita. They are both BUSY AS F*** basically all the time.


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By bearbreeder
Dec 18, 2012

pfwein wrote:
Maybe, maybe not. We can have reasonably different views of what additional steps gyms should do to try to reduce user error, if anything. There is nothing uniquely dangerous about the particular gym, or its Boulder competitor which is also the scene of numerous ground falls. I imagine insurance company's views of what gyms' obligations are have the most weight and that the particular gym complies with its obligations, but that's just my speculation.


if there are 12+ grounders a year from the top as someone here claims ... its only a matter of time till someone dies or gets paralyzed at that gym ...

regardless of insurance ... i wouldnt want to be working or climbing at a gym where theres that many grounders if true ... and where someone bites the bullet ...

on the other hand in a sick kind of way ... that may actually focus people on to take climbing in the gym seriously if there was a sign that "here lieth bearbreeder, he went SPLAT because his belayer was flirting with hot girls and didnt catch him at the top" ...

or they may just keep on flirting and not pay attention anyways ...


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By John Keller
Dec 18, 2012

Good comments and discussion. Two things that come to mind reading through it all.

First, not being able to understand how these things happen means you're missing something about human error and attention. If John Long and Lynn Hill can both fail to tie in all the way and take ground falls then it can happen to any one of us. Failing to understand and accept that might actually be putting you at higher risk.

Second, while I agree that the number of accidents for gyms seems to be pretty high and increasing, we need to be careful to understand it more thoroughly before saying that one gym is or isn't safe. A better comparison that the number of accidents is the accident rate. A gym that is very very busy may have more total accidents but the same or even lower accident rate per climber visit. I certainly haven't done any research yet on gym accident rates around the country. You would also need to understand the different rules and levels of enforcement across different gyms (some are quite different) to be able to make any sort of accurate statements about how those rules affect things.

There's no doubt that gyms are more relaxed and social environments even than the worst outdoor sport crag. They have lots of distractions and are 'perceived' as safe while in reality they are only 'safer' than outside because we don't have to worry so much about falling rock or weather. An actual 'risk' comparison given how jammed the gym can get, how close together the routes are, the more relaxed social environment and the wider range of experience would be interesting.

Keep your head in the game even when inside. There is no climbing environment where your 'risk head' should not be functioning.


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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Dec 18, 2012

Man, this is tough to hear. I see some pretty dumb s--t at the gym, and have always felt a little on edge there. I'd like to see an accident comparison per climber visit between the BRC, Movement, and say BoCan. It would be interesting to see if a statistic difference exists between inside and out.

I've always told my kids, if your not a little scared when you tie in to climb, your either stupid, foolish or both.


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By Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Dec 18, 2012
Stairway to Heaven

Randy W. wrote:
I'd like to see an accident comparison per climber visit... It would be interesting to see if a statistic difference exists between inside and out.


It's just about impossible to get decent statistics on accident rates at outdoor climbing areas. Accident reporting is haphazard at best, and estimated numbers of climber visits are usually either non-existent or wild-assed guesses, except in a few tightly-controlled areas such as the Gunks.

JLP wrote:
Humility and understanding that an accident can happen to anyone at any time is the first step.


Some years ago I was taking a lead-climbing test at Joe Rockhead's in Toronto. I was halfway up the climb when the gym employee supervising the test asked me in a calm voice to downclimb carefully. Turns out my belayer had threaded his GriGri backwards... and none of us (including the gym employee) had noticed until then.


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By TWK
Dec 18, 2012

Martin le Roux wrote:
. . . my belayer had threaded his GriGri backwards... and none of us (including the gym employee) had noticed until then.


Sadly, I wouldn't have noticed. I don't know how to use a GriGri, because I use a belay device that is probably impossible to use incorrectly.

I've used an outdated, archaic, primitive Sticht belay plate since I bought it when I was 15, in the 1970s. People who don't know what it is laugh at it and me. They were born long after I bought it.

I love its simplicity, ease of use, security and light weight. What could go wrong?


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By JLP
From The Internet
Dec 18, 2012

TWK wrote:
People who don't know what it is laugh at it and me.

Just a little FYI for ya - the people who do know laugh even harder, especially when paired with rigid friends and mariachis as a fashion statement while queued up with a bunch of noobs at the base of an ancient trade route. The fact is, most climbers tossed that old crap in the garbage 20 years ago when the Lowe Tuber came out.


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