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Manslaughter charges in the death of climber Tito Traversa
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By Jon Powell
From LAWRENCEVILLE GEORGIA
Aug 25, 2013
stone depot

www.dpmclimbing.com/articles/view/manslaughter-charges-filed>>>

Tragic accident but not sure if manslaughter charges are in order. Parents are pushing this but as a dad of a young climber I would have been concerned of who my child was climbing with and whos gear he climbed on.


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By Rob Dillon
Aug 25, 2013

It ain't gonna bring him back...


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By Brad "Stonyman" Killough
Administrator
From Alabama
Aug 25, 2013
Knife Crack

Very sad. Such a talented kid. Equipment takes lots of care and attention. Either way he`s gone and maybe someone can learn from this.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Aug 25, 2013
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Wow, apparently frivolous lawsuits are not unique to the US.


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By Chris treggE
Administrator
From Madison, WI
Aug 25, 2013
Best day of climbing ever.  Darin Limvere photo.

csproul wrote:
Wow, apparently frivolous lawsuits are not unique to the US.


I'm no lawyer but a criminal prosecution isn't the same as a frivolous (money grubbing) lawsuit? Not that I agree about prosecution in this case either...


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By RobC2
Aug 26, 2013
This..

This is such a colossal fuck- up on so many levels. From the company that designed and manufactured these draw and carabiner sets, to the shop that let them go out the door without being correctly assembled, to the parent/relative that purchased these without noting their assembly, to the supervising adults at the crag who failed to perform even a basic safety check on the children's equipment before they climbed that fated day...

Somebody needs to be held as culpable for the death of a child, someone's beloved son. The father is absolutely justified in insisting upon a criminal investigation. Climbing, performed correctly by capable adherents should be a recreational exercise that should NOT routinely result in death or injury.

To say "Oh, shit happens..." is so exceedingly crass, if this kid had drowned in a pool while the lifeguards looked on they would have crucified the adults responsible, but since it is climbing people assume the kid who died did so from divine will and no one is responsible.

Somebody needs to twist in the wind for this....


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By Alec32
From Brooklyn, NY
Aug 26, 2013

Keep in mind that the justice systems in Europe are very different than here in the U.S. Here in the U.S., it's entirely up to the prosecutor (state employee, often elected) to decide who gets criminally prosecuted. Often in Europe, private citizens can insist on a criminal prosecution, and even wrap their civil case up into the criminal prosecution. There can even be two different "tracks" for criminal cases in Europe, too: one for the prosecutions initiated solely by the state, and another for those initiated by a private party. I am not familiar with the Italian system, so that's all the info I can give. But this may be an example of a situation in which no criminal prosecution would have happened in the U.S., but one is happening in Europe b/c the victim's family insists on it.

I don't know which way that cuts, nor do I know the facts of this case enough to comment on it specifically, but just thought I'd throw that out there for other people to remember when making judgments about this (important) case and issue.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Aug 26, 2013
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

RobC2 wrote:
Somebody needs to twist in the wind for this....


You're a lawyer, huh? Thats pretty fooked.


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By bearbreeder
Aug 26, 2013

of the millions of sport climbing whippers for the past 20+ years on quickdraws ... there has not been any incident im aware of with this particular failure of assembly

im sure some wiseguy will bring up the petzl string on an open sling fatality a few years ago .... but that incident is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT type of accident ... UKClimbing in their rush to come up with an explanation implied that it was that type of failure, but it isnt ....

for everyone here who thinks they would have spotted the problem if they were there ... consider this ...

if 4 trained firefighters can miss something similar that leads to a fatality ... anyone here can as well




Before the rappelling attempt, four people looked at or inspected Marovich’s rappelling gear: the spotter trainee who installed the “O” ring, Marovich, and in the helicopter a spotter, and another helitack crewperson who did a “buddy check”.

Marovich fell, unarrested, shortly after stepping out onto the helicopter skid. He was pronounced deceased about 30 minutes later.


wildfiretoday.com/2010/03/04/report-released-on-usfs-rappell>>>


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By CJC
Aug 26, 2013

kid should have checked his own gear. if he's not experienced enough to be responsible for ensuring his own safety perhaps he shouldn't be leading.

on the other hand, I can imagine it's not that common to check a quickdraw, imagine how the draws owner must feel :-/


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By Matt Roberts
From Columbus, OH
Aug 26, 2013
Hittin' Miguel's with the new Chimps in tow

Sad, sad situation.

bearbreeder, thank you for the link...fascinating and scary read that should be a warning to us all.


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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Aug 26, 2013
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!

Yeah, 'Blindness' and 'Confirmation Bias' are scary things. Need to make sure to do your double checks better, not more of them, just more focused.


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By CJC
Aug 26, 2013

that article is, indeed, an eye-opener. blindness...going to have to give that some stong consideration when performing safety checks.


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By VARMENT
From Boulder, Colorado
Aug 26, 2013
base of castelton

bearbreeder wrote:
of the millions of sport climbing whippers for the past 20+ years on quickdraws ... there has not been any incident im aware of with this particular failure of assembly im sure some wiseguy will bring up the petzl string on an open sling fatality a few years ago .... but that incident is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT type of accident ... UKClimbing in their rush to come up with an explanation implied that it was that type of failure, but it isnt .... for everyone here who thinks they would have spotted the problem if they were there ... consider this ... if 4 trained firefighters can miss something similar that leads to a fatality ... anyone here can as well Before the rappelling attempt, four people looked at or inspected Marovich’s rappelling gear: the spotter trainee who installed the “O” ring, Marovich, and in the helicopter a spotter, and another helitack crewperson who did a “buddy check”. Marovich fell, unarrested, shortly after stepping out onto the helicopter skid. He was pronounced deceased about 30 minutes later. wildfiretoday.com/2010/03/04/report-released-on-usfs-rappell>>>





Sorry bearbreeder but the misuse is super obvious in this example as it would have been to anyone fit to lead a group of climbers outdoors. Firefighters or not this seems totally obvious to me as dose the Tito case.


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By VARMENT
From Boulder, Colorado
Aug 26, 2013
base of castelton

The Company: Not sure how they are actually at fault here? Producing a piece of equipment that can be used improperly and as a result cause injury or death seems to be quite acceptable in many other sports and industries.

The Store: Failing to assemble the keepers at the store and/or upon purchase is similar to holding the company responsible. We might as well blame the farmers who harvested the rubber.

The manager of the climbing program: I believe that he/she should be held accountable however are not directly responsible for Tito's death.

The Instructors: I'm certain that these are the individuals who are ultimately at fault here. Instructors, guides, and or informal leaders should be held responsible for the entire site when leading a group climbing outside. This includes inspection and proper use of all equipment, among many other things. I have no doubt that the instructors of this program are at fault. The instructors should have inspected ANY piece of equipment of gear that was used.

As coaches, guides, friends, and instructors we can not allow any client, student, partner, or athlete to make actions or decisions which may cause severe injury or death. Further I believe we have an obligation to question and inspect our own systems and those of our peers every time we tie in.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 26, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

I have no doubt that the instructors of this program are at fault.

varment... I'm with you on this one.


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By PatCleary
From Rohnert Park, CA
Aug 26, 2013

I'm not a lawyer, but an engineer. When we release new product, we go through careful risk analysis. Included in that is looking at improper assembly. If we make a product can kind of go together, fail, and injure a customer, we'd (rightfully) be liable. A quick draw that can be assembled without the carabiner going through the dogbone while seeming to be assembled properly is improperly designed. Certainly it should have been documented in a way that you couldn't miss.

Looking at the concept of product liability in the climbing world, I don't want to have to play the "guess the failure mode" game at the bottom of a climb while going through a buddies pile of climbing gear and racking up. There are enough risks to address without wondering if my gear was built right.

Patrick


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By doug rouse
From Denver, CO.
Aug 26, 2013

1st of all, alot of draws are sold without carabiners on them. If this is the case, then it's not the manufacturer at fault.
2nd, When I was a teen, I would pour over all my gear to ensure all was in order (1980's). To assign liability to anyone other than he who used the equipment, is such an example of modern thinking! Yes it sucks that a child died as a result of misused gear, but to hunt for fault is also wrong. That's why it used to be a fringe sport, and some of us wouldn't mind seeing it return to the days of yore! Gee, remember when it took balls to climb a rock?


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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

if returning to the days of yore involves some kid dying, i think i will pass on that one. it would have been a good idea for the dogbone manufacturer to have a small tag showing how to assemble correctly.

but i agree with several others - most of this is on the instructors, particularly if they were being paid to instruct.


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By doug rouse
From Denver, CO.
Aug 26, 2013

NOt my point. But on most all eqipment, there are user assume risk or serious injury or death. I thought I had read that this kid had climbed 5.14..Seems like instructors weren't needed..The lesson here is that all who step on the rock take their, and their partners safety into account. Not sure how much experience the average poster on this thread has, but you can certainly tell which are the modern additions to the "sport". Suck it up, and pay friggin attention!


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By PatCleary
From Rohnert Park, CA
Aug 26, 2013

No, actually it doesn't limit liability. Many products ship unassembled, or with various possible configurations. If anything it increases the requirements on design verification. The customer shouldn't be able to develop a combination that isn't safe. They presumably unknowingly designed a piece of personal protective equipment, where a reasonable assembly error could create a life threatening issue.

The documentation that ships with this may cover the issue, and may address the issue.

I agree, the customer screwed up, and didn't perform the checks they should have. Maybe it sucks that the good old days where quasi-tested gear was good enough due to solid skills, lots of training, etc. have gone, but they have. Unfortunately, at least under US law, those aren't good enough reason for this product failure.

Patrick

Edit: There is an acceptance of risk argument. Although my understanding is that runs more to the risk of gear tearing out of the rock. I personally don't think it'd be strong enough to counter a decided design flaw and that it runs more to the risk of gear tearing out of the rock. I suspect this will be the deciding balance for a jury.

I also don't believe the shop that sold the draws is responsible (unless they'd been notified of the design flaw). The other family may have some liability for failure to follow any documentation, but that's outside my knowledge.


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By bearbreeder
Aug 26, 2013

PatCleary wrote:
No, actually it doesn't limit liability. Many products ship unassembled, or with various possible configurations. If anything it increases the requirements on design verification. The customer shouldn't be able to develop a combination that isn't safe. They presumably unknowingly designed a piece of personal protective equipment, where a reasonable assembly error could create a life threatening issue. The documentation that ships with this may cover the issue, and may address the issue. I agree, the customer screwed up, and didn't perform the checks they should have. Maybe it sucks that the good old days where quasi-tested gear was good enough due to solid skills, lots of training, etc. have gone, but they have. Unfortunately, at least under US law, those aren't good enough reason for this product failure. Patrick Edit: There is an acceptance of risk argument. Although my understanding is that runs more to the risk of gear tearing out of the rock. I personally don't think it'd be strong enough to counter a decided design flaw and that it runs more to the risk of gear tearing out of the rock. I suspect this will be the deciding balance for a jury. I also don't believe the shop that sold the draws is responsible (unless they'd been notified of the design flaw). The other family may have some liability for failure to follow any documentation, but that's outside my knowledge.


You know the standard ATC instructions dont tell you not to belay a second directly off the anchors ( basically no friction) ... I was almost killed by someone doing this

im sure we can go through all the documentation form gear manufacturers and find ways to screw it up that they havent listed

Again .... As far as i know there hasnt been a failure of this specific type since quickdraws came out ....

Only on the intrawebs can we predict black swans .... After the fact of course since we all know better


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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

doug rouse wrote:
NOt my point. But on most all eqipment, there are user assume risk or serious injury or death. I thought I had read that this kid had climbed 5.14..Seems like instructors weren't needed..The lesson here is that all who step on the rock take their, and their partners safety into account. Not sure how much experience the average poster on this thread has, but you can certainly tell which are the modern additions to the "sport". Suck it up, and pay friggin attention!


but is a 12 year old kid realistically prepared to assess these things? my guess is probably not. to be honest with you, half of the adult climbers out there probably are not able to reliably assess these types of things.


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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Aug 26, 2013
Mt. Agassiz

Why is everyone trying to point a finger? It's pointless to go back in the chain to find the source of the problem. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many people screw up before you. Do your checks, for yourself, as a climber. Check your partner and their gear, as a belayer, instructor, draw-hanger, whatever. That's why we do these double checks, like many other things in climbing; it's for redundancy. It's these final checks, before a climber leaves the ground, that are the only ones that really matter in the end. It's pointless to blame anyone else earlier on in the food chain. This is climbing...not a different "profession" or sport.


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By David Barbour
From Charlotte, NC
Aug 26, 2013

Ryan Nevius wrote:
Why is everyone trying to point a finger? It's pointless to go back in the chain to find the source of the problem. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many people screw up before you. Do your checks, for yourself, as a climber. Check your partner and their gear, as a belayer, instructor, draw-hanger, whatever. That's why we do these double checks, like many other things in climbing; it's for redundancy. It's these final checks, before a climber leaves the ground, that are the only ones that really matter in the end. It's pointless to blame anyone else earlier on in the food chain. This is climbing...not a different "profession" or sport.


because it was a 12 year old


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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

ryan, i don't think it is just a matter of double checking things in this case. what good is double checking when you don't have the experience or skills to evaluate the system in the first place?


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