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Spotting at the Gym
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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Mar 26, 2012
Stoked...
Yup - Back in the day I knew a girl who fell indoors. Totally innocuous fall yet and she landed on her butt but still she ended up breaking her back. Spotting totally necessary...

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By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Mar 26, 2012
Mathematical!
boulderbum wrote:
Your cankles look mad weak brah. Just sayin


My mad weak cankles are from the swelling. Brah.


Just after I rolled it, pre elephantitis.
Just after I rolled it, pre elephantitis.

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By Nick Barczak
Mar 26, 2012
...
I have a good friend who severely dislocated his elbow when he landed awkwardly in a gym. A spotter would have prevented that.

Just because there's a bunch of foam on the ground doesn't mean people should be careless.

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By J mac
Mar 26, 2012
Zermatt
My buddy fell topping out bouldering in the gym and broke his back. One of his vertebrae splintered and was millimeters from his spine. The doctors were surprised when he was not paralyzed. A spotter would have helped.

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By Tradoholic
Mar 27, 2012
Just cause you wrecked yourself and a spotter wasn't present doesn't mean a spotter would have saved you. There's a time and place for spotters and only "good" spotting will help. Unsolicited spotting is the worse because you never know where that meathead is gonna push you.
Only is certain situations where a hard hazard exists, like a retaining wall under an insecure move, would I ask for a spot (which shouldn't exist in the first place if the route-setters are on top of their game).

Learning to control your falling is key and most of the time a spotter is more of a hazard in the gym.

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By thomas ellis
From abq
Mar 27, 2012
Mint jullop
@fascist
You're wrong. But you know that...

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By Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Apr 3, 2012
boulderbum wrote:
Uh dude, its definitely her fault. No excuse for being under a boulderer while he's on the wall. He probably thought she was spotting him. Ive actually had a small girl in her 20s come and sit in a cave while I was in the gym mid-climb. Im 190 lbs and any gym time is spent projecting overhangs and roofs well beyond my limit. Wake up folks...if you sit in the bouldering area, keep your wits about you


She was climbing, dropped, then he dropped immediately after. She would have had less than a second to get out of the way. Not much sitting was being done as it was during a team practice. Anyone with any knowledge about gym etiquette knows not to sit under climbers.

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By Colin Parker
Administrator
From Idyllwild, CA
Apr 3, 2012
Bouldering in Joshua Tree
In my experience spotting is helpful for climbers who are just beginning to learn how to fall safely. After bouldering for a few months climbers typically get to the point where spotting is only needed in certain circumstances. Still, I prefer seeing a spotter to hearing 'TAKE!' screeched at full volume. :-)

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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Apr 3, 2012
My navigator keeps me from getting lost
Noah Doherty wrote:
If I'd been there I would have yelled at the guy. Spotting wouldn't have done anything, but being near and watching out does. Some people have no idea about being polite in the gym. It's cute when they are five, not forty five. And 160 pounds.


Noah Doherty wrote:
She was climbing, dropped, then he dropped immediately after. She would have had less than a second to get out of the way. Not much sitting was being done as it was during a team practice. Anyone with any knowledge about gym etiquette knows not to sit under climbers.


And, you would have yelled at him for that? Sounds like your sister needs a spotter and you need anger management classes.

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By MegaGaper2000
From Indianola, Wa
Apr 3, 2012
the dragon's tail, or dragon's tooth, or whatever....
I always wear a helmet while leading indoors. Inverted falls kill, whether you hit your head on plywood or rock! Safety first!

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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Apr 3, 2012
Bunny pancake
MegaGaper2000 wrote:
I always wear a helmet while leading indoors. Inverted falls kill, whether you hit your head on plywood or rock! Safety first!


I wear full body armor, carry my whole rack on me, and drink my own urine (because its sterile and I like the taste of it) while climbing indoors.

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By MegaGaper2000
From Indianola, Wa
Apr 3, 2012
the dragon's tail, or dragon's tooth, or whatever....
Mike McKinnon wrote:
I wear full body armor, carry my whole rack on me, and drink my own urine (because its sterile and I like the taste of it) while climbing indoors.


But do you wear an athletic support cup?

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Apr 4, 2012
MegaGaper2000 wrote:
But do you wear an athletic support cup?



Cup hell. How they gonna fit in a cup? I wear an athletic support BUCKET.

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By Jon Marek
From SLC
Apr 4, 2012
gossamer
ouch
ouch


Note the beautiful gym padding...that's gonna leave a mark!

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By Jon Marek
From SLC
Apr 4, 2012
gossamer
ouch
ouch


another angle

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By MegaGaper2000
From Indianola, Wa
Apr 4, 2012
the dragon's tail, or dragon's tooth, or whatever....
Please god, if I ever break my ankle in a gym, please let it not be on the day I decide to experiment with my new short/shirts combo.

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By Jon Marek
From SLC
Apr 4, 2012
gossamer
you wish you looked that good

edit: my first official thread kill...BooYa!

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By Lee Green
May 19, 2012
Charles Kinbote wrote:
How exactly is a spot going to save someone's knee or ankle in a gym with good, seamless padding?


It's not just about how hard the surface you land on is. The foot-knee distance is a lot of leverage, and if you land sideways it's more than enough to rip out an ACL, no matter how good and seamless the padding. Same goes for shoulders and even necks. There is much more nuance to mechanisms of injury than mere padding will address. Land on rock but in a good position, and you'll be bruised. Land on padding in a bad position and your climbing - and walking - days could be over. The spotter's job is to guide your landing to one that allows the energy to be dissipated in structures meant to take it, not in side-loading knee joints or vertebrae. Definitely spotters in gyms!

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By Josh.Wood
From New York City
May 19, 2012
There are two ways to get injured bouldering in the gym. One is if, typically on a roof, you do a big move to a jug, don't quite stick it, and swing out, landing on your side and breaking your arm. When you're almost horizontal and flailing your arms and legs uncontrollably, the spotter won't be able to make you land on your feet.
The other way to get injured is by breaking your ankle. There are a few ways that this can happen; all involve landing on the side of your ankle. One way is to land between two pads or on the side of one. Unless your spotter can predict your trajectory mid-air and push you away (probably not going to happen), he won't help you. Another ankle twister is you suddenly slip and start flailing your legs, or in any way take an unexpected fall, and either land with your ankle facing sideways. If the fall is too sudden, the spotter won't react in time. And yes, you can break your ankle by missing a move and landing wrong, where a good spotter can save your ankle. The bottom line is I've known people to get injured bouldering in a gym with a spotter, and IMO the spotting is mostly a waste of time.

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By Lee Green
May 19, 2012
There are two ways to get injured bouldering in the gym.


There are many, many more than two. Even in the falling-sideways scenario, the spotter can't make you land on your feet but can affect your trajectory enough to make the difference between "thud, oof, no biggie", and "that shouldn't be sticking out that way, let's go to the ER". It's easy to be complacent in the gym because most falls are fine with spotter or without. It's those ones that aren't "most" that suck.

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By DexterRutecki
From Cincinnati, Ohio
May 20, 2012
Joshw97 wrote:
There are two ways to get injured bouldering in the gym. One is if, typically on a roof, you do a big move to a jug, don't quite stick it, and swing out, landing on your side and breaking your arm. When you're almost horizontal and flailing your arms and legs uncontrollably, the spotter won't be able to make you land on your feet. The other way to get injured is by breaking your ankle. There are a few ways that this can happen; all involve landing on the side of your ankle. One way is to land between two pads or on the side of one. Unless your spotter can predict your trajectory mid-air and push you away (probably not going to happen), he won't help you. Another ankle twister is you suddenly slip and start flailing your legs, or in any way take an unexpected fall, and either land with your ankle facing sideways. If the fall is too sudden, the spotter won't react in time. And yes, you can break your ankle by missing a move and landing wrong, where a good spotter can save your ankle. The bottom line is I've known people to get injured bouldering in a gym with a spotter, and IMO the spotting is mostly a waste of time.


you sure do come off as a know it all. If you are gonna spray every body like you do know it at all least get a clue. There are many more than 2 ways to get hurt in then gym and definetely more ways to break your ankle other than just landing on the side of it. Get a clue gumby.

Stop preaching to everyone if you have no idea what you are talking about.

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By agd
May 20, 2012
alaska
Noah Doherty wrote:
My sister got a concussion because a guy fell on her. Spotters would have prevented this. I feel like an idiot.


Maybe she shouldn't have been standing under someone who was climbing?

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By Dan Bachen
May 20, 2012
IMHO A spotter is nice when ever I'm climbing overhanging problems where I could blow my hands with a bomber heal hook and fall back/ head first or similar situations where my fall trajectory could be changed to a me landing on my feet. Otherwise having one is probably not necessary.

in a related note I feel foam is to blame for many of the injuries I have witnesed while bouldering in the gym. I have always felt that pea gravel is the best bouldering substrate to have in the gym as it conforms to the shape of the climbers body while dissapating the fall force (eg I saw a girl dislocate her elbow in a short fall at a gym that uses foam which could have been prevented by a good spot or a substrate that would have allowed her arm to sink in instead of stick and twist)

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By boulderbum
From NY
Jul 13, 2012
alexdavis wrote:
Maybe she shouldn't have been standing under someone who was climbing?



word, i tend to fall extra hard when i notice some lackadaisical hipster chick chatting it up, clearly in the path of my fall trajectory.

bet sis wont make that mistake again

but hey, at least she cushioned the guy's fall a little. he could've twisted an ankle, and that woulda sucked


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By Eric Reeves
From El Paso, Texas
Sep 21, 2012
Me actually sticking the move.
In a lot of gym situations, I rarely have a spotter. The reason is that I have less trust in a novice spotter than on none at all. I'd rather hit the pad than take a stiff arm to the head. The gym I boulder at is really a rec center with a wall that a few climbers and I commandeered. There have been times when I was told to have a spotter by a staff member, but both times I was making the first move barely off the ground. In a situation like that, the spotter would be more in the way than helpful and it takes practice to learn those things. So, I agree with JesseT. It is a great place to practice spotting and pad placement. I know that outside I can pull much harder when I know my spotter is competent. If I have to be worried about how I will land after that big throw, I probably won't throw as hard.

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