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Rock Climbing : News : Accidents and Injuries : Woman Falls To Her Death At Gym

Woman Falls To Her Death At Gym


Submitted by ccheline on 2007-10-31

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 9 | Comments: 37 | Views: 26989

by Colin Cheline


WICHITA FALLS, Texas -- Wichita Falls police are trying to determine what led to a 19-year-old woman falling to her death at a rock climbing gym.

Police identified the victim as Elizabeth Fetzer.

Investigators believe Fetzer fell as much as 100 feet in Sunday night's accident at the Elevator Rock Climbing Gym.

A sign on a gym wall read "Tower of Terror," with Halloween haunted house decorations on parts of the building.

From: nbc5i.com

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37 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 jrathfon
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 2007-10-31
full article with related stories:

http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2007/oct/29/woman-dies-after-fall-from-tower/
 epoch
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 2007-10-31
I'm interested to see where the investigation takes it. Since it is a toprope only facility, it still leaves a few possibilities. Looks like an interesting place from what I gathered from their site.
 chadcummings
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 2007-10-31
thats my gym. i was not there that night, i have an idea, as to how it happened. however the police suggested a gag order until the investigation is complete. Of course everything i've heard is all hear-say, and theres only two people i'll believe. both are bound by the gag order.
 unrooted
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 2007-11-01
That sucks, the gym isn't the best, but for wichita falls its great. I hope they are able to stay open.
 MtnJam33
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 2007-11-01
was the sidenote about "The Tower of Terror" really necessary.
 baigot
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 2007-11-01
iīm sorry to hear someone died in a gym. i donīt know the facts so my opinion is very subjective. Iīm a climber who some oportunity had some lifes at stake giving some climbing lessons, and those people sometimes take climbing without the responsability needed to do climbing. Itīs to damn complicated run a business where the liability are people and their common sense, and i donīt think the owner wanted someoneīs dead. In this case will be dificult to stablish the real chain of irresponsability.
 baigot
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 2007-11-01
so, i forgot the most important...Take climbing seriously, itīs not a funny game, itīs your life in that game!!!. One misstake your out.
 the_chris
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 2007-11-01
The safety issue will always hit us when someone else dies. Its sad that a family lost a daughter because of this issue. Its important that we learn from these mistakes, no matter how sad it is to lose a fellow climber. My thought are to the her friends and family.
 sausalito
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 2007-11-01
100ft climbing gym? I have seen probably 20ish gyms from california to tennessee to new york and I havent seen one that sniffed 100 ft.
 chadcummings
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 2007-11-01
its in an old grain elevator. she wasn't climbing at the time. they did a haunted house hence the tower of terror title. i haven't heard the true details on what happened but the plan was to be lowered off from one of the floors up top. thats all i know. they did it last year. the gyms been open 9-10 years and, up until this tragedy, never had a single injury. other than myself but it had nothing to do with the gym. i just landed wrong off a boulder problem trying something stupid.
 josephgdawson
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 2007-11-03
Fuck a gag order
 ajkclay
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 2007-11-05
Unfotunately it will not matter whether she was climbing or not, the word climbing is involved... we all know what this means: Higher insurance fees at gyms, higher likelihood of access troubles, the media sensationalising "yet another unusual death." Seriously, if they carried on in the same manner every time someone died at home or in a car accident we'd be walking everywhere and living in trees still! My sympathies to the family and friends of the girl concerned though.
 redsox5945
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 2007-11-06
100 feet? Is that a misprint?
 cj1
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 2007-11-06
No misprint on the 100 feet, here is the gyms website for details on facilities:

http://www.elevatorrock.com/home.htm

 waynebock
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 2007-11-07
Ones of my gyms (LSAC) in Chicago is just over 100ft...used to be the tallest, but I think there are a couple non-grain silo-walls out there now that are taller...I am just wondering and am only asking for my information, but does anyone know whether they have auto-belays set up there? <My question should in NO way suggest that such a device might be a factor in the incident...>
 packclimber
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 2007-11-07
NO there are not auto belays but they do use gri gri's.
 hopkinsed
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 2007-11-07
I climbed in a gym once that used grigri's which were supposed to be safer according to their liability insurance policy ... but I hate using them they are just wierd. I've never had a problem with a regular ATC belay device. This article doesn't exactly give any details about if she or her belayer were tied in properly?
 erin
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 2007-11-08
Is the gag order still in effect, or can someone tell us what is going on yet?
 chadcummings
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 2007-11-08
it's still on-going.
 ratfacejt
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 2007-11-09
Elevator rock is indeed 100 ft -- it is basically a small gym in a grain elevator. I understand (via third party info...maybe fourth party info) she was a the top of a climb and fell as she started to descend. An odd accident, if it didn't involve any shock load. Perhaps either she or her partner simply were not attached to the rope (e.g., GriGri hooked into a chalk bag loop rather than a belay loop).

btw, I don't think there is actually a gag order in place (which would need to be court ordered) -- the police have just asked witnesses not to discuss the event.
 jermanimal
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 2007-11-09
Investigations generally take a long time, when anyone finds out what happened and the gag "suggestion" has been lifted it would be helpful to the entire community to know that when wrong to then avoid it in the future.

I don't use one, but could they have laced the Gri Gri backwards and then not paid attention on the take.
 alpineluz
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 2007-11-13
I fell 30 feet at Exposure Rock Gym (Dallas, TX) and broke my back when a Gri Gri was opened up all the way - belayer panicked and didn't let go of the break. I have heard of so many Gri Gri accidents. They are not a belay device for beginners! Wish gyms didn't use Gri Gri's at all.

And wish they were more vigilant about safety! Unbelievable. Another Texas gym didn't even give me a belay test after I'd told them I climb a lot. They figured I knew what I was doing.

And people wonder how accidents happen.... Hope the details are released soon so something like this doesn't happen again!!!
 alpineluz
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 2007-11-13
The article also said there was some rappelling as part of the Haunted House - might have been an accident there.
 climbingcamera
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 2007-11-13
rappelling in a haunted house hmmmm accident waiting to happen perhaps
 alpineluz
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 2007-11-14
Just read she wasn't climbing - she was getting ready to be lowered.
 nomadguide
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 2007-11-15
Where did you read that? Would like to read the article.
 alpineluz
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 2007-11-17
See chadcummings' comment from 11-1.
 shimmer
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 2007-11-29
Maybe she was wearing a harness that needed to be doubled back and she didn't do that?
 redsamick
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 2007-11-29
Has there been anymore literature put out about this incident? Quite a while has passed. Thanks.
 chadcummings
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 2007-11-30
I still haven't got a phone call about so... i'm guessing it's still on going.
 Hennessey
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 2007-12-15
How do you die in a gym? Every gym I've been to their employee are super strict on their safety policies. They hawkeye me even when I forget to double up one of my leg loops.
 redsamick
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 2008-01-10
Has there been anything released yet about this accident?
 alpineluz
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 2008-10-09
I read the rope might have snapped... http://www.pregamelobby.com/forum/general-discussions/9215-lady-dies-haunted-house.html
 nfowler50
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 2008-11-11
I'm sorry to be a jerk... but 'baigot'.... the way you write makes it seem as though you have an IQ below 65! Go take an english class idiot.
 slyder
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 2008-11-11
nfowler50, perhaps you should proof-read your posts prior to criticizing the posts of another. Or, perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the shift key and the correct usage of an ellipsis.

It may be that the best course of action is to not be so critical in the first place. Yes, I realize that I am, in a way, contradicting myself, but that is my intention. Have a nice day.
 westwiz31
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 2012-05-29
I just caught a blurp on the tv-don't have one, don't watch it- at the laundromat as the fall was caught by the girls father on camera and was interested in the outcome. Having worked in gyms and safely belayed people for a decade, somebody may have taken something forgranted or just had a lapse of situational awareness and the girl paid the price with her life.
I lost a really good friend and climbing companion to two simple errors that compounded in her death. She was rappping off a lead and didn't tie a knot in the end of her rope and mis-read the distance markers on her rope and fell 80 feet to her death.
It's the simple things that cause the biggest tragedies
 fetzere
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 2013-01-06
to westwiz31, not sure what you are referring to with the fall being caught on camera, her father was not there when it happened and it happened in pitch black....as for a gag order on what happened and the investigation one was never issued. As for what truly happened, it was the owner/operator fault, they operated the haunted house with black lights and rope lights and a ALL volunteer team, no trained instructors on hand. The owner used a zip tie to attach the caribeaner to the rope tha twas attached to her harness and due to not having proper lighting no one saw that the rope was not also hooked through the caribeaner, the zip tie obviously failed within seconds of her pushing off of the platform. she was not in any way at fault it was 100% the fault of the facility and their stupidity and lack of safety percautions being taken. and for anyone who wants to question this fact, contact me for I am her mother and have the investigation report and the results from the civil suit backing what I have said.

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