Forums: Climbing Information: Accident and Incident Analysis: Re: [JimTitt] Auto Belay Malfunction: Edit Log


Dec 1, 2012, 9:47 AM

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Re: [JimTitt] Auto Belay Malfunction
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JimTitt wrote:
A curious commentary from someone best known in recent times for his roped soloing relying on an auto belay system.

Not at all. I do it with my eyes wide open to the risks I adopt and understand the limitations of the device I choose to use (an 'almost-blocking' device). Also, the way my rig is set up doesn't rely completely on the auto-blocking either and will initiate a lock-off at the end of the available slack out of the pack.

JimTitt wrote:
While climbing together with a partner/belayer is part of the experience of rock climbing and usually an enriching one criticism of auto belays in a gym context is ridiculous. Gyms are a training venue for some and a climbing experience for others and auto belays remove nothing for at least the first group.

I entirely disagree. There is nothing about gyms which somehow magically alters the way in which gravity works. And while autobelays "remove nothing", they add considerable unnecessary risk. And that's part and parcel of the evolution of climbers' perceptions of, and relationship to, autoblocking devices in general after twenty years - the perception these devices are 'safe' when nothing could be further from the truth. And the most dangerous aspect of their use over time has been a lemming-like skewing of risk perception around their efficacy and safety.

JimTitt wrote:
That said (and taking into account Ive never seen an auto belay, never used one and donīt intend to) there can be no technical problem in designing a completely failsafe auto-belay system, price however may be a problem!

You pretty much say it all right here in several different ways. Again, it's a conceptually misguided application of technology borne of an unwarranted comfort with almost-blocking devices and a broad failure to recognize the true risks their use entails. And I'm not necessarily saying don't use them, but rather understand they are not without significant, lotto-like risks.

(This post was edited by healyje on Dec 1, 2012, 9:49 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by healyje () on Dec 1, 2012, 9:48 AM
Post edited by healyje () on Dec 1, 2012, 9:49 AM

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