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majid_sabet


Nov 17, 2010, 8:45 AM
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Climber Dies in Gym Fall
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Graz, Austria. Georg Richter was declared dead on November 14th, four days after an accident in his local gym. The 21-year-old was an experienced climber and had just finished leading a 6+ route. According to local news outlets his less experienced partner lost control of the rope as Richter weighted it.

http://www.alpinist.com/...e-fatal-gym-accident


erisspirit


Nov 17, 2010, 10:50 AM
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The new gym I go to has taller walls that I'm not entirely used to, so I actually think about this a lot now. I'm EXTRA careful with my knots and double check everything, and I am definitely pickier in who I allow to belay me.

Very sad to read about. RIP


Lbrombach


Nov 17, 2010, 11:18 AM
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wonder what the floor was padded with, if anything. But yeah..really sucks.


spikeddem


Nov 17, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?


west_by_god_virginia


Nov 17, 2010, 11:56 AM
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I imagine he will be found guilty, provided he had passed a belay test as most gyms require. although unfortunate, maybe this accident and litigation will get the attention of some fool gri-gri mis-users.


erisspirit


Nov 17, 2010, 12:07 PM
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spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

WOW missed that part. Hmmmm not entirely sure how I feel about that.


jt512


Nov 17, 2010, 1:43 PM
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west_by_god_virginia wrote:
I imagine he will be found guilty, provided he had passed a belay test as most gyms require.

Your knowledge of Austrian homicide law is impressive.

Jay


potreroed


Nov 17, 2010, 3:16 PM
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west_by_god_virginia wrote:
I imagine he will be found guilty, provided he had passed a belay test as most gyms require. although unfortunate, maybe this accident and litigation will get the attention of some fool gri-gri mis-users.

What makes you think the belayer was using a gri-gri? Had he been this might not have happened.


healyje


Nov 18, 2010, 12:44 AM
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From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago


socalclimber


Nov 18, 2010, 5:46 AM
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Boy the belay related accidents just continue to roll in.


dynosore


Nov 18, 2010, 5:57 AM
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Terrible. Too many people treat climbing like a casual backyard game. Condolences to everyone touched by this incident.


Gabel


Nov 19, 2010, 6:49 AM
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This is hard to stomach.

Yet another unexperienced belayer accident, yet another tuber accident.

Just like mine: http://www.rockclimbing.com/...5;page=unread#unread

Unsure


Partner j_ung


Nov 19, 2010, 7:00 AM
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spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

This is good for nobody. There are risks inherent in climbing (duh), even indoors. When Mr. Richter made the decision to climb, he accepted those risks. End of opinion.


raingod


Nov 19, 2010, 7:39 AM
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spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

I have mixed feelings about this. While its true that there are inherent risks whenever you climb, your belayer just letting go shouldn't be one of them.


boymeetsrock


Nov 19, 2010, 8:55 AM
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raingod wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

I have mixed feelings about this. While its true that there are inherent risks whenever you climb, your belayer just letting go shouldn't be one of them.

Perhaps it "shouldn't" be on e of the risks inherent in climbing. But, it "is."

If you can't accept that, then don't climb. At least not with a partner.


Partner j_ung


Nov 19, 2010, 10:33 AM
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raingod wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

I have mixed feelings about this. While its true that there are inherent risks whenever you climb, your belayer just letting go shouldn't be one of them.

And yet...


erisspirit


Nov 19, 2010, 12:42 PM
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j_ung wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

This is good for nobody. There are risks inherent in climbing (duh), even indoors. When Mr. Richter made the decision to climb, he accepted those risks. End of opinion.

j_ung wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

This is good for nobody. There are risks inherent in climbing (duh), even indoors. When Mr. Richter made the decision to climb, he accepted those risks. End of opinion.

I am definitely leaning towards this side as well... When I allow someone to belay me I am agreeing that I do not think they are negligent or incompetent, and I believe they can belay me safely (or else why who I put my life in their hands). This is why I am fairly picky about who I allow belay me.


bill413


Nov 19, 2010, 6:00 PM
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erisspirit wrote:
j_ung wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

This is good for nobody. There are risks inherent in climbing (duh), even indoors. When Mr. Richter made the decision to climb, he accepted those risks. End of opinion.

j_ung wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

This is good for nobody. There are risks inherent in climbing (duh), even indoors. When Mr. Richter made the decision to climb, he accepted those risks. End of opinion.

I am definitely leaning towards this side as well... When I allow someone to belay me I am agreeing that I do not think they are negligent or incompetent, and I believe they can belay me safely (or else why who I put my life in their hands). This is why I am fairly picky about who I allow belay me.

I think far too many people forget the bolded point.
One of the things that sets climbing apart is that we literally trust our partners with our life.


Lbrombach


Nov 20, 2010, 8:05 AM
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Seems to me that if an experienced climber is has an inexperienced belayer, the experienced climber should be held more responsible for F-ups than the noob on belay. Of course, he's not around to point fingers at...but they were in a gym, so what about whoever gave the guy his intro lesson and sent him on his way?

I have no idea how many times the belayer had ever belayed before or what kind of training he had...just saying that if someone is handed a dangerous object and not trained, it's not necessarily their fault if they screw up.


(This post was edited by Lbrombach on Nov 20, 2010, 8:06 AM)


macblaze


Nov 20, 2010, 8:15 AM
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healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

I guess I just have trust issues but I ain't letting go until I know the potential idjiot on the ground is paying attention...


jt512


Nov 20, 2010, 9:18 AM
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macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay


Lbrombach


Nov 20, 2010, 10:25 AM
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jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

Word. I always think it's funny when I'm belaying someone and they get to the top and hang on for dear life until I've looked right at them and say "Gotcha!" Umm..If you're not gonna fall without annoucing it, then I can just hang out by the water fountain 'til you call me over.


Colinhoglund


Nov 20, 2010, 10:56 AM
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jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

1+
If your belayer can't handle that, your soloing.


healyje


Nov 20, 2010, 1:26 PM
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There are numerous approaches, variations, and nuances in belaying overall, but

In reply to:
...and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope.

isn't one of them


macblaze


Nov 20, 2010, 5:26 PM
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jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

Not that I disagree entirely, and yet it seems people do hit the ground. I prefer to check. Call me a n00b if ya want.


notapplicable


Nov 20, 2010, 7:18 PM
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macblaze wrote:
jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

Not that I disagree entirely, and yet it seems people do hit the ground. I prefer to check. Call me a n00b if ya want.

I feel like there is a big difference, in terms of a need for communication, between clipping the anchor at the gym and being lowered after cleaning an anchor or some similar activity where you were "off belay" at some point.

Not that you shouldn't wait till the rope comes tight to let go, I usually do, but if you can't for fear of being dropped, are you honestly comfortable taking a fall mid route with that belayer? If so, why?


notapplicable


Nov 20, 2010, 7:21 PM
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healyje wrote:
There are numerous approaches, variations, and nuances in belaying overall, but

In reply to:
...and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope.

isn't one of them

Not to be flippant about it, because someone did lose their life but...*face palm*


healyje


Nov 20, 2010, 7:31 PM
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I suspect this is yet another case of STFUAB.


kikitastrophe


Nov 21, 2010, 6:17 AM
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I think a negligent homicide charge is pretty appropriate - True the climber did have to accept the risks of climbing, and clearly he did. Charging his belayer (and perhaps finding him guilty if it turns out he was chatting up some lady and really being legitimately negligent) will not bring back the climber, but it does afford some protection against your belayer getting away with murdering you.

If you think about it another way - outside of any egotistical need for participating in a dangerous sport (cause you know we all have that pathology) - think of it in the context of medicine - just because I am a doc trained in a procedure AND I tell you all the risks, you are still going to sue my ass if I kill you during it, especially if its because I was chatting up the nurse. And I even made you sign a paper stating I told you there was a small risk of death...! Hmmm.


gavroche


Nov 21, 2010, 7:20 AM
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+1

Separate the civil from the criminal. I don't think the victim should necessarily be able to receive money for their negligence but i don't think this should automatically not be a negligent homicide case.

Take it out of the climbing context, and put it into driving. If someone isn't paying attention and plows into another driver or a pedestrian or two, should they just there not be criminal repercussions? I don't see this as any different?


kikitastrophe wrote:
I think a negligent homicide charge is pretty appropriate - True the climber did have to accept the risks of climbing, and clearly he did. Charging his belayer (and perhaps finding him guilty if it turns out he was chatting up some lady and really being legitimately negligent) will not bring back the climber, but it does afford some protection against your belayer getting away with murdering you.

If you think about it another way - outside of any egotistical need for participating in a dangerous sport (cause you know we all have that pathology) - think of it in the context of medicine - just because I am a doc trained in a procedure AND I tell you all the risks, you are still going to sue my ass if I kill you during it, especially if its because I was chatting up the nurse. And I even made you sign a paper stating I told you there was a small risk of death...! Hmmm.


Lbrombach


Nov 21, 2010, 8:25 AM
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ahh, yes. But imagine that you are a doctor, and you need an appendectomy. You bring a buddy with no medical training to your office and convince him that it'll be perfectly safe if he just follows instruction you left him before you go under. He mistake your aorta for your appendix and severs it. Is that his fault or yours?

We don't really have enough info to make good conclusions, but I'm leaning toward thinking that the experience climber and/or the gym should have better trained the guy. He may not even have known the risks if he was a complete noob.


notapplicable


Nov 21, 2010, 1:08 PM
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gavroche wrote:
+1

Separate the civil from the criminal. I don't think the victim should necessarily be able to receive money for their negligence but i don't think this should automatically not be a negligent homicide case.

Take it out of the climbing context, and put it into driving. If someone isn't paying attention and plows into another driver or a pedestrian or two, should they just there not be criminal repercussions? I don't see this as any different?


kikitastrophe wrote:
I think a negligent homicide charge is pretty appropriate - True the climber did have to accept the risks of climbing, and clearly he did. Charging his belayer (and perhaps finding him guilty if it turns out he was chatting up some lady and really being legitimately negligent) will not bring back the climber, but it does afford some protection against your belayer getting away with murdering you.

If you think about it another way - outside of any egotistical need for participating in a dangerous sport (cause you know we all have that pathology) - think of it in the context of medicine - just because I am a doc trained in a procedure AND I tell you all the risks, you are still going to sue my ass if I kill you during it, especially if its because I was chatting up the nurse. And I even made you sign a paper stating I told you there was a small risk of death...! Hmmm.

[shakes head] F'n sport climbers... [/shakes head]


gavroche


Nov 21, 2010, 2:15 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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First off, it is a gym, not outside.

I don't know the exact circumstances of what happened, but neither do you. I'm not saying it is negligence, but I can think of situations where I think a belayer should be held criminally responsible for the death of his partner. What about a theoretical where the belayer dropped his partner on purpose, would you exclude that situation as well?

It has nothing to do with the risks inherent in the sport, it has to do with a duty of care owed on the part of those participating. I will go back to my driving analogy. Driving is as risky as climbing is. Would you say that careless or reckless drivers who kill others should also not be held responsible because the rest of us driving (or walking or biking) should be aware of the dangers? What if they are speeding recklessly? Drag racing? Drinking and driving? How are you going to differentiate driving from climbing in a gym?

I think that people who are careless and run others off the road should be held responsible. I think a similar duty of care that is owed in other dangerous situations. That doesn't mean that one is relieved from responsibility for the situations they get themselves into, or that every - or even most - accident is a result of a breach of that duty, only that there are some situations I think reach to that level.

If you want to curse me though, it's probably for being a lawyer, not for being a sport climber.

notapplicable wrote:
gavroche wrote:
+1

Separate the civil from the criminal. I don't think the victim should necessarily be able to receive money for their negligence but i don't think this should automatically not be a negligent homicide case.

Take it out of the climbing context, and put it into driving. If someone isn't paying attention and plows into another driver or a pedestrian or two, should they just there not be criminal repercussions? I don't see this as any different?


kikitastrophe wrote:
I think a negligent homicide charge is pretty appropriate - True the climber did have to accept the risks of climbing, and clearly he did. Charging his belayer (and perhaps finding him guilty if it turns out he was chatting up some lady and really being legitimately negligent) will not bring back the climber, but it does afford some protection against your belayer getting away with murdering you.

If you think about it another way - outside of any egotistical need for participating in a dangerous sport (cause you know we all have that pathology) - think of it in the context of medicine - just because I am a doc trained in a procedure AND I tell you all the risks, you are still going to sue my ass if I kill you during it, especially if its because I was chatting up the nurse. And I even made you sign a paper stating I told you there was a small risk of death...! Hmmm.

[shakes head] F'n sport climbers... [/shakes head]


healyje


Nov 21, 2010, 2:43 PM
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Re: [gavroche] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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The more climbing is commercialized, marketed, and sold as just another risk-free, pop-suburban entertainment option anyone can and everyone should do the more notions of legal liability will creep into the sport - it's unavoidable.


notapplicable


Nov 21, 2010, 3:40 PM
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Re: [gavroche] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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gavroche wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
gavroche wrote:
+1

Separate the civil from the criminal. I don't think the victim should necessarily be able to receive money for their negligence but i don't think this should automatically not be a negligent homicide case.

Take it out of the climbing context, and put it into driving. If someone isn't paying attention and plows into another driver or a pedestrian or two, should they just there not be criminal repercussions? I don't see this as any different?


kikitastrophe wrote:
I think a negligent homicide charge is pretty appropriate - True the climber did have to accept the risks of climbing, and clearly he did. Charging his belayer (and perhaps finding him guilty if it turns out he was chatting up some lady and really being legitimately negligent) will not bring back the climber, but it does afford some protection against your belayer getting away with murdering you.

If you think about it another way - outside of any egotistical need for participating in a dangerous sport (cause you know we all have that pathology) - think of it in the context of medicine - just because I am a doc trained in a procedure AND I tell you all the risks, you are still going to sue my ass if I kill you during it, especially if its because I was chatting up the nurse. And I even made you sign a paper stating I told you there was a small risk of death...! Hmmm.

[shakes head] F'n sport climbers... [/shakes head]
First off, it is a gym, not outside.

I don't know the exact circumstances of what happened, but neither do you. I'm not saying it is negligence, but I can think of situations where I think a belayer should be held criminally responsible for the death of his partner. What about a theoretical where the belayer dropped his partner on purpose, would you exclude that situation as well?

It has nothing to do with the risks inherent in the sport, it has to do with a duty of care owed on the part of those participating. I will go back to my driving analogy. Driving is as risky as climbing is. Would you say that careless or reckless drivers who kill others should also not be held responsible because the rest of us driving (or walking or biking) should be aware of the dangers? What if they are speeding recklessly? Drag racing? Drinking and driving? How are you going to differentiate driving from climbing in a gym?

I think that people who are careless and run others off the road should be held responsible. I think a similar duty of care that is owed in other dangerous situations. That doesn't mean that one is relieved from responsibility for the situations they get themselves into, or that every - or even most - accident is a result of a breach of that duty, only that there are some situations I think reach to that level.

If you want to curse me though, it's probably for being a lawyer, not for being a sport climber.

Your analogy is a poor one because in climbing we have the opportunity (I would argue obligation) to evaluate the other parties knowledge, experience and skill level before putting our life in their hands. No such opportunity exists with respect to other drivers on the road.

I was belayed by a total nOOb today because I wanted her to gain the experience but I choose a route that was gravy and I TR'd instead of leading. She could have still dropped me during the lower but my regular partners where keeping an eye on things and I was willing to take that risk. And thats just it, I choose the level of risk I was willing to expose myself too. That is the key.

In climbing, holding another persons life in your hands is a privilege, the granting or withholding of which is entirely in the control of the individual at hazard. Will some choose wrong? Yes they will, but I do not want that unwritten contract, that bond between partners, compromised by the threat of litigation. I want all that baggage left on the ground where it belongs.


iknowfear


Nov 21, 2010, 4:51 PM
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Re: [spikeddem] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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spikeddem wrote:
Note that the Alpine author confirms that the belayer is being charged with negligent homicide.

Can of worms?

Not really. SOP in Austria. The police investigates any death, so far with the consensus (upheld by numerous court cases) that the more experienced person is a "de facto" guide. If the belayer in this case was noobish, a court might still rule that the more experienced guy should have trained him better.


gavroche


Nov 21, 2010, 6:12 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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To me this gets back to the distinction between criminal and civil matters. I'm not suggesting that the partner should have a civil claim against his belayer. In this case, unfortunately, the partner is dead and it doesn't sound like he or his family is suing for money or damages or anything else. The suit is being brought by the state and has nothing to do with any contractual obligation between parties, it has to do with the potentially reckless behavior of the belayer.

Why should you be able to enter into a contract that frees you from the laws? Does that mean your partner cannot be held responsible no matter their actions while you are on the rock because it is your fault for entering into a bad contract? What do you think the outcome should be if the other partner drops you on purpose because he wants you out of the way?

Or to keep my driving analogy, say you are driving recklessly and you kill your passenger, do you not think that there should be the possibility for criminal charges in that situation? Is there a contract between a driver and a passenger that negates all claims that the state should have?

I don't see how the level of risk that you have chosen to assume has any bearing on whether or not the other person acted in a criminal fashion.

I think the circumstances should be pretty severe for a belayer to be charged with criminal negligence, but I would not want to say never.


notapplicable wrote:
gavroche wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
gavroche wrote:
+1

Separate the civil from the criminal. I don't think the victim should necessarily be able to receive money for their negligence but i don't think this should automatically not be a negligent homicide case.

Take it out of the climbing context, and put it into driving. If someone isn't paying attention and plows into another driver or a pedestrian or two, should they just there not be criminal repercussions? I don't see this as any different?


kikitastrophe wrote:
I think a negligent homicide charge is pretty appropriate - True the climber did have to accept the risks of climbing, and clearly he did. Charging his belayer (and perhaps finding him guilty if it turns out he was chatting up some lady and really being legitimately negligent) will not bring back the climber, but it does afford some protection against your belayer getting away with murdering you.

If you think about it another way - outside of any egotistical need for participating in a dangerous sport (cause you know we all have that pathology) - think of it in the context of medicine - just because I am a doc trained in a procedure AND I tell you all the risks, you are still going to sue my ass if I kill you during it, especially if its because I was chatting up the nurse. And I even made you sign a paper stating I told you there was a small risk of death...! Hmmm.

[shakes head] F'n sport climbers... [/shakes head]
First off, it is a gym, not outside.

I don't know the exact circumstances of what happened, but neither do you. I'm not saying it is negligence, but I can think of situations where I think a belayer should be held criminally responsible for the death of his partner. What about a theoretical where the belayer dropped his partner on purpose, would you exclude that situation as well?

It has nothing to do with the risks inherent in the sport, it has to do with a duty of care owed on the part of those participating. I will go back to my driving analogy. Driving is as risky as climbing is. Would you say that careless or reckless drivers who kill others should also not be held responsible because the rest of us driving (or walking or biking) should be aware of the dangers? What if they are speeding recklessly? Drag racing? Drinking and driving? How are you going to differentiate driving from climbing in a gym?

I think that people who are careless and run others off the road should be held responsible. I think a similar duty of care that is owed in other dangerous situations. That doesn't mean that one is relieved from responsibility for the situations they get themselves into, or that every - or even most - accident is a result of a breach of that duty, only that there are some situations I think reach to that level.

If you want to curse me though, it's probably for being a lawyer, not for being a sport climber.

Your analogy is a poor one because in climbing we have the opportunity (I would argue obligation) to evaluate the other parties knowledge, experience and skill level before putting our life in their hands. No such opportunity exists with respect to other drivers on the road.

I was belayed by a total nOOb today because I wanted her to gain the experience but I choose a route that was gravy and I TR'd instead of leading. She could have still dropped me during the lower but my regular partners where keeping an eye on things and I was willing to take that risk. And thats just it, I choose the level of risk I was willing to expose myself too. That is the key.

In climbing, holding another persons life in your hands is a privilege, the granting or withholding of which is entirely in the control of the individual at hazard. Will some choose wrong? Yes they will, but I do not want that unwritten contract, that bond between partners, compromised by the threat of litigation. I want all that baggage left on the ground where it belongs.


(This post was edited by gavroche on Nov 22, 2010, 6:34 AM)


zachypoopy


Nov 21, 2010, 8:41 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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Taking a moment at the top of a route to make sure the belay has caught up is in the best interest of everyone. I know when I clip the top I tend to pull out extra slack to ensure no hang ups. Just clipping and dropping puts undo strain on all the system when a slight pause to make sure all slack is pulled is simply responsible. Ropes can only take so much and ALL gym ropes see their fair share of abuse.

As far as taking action against the belay. All climbers first line of defense is knowledge and caution. It is an inherently dangerous sport (as all the stupid signs like to remind us) and taking that initiative to train and ensure proper skill is crucial for success. If the belayer proves to have been overly dangerous in his attention then some form of punishment could be instilled. However I am not sure the suit should come from the state. The family of the injured party or the gym for sure but allowing the state to have that amount of power is scary. If something happened where my partner injured or killed me I do not want someone else deciding if charges should be brought. That is the decision of the parties it directly involves.


jt512


Nov 21, 2010, 9:54 PM
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Re: [zachypoopy] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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zachypoopy wrote:
Taking a moment at the top of a route to make sure the belay has caught up is in the best interest of everyone. I know when I clip the top I tend to pull out extra slack to ensure no hang ups. Just clipping and dropping puts undo strain on all the system when a slight pause to make sure all slack is pulled is simply responsible. Ropes can only take so much and ALL gym ropes see their fair share of abuse.

You're a gumby.

Jay


healyje


Nov 22, 2010, 1:53 AM
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Re: [gavroche] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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gavroche wrote:
I think the circumstances should be pretty severe for a belayer to be charged with criminal negilgence, but I would not want to say never.

Short of a deliberate act of murder, I would want to say never. You leave the ground to climb in a non-commercial endeavor as a fully self-responsible adult then the assumption of risk is on you. Every step backwards from that self-responsible perspective will essentially 'weaken' individuals, climbing as a whole, and in the long term generate more accidents than it prevents.


c4c


Nov 22, 2010, 4:31 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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I wonder if the climber would have lived if he had been wearing a helmet?


socalclimber


Nov 22, 2010, 8:18 AM
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Re: [healyje] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
The more climbing is commercialized, marketed, and sold as just another risk-free, pop-suburban entertainment option anyone can and everyone should do the more notions of legal liability will creep into the sport - it's unavoidable.

Without question, this is the truth. I will add another point, the more climbing is commercialized and sold as risk free, the more we are going to see these accidents.

Which we are. Twenty years ago when I started climbing, you rarely heard about bad accidents happening. They did, just not that often. When I first started on SAR, Joshua Tree had not had a death in the park in over eight years. We have had many climbing deaths here over the past 7 to 8 years and god knows how many serious accidents.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Nov 22, 2010, 8:20 AM)


socalclimber


Nov 22, 2010, 8:24 AM
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jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

While I agree with the spirit of this statement, I have to say I disagree with the practice. I don't care WHO is belaying me on a top rope. I'm making VERY sure they know what my intentions are to my belayer BEFORE I lean back on that rope.

But that's just me. If the top of the route is out of sight of the belayer, you'd better be yelling commands or your just asking for trouble.


dynosore


Nov 22, 2010, 8:36 AM
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Re: [Lbrombach] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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Inexperience does not excuse negligence. Regardless of how much of a newbie you are, when you agree to belay someone you owe it to them to pay attention. If you neglect this duty you are, surprise, negligent.

I don't know much about this case and I know not to believe media reports. But if the person was chatting and ignoring their duty they were indeed negligent.


boymeetsrock


Nov 22, 2010, 8:37 AM
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Re: [jt512] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

While I don't necessarily disagree; you have to admit the irony of you stating this after all the times you've stated that you hold onto the belayer's side of the rope until you feel tension before lowering. After all, if you have to double check that your belayer is doing their job...

Especially in Gym and Sport climbing environments, where there are many distractions, there are benefits to keeping an open dialogue between climber and belayer.


ClimbSoHigh


Nov 22, 2010, 9:08 AM
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Since it seems there are some lawyers commenting in this thread, how about this situation. What if the climber was a minor? The US has laws of strict liability when it comes to minors. So if you bring out your nephew who gets injured (in a gym or outside), I would think you could get civil and legal suits brought against you, and defending strict liability is practically impossible since the burden of proof is simply custody and a resulting injury. If a gym hosts B-Day parties, they are strictly liable for those kids too, regardless of how the kid might have been injured or any waivers the parents signed. I know this is not relevant to this specific situation (not in the US or involving a minor) but it is still something to consider for those that think the law has no place in climbing.

I personally would like to see climbers left alone by legal stuff, but I agree with some that there are rare times where criminal or civil suits should be allowed, as with willfull intent which is hard to prove, strict liability which involves minors, and gross negligence which would usually apply to a gym or outfitter. Like if this situation involved a gym provided belayer that had zero training in belaying, I could see the gym being found guilty of gross neglegence by allowing an grossly unskilled employee to belay clients.

But two climbers randomly climbing in a gym together, I would like to see this suit tossed out at the door. Only if there is proof that the belayer intended to harm his climber should this case go through the wringer, which I think and hope is not what happened. I would not see any reason to justify gross negligence as the belayer was not guiding/hosting the climber, and the climber was in a possition to understand the risks associated with selecting his belayer and the dangers associated with belayer selection and climbing.

Either way, its sad to hear... RIP climber dude.


rsmillbern


Nov 22, 2010, 9:17 AM
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macblaze wrote:
jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

Not that I disagree entirely, and yet it seems people do hit the ground. I prefer to check. Call me a n00b if ya want.

I see no issue with someone checking (falls under the heading of unnecessary risk), however,with my steady partner in the US (in the gym) I would sometimes yank a bit of slack and drop without warning, or climb to the anchors and fall without clipping. Of course, only where falls were safe. This helped me with committing to hard moves with out thinking about whether she would catch me as well as keeping the feeling of falling safely fresh in my head. Maybe this is silly, but I trust her 100% but the "practice" still helped me.


socalclimber


Nov 22, 2010, 9:30 AM
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First off, I'm not a lawyer. There was an incident about 10 or so years ago where some guy lured a woman on their first date out climbing. He was very assuring he knew exactly what he was doing. Apparently she had some trepidation, but relented at his insistence of what an expert he was. Out to the crags they go. I don't remember what exactly happened, but either he lowered her off the end of the rope, or he lost the belay completely. Either way, she decked, suffering very serious injuries. I do believe there were spinal and hip fractures to name a few.

Turns out that this "expert" was a clueless noob with a whopping 2 years of time on the rock.

Needless to say she wasn't happy and filed a civil suit against him. I do not recall what the outcome was, but I think this was warranted.


Partner drector


Nov 22, 2010, 10:56 AM
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In reply to:
...a clueless noob with a whopping 2 years of time on the rock...

I didn't know that it was inappropriate to belay anyone during the first two years of rock climbing. I need to find my old partner and apologize.

Or maybe the guy was an idiot regardless of how many years he had been climbing? I hate seeing qualifiers like "with a whopping two years...", as if that means anything.

Dave


socalclimber


Nov 22, 2010, 11:10 AM
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My mistake on not making my point a little more clear. I don't a problem with him belaying, what do I have problem is passing himself off as an "expert" to somebody who had never climbed before. This most likely had to do with impressing her so he could get into her pants more than anything.

Thanks for the heads up!


spikeddem


Nov 22, 2010, 11:16 AM
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jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

vs.

The following from April 26th 2010:

jt512 wrote:
That's not why you grab the rope. You grab the rope and ease your weight onto it to make sure that your belayer has you on tension in the first place. Sure, if your belayer decides to suddenly drop you the second you let go, you're in trouble, but that's beside the point.

Jay

This two quotes seem to contradict each other. What am I missing something, Jay?


csproul


Nov 22, 2010, 11:46 AM
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Do you honestly believe that he won't have an answer?


jt512


Nov 22, 2010, 11:49 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

While I agree with the spirit of this statement, I have to say I disagree with the practice. I don't care WHO is belaying me on a top rope. I'm making VERY sure they know what my intentions are to my belayer BEFORE I lean back on that rope.

But that's just me. If the top of the route is out of sight of the belayer, you'd better be yelling commands or your just asking for trouble.

If the top of the route is out of sight of the belayer it might also be out of earshot. One of the longest falls I ever took was out of sight of the belayer, and between the wind and conversation on the ground, I intentionally didn't warn the belayer of the fall, for fear that anything I said could have been misunderstood.

It is completely ridiculous to have to inform your belayer that he is going to have to catch you. We don't say "take" when working a route because otherwise our belayers would drop us. We say "take" because we want our belayers to put us on tension, so that we don't have to reclimb moves unnecessarily. I would never climb with a belayer who I wasn't sure would catch me in response to my weighting the rope.

Jay


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Nov 22, 2010, 11:51 AM
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Re: [healyje] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
gavroche wrote:
I think the circumstances should be pretty severe for a belayer to be charged with criminal negilgence, but I would not want to say never.

Short of a deliberate act of murder, I would want to say never. You leave the ground to climb in a non-commercial endeavor as a fully self-responsible adult then the assumption of risk is on you. Every step backwards from that self-responsible perspective will essentially 'weaken' individuals, climbing as a whole, and in the long term generate more accidents than it prevents.

I couldna said it better, so I won't even try.


spikeddem


Nov 22, 2010, 11:57 AM
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Re: [csproul] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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csproul wrote:
Do you honestly believe that he won't have an answer?

Umm. Well, unlike some other posters on this site, I'm not out to find holes in Jay's posts to expose him for being AN EVIL HYPOCRITICAL MEANIE1!! I asked because I wanted to know.


jt512


Nov 22, 2010, 12:11 PM
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Re: [spikeddem] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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spikeddem wrote:
jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

vs.

The following from April 26th 2010:

jt512 wrote:
That's not why you grab the rope. You grab the rope and ease your weight onto it to make sure that your belayer has you on tension in the first place. Sure, if your belayer decides to suddenly drop you the second you let go, you're in trouble, but that's beside the point.

Jay

This two quotes seem to contradict each other. What am I missing something, Jay?

What you're missing is the grabbing the rope technique is used after having clipped direct into the anchors and having threaded the rope, during which time you were, in a sense, off belay. When you go back on belay, it is a good idea to grab the rope until you feel tension, to ensure that you really are back on belay. There's a big opportunity for miscommunication here: maybe you said "take" but your belayer heard "slack."

That's different than weighting the rope at the top of a climb on TR, which is essentially the same as taking a fall. If you can't tap the anchors and fall onto the rope with complete confidence that you'll be caught, then you shouldn't be climbing with that belayer, since there'd be no reason to be more confident that he'd catch you if you fell mid-route.

Jay


spikeddem


Nov 22, 2010, 12:20 PM
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Re: [jt512] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
jt512 wrote:
macblaze wrote:
healyje wrote:
From Alpinist's facebook page:

In reply to:
Christian Knoll Actually it is true, that he didn't use any auto-blocking device. He was using a tuber - the climber had allready clipped the top - when he sat into he just rushed through. The belayer was distracted by surrounding people and it seems that he had let go his hands of the rope. The climber landed on his feet, but unfortunately he fall backwards and hit the floor with his head, and no there were no padded floors.

15 hours ago

I wonder if this is a case of the climber clipping the top and just sitting back with out yelling take or any such communication. I've noticed this as a casual habit of many of the more experienced climbers at my gym (and at comps for that matter) and it always makes me cringe.

The climber shouldn't have to call "take" at the top. If you have to tell to your belayer to catch you, there is something very wrong with your belayer.

Jay

vs.

The following from April 26th 2010:

jt512 wrote:
That's not why you grab the rope. You grab the rope and ease your weight onto it to make sure that your belayer has you on tension in the first place. Sure, if your belayer decides to suddenly drop you the second you let go, you're in trouble, but that's beside the point.

Jay

This two quotes seem to contradict each other. What am I missing something, Jay?

What you're missing is the grabbing the rope technique is used after having clipped direct into the anchors and having threaded the rope, during which time you were, in a sense, off belay. When you go back on belay, it is a good idea to grab the rope until you feel tension, to ensure that you really are back on belay. There's a big opportunity for miscommunication here: maybe you said "take" but your belayer heard "slack."

That's different than weighting the rope at the top of a climb on TR, which is essentially the same as taking a fall. If you can't tap the anchors and fall onto the rope with complete confidence that you'll be caught, then you shouldn't be climbing with that belayer, since there'd be no reason to be more confident that he'd catch you if you fell mid-route.

Jay

Well, the context of the thread you posted that in was gym climbing, so that seems to be where the confusion came in. Not to mention that I forget that not every crag in the rest of the states has fixed biners at the top like the main MN sport crag. Basically whether I'm sport climbing indoors or outdoors in MN, I just clip and lower, no need to setup a rap.

...That reminds me that I really need to take more trips :/


notapplicable


Nov 22, 2010, 12:41 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
healyje wrote:
gavroche wrote:
I think the circumstances should be pretty severe for a belayer to be charged with criminal negilgence, but I would not want to say never.

Short of a deliberate act of murder, I would want to say never. You leave the ground to climb in a non-commercial endeavor as a fully self-responsible adult then the assumption of risk is on you. Every step backwards from that self-responsible perspective will essentially 'weaken' individuals, climbing as a whole, and in the long term generate more accidents than it prevents.

I couldna said it better, so I won't even try.

Yep


majid_sabet


Nov 23, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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we can truly reduce a lot of climbing accidents if climbers just turn off the auto-pilot system, kill the assumptions and return to using the basic verbal and visual command system before letting go of their lives.


acorneau


Nov 23, 2010, 6:49 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
we can truly reduce a lot of climbing accidents if climbers just turn off the auto-pilot system, kill the assumptions and return to using the basic verbal and visual command system before letting go of their lives.


Wait... did Majid actually post something meaningful?!?

Quoted for truthfulness and posterity!


majid_sabet


Nov 23, 2010, 9:33 PM
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Re: [acorneau] Climber Dies in Gym Fall [In reply to]
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acorneau wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
we can truly reduce a lot of climbing accidents if climbers just turn off the auto-pilot system, kill the assumptions and return to using the basic verbal and visual command system before letting go of their lives.


Wait... did Majid actually post something meaningful?!?

Quoted for truthfulness and posterity!

I can post one thing and give you one kind impression and post another to blow your mind so best thing is to try to know me.

not to forget that I am writing a book on climbing accident and read over 11 years of these sh*t.


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Nov 23, 2010, 9:34 PM)


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