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Auto-Belay Gym Accident
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moeman


Sep 20, 2004, 1:42 PM
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ET Columbia or ET Timonium?


iridesantacruz


Sep 20, 2004, 1:57 PM
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Bet he won't do that again...

$20 on that


markc


Sep 20, 2004, 1:59 PM
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Auto-Belays Don't Kill People. People Kill People.

Gotta agree with that. If this report is correct and the climber just simply didn't clip or tie in at all, it's 100% pilot error. Sucks when it happens and surely no one is immune, but any time there's a safety system present and you don't use it, it's no one's fault but your own.

I'll just wish the climber a speedy recovery and suggest he (she?) not do that again. :P

Rob

It's like having an unroped accident near the soda machine and saying "Soda-Machine Gym Accident." The soda machine didn't do anything wrong. It's an inanimate object. The climber is the only one responsible in this instance. Unfortunate, but not equipment error.

mark


jman


Sep 20, 2004, 2:45 PM
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ET Columbia or ET Timonium?

ET Columbia.

This weekend ET Timonium put up big signs at each auto belay station attached to the biner, saying "Orientation Required"...guess to remind folks to think before they clip in. Have not been to ET Columbia this week yet and don't know if they put up sim signs.

I agree with most everyone else and think more accidents are caused by user error than equipment failure.


wage22


Sep 20, 2004, 7:50 PM
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I too can unfortunately relate to this "stupidity". Went to Azontherocks, bouldered for a bit, walked right over the wall and began to climb up. Scooting up the way, didnt even notice the rope right in front of me.
It wasnt until some nice fello below shouted up to me (about 20 ft ) "hey, you're not hooked in", that I began to panic. Tried to downclimb but sticking your hand right in a crack didnt really "fly" with that and I wound up hitting the floor.

It was scary, no doubt about it - but most of all it taught me the importance of FOCUS when I climb. Again, seems like an obvious with climbing, if you're like me, you unfortunately learn things the hard way!


valeberga


Sep 20, 2004, 8:19 PM
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Alright, that's it. The gyms have gone too far. Autobelays? This is not rock climbing. Get a f'ing partner for christ's sake. As if bouldering wasn't enough. :roll:


corpse


Sep 21, 2004, 5:51 AM
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Although i see why the autobelays are givin so many ppl anxiety attacks, but they can have their pluses too.. There are more injuries related from ppl climbing with a new partner and being dropped by an inexperienced belayer than there are autobelay accidents. And do we know of any properly maintained auto-belay ever failing? Don't think so. When I go to the gym (that has autobelays) and want to do some laps on the wall, I will usually use the autobelay. I trust the experience of an engineer over the inexperience of a belayer - and I've seen so many crappy belayers at the gym that I'd rather use the auto-belay.
To me, the biggest downside of autobelays, is it builds up more anti-socialness at times. Asking for a belay requires 2 ppl talking, which is good to be amongst old and new friends - but hell, there are times I don't WANT to talk to anyone.


scottcody


Sep 21, 2004, 6:52 AM
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Once I reached about 20-25 feet up, well above the overhang, I realized that I was free soloing. I downclimbed without difficulty, but shaken, more worried about being seen unbelayed than about falling.

:shock: Dude.... You are HARD CORE!

Free solo... in a gym... with pea gravel/shoe rubber/gym mat underneath you...
wow... impressive


boulderman


Sep 22, 2004, 7:54 AM
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Update:

3 accidents in the last month or so involving the use, (actually.... lack of use) of the auto belay system. First kid, (forgot to clip in), was shaken up, but no serious injuries. Second person, (clipped in, unclipped, tied shoes, climbed), had multiple fractures of legs, ankles, and spine. The third (didnít clip in), was two days ago. Again, serious injuries and probable fractures, but no specifics yet. The 3rd incident was after the big signs were put up in front of the auto belay routes. These signs obscured the starting holds of the auto belay route and had the rope clipped into the top of the sign. You had to unclip the rope to get the sign out of the way to get to starting moves. Evidently the guy forgot to clip in and climbed around the starting moves, then finished 35 ft. up and sat back to be lowered and fell.

What can you say? These are just incomprehensible climber errors. What in the hell are people thinking about?

ET has taken all auto belays down for the moment and they are reevaluating their use in the gym.


dontfall


Sep 22, 2004, 7:59 AM
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I never forget to flush the toliet.

you will eventually forget. in your girlfriends house. while her parents are visiting. murph's rules, you know.

i once clogged the toilet at my girlfriends house....


overlord


Sep 22, 2004, 8:03 AM
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The 3rd incident was after the big signs were put up in front of the auto belay routes. These signs obscured the starting holds of the auto belay route and had the rope clipped into the top of the sign. You had to unclip the rope to get the sign out of the way to get to starting moves. Evidently the guy forgot to clip in and climbed around the starting moves, then finished 35 ft. up and sat back to be lowered and fell.

well, you really have to be trying to be that stupid. thats close to unbelievable.

looks like darwin botched it this time.


gremlin


Sep 24, 2004, 1:23 PM
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I can't say I've ever climbed on an auto belay device, or a gym for that matter, but if ET really took down all the auto belay things to reevaluate their use because of the 3 incidents stated, it's a sad sad day.

Honestly, that 3rd guy just plain deserved his fall. I can't see ANY valid excuse for anyone to sympathize with him if boulderman related the facts correctly.

If someone were to die free soloing, it would be a shame, but I'd be outraged if they "reevaluated cliff usage" because of it. If someone is a dumbass and pointedly ignores gym safety signs, climbs up without the rope, and falls and hurts himself, it is his own damn fault, and everyone else shouldn't suffer because of it.

I swear to god this country is getting so damn pussified with lawsuits over every . single . thing.

2 guys in New York I believe it was sued the city because the fence and the warning signs they climbed over/passed by weren't enough warning that perhaps jumping off the dock wasn't a good idea. They jumped, one broke his legs or got a concussion or some such nonsense. And they won the suit.

In summary, I hate the people who fell and ruined things for other people who could properly use the devices, and I wouldn't have mourned their deaths at all. Now I'm off to the NRG to climb the weekend away and if I die, it damn sure won't be because I forgot to tie myself in.

/bitter


qwimjim


Apr 22, 2011, 8:59 AM
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Re: [gremlin] Auto-Belay Gym Accident [In reply to]
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just to bump this thread back to life, the third accident example listed here where the guy goes around the sign, climbs to the top, and falls just proves that there's not much you can do to prevent someone incomprehensibly stupid from hurting themselves.

1. you can put up a sign 10 feet up that says "are you clipped in?" to remind people to double check. this might help some people, but after a while people will just ignore the sign. you can also put that sign again at the top to remind people to double check they are clipped in before sitting back. that won't save stupid people though.

2. you can make sure that every route has a 5.5 jug route on the same rope, for all those guys who posted in the thread about how they once found themselves halfway up a wall before realizing they weren't clipped in. that way there's always a no stress down climb available. that won't save stupid people though.

3. you can make the flooring of the auto belay area 12-24" gym mats. that might save some broken bones of stupid people.

4. you can install enough auto belays so that it makes financial sense to have someone monitoring them whenever they are in use. that's the only thing that can save the truly stupid from themselves.

5. you can put a camera on your auto belay wall that is constantly recording, just in case someone tries to sue you for their stupidity.


billl7


Apr 22, 2011, 9:18 AM
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The auto-belay accidents continue of course ... Our gym had one about two weeks ago. Poor fellow decked and drove the end of one of his tibia's into the foam padding leaving a hole. I understand he was listening to music on ear buds (or whatever) and those have now been banned at the gym under certain circumstances.


Partner robdotcalm


Apr 22, 2011, 9:44 AM
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Re: [qwimjim] Auto-Belay Gym Accident [In reply to]
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qwimjim wrote:
there's not much you can do to prevent someone incomprehensibly stupid from hurting themselves.

1. you can put up a sign 10 feet up that says "are you clipped in?" to remind people to double check. that won't save stupid people though.
You are so right. It didn't save me
stupid accident

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I understand he was listening to music on ear buds (or whatever) and those have now been banned at the gym under certain circumstances.

Actually, I thought of suing the gym for the disco music they were playing when I was climbing, which was enough to make anyone have an accident.

Cheers,
Rob.calm


suprasoup


Apr 22, 2011, 9:49 AM
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billl7 wrote:
The auto-belay accidents continue of course ... Our gym had one about two weeks ago. Poor fellow decked and drove the end of one of his tibia's into the foam padding leaving a hole. I understand he was listening to music on ear buds (or whatever) and those have now been banned at the gym under certain circumstances.

Is it your opinion that the ear buds were a major contributing factor in the climbers accident and hence the reason for the ban or was it merely a knee jerk reaction to said accident.

Supra


billl7


Apr 22, 2011, 10:30 AM
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I think the owner / insurance company are grasping at things to help prevent or reduce such accidents. Not sure myself of effectiveness.

More generally, I cringe when I see folks climbing (roped or unroped) with ears litterly plugged into music. ... seems like hindering one of your senses from detecting a problem - like hearing someone yelling out "Heh, you forgot to clip in!" (not that this auto-belay accident had that particular component.)


ClimbSoHigh


Apr 22, 2011, 10:33 AM
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Never used em, prolly never will. Would rather rope solo than use an auto belayer.


shotwell


Apr 22, 2011, 11:49 AM
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http://www.nicros.com/safety.cfm

Likely expensive, but IMO worth it. It really is a shame you don't see this setup more often.


altelis


Apr 22, 2011, 12:19 PM
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shotwell wrote:
http://www.nicros.com/safety.cfm

Likely expensive, but IMO worth it. It really is a shame you don't see this setup more often.

Seems like a totally over-engineered solution.


shotwell


Apr 22, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Well, the real solution is to have gym staff that actually supervise the floor. In my area this doesn't happen often making this seem like a decent 'replacement' for a competent human. There would be no need for any sort of 'solution' to the problem if gym staff didn't sit behind the desk and ignore what is happening on the floor.

You won't fix the laziness you'll find in most smaller gyms. People just aren't paid enough to give a shit.


qwimjim


Apr 22, 2011, 1:49 PM
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shotwell wrote:
Well, the real solution is to have gym staff that actually supervise the floor. In my area this doesn't happen often making this seem like a decent 'replacement' for a competent human. There would be no need for any sort of 'solution' to the problem if gym staff didn't sit behind the desk and ignore what is happening on the floor.

You won't fix the laziness you'll find in most smaller gyms. People just aren't paid enough to give a shit.

Yeah but you'd need someone specifically watching that area at all times, which could get costly. It only takes a couple minutes for someone to shoot up a wall, sit back, and fall. It seems all these accidents are absent minded adults, not kids.. at some point stupid people are just going to hurt or kill themselves. Whether it's climbing up a gym wall and at no point making sure they were locked in, or crossing a busy street without looking to see if any cars are coming.

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