Forums: Climbing Information: Accident and Incident Analysis:
Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident?
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Accident and Incident Analysis

Premier Sponsor:

 
First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All


JasonsDrivingForce


Apr 23, 2012, 10:24 AM
Post #1 of 53 (18085 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 3, 2009
Posts: 687

Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident?
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

During the local climbing competition a climber told us about a fall at the UNC Chapel Hill climbing wall. She stated that the auto belay failed and the climber was in intensive care.

I couldn't find any information about it online.

Just wondering what the root cause of the failure was if it really was an Auto belay failure.

I hope the climber recovers from her injuries.


csproul


Apr 23, 2012, 10:31 AM
Post #2 of 53 (18066 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 4, 2004
Posts: 1767

Re: [JasonsDrivingForce] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

We just got a notice that the gyms on campus are closed pending the investigation. I have not heard from anyone what happened.


JPhipps


Apr 24, 2012, 6:15 AM
Post #3 of 53 (17825 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 1

Re: [JasonsDrivingForce] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

This was on the Daily Tar Heel this morning:
http://www.dailytarheel.com/..._closed_indefinitely


akelleh


Apr 24, 2012, 9:27 PM
Post #4 of 53 (17653 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 5

Re: [JasonsDrivingForce] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

She was a wall employee who was climbing when no students were there climbing. The autobelay was retracting normally on the way up, but when she jumped off at the top to lower down, it lowered without resistance. She fell from the top ( ~30 feet ) and was badly injured. A passing police officer heard her yelling for help from outside, and came in to help.


majid_sabet


Apr 24, 2012, 11:07 PM
Post #5 of 53 (17639 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 12, 2002
Posts: 8344

Re: [akelleh] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

our gyms has a bunch of those auto belay things and i used one tonight. do you know the brand/model of what they had there ?


JasonsDrivingForce


Apr 25, 2012, 6:23 AM
Post #6 of 53 (17581 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 3, 2009
Posts: 687

Re: [akelleh] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

akelleh wrote:
She was a wall employee who was climbing when no students were there climbing. The autobelay was retracting normally on the way up, but when she jumped off at the top to lower down, it lowered without resistance. She fell from the top ( ~30 feet ) and was badly injured. A passing police officer heard her yelling for help from outside, and came in to help.

Wow that is an awful story to hear. I am glad she survived it. I hope she recovers quickly. I hope they can determine what exactly happened.


akelleh


Apr 25, 2012, 7:04 AM
Post #7 of 53 (17562 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 5

Re: [majid_sabet] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

It was the trueblue autobelay. I heard a rumor that it was behind on maintenance, but can't confirm this, or how behind it was.


matasw


Apr 25, 2012, 8:37 AM
Post #8 of 53 (17495 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 26, 2012
Posts: 27

Re: [akelleh] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thats Terrible. Those things have always scared me.


akelleh


Apr 25, 2012, 8:43 AM
Post #9 of 53 (17490 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 5

Re: [matasw] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I've done laps on that very autobelay (I climb at UNC's gyms). Very scary.


BMatt5302


Apr 25, 2012, 3:58 PM
Post #10 of 53 (17386 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 16, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [akelleh] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

What is confusing me the most is that if the descent mechanism fails, the device locks. Meaning the worst thing that should happen is you get stranded in the air. . . .

I'm starting to wonder if the entire device fell off the top of the wall.


akelleh


Apr 25, 2012, 4:04 PM
Post #11 of 53 (17373 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 5

Re: [BMatt5302] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

From talking to a friend, who is one of Lizzie's coworkers at the wall, the device failed to lock.


Gmburns2000


Apr 25, 2012, 4:30 PM
Post #12 of 53 (17351 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2007
Posts: 15104

Re: [matasw] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

matasw wrote:
Thats Terrible. Those things have always scared me.

Yeah. No freakin' way you'll catch me on one of those autobelay machines. They scare the hell out of me. I'm surprised gyms even use them.

Hope the girl recovers well and quickly.


notapplicable


Apr 25, 2012, 5:29 PM
Post #13 of 53 (17323 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 31, 2006
Posts: 17763

Re: [Gmburns2000] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Gmburns2000 wrote:
matasw wrote:
Thats Terrible. Those things have always scared me.

Yeah. No freakin' way you'll catch me on one of those autobelay machines. They scare the hell out of me. I'm surprised gyms even use them.

Hope the girl recovers well and quickly.

I used an autobelay exactly once and it sketched me out enough that i haven't used one since. Nothing strange actually happened, just a gut reaction kind of thing.


BMatt5302


Apr 25, 2012, 8:25 PM
Post #14 of 53 (17258 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 16, 2008
Posts: 2

Re: [akelleh] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

While I don't wish to speak ill of the injured, I feel that accidents need to be discussed in order to prevent them in the future. Everyone I've tried to talk to doesn't have much idea of what exactly happened. She was there alone, and fell. We only have her explanation, which is likely not particularly clear considering the accident.

Without going into details (google the patent if you want them), the device has three independent braking mechanisms that engage based on the centripedal force from the webbing feeding out. As long as its taking rope in as you climb, failure of the device should only cause it to break harder. Unless there is an impending (and incredibly late recall at this point), any properly maintained and operated trublue should be perfectly safe. The important question is what errors were made that caused the accident so that we can all learn from them.





To y'all who have a natural fear of newfangled devices such as the trublue, I'll refer you to an interview I saw on The Colbert Report the other day where we learn how science and reality are determined by personal feelings. (http://www.hulu.com/watch/353531/the-colbert-report-don-mcleroy)

B


akelleh


Apr 25, 2012, 8:38 PM
Post #15 of 53 (17250 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 5

Re: [BMatt5302] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'll ask around about the maintenance thing tomorrow at the gym (the CH community center, not UNC's, which is closed pending the investigation) and see what I can find out from the other UNC climbers.


JAB


Apr 26, 2012, 4:31 AM
Post #16 of 53 (17175 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 26, 2007
Posts: 373

Re: [akelleh] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

The trublue seems pretty similar to the other autobelays which were recalled and discountinued a couple of years ago after similar accidents. Based on the intro video on trublue's site it looks really sketchy so I'm not at all surprised if it turns out it really did fail catastrophically.

The gym I frequent has some kind of hydraulic autobelays which feel very solid (in fact almost too solid since they pull on you contantly, not with a delay like the trublu).


matasw


Apr 26, 2012, 6:31 AM
Post #17 of 53 (17146 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 26, 2012
Posts: 27

Re: [JAB] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I used one a few times on one of my first climbing experiences and it simply didn't seem right. I'd prefer a human on the line rather than some mechanical device that may or may not be maintained properly.

Plus the tension on those things is often so high that it's easy to whip yourself in the face with one trying to clip in.


csproul


Apr 26, 2012, 7:21 AM
Post #18 of 53 (17120 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 4, 2004
Posts: 1767

Re: [BMatt5302] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

BMatt5302 wrote:
While I don't wish to speak ill of the injured, I feel that accidents need to be discussed in order to prevent them in the future. Everyone I've tried to talk to doesn't have much idea of what exactly happened. She was there alone, and fell. We only have her explanation, which is likely not particularly clear considering the accident.

Without going into details (google the patent if you want them), the device has three independent braking mechanisms that engage based on the centripedal force from the webbing feeding out. As long as its taking rope in as you climb, failure of the device should only cause it to break harder. Unless there is an impending (and incredibly late recall at this point), any properly maintained and operated trublue should be perfectly safe. The important question is what errors were made that caused the accident so that we can all learn from them.





To y'all who have a natural fear of newfangled devices such as the trublue, I'll refer you to an interview I saw on The Colbert Report the other day where we learn how science and reality are determined by personal feelings. (http://www.hulu.com/watch/353531/the-colbert-report-don-mcleroy)

B
Properly maintained and operated is key. Also these devices don't brake well if the line is impeded, i.e. if it running over features and holds, or if you have traversed too far to one side. These conditions should still not result in a plummet to the ground, but would still result in a much harder fall than expected (which doesn't sound like the case here).

Also, it should be easy to determine if she was properly clipped in or not (as long as her memory and the memory of the responder is accurate). If she was still clipped in and on the ground, then it is clear that the device failed. If the line is not attached to her when she is on the ground, then either she was never properly attached to it or someone removed it from her after the fall.


petsfed


Apr 26, 2012, 7:49 AM
Post #19 of 53 (17097 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 24, 2002
Posts: 8587

Re: [JAB] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

JAB wrote:
The trublue seems pretty similar to the other autobelays which were recalled and discountinued a couple of years ago after similar accidents. Based on the intro video on trublue's site it looks really sketchy so I'm not at all surprised if it turns out it really did fail catastrophically.

The gym I frequent has some kind of hydraulic autobelays which feel very solid (in fact almost too solid since they pull on you contantly, not with a delay like the trublu).

The trublue works by a completely different mechanism from the recalled ones. The recalled ones used friction to dissipate falling energy, the trublue uses magnetic braking (e.g. eddy current induction) to dissipate falling energy.

I worked at a commercial gym when the trublues came out, and while I didn't like the descent rate, they were very reliable. However (and this was a complaint the management had), they have to be sent in every year for maintenance, which isn't cheap. If there was a maintenance issue, I'd bet it was that the annual refit wasn't performed. Beyond that, the only maintenance to be performed is to vacuum out the nozzle.


sandstone


Apr 26, 2012, 11:20 AM
Post #20 of 53 (16992 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 21, 2004
Posts: 324

Re: [matasw] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

matasw wrote:
... it simply didn't seem right. I'd prefer a human on the line rather than some mechanical device that may or may not be maintained properly....

A human has many more possible modes of failure (distraction, fatigue, hangover, etc.) than a machine, yet we feel safer trusting a human than a machine.

We place great trust in machines to transport us to a climb (did you really think about the brakes in your car when you were driving, or did you not even think about them and just blindly trust that they would work?), yet we have trouble trusting a much simpler machine to belay us once we're there.

I'm the same, I prefer a human, but I know I'm not safe either way.


JasonsDrivingForce


May 1, 2012, 12:37 PM
Post #21 of 53 (16549 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 3, 2009
Posts: 687

Re: [csproul] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Is there anymore information on what happened here. If the auto belay failed for any reason I have to imagine that it will affect the use of auto belays in gyms.

I thought they redesigned these so that they would always arrest the fall even if the primary mechanisms failed?


csproul


May 1, 2012, 12:47 PM
Post #22 of 53 (16533 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 4, 2004
Posts: 1767

Re: [JasonsDrivingForce] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

JasonsDrivingForce wrote:
Is there anymore information on what happened here. If the auto belay failed for any reason I have to imagine that it will affect the use of auto belays in gyms.

I thought they redesigned these so that they would always arrest the fall even if the primary mechanisms failed?
As near as I can tell, there has not been any more information released other than second hand rumors. We may never be made aware of the results of any investigation. It was also my impression that the TruBlue autobelay was supposed to lock up in the event of a mechanism failure. But I have to take the manufacturers word on that as I really don't know how the thing works.


Gmburns2000


May 1, 2012, 1:49 PM
Post #23 of 53 (16494 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2007
Posts: 15104

Re: [sandstone] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

sandstone wrote:
matasw wrote:
... it simply didn't seem right. I'd prefer a human on the line rather than some mechanical device that may or may not be maintained properly....

A human has many more possible modes of failure (distraction, fatigue, hangover, etc.) than a machine, yet we feel safer trusting a human than a machine.

We place great trust in machines to transport us to a climb (did you really think about the brakes in your car when you were driving, or did you not even think about them and just blindly trust that they would work?), yet we have trouble trusting a much simpler machine to belay us once we're there.

I'm the same, I prefer a human, but I know I'm not safe either way.

it's a straw man argument. I wouldn't trust that the human maintained the machine. I can't talk to the machine, it can't talk to me, and neither of us can verify that the machine is, in fact, working, whereas I can be sure my human partner is working based on a simple conversation and smelling his breath.


sandstone


May 1, 2012, 3:11 PM
Post #24 of 53 (16453 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 21, 2004
Posts: 324

Re: [Gmburns2000] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Gmburns2000 wrote:
it's a straw man argument....

No, it was not a straw man tactic. For that to be true I would have had to make a misrepresentation, and use that distortion to promote my view.

All I did was point out a bit of irony in the fact that (in general) we will blindly trust very complicated machines to transport us to a climb, yet not trust a simple machine for a belay once we are there.

In reply to:
... I can be sure my human partner is working based on a simple conversation and smelling his breath.

I know what you mean, but in reality you cannot be sure your belayer will catch you. Even a sober and experienced belayer is still very fallible, all it takes is something as simple as fatigue or distraction to lead to complete failure. It's a risk we accept, and one we try to minimize, yet the risk is always there.


Gmburns2000


May 1, 2012, 4:34 PM
Post #25 of 53 (16419 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2007
Posts: 15104

Re: [sandstone] Any information on the UNC Chapel Hill Auto Belay accident? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

sandstone wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
it's a straw man argument....

No, it was not a straw man tactic. For that to be true I would have had to make a misrepresentation, and use that distortion to promote my view.

It's misrepresented because the belay machine requires fairly routine maintenance done by a human being. In other words, the machine itself doesn't remove the human element.

And the idea of comparing a car to a belay machine is kind of silly, though I get the irony. A car requires quite a bit less maintenance before something serious happens (e.g. - change my oil every 5000 miles? pffttt...I bet I can get away with 10k before my engine seizes up. It might cost me more money in the long run to do it that way, but it won't cost me a broken arm, leg, or, potentially death). The two are not on the same level, but I get what you're saying.

In reply to:
All I did was point out a bit of irony in the fact that (in general) we will blindly trust very complicated machines to transport us to a climb, yet not trust a simple machine for a belay once we are there.

In reply to:
... I can be sure my human partner is working based on a simple conversation and smelling his breath.

I know what you mean, but in reality you cannot be sure your belayer will catch you. Even a sober and experienced belayer is still very fallible, all it takes is something as simple as fatigue or distraction to lead to complete failure. It's a risk we accept, and one we try to minimize, yet the risk is always there.

I'm a lot more sure a human would catch me than I would a human would fix the machine. This is because I can test the human fairly competently in the moment before climbing. I can't make the same assumptions that the machine was maintained correctly when I wasn't around.

First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All

Forums : Climbing Information : Accident and Incident Analysis

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$217.76 (10% off)
$10.89 (10% off)
$193.46 (10% off)
$8.55 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook