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majid_sabet


Sep 23, 2013, 5:46 PM
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Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas
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According to Grapevine Police, the woman was not properly attached to a rope device intended to slow the fall of a climber who may slip from the climbing wall and slow their descent to the ground.

http://inforney.com/...all-at-grapevine-gym


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Sep 23, 2013, 5:47 PM)


petsfed


Sep 23, 2013, 10:46 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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Translation: she was not attached to the autobelay.

I think rob.calm had a similar story, and the takeaway is that you should always, always, ALWAYS double check your gear, be cognizant of the increased risk when you're climbing alone and triple check that you're doing it right. Don't just mindlessly charge up the wall, and work into your pre-climb ritual a check of the system that is different from how you would normally check (a good firm tug on your tie-in/autobelay connection works wonders to knock you out of the visual-check funk). Gyms that use autobelays need to include that extra check as part of their how-to session on autobelay usage and with all instructional information.


JAB


Sep 24, 2013, 3:55 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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After a couple of similar (non-fatal) accidents here, the gyms now use a kind of simple gate on the autobelays. I.e. the cable is clipped to a metal barrier at the start of the route, which drops down when the cable is unclipped from the barrier and clipped to the harness. So it's not possible to by accident start climbing an autobelay route while not clipped to the cable (obviously you could climb over the barrier, but that's not a slip of the mind in forgetting to clip in).

Since then, no such accidents have occured as far as I know.


fitzontherocks


Sep 24, 2013, 9:51 AM
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Re: [petsfed] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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Another takeaway-- a 25 foot fall-- even indoors-- can kill.


amarius


Sep 24, 2013, 10:27 AM
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Re: [JAB] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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One of the local gyms has autobelays.
I noticed that carabiners used for clipping in are on the small size - this makes clipping in through both loops not that easy, extra attention is needed to make sure that the gate is closed and there is no material in between the gate and metal. Having material between the gate and carabiner might lead to failure.


JasonsDrivingForce


Sep 24, 2013, 12:15 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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My condolences go to not only this woman’s family but also to the climbers and staff at that gym. No matter what it must be a horrific thing to lose someone at your gym.

Are there any statistics on how many serious indoor climbing accidents there are each year for auto belays, regular belays, and for Bouldering? I am just curious about which style of climbing has more serious accidents.

I guess the insurance companies have figured this out already. Anyone have any data on this?


petsfed


Sep 24, 2013, 12:17 PM
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Re: [amarius] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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amarius wrote:
One of the local gyms has autobelays.
I noticed that carabiners used for clipping in are on the small size - this makes clipping in through both loops not that easy, extra attention is needed to make sure that the gate is closed and there is no material in between the gate and metal. Having material between the gate and carabiner might lead to failure.

Every manufacturer of autobelays insist on using the belay loop for attachment, rather than the tie-in points, so your "safety concern" is predicated on specifically bypassing actual, built-in safety features, presumably from a misunderstanding of how redundancy actually works.


majid_sabet


Sep 24, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Re: [petsfed] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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its too early to conclude that this was in fact an auto-belay failure or biner misplace etc. I use auto-belay in our gym very often and the attachment biner is an industrial grade self-locking steel biner and the mechanism is pretty solid. From time to time, they require service and tension adjustment and calibration but overall, I haven't heard much of bad thing about them however, there are possibilities where things could go wrong. one common issue is when biner is not fully attached to belay loop. I could imagine biner gate been attached in away where you think its in the loop but biner is only attached to the edge of belay loop. Another worse case is when lowering mechanism fails where you are in full drop mode. other possibilities can be climbing without any autobelay (this is where pilot thinks the landing gear is down but its not and lands) .

just to have to wait on this one.


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Sep 24, 2013, 12:37 PM)


billl7


Sep 25, 2013, 6:30 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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Police said it appeared Mailloux failed to attach to an auto belay system installed at the gym.
Source: Woman Dies After Fall at Climbing Gym in Grapevine

Best wishes to those close to her. And a few of us here need to increase our vigilance.

Bill L


markc


Sep 26, 2013, 8:10 AM
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Re: [JAB] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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JAB wrote:
After a couple of similar (non-fatal) accidents here, the gyms now use a kind of simple gate on the autobelays. I.e. the cable is clipped to a metal barrier at the start of the route, which drops down when the cable is unclipped from the barrier and clipped to the harness. So it's not possible to by accident start climbing an autobelay route while not clipped to the cable (obviously you could climb over the barrier, but that's not a slip of the mind in forgetting to clip in).

Since then, no such accidents have occured as far as I know.

That's an intriguing idea, and it seems gyms could easily put together something effective and inexpensive. You need to clip the cable to something, so why not use this to increase safety? What's the mounting height?


JAB


Sep 26, 2013, 10:39 PM
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Re: [markc] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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About 1 meter.


5.samadhi


Sep 30, 2013, 11:48 AM
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Re: [amarius] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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amarius wrote:
One of the local gyms has autobelays.
I noticed that carabiners used for clipping in are on the small size - this makes clipping in through both loops not that easy, extra attention is needed to make sure that the gate is closed and there is no material in between the gate and metal. Having material between the gate and carabiner might lead to failure.
the reason we don't tie in to the belay loop is because excess wear and tear from rope on loop friction. This is solved by reinforcing the harness tie in points. If you are clipping a carabiner into your harness that is attached to a belay device the belay loop is the perfect location to clip to.


(This post was edited by 5.samadhi on Sep 30, 2013, 11:50 AM)


majid_sabet


Oct 30, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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well, looks like the final report is out about this incident. she basically forgot to clip the biner to her harness and climbed and once she reached the top, she let go assuming she was clipped in and took a fall.

.............................................................................................................


watch the report

http://www.khou.com/...-news/229692651.html

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- When an experienced rock climber fell to her death at a Grapevine climbing gym in September, authorities called it a "bad accident."

But News 8 has learned that falls by experienced climbers are a well-known problem in the climbing wall industry.

The death investigation report, released by Grapevine police, shows 52-year-old Susan Mailloux of Irving failed to clip her harness to a safety line, called a belay system, at the Summit Climbing Gym in Grapevine.

In the report, witnesses told police that Mailloux "looked like she knew what she was doing." And even though "she thought she was clipped in" to her rope line, in fact, "the belay system was not attached to (her) harness."

When she got to the top of the wall, she, "let go and fell to the ground."

Mailloux was using an auto-belay device. The auto-belay holds the line taut while the climber — without a partner — goes up the wall. It then gently lowers a climber to the ground when they let go.

So how does an experienced climber — working at her own risk — make such a simple life-or-death mistake?

The climbing industry is trying to answer that very same question, because — it turns out — experienced climbers forgetting to clip-in is ongoing problem.

"It is a well-known problem in the industry," said Dan Hague, who is a climbing gym owner in Virginia. He helped write industry safety standards, and provides expert witness testimony for people who are injured in gym accidents.

Gague said Mailloux’s death is the only climbing fatality he’s heard about in his 20 years in the business, and it's a wake-up call for the industry.

"In my experience, the primary reason that people are injured using these devices is not that the device fails, but they fail to simply clip into it before they start climbing," he said.

On a regular belay, climbers work in pairs. After checking their own equipment, Hague says, climbers should double-check each other’s equipment.

"In the case of the auto-belay system, there is no double-check," he explained.

The problem is significant enough that a climbing gear company from Minnesota called Nicros invented a device that sets off an alarm when a climber leaves the ground without clipping in. It’s been on the market for less than two years, but so far, it’s an expense only a few gyms are willing to pay for.

Most rely on industry safety guidelines that emphasize training and education.

“My opinion is, yes, a gym has some responsibility to make sure that you’re warned and protected to some degree from yourself," Hague said.

But sometimes, for people like Susan Mailloux, that’s not enough.


jomagam


Oct 30, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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She had to clip the biner somewhere though, right ? Otherwise the autobelay would quickly be at the top and probably hit you on the hand along the way.


stefanohatari


Oct 30, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Re: [jomagam] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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The autobelay is clipped to the wall when the climber approaches it. The climber unclips it from the wall, then clips it into his/her belay loop.

jomagam wrote:
She had to clip the biner somewhere though, right ? Otherwise the autobelay would quickly be at the top and probably hit you on the hand along the way.


jomagam


Oct 30, 2013, 12:56 PM
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stefanohatari wrote:
The autobelay is clipped to the wall when the climber approaches it. The climber unclips it from the wall, then clips it into his/her belay loop.

jomagam wrote:
She had to clip the biner somewhere though, right ? Otherwise the autobelay would quickly be at the top and probably hit you on the hand along the way.

What's your point ? If she didn't even touch the autobelay, then she was free soloing. I assume what she did was similar to for example Lynn Hill (when she didn't finish her knot) in that the gym climber did clip the autobelay's biner somehow incorrectly to her harness, or the locker came undone while she was climbing.


JohnCook


Oct 30, 2013, 1:11 PM
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Re: [jomagam] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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I have climbed at Summit. If you do not clip the biner to correctly your harness and it somehow gets loose it shoots straight up to the top of the wall making a hell of a racket. You would be very aware of it. (I have seen these autobelayer biners go up the wall when someone has unclipped at the bottom and not clipped it back into the secure place at the base of the wall. The noise is loud enough to be heard at the other side of the gym.) The only thing that could have happened is that she DIDN'T CLIP IN, and so unfortunately, the accident was totally her own fault.


jomagam


Oct 30, 2013, 1:32 PM
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JohnCook wrote:
I have climbed at Summit. If you do not clip the biner to correctly your harness and it somehow gets loose it shoots straight up to the top of the wall making a hell of a racket. You would be very aware of it. (I have seen these autobelayer biners go up the wall when someone has unclipped at the bottom and not clipped it back into the secure place at the base of the wall. The noise is loud enough to be heard at the other side of the gym.) The only thing that could have happened is that she DIDN'T CLIP IN, and so unfortunately, the accident was totally her own fault.


Right, that's what I don't get. You cannot say Mailloux was using an auto-belay device if she plain simply forgot to clip in and did not use it. She had to clip in incorrectly somehow that came undone on the way up or at the top, or clip into something that was not load bearing.


JohnCook


Oct 30, 2013, 1:48 PM
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She had not clipped into anything. She was climbing where the auto-belay was, and, I believe, told someone that she was going to use the auto-belay.
One can only assume that she got distracted, did not unclip the auto-belay from the wall, and did not clip it onto herself in any way. If she let it go it would just rattle up the wall, if she clipped it to a gear loop which failed, or the biner came unclipped it would have rattled up the wall. She would have noticed a huge heavy steel biner rattling noisily past her face if there had been a failed clip-in.


stefanohatari


Oct 30, 2013, 6:45 PM
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Re: [jomagam] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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My point was I was answering your question. Basta.


What's your point ? If she didn't even touch the autobelay, then she was free soloing. I assume what she did was similar to for example Lynn Hill (when she didn't finish her knot) in that the gym climber did clip the autobelay's biner somehow incorrectly to her harness, or the locker came undone while she was climbing.


JohnCook


Oct 31, 2013, 4:22 AM
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Re: [stefanohatari] Climbing gym fatality,woman falls 30 feet ,Grapevine gym Texas [In reply to]
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Please read slowly and carefully!
If you unclip the auto-belay heavy steel biner from the anchor at the bottom of the wall, and then for some reason do not clip it to yourself, or if the clip to yourself fails, the heavy steel biner rattles up the wall. It had not done that.
So Lynn Hill was free soloing?
Both made a mistake, one leading, the other toproping on an auto belay. One forgot to finish the knot, the other forgot to make any effort to clip in to the heavy steel biner.
Neither, it seems, had intended to 'free solo' (why can't it just be called solo) but both had accidents. One was lucky, the other was not.
Both were user error.
If anyone else has a problem understanding what I am saying please let me know, as I seem to be having to explain something that is very simple, repeatedly. If you do understand, please also let me know, as I seem to be getting paranoid and suspecting that I can't write clear English anymore!


ensonik


Oct 31, 2013, 6:49 PM
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You explained it fine, many times.

I think you're being trolled pretty hard.


jomagam


Oct 31, 2013, 8:00 PM
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John, you explained it well. Not sure who you think didn't understand what you said. I kind of didn't get Stefano's first reply to me, and also find it silly to call this an auto-belay accident if she didn't even touch the thing. Hope that clears things up.

On a different note: soloing means that you're climbing alone. You can solo using a rope too with a bunch of different setups; that would be rope soloing as opposed to free soloing.


JAB


Nov 1, 2013, 3:54 AM
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jomagam wrote:
John, you explained it well. Not sure who you think didn't understand what you said. I kind of didn't get Stefano's first reply to me, and also find it silly to call this an auto-belay accident if she didn't even touch the thing. Hope that clears things up.

This definitely an auto-belay accident. Denying this is like saying Lynn Hill's accident wasn't a rappelling accident, as she never actually did get on rappell.

My opinion is that autobelays that are clipped directly to the wall (like in this case) are a big safety risk. As stated in the link posted, this is a known issue, which also is both easy and cheap to fix (like I posted earlier in the thread). Any gym that does not fix this safety issue should be liable for any accidents.


jomagam


Nov 1, 2013, 7:46 AM
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Well, I would call Lynn Hill's accident a tying in accident, as she would have hit the ground if she was going to rappell, get lowered, called take during the middle of the route or simply could not make a move and fell.

But I do get your point, though not necessarily agree. I thought that the article and video said that incorrectly tying in is an issue, which usually gets caught by a partner. The gym I go to has 6 auto belays and never heard of any issues. Almost all the routes that are toprope-able can be done on AB, which means that your proposed gate would have to be lowered by non-AB parties, so a second place is needed to clip the AB's twist lock biner into. The AB can be pulled on a rail to position it by the finishing hold of the route you're jumping onto, so not sure how it could work in a case when you have 30 feet of wall where one can start a route.

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