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Auto-Belay Gym Accident
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irockclimbtoo


Sep 19, 2004, 11:51 AM
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Auto-Belay Gym Accident
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ab


timstich


Sep 19, 2004, 11:56 AM
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Re: Auto-Belay Gym Accident [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Earthtreks about 2 weeks ago:

A climber began climbing an auto belay route forgetting to hook in and got to the top forget he wasnt hooked in and let go. Fell broke his back both legs and an arm.

I believe thats the whole story no one really knows how the person forgot to hook in...

Well, people simply just forget things. We forget wallets and purses, why not children at the store and tying into the rope? Of course the latter two have worse consequences.


themacko


Sep 19, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Bet he won't do that again...


Partner oldsalt


Sep 19, 2004, 12:00 PM
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I was recently in a gym session with a crowd of birthday kids and no knowledable adults. I was climbing each of the autobelays in turn for a workout. After waiting about 10 minutes for one 8 year old to wear out while hogging the route, I jumped on the route fuming.

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.

It happens.


korntera


Sep 19, 2004, 12:21 PM
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Do rock gyms have auto belays or just outdoor towers? I have never been to a gym or heard of a large gym with auto belay. I think that because of reasons like this they are very unsafe. I like having somebody "on-belay" because then you have somebody checking to make sure you are tied in, and you have two people checking everything. I have never forgot to tie in and if i ever did my partner would catch it, can't do that on auto-belay.


timstich


Sep 19, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Perhaps these auto-belay machines should have "WARNING! WARNING, WILL ROBINSON! YOU ARE NOT CLIPPED IN!" alarms?


danpayne


Sep 19, 2004, 12:35 PM
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AZ on the Rocks here in Phoenix has a couple of them. How in the hell do you forget? I never forget my seatbelt. I never forget to flush the toliet. I don't forget to attach my lifeline to myself well climbing. Wouldn't it just feel wrong?


iclimblilrocks


Sep 19, 2004, 12:45 PM
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Im scared of auto belays, and auto locking belay devices... Sometimes they dont work..

Like once I was giving my sister a belay at a gym, with their grigri that was at the end of the rope, and She took a fall and the stupid think didnt lock up like it should have... thankfully i dont relay on them to stop the fall, I locked it off like i do with my atc, and then told the guys working there that it was busted... So that some stupid people dont come along completely relaying on it to stop the fall (because it was on a super tough roof) and the climber takes a nice fall right onto a bunch of little rocks...


nirvana


Sep 19, 2004, 12:48 PM
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Re: Auto-Belay Gym Accident [In reply to]
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Well, at the risk of sounding stupid, I'll 'fess up: I forgot to clip in on autobelay and managed to get about 30 feet up before I realized my mistake. Coincidentally, I happened to be at azontherocks. I was pretty shaken, mostly 'cause I couldn't figure out how I could possibly forget to clip in. But the fact is, I'd had a long day at work, I was preoccupied, and I spaced out. The space out factor can happen any time and any place.

Believe me, I check and recheck before I climb on autobelay now!


curt


Sep 19, 2004, 12:57 PM
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The fact is that our sport can be very unforgiving of carelessness or stupidity. So, please be careful and make sure you know what you are doing--before you do it. :wink:

Curt


melekzek


Sep 19, 2004, 1:08 PM
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In reply to:
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.


camhead


Sep 19, 2004, 1:16 PM
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maybe I'm just slow or something, but how does someone forget to clip into an autobelay? All that I have seen have a large locking biner to clip in with, so it's not like, say, with a knot, where you could pull a "Lynn Hill" and not rethread or something.

really, I'm curious what was going through the two posters' minds as they climbed. You forgot to clip the locking biner? so, you just basically climbed up without clipping anything to yourself?


chitown_coop


Sep 19, 2004, 2:25 PM
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In reply to:
maybe I'm just slow or something, but how does someone forget to clip into an autobelay? [ . . ]really, I'm curious what was going through the two posters' minds as they climbed. You forgot to clip the locking biner? so, you just basically climbed up without clipping anything to yourself?

No, seriously: did you not notice the rope that was rigidly clipped in that kept getting in your way as you climbed??? That's the funny thing about auto-belay routes--they sort of have to go straight up, otherwise the rope won't necessarily stay on the track. I don't get it...I can understand forgetting to lock a 'biner or forgetting to double back or whatever, but just climbing over an autobelay route on a regular belay is always annoying as hell, 'cause the stupid autobelay rope is in the way, clipped in taut at the bottom!


thephil160


Sep 19, 2004, 3:00 PM
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Maybe the guy was just stupid and didnt know what the hell he was doing. Did he have a harness?


kobaz


Sep 19, 2004, 3:02 PM
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In reply to:
so it's not like, say, with a knot, where you could pull a "Lynn Hill" and not rethread or something.

What did Lynn Hill do relating to that? I looked around on google but couldn't find anything about Lynn Hill not tieing in.


joshklingbeil


Sep 19, 2004, 3:45 PM
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Maybe you need to read Lynn Hill's book.


prufrock


Sep 19, 2004, 4:22 PM
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People play the "it would never happen to me/guy's an idiot game" too much.

Maybe the guy is an idiot. Maybe he was seasoned veteran. It doesn't matter. Mistakes happen. You will make a potentially life threatening mistake in you climbing career. Being very safe and smart only decreases the odds, it does not make the risk go away.

This happens. Climbing is dangerous. You can't ever make it completely safe.

Best of wishes to the climber, I hope they recover quickly and fully.


melekzek


Sep 19, 2004, 4:46 PM
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In reply to:
Maybe you need to read Lynn Hill's book.

he is right

In reply to:
....
"Okay, climbing," I said to Russ, using the simple verbal signal all
climbers use to tell their partner they are setting off.
But this time the system had a glitch in it: pilot error. I had poked the
rope into the loop in my harness, but, distracted by the actions of fetching
my rock shoes and chatting with the japanese girl, I had not tied the knot.
The end of the rope hung at my waist, hidden underneat my jacket, like a
ticking time bomb. Neither I nor anyone else at the cliff noticed my
potentially fatal mistake.
....
At any point in the 72 feet of Buffet Froid's steep face, the rope could
have slipped out of my harness and snaked down the cliff through the
carabiners to land in a pile on the ground.
...
But the rope did not detach from my harness and Russ did not get the
opportunity to come scampering up the rock to rescue me. Had that happened,
we would have engaged in one of those caring-yet-chiding husband-wife tiffs
that end in laughter.
....
And then I reached the end of the climb, about 72 feet above the ground....
To descent safely, I only had to lean back and Russ would hold me, carefully
letting the rope slide through his belay device... I leaned back, expecting
the rope to hold me. Instead, I felt the rush of air against my cheek.
.....
Climbers at the cliff and in the valley that day described a "bloodcurdling
scream" that echoed off the walls. My scream -an involuntary shout of
horror- was even heard by Pierre, the mayor of Buoux, who sat in the library
of his house half a mile away. Looking toward the source of the scream,
climbers on neighboring routes saw a figure free-falling down the cliff,
carving an outward arc through the sky. All told, I covered the 72 feet in
less than two seconds.
....
It is not true that in a fall one sees one's life flash before one's eyes.
There is not enough time for even a single formed thought. But survival
instincts are wired on a faster pathway that any other mental process, and
when I saw the approaching tree I knew instinctively that my best chance to
live was to land in it. If it could be said that I aimed myself at any
landing zone, it was toward that short, stunted green oak tree.
Speeding toward it, I tucked my body into a ball, blasted through its
brances, then my left buttock slammed into a lattice of tree roots sprawling
on the ground. The impact jarred the senses out of me.
Jennifer Cole, an american climber at the cliff that day, said that when I
hit I bounced three feet into the air like a rubber ball, then I released my
tuck with the flail of arms and smacked onto the ground, face first into the
limey dirt.


verticalclimb


Sep 19, 2004, 4:56 PM
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In reply to:
Maybe the guy was just stupid and didnt know what the hell he was doing. Did he have a harness?

Yeah, climbing is one of those sports that tend to weed out the dumb ones the hard way!!!


exovus


Sep 19, 2004, 5:07 PM
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If you are talking about the fall at Earthtreks 2 weeks ago, I saw it happen. The climber fell, got up and walked around immediately after while moaning in agony/pain. ET Employees jumped to his aid and he left in an ambulance. I heard he sustained no major injuries despite falling a solid 35 feet. I do not know where you got this broken leg, back thing from, but if it is the incident I WITNESSED he surely did not do that much damage to himself.


dutyje


Sep 19, 2004, 6:37 PM
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In reply to:
If you are talking about the fall at Earthtreks 2 weeks ago, I saw it happen. The climber fell, got up and walked around immediately after while moaning in agony/pain. ET Employees jumped to his aid and he left in an ambulance. I heard he sustained no major injuries despite falling a solid 35 feet. I do not know where you got this broken leg, back thing from, but if it is the incident I WITNESSED he surely did not do that much damage to himself.

I heard from a friend of a guy whose sister's boyfriend was there that the guy topped out the climb, and the auto-belay device severed the rope..... and chopped off his hand. The guy screamed and fell to the ground, fracturing his spine in multiple places. The neuro-surgeon had to re-construct his spinal cord out of copper wire and he has been eating out of a straw ever since.

With the passage of time, and the relay of information through others, stories tend to become a lot more interesting. I think the point here is that the guy forgot to clip in. My opinion is that, with a partner, the likelihood of these accidents can be introduced. Even though you're relying on the diligence of one more person, that extra person can easily catch mistakes such as this.


timstich


Sep 19, 2004, 7:20 PM
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In reply to:

I heard from a friend of a guy whose sister's boyfriend was there that the guy topped out the climb, and the auto-belay device severed the rope..... and chopped off his hand.

No, that was the auto-erotic asphyxia machine at the massage parlor next door. And it didn't cut off his hand, it cut off his hmmm hmmm.


reno


Sep 19, 2004, 7:27 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
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.

After eating bean burritos with corn salsa.

:)


Partner oldsalt


Sep 20, 2004, 6:12 AM
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After browsing the posts that followed my admission of stupidity, I recall a mitigating circumstance...

While waiting for the open strap, I was bouldering at the base of the adjoining wall to keep loose. I think that the transition from bouldering to roped climbing is what allowed me to get going without noticing the absence of the auto-belay strap. This error could happen more often than confessed here.

Anyone find yourself at least "starting" up without the auto-belay after bouldering?

(This is not an anti-bouldering post, honest!)


corpse


Sep 20, 2004, 6:47 AM
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I understand ppl make mistakes - but there's a difference of forgetting to clip a biner into your harness where you clearly feel 8-10lbs of upward force, vs. someone interrupting you and you fail to finish tying your figure 8. Even after the 1st time on an auto-belay, it was pretty easy to ensure that I was clipped in.. However, I still double-check myself to ensure I'm clipped into my belay loop on my harness.. Tie in, chalk up, look at route a little, check clip-in, climb. And perhaps a little bit of OCD here, but before I lower myself, I will confirm the biner is still clipped- and that it's not crossloaded as I lower - but this step is pretty unnecessary.

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