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Gym Fall - Harness on wrong
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By Debbie Vischer
From Loveland
Jul 13, 2012
Hangin' by a Thumb in Estes
A gal at my climbing gym fell 25+ feet while top roping today. Scared the shit out of me. Surprisingly she seemed to be ok (minus being really shaken up) and was able to walk out on her own. She said she landed on all 4s (forearms and knees), with her face hitting the mat from the force. We all looked up the wall and could see her figure eight knot dangling. We were all wondering how this happened. Well, as my gaze came back down on her and her harness, it became clear. She had the harness on backwards and was tied into one of her gear loops (which blew). It was a "new" harness for her (borrowed from a friend). And yes, she is a relatively new climber.

Good lesson for all....even tho she complained about it feeling "weird", neither she nor her partner knew of the error until it was too late. I'm usually watching and coaching on bad belay techniques with newbies...now I need to start looking more closely at their harnesses too! Who would have thunk!?

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jul 13, 2012
Debbie Vischer wrote:
A gal at my climbing gym fell


Is it actually your gym? Do you own it or just feel a sense of responsibility for the new climbers?

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By Woodchuck ATC
Jul 13, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Sounds like partner was also inexperienced. Should have done a partner check of harness, knot, belay, etc. before ascent. Easy going attitudes lead to accidents on rock or in gym.

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By agd
Jul 13, 2012
alaska
Sounds like the gym is doing a great job on its safety measures....their insurance would go through the roof if they got wind of this.

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Jul 13, 2012
Stabby
Someone needs to be fired, and the woman told to take up golf

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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jul 13, 2012
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
alexdavis wrote:
Sounds like the gym is doing a great job on its safety measures....their insurance would go through the roof if they got wind of this.

I was thinking the same thing but Alex beat me to it because I've been laughing for the last 10 minutes. Glad she's ok but seriously, that's funny shit. Backwards!! hahahahahahahahaha

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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
Jul 13, 2012
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place t...
This is actually a huge issue. I catch very experienced climbers that are members of the gym getting ready to climb with their harness just threaded and not doubled back pretty regularly, it is just too easy to get distracted with everything going on around. This doesn't even touch on all the younger climbers wanting to wear their harness with their underwear hanging out the top or like low rider pants.

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 13, 2012
OTL
meh, I'd forgive her

backass harness
backass harness

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By Mark Wyss
From Denver, CO
Jul 13, 2012
Mt. Baker
Matt N wrote:
meh, I'd forgive her

+1 That beauty...no doubt.

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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jul 13, 2012
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
Matt N wrote:
meh, I'd forgive her

Not without a good spanking first.

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By Woodchuck ATC
Jul 13, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Matt N wrote:
meh, I'd forgive her


I almost forgot about the similarity here. Nice catch.

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 13, 2012
OTL
Woodchuck ATC wrote:
I almost forgot about the similarity here. Nice catch.


Well one of us remembered the harness.

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jul 14, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers ...
I can't help but wonder what kind of idiot she had for a belay partner that he/she never noticed this?

What ever happened to climbers giving each other the 'last minute check' for their buckles doubled back properly, knots tied correctly, etc. before climbing? We always do!

And - no gym staff wandering around keeping an eye on things for 'safety?' Here locally we have a gym that has 'safety staff' who's sole role is to walk around and keep an eye on things...

Shame on both of them!

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By BigJuggsjohnson
Jul 14, 2012
Stones
...
...

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jul 14, 2012
At the BRC
Weird story. I would have thought it'd be pretty hard to tighten a harness that's on backwards!

Michael Urban wrote:
I can't help but wonder what kind of idiot she had for a belay partner that he/she never noticed this? What ever happened to climbers giving each other the 'last minute check' for their buckles doubled back properly, knots tied correctly, etc. before climbing? We always do! And - no gym staff wandering around keeping an eye on things for 'safety?' Here locally we have a gym that has 'safety staff' who's sole role is to walk around and keep an eye on things... Shame on both of them!


In the first place, maybe she had on a shirt that covered up the mistake, maybe her belayer pointed out the mistake and was ignored, maybe her belayer didn't know any better, maybe the belayer was the one who told her how to put the harness on backwards! Hard to know what kind of idiot without knowing the details.

As for a partner check, it's difficult to be against this, but at the same time, to think partner checks protect against all errors is overly optimistic.

Finally, the gyms near Loveland are quite small and I doubt they can afford the staffing to have roving employees protecting patrons from themselves. There's a degree of responsibility even beginning climbers have to assume. Falling is dangerous. Hanging around gyms (and cliffs) where things can fall on you is dangerous.

Still, backwards???

Mark

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By BigJuggsjohnson
Jul 14, 2012
Stones
falling iz dangerous indeed!!!! Smartest thing I heard today!

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jul 14, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers ...
Mark E Dixon wrote:
Weird story. I would have thought it'd be pretty hard to tighten a harness that's on backwards! In the first place, maybe she had on a shirt that covered up the mistake, maybe her belayer pointed out the mistake and was ignored, maybe her belayer didn't know any better, maybe the belayer was the one who told her how to put the harness on backwards! Hard to know what kind of idiot without knowing the details. As for a partner check, it's difficult to be against this, but at the same time, to think partner checks protect against all errors is overly optimistic. Finally, the gyms near Loveland are quite small and I doubt they can afford the staffing to have roving employees protecting patrons from themselves. There's a degree of responsibility even beginning climbers have to assume. Falling is dangerous. Hanging around gyms (and cliffs) where things can fall on you is dangerous. Still, backwards??? Mark


Well Mark - a partner check won't prevent ALL errors for sure - but it would have prevented THIS one even before an 'overlay large' shirt covered up the error! My buds and I always check each others harnesses and tie in knot before we begin climbing - always. Can we get the chop some other way? Sure - nothing is 100% - but it won't be this way!

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jul 14, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers ...
Michael Urban wrote:
Well Mark - a partner check won't prevent ALL errors for sure - but it would have prevented THIS one even before an 'overlay large' shirt covered up the error! My buds and I always check each others harnesses and tie in knot before we begin climbing - always. Can we get the chop some other way? Sure - nothing is 100% - but it won't be this way!


I can't help but wonder HOW in hell she managed to secure the waist buckle when it was on backwards!

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By BigJuggsjohnson
Jul 14, 2012
Stones
well...it's been done before
well...it's been done before

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jul 14, 2012
At the BRC
Michael Urban wrote:
Well Mark - a partner check won't prevent ALL errors for sure - but it would have prevented THIS one even before an 'overlay large' shirt covered up the error! My buds and I always check each others harnesses and tie in knot before we begin climbing - always. Can we get the chop some other way? Sure - nothing is 100% - but it won't be this way!


Can give a false sense of security too- not all mis-tied knots are going to be obvious except under close scrutiny. And I'm still not convinced her partner knew any better than she did!

I'm not opposed to partner checks, they add another level of security, but tying in correctly is the best protection.

Mark

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jul 14, 2012
Is BigJuggsJohnson really Elena? The reincarnation?

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jul 14, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
Ugh. This story makes me queasy. Glad the girl survived the screwup and learned something. She's very lucky.

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By Debbie Vischer
From Loveland
Jul 14, 2012
Hangin' by a Thumb in Estes
Mark is correct - small gym in Loveland with one person managing things. Still you would have thought someone would have noticed (her partner first and foremost) and the staff member. But like I said, usually belaying technique is what's being watched. I personally never thought anyone would put a harness on backwards. I even tried it myself and it's damn weird. Just one of those ultra newbie moments I guess.

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By Barry Collins
Jul 14, 2012
Me
We hear alot about the dangers of distracted driving, I'm betting the same principle was at work here. DISTRACTED CLIMBING!
I've climbed at this gym, great staff and I wouldn't find any fault in them.
Here's another thought, beware speed buckles and new climbers. You can slip it on, and then you're equally poorly trained partner sucks up the harness, you reach down and tie in to those 2 dynamic adjustment straps, smile and ask belay on? Yikes.

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By Carl Sherven
Jul 14, 2012
How did her partner not notice this? How do you even get the harness on backwards? Seems it would be near impossible to tighten anything down with the buckles in back of you.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Jul 14, 2012
Debbie Vischer wrote:
I personally never thought anyone would put a harness on backwards. I even tried it myself and it's damn weird. Just one of those ultra newbie moments I guess.


This happens more often than you would think. I work at a gym and anyone who rents a harness from me gets checked before they climb, and I visually check most peoples harnesses regularly.

I would guess I get a harness problem that needs to be corrected immediately at least once a week- the harness not above hips and not being double backed are the two most common culprits.

Just remember that gym customers, like guiding customers, are usually trying to kill themselves and others, so they need some supervision.

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