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Spotting at the Gym
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Jan 21, 2012
On the Summit of the Petit Grepon
Why does a person bouldering at the gym need a spotter when there is 18" of foam padding to break any sort of fall that may occur?

In most cases, it appears to be a concerned boyfriend showing a display of heroism as if it is some sort of virtuous declare of his love for his significant other who is trying to pull a crux move on a boulder route 4 feet above fluffy padding.

This of course is one of the lowest concerns in our country right now, but:

Is it necessary to spot a boulderer at a climbing gym?
Nick Fatseas
From Denver, CO
Joined May 25, 2011
66 points
Jan 21, 2012
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...
People break legs at the gym fairly commonly, and I've even heard of a death that occurred when someone dynoed, caught their foot on a edge when they landed and busted their head open. In that case I believe the people next to him were just standing there and a simple 1 hand spot could have saved the guy's life. Second hand story but I believe it. Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Joined Feb 2, 2009
138 points
Administrator
Jan 21, 2012
Starting the second section of Live to climb anoth...
Always spot. Ankles are hard to come by. Brad "Stonyman" Killough
From Alabama
Joined Jan 18, 2008
5,967 points
Jan 21, 2012
25' drop...wheeeeee!
The bouldering gym isn't just a place to practice bouldering. It's also a great place to practice your spotting for bouldering outdoors. Bring a towel, pretend it's a crash pad. Try to put it in the most likely fall locations. Make sure the climber lands safely on the towel. Great practice in a low-consequence environment.

You do look like a dork dragging a towel around the gym floor, but hey, safety first.
JesseT
From Portland, OR
Joined May 5, 2011
114 points
Jan 21, 2012
On the Summit of the Petit Grepon
Okay - those points make sense to me. Thanks for the new perspectives. Nick Fatseas
From Denver, CO
Joined May 25, 2011
66 points
Jan 21, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!
I have 2 bad ankles. One was done in at a gym onto a big ass pad. I appreciate having a spotter. Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2007
560 points
Jan 21, 2012
it's less about what they'll land on and more about how they land on it. seams between pads, portable pads on top of padded floors, awkward rotating falls and unaware fallers can all lead to serious injury. Also, in new-school bouldering gyms there is the potential for a lot more than a 4' fall... One gym here in portland could probably send you for a 14' tumbler before hitting the pads if you somehow screwed up the exit from one of the topout slabs. berl
From Seattle
Joined Apr 13, 2008
42 points
Jan 21, 2012
Me and Spearhead
I think that the bigger concern most of the time is that a lot of people that climb indoors don't know how to use the flooring that is in place to their advantage when falling. I've seen some pretty good broken/dislocated ankles that could probably have been avoided or at least significantly lessened had the person just rolled out of the fall.

I want to climb at the gyms you're hitting. Most of the places I boulder indoors don't have 18" of flooring... or at least not good flooring.
Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Joined Oct 20, 2007
143 points
Jan 21, 2012
In most cases, it appears to be a concerned boyfriend showing a display of heroism as if it is some sort of virtuous declare of his love for his significant other who...

Actually, it's usually some guy trying to become her significant other...

Nick Fatseas wrote:
Is it necessary to spot a boulderer at a climbing gym?


Almost never.
Arnold Braker
From golden, co
Joined Jun 28, 2007
289 points
Jan 22, 2012
It is also to prevent the climber from landing on their noggin. Nrmill261
Joined Jul 21, 2011
5 points
Jan 22, 2012
Rather Grand
Along with what has already been said..

Spotting is a sport in it's own right. May as well 'practice' for the real deal
Alex Swan
From West
Joined Dec 30, 2011
26 points
Jan 22, 2012
You can tell Lenny any of your sport climbing prob...
my girlfriend tore her acl while traversing 10inches off the ground. hold spun and she tried to correct her position then POP. she always says it was her fault but still cant help but think i should have been spotting. Shit happens, have a spotter. Dr. Ellis D. Funnythoughts
From Evergreen, Co
Joined Mar 31, 2008
137 points
Jan 22, 2012
depends.. sometimes i'd rather not have a spot and be able to roll out of it. other times id rather get spotted if i think i'm going to come off funny. i usually ask when i want a spot. Jake D.
From Northeast
Joined Nov 23, 2006
477 points
Administrator
Jan 22, 2012
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lich...
Even with three feet of padding, I would rather not fall onto my neck and risk snapping it. Also, there are plenty of times when an awkward fall could put your head back into the wall. I guess from starting bouldering before crash pads makes me more aware, but I see a lot of people standing around slackjawed when they should be giving their buddy an attentive spot. It is like they have no idea of the ramifications of being hurt, potentially seriously. In a gym part of spotting can also be making sure some little kid doesn't run underneath the climber and get flattened. M Sprague
From New England
Joined Nov 9, 2006
5,510 points
Administrator
Jan 22, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i know 3 people who have torn ACL's/MCL's bouldering in the gym. not sure why the spotting thing bothers you so much? slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,067 points
Jan 22, 2012
Headshot
I had a friend how came very close to breaking his nose because he lost his balance on a landing and almost brought his face down onto his knee. It might have been less close with a spotter. Either way, having a spotter is nice even if just so I don't land on my butt when I fall.

Eamon
Eamon Doyle
From Sierra Madre, CA
Joined Nov 3, 2011
9 points
Jan 23, 2012
Chocolate Corner.
My climbing partner Tom, who is 61, actually broke his leg bouldering in the gym. He really appreciates having a spotter these days. I appreciate it as well. Really, it is never a bad idea and it isn't a big deal. If you don't think you need a spotter-great, but I mean, don't judge other people who are looking out for their friends. Joshinator
From Longmont, Colorado
Joined Aug 1, 2011
65 points
Administrator
Jan 23, 2012
El Chorro
I spot people in the gym when there is a chance that they could land on their neck, back or head. Doing so from even four feet could be catastrophic.

Holds spin and sometimes break. It's happened to me more than once and I climb at good gyms.
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Jan 23, 2012
Jake D. wrote:
depends.. sometimes i'd rather not have a spot and be able to roll out of it. other times id rather get spotted if i think i'm going to come off funny. i usually ask when i want a spot.
+1

2. Spotting is good practice, it is challenging to place the pad right AND direct a fall right. Anyone have good beta on spotting?
3. At our gym there have been no Top-rope injuries, and there have been many ACL and ankle injuries from bouldering, mostly from high-ball no-spotter situations.
Forestvonsinkafinger
From Iowa
Joined Mar 6, 2008
2,900 points
Jan 23, 2012
gg
I was spotting a short female climbing partner who was leading a cave route when she fell attempting to clip the first bolt. That isn't a huge fall for most people, but it was for her. I tapped her shoulders just hard enough to do a billiard ball collision: she ended standing upright and a little bewildered while I landed flat on my back. [note: I wouldn't have done that if I were over dirt/rocks.] Gregger Man
Joined Aug 15, 2004
780 points
Feb 28, 2012
My sister got a concussion because a guy fell on her. Spotters would have prevented this. I feel like an idiot. Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Joined Feb 28, 2012
292 points
Feb 29, 2012
On Waimea, 5.10d
How exactly is a spot going to save someone's knee or ankle in a gym with good, seamless padding? The climber is still going to hit the ground, even with a spot. You're not preventing them from going off the pad like you would outside, but you are changing their natural trajectory. What's the benefit? I've seen multiple leg injuries in the gym from bouldering falls, both with and without a spotter. Shit happens, even in the bouldering gym. Charles Kinbote
From Brooklyn, NY
Joined Jan 30, 2012
6 points
Mar 20, 2012
If I'd been there I would have yelled at the guy. Spotting wouldn't have done anything, but being near and watching out does. Some people have no idea about being polite in the gym. It's cute when they are five, not forty five. And 160 pounds. Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Joined Feb 28, 2012
292 points
Mar 26, 2012
Uh dude, its definitely her fault. No excuse for being under a boulderer while he's on the wall. He probably thought she was spotting him. Ive actually had a small girl in her 20s come and sit in a cave while I was in the gym mid-climb. Im 190 lbs and any gym time is spent projecting overhangs and roofs well beyond my limit. Wake up folks...if you sit in the bouldering area, keep your wits about you boulderbum
From NY
Joined Feb 25, 2011
4 points
Mar 26, 2012
Mathematical!
I just did this to my ankle the other day at the gym. Definitely would have appreciated a spotter. It's one of those things you never think will happen to you... until it does.

I also know a girl who fell awkwardly while bouldering and fractured several vertebrae. I'm sure she would have appreciated a spotter as well.


Very Ouch :(
Very Ouch :(
Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Joined Jul 11, 2008
123 points
Mar 26, 2012
Your cankles look mad weak brah. Just sayin boulderbum
From NY
Joined Feb 25, 2011
4 points


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