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Spotting at the Gym
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By Nick Fatseas
From Denver, CO
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?

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By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
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.

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By Brad "Stonyman" Killough
Administrator
From Alabama
Jan 21, 2012
Starting the second section of Live to climb anoth...
Always spot. Ankles are hard to come by.

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By JesseT
From Portland, OR
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.

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By Nick Fatseas
From Denver, CO
Jan 21, 2012
On the Summit of the Petit Grepon
Okay - those points make sense to me. Thanks for the new perspectives.

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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
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.

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By berl
From Seattle
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.

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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
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.

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By Arnold Braker
From golden, co
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.

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By Nrmill261
Jan 22, 2012
It is also to prevent the climber from landing on their noggin.

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By Alex Swan
From West
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

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By Dr. Ellis D. Funnythoughts
From Evergreen, Co
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.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
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.

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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
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.

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By slim
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?

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By Eamon Doyle
From Sierra Madre, CA
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

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By Joshua Steenburgh
From Longmont, Colorado
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.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
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.

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By Forestvonsinkafinger
From Iowa
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.

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By Gregger Man
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.]

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By Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Feb 28, 2012
My sister got a concussion because a guy fell on her. Spotters would have prevented this. I feel like an idiot.

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By Charles Kinbote
From Brooklyn, NY
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.

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By Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
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.

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By boulderbum
From NY
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

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By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
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 :(

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By boulderbum
From NY
Mar 26, 2012
Your cankles look mad weak brah. Just sayin

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