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Open letter to whoever is insuring Movement Denver


J W · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,601
slim wrote: are you guys saying that every single insurance company does this the same way?  as in every single insurance company insuring every last gym everywhere?  this wouldn't be very consistent with my experience with insurance companies across a wide range of industries and scenarios. also - if you read the movement person's response (in rich fanrham's post) he possibly isn't lying - the terms and conditions of the insurance policy (even if they are based on general rules that the gym has developed) may not permit gym users to do this.

now, the weird thing to untangle from that is whether movement allows users to attach their own belay devices to movement's rope.  when i used to climb there this was apparently ok, which seems like it wouldn't be consistent with the insurance requirements.

the mystery thickens!

Yes. I've never heard of any commercial liability insurance policy forbidding specific things- especially something like the Ohm which is  CE and UIAA rated specifically for climbing in gyms. They ding you for taking more risks, but they won't specifically forbid it themselves. They basically insure you off of your stated operating procedures. You can change them anytime you want (or possibly only at policy renewal depending on your insurer), but it may affect your rates.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 521
Ben Harris wrote: if your belayer is properly lead belaying, including in a good stance, paying attention and has the right amount of slack out, you shouldn't need an Ohm regardless of weight difference. A good athletic stance will put you in the position to safely jump into the wall as your heavier climber falls. Especially in a gym where falls are not very long because bolts are so close. 

Sorry, you’re just wrong.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 523

To me, the loophole seems obvious, but perhaps there's something I missed.

" The reason a device such as the Ohm is prohibited in our facility is due to the fact that our insurance policy doesn't allow for members or guests to attach their personal hardware (Ohm) to our facility hardware (quickdraw)."

What if the gym provided the ohms either for rent or for free, making it no longer "personal hardware". Or if "facility hardware" specifically refers to hardware already attached to the bolt, then pre-place the Ohms on a couple of routes. I feel like this is too obvious a loophole, otherwise it would have been exploited a long time ago. What did I miss?

Steve Williams · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 235

Ben Harris is wrong.  He's never been pulled up like a toy doll when his leader weighs 120 pounds more than the belayer and takes a fall.
I know from experience.  The Ohm is a great tool, and maybe one day Movement will allow its use.  Till then, tie into a weight bag or an anchor
at the gym.  Or anchor yourself outdoors if you don't have an Ohm, or even if you do.

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55
Ben Harris wrote: if your belayer is properly lead belaying, including in a good stance, paying attention and has the right amount of slack out, you shouldn't need an Ohm regardless of weight difference. A good athletic stance will put you in the position to safely jump into the wall as your heavier climber falls. Especially in a gym where falls are not very long because bolts are so close. 

Ha. Haha. Hahaha. Hahahahahahahahahaha.... No.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210
Ben Harris wrote: if your belayer is properly lead belaying, including in a good stance, paying attention and has the right amount of slack out, you shouldn't need an Ohm regardless of weight difference. A good athletic stance will put you in the position to safely jump into the wall as your heavier climber falls. Especially in a gym where falls are not very long because bolts are so close. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Rich Farnham wrote:
The reason a device such as the Ohm is prohibited in our facility is due to the fact that our insurance policy doesn't allow for members or guests to attach their personal hardware (Ohm) to our facility hardware (quickdraw).

Yet members are attaching their personal ropes to the facility hardware all day long.

This is a dopey gym. Insurance is a competitive market. Get a new insurer if one is so lame. 

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877
eli poss wrote:What if the gym provided the ohms either for rent or for free, making it no longer "personal hardware". Or if "facility hardware" specifically refers to hardware already attached to the bolt, then pre-place the Ohms on a couple of routes. I feel like this is too obvious a loophole, otherwise it would have been exploited a long time ago. What did I miss?

You missed how to setup the ohm.  It’s similar to gri gri. Imagine trying to attach your rope to a gri gri fixed to a bolt on lead. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Greg D wrote:

You missed how to setup the ohm.  It’s similar to gri gri. Imagine trying to attach your rope to a gri gri fixed to a bolt on lead. 

Actually not that hard to do, unlike the gri-gri that you have to take OFF the carabiner in order to open, the Ohm has a little lever that will open the device while it is hanging on the 'biner. And you can put the rope through and then close the device back one-handed. I would agree that it is not the optimal way to hang an Ohm, much easier to do this while on the ground, and stick-clip it to the first bolt, or pre-thread it on the ground, hang it on your harness, and just transfer it to the bolt when you get there.

I don't think fixing an Ohm on the first bolt of every route in the gym is in any way practical or useful. So I'm in agreement with you on that one, But it isn't because you can't thread it one-handed. You can, and my husband has done it on few occasions when for some reason the rope was pulled while the Ohm was left hanging on the wall. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Ben Harris wrote: if your belayer is properly lead belaying, including in a good stance, paying attention and has the right amount of slack out, you shouldn't need an Ohm regardless of weight difference. A good athletic stance will put you in the position to safely jump into the wall as your heavier climber falls. Especially in a gym where falls are not very long because bolts are so close. 

Sorry, just had to add one more hahahaha to the list.

You look like you might weigh somewhere in ~140-160 range? In that case it is very understandable that you never had a chance to belay someone weighing 350-400 lb. And unless you usually get belayed by kids, you probably don't worry about your belayer being less than 100 lb. So yeah, in your case, you are totally right. But it is not universally applicable.

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

My gym even sells the Ohm. So clearly its not a universal climbing gym insurance issue.

Also, re. the "personal hardware" claim. I see climbers projecting the really hard overhanging stuff at my gym sometimes taking a quickdraw with them to use as a fifi for resting without hanging on their belayer. Yet another instance of people attaching their personal gear to gym hardware without problems. 

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
John Wilder wrote:

Yes. I've never heard of any commercial liability insurance policy forbidding specific things- especially something like the Ohm which is  CE and UIAA rated specifically for climbing in gyms. They ding you for taking more risks, but they won't specifically forbid it themselves. They basically insure you off of your stated operating procedures. You can change them anytime you want (or possibly only at policy renewal depending on your insurer), but it may affect your rates.

Hmm, well not wanting to cause you guys unescessary worry but nothing carrying the CE mark or the UIAA safety label is actually rated or certified for use in climbing gyms and certainly not in the USA. The directive (law) covering climbing equipment is specifically for PPE used for recreational rock climbing so any fixed equipment in a gym is immediately out of the picture and the law also only covers Europe, the standards are invalid in the USA. More precisely the relevant European standard only covers equipment sold in Europe, the USA is never mentioned. The "get out" for gyms is usually that the insurers specify the equipment must conform to the CE/UIAA standards but legally from the manufacturers point of view this is meaningless, This is a continous source of discussion in the industry where various other sports "borrow" the credebility of the standards but aren´t actually covered such as building via ferrata and high/slack lines.

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 612

I've used an Ohm  (70lbs difference) in the gym for several months and when all was said and done, decided NOT to continue to use it.

 I like the idea but the device could be improved:

1) The belayer has to be very aware of the angle of the rope through the Ohm or it will grab the rope when it shouldn't.  If she is moving around to watch the climber or is just off to one side, it can short-rope the leader both when clipping, falling and big lunges.

2) I often found it a total PITA to clip the Ohm into the first bolt below the existing draw on a steep start.  The Ohm is heavy and there's not really a lot of extra space in the bolt hole when you have a thick quick-link in there already.

3) Even when everything was "good" I still got short-roped far too often when clipping.    The Ohm, like a Gri-gri, is sensitive to the diameter and fuzziness of the rope, and would grab at exactly the wrong moment.

What works WAAAY better is a dynamic leash.   Get a heavy-duty 3' black bungee cord at the hardware store.  Remove the metal hooks and force the largest diameter accessory cord you can through the holes to form loops on each end.   Get a section of old rope and tie a loop in each end.  The length of the rope should be adjusted to be about 50% longer than the bungee.   Clip one end of both through the back of the belayer's harness and the other ends (via a runner) to either a solid anchor or weight bag.  

Now when the leader falls, the belayer is lifted off the ground/pulled forward, then the bungee is engaged and stretches, then the rope engages and it stretches a little too, and keeps the bungee from over-stretching and possibly breaking.

I climbed this Spring with a woman guide who was 85lbs lighter than me, and who was belaying clients who outweighed her by 135lbs.    She loved the dynamic leash I made for her.  I loved it too when I fell on a climb at the first bolt, and she was easily able to keep me off the deck.

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
John Byrnes wrote: 

2) I often found it a total PITA to clip the Ohm into the first bolt below the existing draw on a steep start.  The Ohm is heavy and there's not really a lot of extra space in the bolt hole when you have a thick quick-link in there already.

Is there any reason you can't clip into the quick link with the Ohm? 

Adam Ronchetti · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2011 · Points: 25

I'm about 60lbs heavier than my primary climbing partner (and wife) and we got the Ohm right when it came out. We tested it out by me climbing to the anchors and falling without clipping them. She would get sucked to first clip without the Ohm and barely came off the ground with the Ohm. A difference of perhaps 10ft. That same day a staff member saw us and tried to give me the same line. I confirmed the policy with the GM then looked him in the eyes and told him "I'm going to use this because it allows my wife to more safely belay me. I am less likely to hit her in the event of a fall. If corporate has a problem with that then they are free to ban me from the gym."

To this day I believe the gym staff has been informed that my wife and I are the only people allowed to use the Ohm. I do wish it hadn't come to that but there it is. 

Adam Ronchetti · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2011 · Points: 25
Señor Arroz wrote:

Is there any reason you can't clip into the quick link with the Ohm? 

This is actually what I do all the time for gym climbing. The way it was explained to me is that if you clip into the anchor and fall with only the Ohm to absorb the force (first draw) the quick link of the gym's draw will be under and cause force across the Ohm's carabiner. This can (worst case scenario) break the carabiner. 

Christopher Soper · · Northglenn, CO · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

UG sells the Ohm, and I've seen people use it in the gym on occasion.  If climbing with an Ohm is important to you stop climbing at Movement and come to UG.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,729
John Byrnes wrote: 

3) Even when everything was "good" I still got short-roped far too often when clipping.    The Ohm, like a Gri-gri, is sensitive to the diameter and fuzziness of the rope, and would grab at exactly the wrong moment.

This is one con to the device, there are others- one directly related to what you allude to.  On steep terrain, or terrain that forces the rope to change direction somewhat dramatically coming out of the Ohm on first bolt, the short rope effect is multiplied.  A roof close to the ground, a bulge close to the ground, etc.  Almost anywhere near that first bolt where the climbing terrain angle changes dramatically.  Add to this thick diameter ropes, or ropes that are worn and offer more friction across metal surfaces, and the result is sometimes being short roped.

That's not why I stopped using it though.  I found the catches on anything above a slick 9.4 to be fairly hard.  The marketing on the Ohm states that it allows some rope to slip through, and enables the belayer to come off the ground some, while still arresting before they get yanked violently into the wall.  While this is true, it is more true with thinner diameter ropes that are still fairly new and slick..  I have a 9.6 with some wear on it and a new-ish 9.8 and I received hard catch after hard catch, despite my belayer coming off the ground some, and despite the clipping line being vertical and straight.  The belayer I was climbing with was about 110 and at the time I was about 190 with gear on give or take.

I've heard that others have had different (better) experiences with it.  I took the time to test it with three different ropes trying to control for variables, and each time, the result was the same.  I'm accustomed to soft catches and I'm picky with belayers.  With this particular belayer, I had a couple of bad experiences with me falling without the Ohm, and that's the reason I tried it.  So, in the end, using the Ohm was better than not for that belayer. I'm pretty aware and can usually self correct on a harder catch so as not to injure myself.  However, when we no longer climbed together, I made up my mind that I'd just climb with heavier people and get softer catches.

I do think that the Ohm can and probably has prevented injuries.  I don't think it is the godsend device that Edelrid touts it to be though.  Having worked in a gym for almost 5 years, everything I've learned is pretty much aligned with what John W. has said.
Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Señor Arroz wrote:

Is there any reason you can't clip into the quick link with the Ohm? 

NO, In fact that is what they recommend.


Picture taken from ​here​​​
Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
John Byrnes wrote: I've used an Ohm  (70lbs difference) in the gym for several months and when all was said and done, decided NOT to continue to use it.

 I like the idea but the device could be improved:

1) The belayer has to be very aware of the angle of the rope through the Ohm or it will grab the rope when it shouldn't.  If she is moving around to watch the climber or is just off to one side, it can short-rope the leader both when clipping, falling and big lunges.

2) I often found it a total PITA to clip the Ohm into the first bolt below the existing draw on a steep start.  The Ohm is heavy and there's not really a lot of extra space in the bolt hole when you have a thick quick-link in there already.

3) Even when everything was "good" I still got short-roped far too often when clipping.    The Ohm, like a Gri-gri, is sensitive to the diameter and fuzziness of the rope, and would grab at exactly the wrong moment.

What works WAAAY better is a dynamic leash.   Get a heavy-duty 3' black bungee cord at the hardware store.  Remove the metal hooks and force the largest diameter accessory cord you can through the holes to form loops on each end.   Get a section of old rope and tie a loop in each end.  The length of the rope should be adjusted to be about 50% longer than the bungee.   Clip one end of both through the back of the belayer's harness and the other ends (via a runner) to either a solid anchor or weight bag.  

Now when the leader falls, the belayer is lifted off the ground/pulled forward, then the bungee is engaged and stretches, then the rope engages and it stretches a little too, and keeps the bungee from over-stretching and possibly breaking.

I climbed this Spring with a woman guide who was 85lbs lighter than me, and who was belaying clients who outweighed her by 135lbs.    She loved the dynamic leash I made for her.  I loved it too when I fell on a climb at the first bolt, and she was easily able to keep me off the deck.

The dynamic leash still means that you need that anchor or a sand bag though...

I don't know why, maybe it's the rope we are using, maybe it's the angle of walls we are climbing, but I'm yet to shortrope my husband on an Ohm. It just hasn't been an issue.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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