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ATL gym accident

Original Post
Vic Davalos · · Rhode Island · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 5

I heard through the grapevine that there was recently a pretty bad accident at a gym in ATL.  Something along the lines of someone fell/let go while thinking they were attached to an auto-belay.

I'm not trying to start rumors and I have no idea if this is true or not, but am curious if anyone has any info.

Max R · · Bend, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 245

I live nowhere near you, but i’ve seen multiple auto-belay fails here on the west coast. One compound tib/fib break, and one exploded vertebrae. It’s quite common. Natural selection taking it’s course i suppose. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 276

I want to report that I have no information on said accident. Thank you.

Tim Lutz · · Colo-Rado Springs · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5
Max Rausch wrote: Natural selection taking it’s course i suppose. 

And it is that sort of cynical view that leads to complacency.  i've tied in thousands of times in 30 years of climbing.  check you knot and belayer. Every. Time.

Not Hobo Greg · · My Van · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 205
Max Rausch wrote:Natural selection taking it’s course i suppose. 

But only if they haven’t had kids. Once the genes are passed on, it matters not if you live or die vis a vis your genes being removed from the pool.

master gumby · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 262
Tim Lutz wrote:

And it is that sort of cynical view that leads to complacency.  i've tied in thousands of times in 30 years of climbing.  check you knot and belayer. Every. Time.

But bro dude - I have tied this knot like longer than you have been alive. Its all good once you reach a certain level of bad assness in climbing safety checks are no longer relevant.......

John Wood · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 60

I'll ask around when I'm at Stone Summit tonight to see if there was an incident more recent than the one that happened this summer. This summer, someone fell from the nearly the top while they were on lead due to the belayer simply not catching them on an ATC. Sadly, wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened. Will keep my ears open for anything.

Max R · · Bend, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 245
Tim Lutz wrote:

And it is that sort of cynical view that leads to complacency.  i've tied in thousands of times in 30 years of climbing.  check you knot and belayer. Every. Time.

I presume you’re aware that autobelays neither require a knot nor a belayer. 

Tim Lutz · · Colo-Rado Springs · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5
Max Rausch wrote:

I presume you’re aware that autobelays neither require a knot nor a belayer. 

I am aware; however, if one is distracted, stoned, hungover, etc, it is easy to not clip in, or finish a knot.

Just the other day, I watched a good friend start up an autobait without clipping in.  He has been climbing for 20 years and does 13s on an off day.  I was all 'bro, you soloing r wut?!'

My point is that distraction can happen to anyone, and it is easy to get more complacent the more you climb.
Daniel Roberts · · VA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 105

While climbing hungover at the gym I forgot to clip in at the first bolt when the first bolt was right above a weird roof/doorway.  Luckily, the next bolt was 3-5 ft above (gym is very closely bolted) and I realized my mistake (my belayer was paying attention as well and yelled at me).  

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,487

Yeah, ha ha. Natural Selection. Fucking John Long had kids before he forgot to tie in as well, so he skipped that selection process.

I saw a very nice young girl named Zoe fail to clip into her autobelay at my local gym. This was after she was at the top, and we all beckoned her to remain calm. The gym guy got a rope attached to the autobelay and let out slack to deliver the locker end to Zoe. She clipped in and was able to use the autobelay to lower normally. I would have hated to see that girl deck.

Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 757

If the gyms put one of these at the bottom of each autobelay it is pretty hard for even the most stoned idiot not to remember to clip in.  It is pretty hard to climb around it.
 

chris tregge · · Rochester MN & Madison WI · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,907
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 276
chris tregge wrote: dfw.cbslocal.com/2013/09/22…

That's it! It was a little over five years ago. Good find. :) And the OP used the word, "grapevine."

Chris Hill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 0
Brian wrote: If the gyms put one of these at the bottom of each autobelay it is pretty hard for even the most stoned idiot not to remember to clip in.  It is pretty hard to climb around it.
 

I bet I could.

Trad Princess · · Not That Into Climbing · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,175
Chris Hill wrote:

I bet I could.

It's not hard, just adds a letter grade to the climb.

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75
Brian wrote: If the gyms put one of these at the bottom of each autobelay it is pretty hard for even the most stoned idiot not to remember to clip in.  It is pretty hard to climb around it.
 

My gym has these and people have failed to clip in 3 times in the past 1.5 years. There is no cure for stupid.

John Wood · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 60

Confirmation from a Stone Summit Employee: someone did not clip into the autobelay and fell from the top (~30 ft), unknown condition but presumed to be okay.

Vic Davalos · · Rhode Island · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 5

Man, Stone Summit ATL is by far the biggest shit-show of a climbing gym that I've ever seen.  I've lived in ATL for 5 months and I've seen an ambulance leaving that place twice, and now there's this incident, plus any others I just wasn't present for.

Max Rausch wrote: I live nowhere near you, but i’ve seen multiple auto-belay fails here on the west coast. One compound tib/fib break, and one exploded vertebrae. It’s quite common. Natural selection taking it’s course i suppose. 


Like Max, it appears many people have witnessed the same type of accident in gyms or incidents very close.  Maybe we should think about how we're teaching beginners.  It is possible that we're blaming them for the incompetencies of the gyms who 'certify' them to climb. If it's so common for people to get hurt in the gym, maybe gyms need to restructure how they teach the basics, because clearly it there is room for improvement. 

Ezra Ellis · · Hotlanta · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 0

I’ve been climbing for 19 years and found stone summits belay test to be very through.

I just took it two weeks ago.

Familiarity and complacency are a part of human nature,
It’s why car crashes  are so friggin common etc.

Always check your knot and know your belayer,
Your life depends on it.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,610
Vic Davalos wrote: Man, Stone Summit ATL is by far the biggest shit-show of a climbing gym that I've ever seen.  I've lived in ATL for 5 months and I've seen an ambulance leaving that place twice, and now there's this incident, plus any others I just wasn't present for.


Like Max, it appears many people have witnessed the same type of accident in gyms or incidents very close.  Maybe we should think about how we're teaching beginners.  It is possible that we're blaming them for the incompetencies of the gyms who 'certify' them to climb. If it's so common for people to get hurt in the gym, maybe gyms need to restructure how they teach the basics, because clearly it there is room for improvement. 

Talking to many gym managers and owners as well as insurance reps I found that autobelay accidents are usually from experienced climbers who become complacent.

Even the triangle canvas has failed to prevent accidents. Autobelays need to placed so that it's impossible for the climber to climb around the safety triangle or gate. Even then climbers will be using autobelays then go to a different wall that has no autobelay and just start climbing.

The mind is a funny thing and people just get in a zone and spaceout with disastrous consequences.

As time goes on I think more and more gyms will eliminate their autobelays because of this phenomenon. If it hasn't happened yet at your gym, just wait, someone will inevitably forget to clip in and deck. Some gyms are ok with that, most aren't and will take away the autobelays.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern States
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