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Spotting at the Gym
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Sep 26, 2012
Charles Kinbote wrote:
How exactly is a spot going to save someone's knee or ankle in a gym with good, seamless padding?


And you answered your own question, here:

Charles Kinbote wrote:
but you are changing their natural trajectory.


Carefully read what you write.
Howrad McGreehan
Joined Sep 25, 2012
4 points
Administrator
Sep 26, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Enter the Colossus
Taylor Ogden wrote:
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.


Yeah . . . Same happened at a comp back here in CT and she even fell onto the mats. Landed on a seam i think.
Morgan Patterson
Joined Oct 13, 2009
8,897 points
Sep 30, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo:  e.h.d.t
I watched a girl about three weeks ago crush a vertabrae on the big fluffy floor. I also think knowing how to fall plays a big part in getting hurt with or without a spotter. I like the towel idea...I never ask for a spotter inside, but outside I rarely have trust in my spotters, although admitedly I`m not the best spotter either. BoulderJunke
Joined Sep 4, 2012
221 points
Administrator
Sep 30, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Me
Does a spotter help or hurt the falling climber? Has this really been tested?

People are very heavy masses.

So, unless a spotter can put his or her hands just a few inches from the climber's shoulder, or if the climber is much, much lighter than the spotter, can a spotter really do much to slow a part of a falling body?

I mean, if someone dropped a 100-lb bag of sand from 4-feet above you, do you think you could actually divert it's fall? I couldn't. Most climbers are heavier than 100 lbs.

Or does a spotter tend to make the falling climber less likely to flail his or her limbs to reorient before crashing? Or could the spotter's hit to the shoulder cause whiplash? It could be that in many cases, the spotter makes things worse.

Anyway, I've wondered about this.

I like the idea of putting down a towel, and I agree that pea gravel is better than foam for landing feet down. For landing flat on my back, I might prefer foam though.

The best strategy for a climber might be to practice landings.
Jon Nelson
From Bellingham, WA
Joined Sep 17, 2011
5,133 points
Sep 30, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Mathematical!
Jon, you have to take into consideration the overall size of the object/person falling. A 100 lb bag of sand is going to be a lot more dense than a 100 lb climber. In the case of a falling person, you aren't trying to change the path of their entire body. It should be totally possible to divert someone's head or shoulders towards a pad. Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Joined Jul 11, 2008
143 points
May 13, 2016
Dan Bachen wrote:
IMHO A spotter is nice when ever I'm climbing overhanging problems where I could blow my hands with a bomber heal hook and fall back/ head first or similar situations where my fall trajectory could be changed to a me landing on my feet. Otherwise having one is probably not necessary. in a related note I feel foam is to blame for many of the injuries I have witnesed while bouldering in the gym. I have always felt that pea gravel is the best bouldering substrate to have in the gym as it conforms to the shape of the climbers body while dissapating the fall force (eg I saw a girl dislocate her elbow in a short fall at a gym that uses foam which could have been prevented by a good spot or a substrate that would have allowed her arm to sink in instead of stick and twist)



Thread revival!
I agree with these comments. Last Friday I completely dislocated my elbow falling from the top of a problem at the gym.
1) A spotter would not have prevented the arm injury. No way they could keep me aligned as I was falling. And my head was fine.
2) A substrate to sink into may have helped, like the Ball-pit at McDonald's play area. I loved those.
Ana Tine
Joined Dec 7, 2012
58 points
May 13, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Aleks
Alex Swan wrote:
Along with what has already been said.. Spotting is a sport in it's own right. May as well 'practice' for the real deal


climbing friend,

yes, people should prehaps for probable make an effort to be better spotter. most are terrible yes. most idea of spotting is standing the wrong place, halfheartedly holding up one hand only, while checking out climber of opposite sex and/or trolling for sneaky fancy foot beta while stoned out of the gourd and not watching the climber's center of gravity.

if someone rolls their own ankle or hurts themselves while landing vertically on a pad and not from highball, shame on them and two slaps to their face for improper falling technique.

if someone falls onto their back or head and becomes injured because spotter did not protect head and spine and help climber land for verticle, shame on spotter and three slaps to their face plus a nipple flick and wang slap.
Aleks Zebastian
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 3, 2014
162 points
May 13, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Aleks
Jon Nelson wrote:
... unless a spotter can put his or her hands just a few inches from the climber's shoulder ... Or could the spotter's hit to the shoulder cause whiplash?


climbing friend,

do not aim for the climber's shoulder, aim for the "tramp stamp" area by the center of gravity near their waist, or if they are horizontal and need to be vertical, aim just above this area, but shoulder would be too high... you are not really slowing a falling body you must protect the head and spine and keep them hopeful on the pad landing and more rather than less vertical.

also keep in mind most spotters are worthless, have no idea how to spot, and should not be trusted and will not help you at all, yessssss, myahhh, hyahhhhhhhhhhh, my precioussssssssssss s
Aleks Zebastian
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 3, 2014
162 points
May 13, 2016
Spotter or videographer? You make the choice.


James Sweeney
Joined Oct 25, 2013
26 points
May 13, 2016
James Sweeney wrote:
Spotter or videographer? You make the choice.


OUCH!!!!!!!!!! That looks awful!
Although, how could a spotter have prevented that?

No spotter could have prevented my injury, but someone could have caught the incident on video! Then I could slo-mo it to see what I did wrong.
Ana Tine
Joined Dec 7, 2012
58 points
May 13, 2016
Ana Tine wrote:
OUCH!!!!!!!!!! That looks awful! Although, how could a spotter have prevented that? No spotter could have prevented my injury, but someone could have caught the incident on video! Then I could slo-mo it to see what I did wrong.


No guarantees, but a spotter could have stopped her forward rotation which looks like what caused her to snap her ankle. I spot my girlfriend all the time from that height and can easily "catch" her and at least slow her down or stop her rotation. Its not rocket science.
yesrodcire
Joined Oct 18, 2014
7 points
Administrator
May 13, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Me
Ana Tine wrote:
Thread revival! I agree with these comments. Last Friday I completely dislocated my elbow falling from the top of a problem at the gym. 1) A spotter would not have prevented the arm injury. No way they could keep me aligned as I was falling. And my head was fine. 2) A substrate to sink into may have helped, like the Ball-pit at McDonald's play area. I loved those.


Sorry to hear about your elbow, Ana. I hope it heals soon.

Similarly, I just sprained my ACL in my knee from a gym fall.
It also seems highly unlikely a spotter could have done anything about that, as it wasn't about my orientation, it was about striking the mat with one straight leg instead of two bent legs, and it was from only 3 feet up. Who in the world could be so quick as to bend my knee for me, in an unexpected pop, in a fraction of a second, as I'm falling?

Instead, I conclude that most of us need to practice our landings.
Jon Nelson
From Bellingham, WA
Joined Sep 17, 2011
5,133 points
May 13, 2016
At least in my gym, where the bouldering area is 15' high, and has practically seamless 2' padding underneath, almost all of the spotting I see is on slab problems and falls into two categories..

One is an overbearing parent who doesn't allow his kid to try anything interesting under his own power, typically gives horrible beta, and blocks all surrounding problems by constantly standing there holding the kid's ass in the air.

The other is what the OP described pretty much perfectly. Mr. Hero standing there thinking he's the man and potentially copping a feel every awkward fall or two, also blocking all of the surrounding problems.

The only case when I've seen spotting and thought it's sensible is when a problem requires high heel hooks and such where the head is below the center of mass (like on a roof). I'm an engineer who designs airbags, and while forces on the legs, pelvis, and internal organs factor into how we calculate total % risk of serious injury, they're totally trumped by forces and moments to the neck, so I feel like all attention should be focused there. Whiplash from getting smacked in the back is way preferable to the momentum of your body crushing your upper spine into the ground.

On the less steep stuff, a rolled ankle or twisted knee would mean to me that I screwed up my landing, period, since the best way to avoid those injuries is to roll onto your butt/back ASAP on contact with the ground like parachutists do. I'd think a spotter keeping me vertical is only going to force me to absorb rather than redirect my momentum.
the kosak
Joined Mar 25, 2016
0 points
May 15, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Aleks
Jon Nelson wrote:
... Instead, I conclude that most of us need to practice our landings.


Climbing friend,

Yes!! You musrt for always have the slight bent knees and arms, ready to soften your fallings, and you must be able to roll like a judo master!
Aleks Zebastian
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 3, 2014
162 points
May 15, 2016
Where were you Aleks when i could have used a nice meathead to break my fall Ana Tine
Joined Dec 7, 2012
58 points
May 16, 2016
Take up skateboarding. You'll either learn how to fall and likely end up with interesting popping noises when you move your ankles :) Nick Drake
From Newcastle, WA
Joined Jan 20, 2015
393 points
May 16, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: yukon
Pads might keep you from getting bruises and splitting yourself open but they aren't gonna save you from breaking bones or tearing stuff in your joints. I've seen some nasty falls on bouldering walls. Seth Jones
Joined Feb 17, 2015
39 points
May 16, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Aleks
Ana Tine wrote:
Where were you Aleks when i could have used a nice meathead to break my fall


Climbing friend,

I would have grasped you shirltess, with meaty, veiny arms, gently cushioning your landing softly falling, like beautiful snowflake upon misty meadow, yes myah.
Aleks Zebastian
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 3, 2014
162 points
May 16, 2016
Ok, so I have a bit of an issue with this "spotter can't do this, spotter wouldn't have been able to do that." I remember taking repeated falls on the finish dyno of 45 degree roof in Hueco in the very early 90s, & I remember the falls, with two spotters & no pads being pretty cushy. Without spotters I think we would have been pretty beat up. If a spotter can slow you down for a controlled landing from that height, I think that they can do it from most indoor problems. the schmuck
From Albuquerque, NM
Joined Feb 6, 2012
208 points
May 16, 2016
Spotting regardless of where you are climbing, gym or outside, can and does prevent injury. The big gym floors give a huge false sense of security, it breeds bad habits. People climb either well past their limit or are careless and that leads to injuries. Having a spotter will almost never negatively impact a falling climber, the outcome more times than not is positive.

People who don't learn to spot in the gym don't feel the need to spot outside and that is leading to more injuries happening out at the crags.

I feel gyms are doing a disservice to them selves and the climbing community by not teaching people to properly spot when entering for the first time.
andy r
Joined Jul 27, 2010
0 points
May 16, 2016
Nick seems to have acknowledged in about the 7th post that there are lots of good reasons to spot in the gym which he hadn't initially thought of, which was big of him.
We all seem to agree that spotting in the gym is a good idea, what have we been talking about for the last 2.5 pages of posts?
Benj84
Joined Jul 18, 2014
432 points
May 16, 2016
4th picture, top row.

mountainstrongdenver.com/our-t...

Good situation for a spot?
PRRose
From Boulder
Joined Feb 11, 2006
2 points
May 16, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering
I would like this guy to be my spotter when I'm out bouldering.

(A more detailed write-up from Climbing Mag )
aikibujin
From Castle Rock, CO
Joined Oct 14, 2014
262 points
May 16, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: me
This whole thread explains why "bouldering" is completely retarded. Moral of the story, get your sorry A$$ on a rope, climb something worthy Yeitti
From Colorado or sometimes LA
Joined Dec 8, 2015
49 points
May 16, 2016
Aleks Zebastian wrote:
Climbing friend, I would have grasped you shirltess, with meaty, veiny arms, gently cushioning your landing softly falling, like beautiful snowflake upon misty meadow, yes myah.


This one is gold! You're back in prime form, Aleks.
FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
279 points


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