This topic contains 17 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Ross 9 years, 4 months ago.
December 3, 2006 at 12:00 am #4394
Was climbing Rockface yesterday with some friends. I was traversing around the main walls while my mates were resting up and suddenly this kid (guessing his age was around 8-10) drops like a stone onto the crash mats, missing me by only a couple of meters.
Gave me an absolute heart attack and the kid was clearly in shock, considering he fell around half way from the wall. And get this:
The lady who was belaying him, assuming it was his mother, had not been using the belay device the way she was CLEARLY instructed to. She was just pulling on the LIVE rope and not feeding it through the belay, in effect the kid was just as ‘safe’ without a rope AT ALL! He get’s half away, decides he wants to come down so she holds the rope assuming she was doing it the right way, he leans back and obviosuly the rope is ripped from her hands and he hits the deck. Hard.
Thank Christ he was alright and boy was I impressed with how the Rockface staff handled the situation, both emerganyc procedure wise and calming the hysterical mother down who of course throws the blame at everyone around her claiming the belay device should have stopped the rope…despite the fact she wasn’t even using it.
Long story shot the kid seams fine, he landed on his feet and kind of rolled into it which was very lucky and my friend and I left our details with the lady at Rockface (aswell as our accounts of what happened) incase the mother starts screaming law suit, which she wouldn’t have any leg to stand on. Luckily this isn’t America.
Anyhoo, not a great fall, or even a high one, but just kind of out of the blue and shocking when you almost get squished by a flying child.
Once again the lady at Rockface (I forget her name) was an absolute pro in handling the situation and it sure as hell makes you feel safe. Anyone who’s climbed at Rockface knows what belaying gear they use, how simple it is to use safely and also how clearly the instructions are given to knew climbers…that mother was just an idiot.December 4, 2006 at 12:00 am #4395
Careful what you say. Lady probably DOES have a leg to stand on and calling her an idiot could land you in the poo. Grigri’s aren’t fool proof but almost fool proof. Its a good thing the staff are professional in their actions it it could be much worse.December 4, 2006 at 12:00 am #4396
You’re right, calling names isn’t the way for me to go. My bad.
As for the Grigri, I understand they’re not full proof, nothing is, but it’s just the fact that the lady didn’t even use it.December 4, 2006 at 12:00 am #4397
It’s not simply a matter of showing a person completely new to climbing how to use a gri-gri – it is the responsibility of the instructor to then monitor that they continue to use it properly!!!!! Having worked and climbed in several gyms outside of Perth I’m appalled at the lack of safety at the Rockface. IMO this was an accident waiting to happen. Thank goodness the child is ok. Hopefully it’s a good trigger for the “instructors” to pull their fingers out and consistently supervise!!!
ClaireDecember 5, 2006 at 12:00 am #4398
I’ve seen new climbers do that way too much. On two occassions i have had to run over and pull all the rope through the gri-gri. I think the intrustions go in one ear and out the next with some people. Crazy!! Lucky for the crash-mat and slowgo pullies.December 5, 2006 at 12:00 am #4399
I have to agree with Claire. I wasn’t there when it happened but I am not surprised. The lack of supervision and follow up on new belayers has always been a concern to me also.December 6, 2006 at 12:00 am #4400
Rockface climber #2
Agreed on the training at RF. I took a friend there recently who had never climbed before and he went through the training with another couple of new climbers watching.
After he had belayed (while being instructed) ONCE he was certified as OK to go- but what was most surprising was the instructor turned to the other two who had only been watching and said ‘did you see all of that? You’re OK to go too’. Yikes!December 6, 2006 at 12:00 am #4401
I also have seem similar. The girl who was belaying was not an idiot, she just fogot to pull the rope through as she was transfixed with watching the person climb. The climber leaned back, fell and luckily the rope pulled him up about a foot from the deck.
The instructions are clear and the actions are not difficult but for someone who has not belayed before it can be a bit overwelming. I think more stress has to be put on the seriousness of belaying as people focus on the climbing and think of belaying as secondary.
I also think that more time should be spent monitoring how people are climbing in the gym as I have seen a number of things that make me shudder.December 7, 2006 at 12:00 am #4402
dont like gri-gri’s and never will too dangerous for the untrained punter…
once saw a kid take a fall from the roof of a gym 8-9m when the belayer paniced and pushed the lever fully open..lucky the kid fell onto pads…i dont think there were any serious injuries except being winded and a few bruises.December 8, 2006 at 12:00 am #4403
Mate ANY belay device is dangerous for the untrained punter…December 8, 2006 at 12:00 am #4404
In a gym or anywhere else, if you see something, its easy to politely point out that something is not right. Most people will be thankful, particularly something as obvious as not pulling the rope through a Grigri. Saw it again last night, and was thanked for reminding the belayer, (not my belayer by the way).
Dinah is right, belaying correctly is as important as climbing.
When us “older persons” started climbing it was a long process, sort of more like a apprenticeship to more advanced climbers. Gyms now have people climbing in minutes, which is fine, not a complaint there, but there isn’t time for that reinorcement of must know things. So we all nearby need to help out.
Toc.December 9, 2006 at 12:00 am #4405
Fair call Toc. I think its good to help out new climbers but the gym not having time is not an excuse. It isn’t the climbers in the gym that should be watching everyone, especially new belayers, but the gym staff. It is their responsibility to ensure good follow up when belayers are learning.December 10, 2006 at 12:00 am #4406
Too often the staff are too busy chatting to their mates or hanging off the bouldering wall.
Heh, I think we all have gym stories don’t we? Pity most people I’ve suggested/reminded have scoffed at me… Better that though than watching their son/daughter come plummetting to the ground cause they were too busy talking to others.January 15, 2007 at 12:00 am #4407
I’m new over here and realize that this post is fairly old now but just thought I’d share anyways. Came over from the US 3 monthes ago, before I worked at my indoor climbing wall at Uni. So two things,
first. We had a no gri gri policy for exactly the reason of people thinking they always work or that you don’t have to do anything, we used BD ATC’s only. Also had to attend a short seminar taught by us the staff and then take a follow up test on another day to prove they remembered the correct way before we’d let qualify them to belay on their own.
second. I agree with the people in here saying it’s everyone’s responsability. Not only the staff that should be supervising, but the other climbers, if you see something isn’t being done safely, call the person out on it, weather it’s a harness that’s not on right or not belaying properly, etc.March 22, 2009 at 12:00 am #4408
Another old post, but something to add.
I was told by a friend who has worked at one of the gyms (no names here) that new adults (usually parents) belaying kids, about 45 minutes or so after being trained the correct belaying method – then start to make mistakes. They focus on the child, then start pulling the live/active end of the rope, rather than pulling through the belay device.
It is everyone’s responsibility to look out for this in the gym. I don’t go the gym much these days, but I usually have to remind someone about the ‘non-belaying’ error, quite often at one or two gyms.
But even experienced climbers have screwed up belaying in the gym with potentially very bad consequences – which is scary.March 23, 2009 at 12:00 am #4409
Gotta agree with Claire’s older post. Staff should probably keep an eye on the first climb or two someone does un-instructed. I’ve bolted over to a lot of newbie climbs where someone has almost an entire climb’s worth of slack – even after you explain the dangers it’s still hard to get them to take it seriously.May 17, 2009 at 12:00 am #4410
ITs just natural selection. Its not hard to use a gri gri, so if she is thick enough not to be able to use it. Well, her son already doesnt stand much chance in life with those genes, and she isnt going to last much longer at any rate.
Darwinism at its best.May 18, 2009 at 12:00 am #4411
Aha, so thick people deserve to die? This sounds less like “natural selection” and more like “national socialism”.