/ Bowline Ban

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tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
Before I start I'd like to state the is not the place for discussion, guesswork, criticism, condolences, or anything else related to the incidents mentioned.

Now, a well known welsh climbing centre has just sent out an email effectively banning the use of the bowline knot in their centre.

See below:
http://www.bouldersclimbingcentre.co.uk/news/Using-the-double-figure-8-knot-at-Boulders

Is this right? What's your opinion on it? They certainly put together a good case and appear to be promoting health and safety, however on the other hand is it a bit of a cotton wool approach banning a technique that has been used and practiced for an extremely long time and could be argued is in some ways a more versatile and useful knot? Are the right or wrong to take this stance or do you simply not care?

Discuss...
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
Nice to see a proactive approach to safety, however personnally I wouldn't use a wall that banned bowlines. I use a fig8 for trad climbing but for sport and indoor climbing I always use a bowline as it is easier to undo after repeated loading.

Maybe the wall should supply marlin spikes so us larger climbers can undo their knots afterwards, obviously with a suitable risk assessment for sharp pointy objects.
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: While it is sad that they have felt the need to do this, I think that it's entirely upto them what restrictions they impose and as a customer you have to accept their rules otherwise you go elsewhere.

I hope nowhere else follows suit as I think an outright ban on Bowlines is unnecessary and damaging to the development of the sport. I use a bowline, I am aware of its limitations and I will only teach it to someone if they ask and I think more education of it is required and not limiting it's use.
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: I'm not sure where I stand on this year. I can certainly see where they're coming from but at the same time I don't like the idea of a commonly used and very useful knot being banned. A knot which is safe when tied properly.

On the other hand I do recognize the dangers and although I use it 95% of the time when climbing myself, in my capacity as an instructor I do not, in general, teach the knot even when people ask me. I don't want the responsibility on my shoulders of teaching a knot which is easy to tie incorrectly and can have disaterous consequences when it is...
3leggeddog on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

It is silly over regulation but it would not lead to me having a not going there again tantrum. I would fall foul of it as I habitually use a bowline and changing that habit would be difficult.
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> Before I start I'd like to state the is not the place for discussion, guesswork, criticism, condolences, or anything else related to the incidents mentioned.
>
> Now, a well known welsh climbing centre has just sent out an email effectively banning the use of the bowline knot in their centre.
>
> See below:
> http://www.bouldersclimbingcentre.co.uk/news/Using-the-double-figure-8-knot-at-Boulders
>
> Is this right? What's your opinion on it? They certainly put together a good case and appear to be promoting health and safety, however on the other hand is it a bit of a cotton wool approach banning a technique that has been used and practiced for an extremely long time and could be argued is in some ways a more versatile and useful knot? Are the right or wrong to take this stance or do you simply not care?
>
> Discuss..

They are entitled to put in place any procedures or restrictions that they like in order to keep the users of their wall safe. There are compelling reasons for requiring climbers to use a single easily recognised knot in order to keep things simple.

I'm more intrigued and worried by their reference to "the bodies that regulate our sport".
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to tipsy) While it is sad that they have felt the need to do this, I think that it's entirely upto them what restrictions they impose and as a customer you have to accept their rules otherwise you go elsewhere.
>
> I hope nowhere else follows suit as I think an outright ban on Bowlines is unnecessary and damaging to the development of the sport. I use a bowline, I am aware of its limitations and I will only teach it to someone if they ask and I think more education of it is required and not limiting it's use.

I'm confident that climbing will continue to develop with or without the use of the bowline ;)
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:

I have no doubt that they are entitled to and that, as a person choosing to go to the centre, one must respect that rule. However I'm interested in whether people consider it's right or wrong for them to be exercising this particular entitlement.

toad - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones: It's poor wording, I suppose. I guess they mean to refer to the bodies that regulate the use of indoor walls
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> (In reply to timjones)
>
> I have no doubt that they are entitled to and that, as a person choosing to go to the centre, one must respect that rule. However I'm interested in whether people consider it's right or wrong for them to be exercising this particular entitlement.

If the aim is to make it easier for their staff to make quick and unobtrusive visual checks on peoples knots then I believe that their reasoning is valid and their decision is right for their own circumstances.
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> I'm confident that climbing will continue to develop with or without the use of the bowline ;)

I didn't say it wouldn't.
elsewhere on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
Indoor climbing is incredibly safe, but it looks like the bowline is a tiny bit less safe if it is associated with two deaths despite the figure of 8 being far more commonly used.
A business has to follow best practice so I think they're right to ban the bowline for indoor climbing.

timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to toad:
> (In reply to timjones) It's poor wording, I suppose. I guess they mean to refer to the bodies that regulate the use of indoor walls

Unless I'm mistaken there is no sport specific regulatory body for indoor walls?

I thought there were associations that walls could choose to belong to but there is no compulsory body?
petersheppard - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I can't quite tell due to the way that knot is dressed, but it does look like a cowboy bowline to me!
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to timjones)
> [...]
>
> I didn't say it wouldn't.

I'm sure that you said that banning of the use of bowlines would damage the development of the sport?
toad - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones: I was thinking of H&S legislation etc - stuff that regulates what goes on in the building, rather than specific to climbing. My poor wording of a criticism of their poor wording?
steveej - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I've always had a problem with the bowline. Sure it's a safe not, but not as safe as the figure of 8.

I have seen the bowline work loose on a number of occasions , this never happened with a figure of 8.

And so you tie a stopper knot. Well how often do you tie a stopper on you figure of 8 and half way up a multi pitch route, the stopper has come undone.

It always seemed to me that with the bowline you increase potential risk, for minimal advantage.

There also seems to be a 5 year cycle of 'bowline fashion'. It has gone in and out of fashion at least three time since I have been climbing.

I can see why Boulders have introduced the rule.
John_Hat - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I think they are going to be screwed as soon as someone mis-ties their fig8...
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to 3leggeddog:
It is silly over regulation but it would not lead to me having a not going there again tantrum.

I assume this was in reference to my post? In the area I climb in I've got a choice of local walls, I base my decision on which to use based on their provision of facilities. If one of those walls were to mandate the use of a figure of 8 then I wouldn't bother with roped climbing there as a fallen on figure of 8 can take me longer to untie than it would taken for me to lead the route.
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> I'm sure that you said that banning of the use of bowlines would damage the development of the sport?

yes but that is not the same as saying it will stop development, which is what you implied i said.

lets not split hairs as I think people will mostly agree it would be a step backward to stop the use of a recognised knot because of a handful of incidents involving it.

I would like to see the actual figures regarding this.
jkarran - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:


> A business has to follow best practice so I think they're right to ban the bowline for indoor climbing.

What if they were to say insist upon helmets or toproping only, both of those reduce risk?

jk
Trangia - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I find the centre's decision unfortunate and based on the knee jerk reaction to just one fatal incident. Even the report quoted on that is not conclusive in that it states that there MAY not have been a stopper knot tied.

Unless the climber is under instruction, surely the responsibilty for tying in rests firmly on the shoulders of the climber concerned? OK people do make mistakes and it is good climbing practice to always check each other, but to ban a perfectly good knot which is safe if tied correctly is downright nannying.

What about people who mistie a figure of eight (and it can happen)? Are they then going to ban figure of eights?

Now it would made sense to ban Granny Knots because they are unsafe and I would have no problem in seeing them banned, but a properly tied and stopper knotted bowline is safe.

This degree of interference by a centre is unacceptable and if a centre tried to impose if on me I would stop going there. I would hope that others who feel the same way would also vote with their feet.

Jim Hamilton - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to John_Hat:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> I think they are going to be screwed as soon as someone mis-ties their fig8...

yes i wonder whether compelling people to change a safe way of tying in that has become second nature over years in itself introduces a risk. I would be interested to see what the accident stats are for walls, to get a better picture of the risks involved.
abbotsmike - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to steveej:
> And so you tie a stopper knot. Well how often do you tie a stopper on you figure of 8 and half way up a multi pitch route, the stopper has come undone.

Only when the stopper knot was shoddy/tied in a hurry and I knew damn well it was going to undo at some point. Tied well, I've never had a stopper come undone.
I tend to climb on a bowline indoors because I'll fall off more. outdoors depends on what mood I'm in. I don't buy this 'what about it working loose on a multipitch' as I check my knots when I swap gear at the belay at the top of each pitch! Most of my climbing partners do too, it's just common sense surely?
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to 3leggeddog)
> It is silly over regulation but it would not lead to me having a not going there again tantrum.
>
> I assume this was in reference to my post? In the area I climb in I've got a choice of local walls, I base my decision on which to use based on their provision of facilities. If one of those walls were to mandate the use of a figure of 8 then I wouldn't bother with roped climbing there as a fallen on figure of 8 can take me longer to untie than it would taken for me to lead the route.


You're over-egging the pudding ;)

If you've fallen often enough to make it so hard to undo a figure of 8 you will have been on the route for far longer than it will ever take to untie the knot!
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to jkarran:
What if they were to say insist upon helmets or toproping only, both of those reduce risk?

This is a wedge, if you'll notice it has a thick end and another end which will be primary focus of our interest.

:-)
deepsoup - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> However I'm interested in whether people consider it's right or wrong for them to be exercising this particular entitlement.

Wrong, imo.
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to timjones)
> [...]
>
> yes but that is not the same as saying it will stop development, which is what you implied i said.
>
> lets not split hairs as I think people will mostly agree it would be a step backward to stop the use of a recognised knot because of a handful of incidents involving it.
>
> I would like to see the actual figures regarding this.

Surely it's only a backwards step if the use of a bowline to tie-in is a forwards step in the first place. We need to tie-in safely and either knot will do the job. I really struggle to see this as a major issue.
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:
You're over-egging the pudding ;)

Sorry I'm on a high protein diet :-)

If I've fallen on a figure of 8 after climbing something hard and fingery I honestly can't undo the damn thing afterwards: Maybe this is because I'm a lardarse, maybe it is my poor finger strength, maybe I'm a very quick climber or maybe my rope is in a shocking state and may as well have been soaked in stud-lock but the damn thing won't undo! I am aware of the bending the knot trick, but I still avoid a figure of 8 for anything that is likely to get a dynamic load.
mountain.martin - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

If there have been two deaths in three years caused by the knot being tied incorrectly, then it is very sensible for wall owners to ban it at their walls.

I'd say the same about anything that was responsible for deaths, that had a simple alternative with a lot lower risk.
ads.ukclimbing.com
The_Boy_ODwyer - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:
> (In reply to toad)
> [...]
>
> Unless I'm mistaken there is no sport specific regulatory body for indoor walls?
>

Association of British Climbing Walls? Or even the BMC to some extent

jkarran - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean:

> This is a wedge, if you'll notice it has a thick end and another end which will be primary focus of our interest.
> :-)

Just like cheese :)
jk
goldmember - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean: i've seen mis tied FO8 holding loads. I've not seen mis bowlines holding loads
elsewhere on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to jkarran:
> What if they were to say insist upon helmets or toproping only, both of those reduce risk?

Then there's a problem as they're infinging respectively on my vanity and the essence of the activity for me.
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

Climbing has got very nannyish in the last few years. It seems like climbers are being limited on what knots they can even tie. It wasn't that long ago you could buy unslung hexes and tie your own cord onto them, but alas we are not trusted to do that any more.

If you don't tie yourself in properly that is your own fault, and not the centres. So why is the centre worried about it, you can't sue them for you messing up. If their floor walkers can't tell a properly tied bowline (yes I know their are several variates) then they shouldn't be in that job. If in doubt why not go over and ask them.

I also remember when Boulders was first opened and run by climbers, oh how the past seems so distant.
Trangia - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I think that climbing walls should ban any climbing which involves leaving the ground. That way the risk of serious accident or death would be greatly reduced.
Quiddity - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mountain.martin:

> I'd say the same about anything that was responsible for deaths,

climbing

> that had a simple alternative with a lot lower risk.

walking up the path up round the back
Sir Chasm - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mountain.martin:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> If there have been two deaths in three years caused by the knot being tied incorrectly, then it is very sensible for wall owners to ban it at their walls.
>
> I'd say the same about anything that was responsible for deaths, that had a simple alternative with a lot lower risk.

Climbing is responsible for deaths, not climbing is a simple alternative.
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mountain.martin:
If there have been two deaths in three years caused by the knot being tied incorrectly, then it is very sensible for wall owners to ban it at their walls.

I'd say the same about anything that was responsible for deaths, that had a simple alternative with a lot lower risk.


It is an old arguement and one which doesn't really work in a lot of cases, if you ban anything related to fatal accidents where a safer alternative exists then you'll die of boredom pretty quickly! Lead climbing is more dangerous than top roping, personal transport is more dangerous than public transport, freedom of choice is responsible for a lot of deaths.

There is a commonly published statistic about the number of people suffering death or serious injury through licking a 9v battery but neither batteries or morons have been banned in any EU country.

timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to The_Boy_ODwyer:
> (In reply to timjones)
> [...]
>
> Association of British Climbing Walls? Or even the BMC to some extent

Unless I've got it seriously wrong neither of those have the power to impose regulations on the sport?
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to goldmember:
i've seen mis tied FO8 holding loads. I've not seen mis bowlines holding loads

I've seen mis-secured harnesses failing to hold loads, may I strongly suggest we ban them? A poorly tied figure of 8 can also fail under load, there is an old phrase used when discussing this sort of thing:

You can't legislate against stupidity as someone will always produce a better idiot.


Trangia - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to mountain.martin)
> [...]
>
> Climbing is responsible for deaths,

Wrong! It's falling off and hitting the ground that's responsible :)
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> Climbing has got very nannyish in the last few years. It seems like climbers are being limited on what knots they can even tie. It wasn't that long ago you could buy unslung hexes and tie your own cord onto them, but alas we are not trusted to do that any more.
>
> If you don't tie yourself in properly that is your own fault, and not the centres. So why is the centre worried about it, you can't sue them for you messing up. If their floor walkers can't tell a properly tied bowline (yes I know their are several variates) then they shouldn't be in that job. If in doubt why not go over and ask them.
>
> I also remember when Boulders was first opened and run by climbers, oh how the past seems so distant.

Climbing walls can be crowded how about the person that you land on when you plummet to the floor due to a mis-tied knot?

If you want to avoid rules it's best to climb outdoors ;)

Monk - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

A few years ago when I was at a wall in New Zealand, I got told off by the floor walkers for not having tied in properly. Apparently, I had to both tie into the rope with a figure of 8 AND clip in with a karabiner attached to the rope above the knot.
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Trangia:
Wrong! It's falling off and hitting the ground that's responsible :)

Ban gravity, we can survive with just electrostatics!

Jonny2vests - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to John_Hat:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> I think they are going to be screwed as soon as someone mis-ties their fig8...

Lol. We'll probably have to wear two harnesses.
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:

Ban bouldering too then.

You shouldn't walk under someone when climbing, and the only time I have come plummeting to the floor I was tied in properly but my belayer let go.

I do mostly climb outdoors, or up at a climbing wall that is run by climbers.
elsewhere on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
The bowline is very safe, but it does seem to be vastly less safe than figure of 8.
A climbing wall will want to avod the trauma for staff & customers plus the bad publicity of a fatality. The disclaimers may be legally water tight but the climbing wall will still want to avoid the stress and expense of being sued by an injured climber or the innocent party they landed on.
ice.solo - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

good on them. hope it lowers accidents.

they have a responsability to minimize accidents, and if they feel this does then do it. makes sense to me. so what if people need to spend an extra 30secs squidging open a fig 8.
yes, we all know bowlines can be safe. so can driving a car at 140kmph - except for the times when its not.

theyre not stopping people tying whayever know they want in the privacy of their homes.
nniff - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:


Their centre, their rules. I have no problem with that. At every wall you see people who are consistently safe, people who are eratic, people who are cavalier, people who haven't a clue, people who are distracted and people who are blase.

Personally, I usually tie on with a fig 8. Sometimes a bowline, sometimes a double bowline, because it makes me concentrate. My partner and I have recently turned into knot and belay obsessives. No-one leaves the ground without a mutual check, because it's too easy to be one of the last two categories. THat was driven by the accident at new year - I don't need that sort of outcome and a check is easy. So far this year we've picked up on one fault - leg loops not tied in. Not a disaster, but everyone knows you thread through legs and waist, always, so how did that happen?

I'd also fail the fig 8 in boulders picture beacuse it's not dressed properly. A fig 8 has to look the same, every time. If it doesn't it gets sorted or retied. Apart from anything else, that's one of the reasons why they hard to untie - a properly tied fig 8 is easy to fold and loosen.

Finally. I still have a deep-seated unease with bowlines (despite using them from time to time), largely because it's a knot that works really well on high friction hawser laid ropes, but is far from ideal on modern slick kernmantel ropes.

'the national regulatory bodies’ investigations' would refer to the Health and Safety Executive, although nout sure why it should be a plural. Either a typo or there are some others of which I'm unaware.
Trangia - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> >
> theyre not stopping people tying whayever know they want in the privacy of their homes.

You mean like two consenting adults? :)
RossKirtley - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: The trust placed in climbers using a bowline at walls is too great in my opinion. By banning the use of this knot the wall almost eliminated the risk of being taken to court for neglegance by some muppet who tied their bowline incorrectly and decked out as a result.

The FO8 stands out like a sore thumb if it is tied incorrectly and can be spotted much quicker than a incorrect bowline.

In reality, how much disruption to the user's climbing is this going to cause?

Its a small price to pay for increasing safety at the wall.
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> If their floor walkers can't tell a properly tied bowline (yes I know their are several variates) then they shouldn't be in that job. If in doubt why not go over and ask them.
>
>

It's a bit late when they are near the top of a climb. it's quite hard to tell if a bowline is correctly tied from a distance!
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:

Then it is time to ban climbing. Accidents do happen, if it is the climber tieing in wrong, the belayer letting go, not putting a harness on properly. Only way around this is to a. stop climbing b. have a trained instructor at the bottom of each climb to belay, and check the person is tied in properly, and has their harness on properly.

It is stupid to think that someone else should be responsible for our behaviour. I have seen someone tie the first part of the Fo8, pass this through their harness and not done anything else with it afterwards. Doesn't mean they should be banned due to someone else's stupidity.

I am starting to see why land owners are banning climbing on their land!
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: I think they should ban belaying as I am sure that badly executed belaying has been the cause of more accidents than a badly tied bowline.
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber:

Can I borrow your eyes?! They are in better nick from mine if you can see if someones figure of eight is tied at the top of a climb.
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:

Unless I am mistaken, and I don't believe I am, there has not once in this country been a recorded case of a climber sueing another climber or a centre.

It goes against the very nature of our sport, not to mention would be next to impossible due to the fact to climb at almost any indoor wall these days (including boulders) you have to sign your agreement to the BMC participation statement, accepting risk and being responsible for the outcome.
carnie - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: I fear you are mistaken
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to carnie:

If I am, please do correct me. It must have happend in the last 3 years however, as the BMC's legal advisor offered up this fact at the student safety seminar 3 years ago.
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to highclimber)
>
> Can I borrow your eyes?! They are in better nick from mine if you can see if someones figure of eight is tied at the top of a climb.

I should have added 'indeed any knot for that matter'
3leggeddog on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean:

My comment was not directly at you but at the reaction some may take, you are lucky to have a wide choice in the area and to be able to use that choice. Personally if I had the same wide choice of venue and the floor walkers at the wall were over officious in reminding me to use a fig8 I would be joining you elsewhere for a good harrumphh
John Roberts (JR) - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> (In reply to elsewhere)
>
> Unless I am mistaken, and I don't believe I am, there has not once in this country been a recorded case of a climber sueing another climber or a centre.
>

You're mistaken, but I'm not sure anyone has won.

This wall closed to the public as a result:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/listings/info.php?id=228&t=wall

ice.solo - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
> [...]
>
> You mean like two consenting adults? :)

thats sick.

but, yes :)
John Roberts (JR) - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber:

That was longer than 3 years ago.
elsewhere on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
Figure of 8 doesn't eliminate mistakes, but it does seem to eliminate fatalities indoors.

> It is stupid to think that someone else should be responsible for our behaviour.

I agree.

>I have seen someone tie the first part of the Fo8, pass this through their harness and not done anything else with it afterwards.

I've made that mistake myself but thankfully I spotted it.
elsewhere on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
I don't think the kids at a taster session or their parents care much about the nature of our sport.
chrisbaggy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

This seems to be a way for the climbing wall to not need staff that recognise the bowline knot, therefore reducing costs by them not needing as much training.

Yes ok it may save lives of people who do not check their or their partners knots, or not fully understand the consequences of tying the bowline wrong however people tie in with the bowline for many reasons.

Legitimate ones, Fat bar stewards like myself that take falls means we don't spend more time and energy undoing knots than time spent climbing.

or the less legitimate ones;
fashion
quicker to tie
etc

suppose i could always ask a staff member to untie the knot after I've taken a big whipper onto a fig 8........

or how about i get the staff member to tie me in as if I'm not competent to tie a bowline, I'm clearly not competent to tie a fig 8, actually i better not do it at all, as this climbing business is awfully dangerous!!!


deepsoup - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:
> Climbing walls can be crowded how about the person that you land on when you plummet to the floor due to a mis-tied knot?

Also arguably the fault of the floor-walkers. Its poor practice to allow people to stand around directly beneath a climber. Maybe they're spending too much time squinting at people's knots and should step back a bit and look at the big picture?

If the wall's too crowded to avoid it, that'd be the fault of the management for allowing the wall to become dangerously over-crowded. You can't just keep letting more and more people in as long as they keep rolling up and they're willing to pay to get in, what do they think it is, a nightclub or sommat? ;o)
thermal_t - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> (In reply to elsewhere)
>
> Unless I am mistaken, and I don't believe I am, there has not once in this country been a recorded case of a climber sueing another climber or a centre.
>
> It goes against the very nature of our sport, not to mention would be next to impossible due to the fact to climb at almost any indoor wall these days (including boulders) you have to sign your agreement to the BMC participation statement, accepting risk and being responsible for the outcome.

Although we all sign the participation statement, it should be noted that due to UK law it is not possible to disclaim a "duty of care" over your customers. Make no mistake, the ar**hole "no win, no fee" solicitors will go to incredible lengths to try and prove any accident was due to you breaking this duty of care.

I have experienced the sharp end of being sued 3 times (another sport, not climbing), and although they were all successfully defended, the very fact it ended up in court has a devastating effect on insurance premiums.

I am therefore not surprised walls are taking this measure, although we are happy to say it is our choice and our risk what type of knot we tie, you can bet a prosecuting barrister would be soon bleating on about an unsafe knot, and how the wall had a "duty of care" to ensure a safe knot was used. Another sign of the times i'm afraid.
GrahamD - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to chrisbaggy:

The problem is not just recognising a bowline, its recognising a bowline with all the fangled finishes that people use. An Edwards bowline looks like a mistied Fig 8 at a glance.
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:

Can't the floor walker go over and query it? They might learn something, and it is their job after all...
deepsoup - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:
> The problem is not just recognising a bowline, its recognising a bowline with all the fangled finishes that people use. An Edwards bowline looks like a mistied Fig 8 at a glance.

The fangled bowline isn't the main problem with that scenario, imo - its a floor-walker lacking the 'people' skills to approach a punter using a knot they don't immediately recognise and have a chat about it.

I know walls are under constant pressure to keep their costs down, but if they're going to employ people to 'supervise' their customers they do need to make those people at least a little bit grown-up and equipped with the social skills they need to do the job properly.
deepsoup - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
Snap. You put it better than I did. ;o)
chrisbaggy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to chrisbaggy)
>
> The problem is not just recognising a bowline, its recognising a bowline with all the fangled finishes that people use. An Edwards bowline looks like a mistied Fig 8 at a glance.

I use the yosemite finish to the bowline with a stopper knot (as it is the knot i prefer for various reasons) i would happily explain the knot to the floor walker if queried, They may learn something, or also learn that i do know the knot and how to tie it correctly.

I myself work as a floor walker at two walls and would have no quarms asking a customer to explain the knot to me.

Its a lot better than becoming a member of the Belay Police saying they can't use knots because some people don't check knots or don't know how to tie them!

Thats how walls get bad names!
GrahamD - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to chrisbaggy:

And whilst you are having a cosy chat about knots (BTW, why do wall users automatically assume they know more than the floor walker ?), someone has just set off up the wall unroped. Great. Swimming pool attendants don't have to put up with shit like "I know there is a ban on diving, but my sort of diving is actually OK". They sit and watch as much of what is happening as possible.
Byronius Maximus - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to elsewhere)
>
> Then it is time to ban climbing. Accidents do happen, if it is the climber tieing in wrong, the belayer letting go, not putting a harness on properly. Only way around this is to a. stop climbing b. have a trained instructor at the bottom of each climb to belay, and check the person is tied in properly, and has their harness on properly.
>
> It is stupid to think that someone else should be responsible for our behaviour. I have seen someone tie the first part of the Fo8, pass this through their harness and not done anything else with it afterwards. Doesn't mean they should be banned due to someone else's stupidity.
>
> I am starting to see why land owners are banning climbing on their land!

Accidents do happen yes, but maybe the owner(s) of the climbing wall feel that they have a duty of care towards their customers to minimise the chances of these accidents happening, regardless of whether the climbers feel that their own safety is their own responsibility. I know I'd feel the same responsibility if I ran a wall.

It doesn't matter what other stupid things you've seen people doing; two wrongs don't make a right.

The thing that irks me about it is that it does seem to be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to two incidents, rather than being based on a large sample.

I always tie in with a bowline and will continue to do so. If the wall I go to decided to ban it, then I wouldn't necessarily agree with their decision and I might not be happy about it, but could respect it if the reasoning was explained as clearly and with the humilty of that in the link.

Despite being very familiar with a bowline, I still sometimes have to give it a second to look to check someone elses, so I can understand it from the point of view of making it easier for wall staff.
chrisbaggy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to chrisbaggy)
>
> And whilst you are having a cosy chat about knots (BTW, why do wall users automatically assume they know more than the floor walker ?), someone has just set off up the wall unroped. Great. Swimming pool attendants don't have to put up with shit like "I know there is a ban on diving, but my sort of diving is actually OK". They sit and watch as much of what is happening as possible.

so you want the floor walker to watch every climber, all of the time?
how many centres do you know where this could happen?

how about the climbers can't climb until the floor walker has been across checked everything and signed a bit of paper to prove that it was safe for the climbers to climb?

oo if floor walkers are like swimming pool attendants does that mean they get little whistles to blow when someone does something wrong?
FiendishMcButton on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:


It's a bit over protective of them in an environment that has you sign a personal responsibility disclaimer. It does feel like they are branding all climbers as being incompetent of correctly tying any knot other than a fig 8. The indoor climbing environment is safe but still needs a large slice of common sense and attention to detail that is the responsibility of the climbers and not the climbing centre.

It'll probably be relaxed after a few months and forgotten about in a few more.

I use an Edwards bowline, mainly because it does not need a stopper and it is easy to untie after big falls.

I stopped using a single bowline with a stopper after looking down as i fell off and seeing a rather loosened knot cinch tight as it loaded. Scared me a bit so i researched rethread variants and settled on the Edwards.

When i route set i still use fig 8's and 9's.

With all the above said, indoor climbing is supposed to be fun and having to use a fig 8 would not stop me having fun.
chrisbaggy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:
actually that would work,
the floor walker has a whistle and when they have to check a knot they blow to whistle.
This means no1 else can climb at all, meaning that they are all safe.
Then the swimming pool attendant...i mean floorwalker blows the whistle twice when they've checked the whole centre, then everybody can climb!!!!!

problem solved and what a lovely atmosphere climbing inside would be!
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Byronius Maximus:

They do have a duty of care, hence maintaining the wall and hiring staff to keep and eye on everything.

I didn't say two things make a right, but if you ban one thing that has been done incorrectly, why not the others too? How about we ban harnesses that you have to double back too. I have seen an accident caused by someone forgetting to do that, and there is a usable alternative.

What is wrong with taking a second look? It is what wall staff are paid to do!
mmmhumous on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

Personally, adding (as highlighted in an earlier post) "tying in with a fig eight allows staff and inexpierinced belayerss to easily check their partner's knot is correctly tied" would probably be a better way to go... but it's their wall, so ultimately their call. Just poorly worded under a general health-and-safety-hand-wavey-banner. The issue isn't with the knot itself, it's ensuring it's tied correctly. I'm pretty sure they mean a rethreaded fig8 rather than a double one.

I always climb on a fig8 with novices, to help them learn the knot (and so they can check mine), but as a heavier climber, I use a bowline (+ a yosemite finish)when ever I think I might fall off.

Having watched a mate register at my local recently, I was interested to hear them insist (As part of their safety quiz/check) that fig8s MUST be backed up with a double stopper. Maybe it's been recommended to them from the investigation following the tragic accident earlire this year, or could have just been that particular member of staff. Has anyone else come across this before?

Anoetic - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: I climb regularly at this wall and have no problems using the fig 8 knot. There have been a number of incidents recently where people have decked out and if this reduces the risk of injuries then so be it. The wall has a duty of care to look after its clients, but also relies heaviliy on people knowing what they are doing.
How many times have you started climbing the wall without the belayer checking the knot?

tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to Byronius Maximus)
>

>
> I didn't say two things make a right, but if you ban one thing that has been done incorrectly, why not the others too? How about we ban harnesses that you have to double back too. I have seen an accident caused by someone forgetting to do that, and there is a usable alternative.
>

Valid point!

JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Anoetic:

> The wall has a duty of care to look after its clients, but also relies heaviliy on people knowing what they are doing.

Exactly! They rely heavily on people knowing what they are doing. So why are they not letting people do what they know how to do.

How many people have broken bones at this wall on a roped climb? Now how many people have broken bones at this wall while bouldering?

Surly they should focus on what has caused injuries at their own wall, and ban bouldering out right?
digby - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I always use the Edward's bowline and don't use a stopper indoors as it is rethreaded. The knot cinches up a treat on falling or lowering (though obviously I dress it and tighten it before setting off). With the thickness of in situ ropes I have never observed the knot to loosen in any way.

Outdoors with skinny doubles I always tie stoppers, as I have seen the knots loosen.

The knot unties so easily after indoor falls that I would hate to have to go back to fig 8s
victorclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: Ha Ha what a load of rubbish ,been using the old Bowline for 60 years plus ,what next bolts on rock climbs !! cant happen , oh it did ..
remus - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: While it's a nice thought i think their efforts would be much better directed at making people less complacent as that's the underlying cause of the accidents.

While making the figure of 8 compulsory will undoubtedly reduce the number of accidents related to tying in they make up only a small percentage of all accidents. Much greater gains in safety could be made by focusing on improving overall competency and awareness.
chris j on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Anoetic:
> (In reply to tipsy) There have been a number of incidents recently where people have decked out

A number of incidents?! Sounds like they have bigger problems to look at than which knot people use to tie in with.
StuDoig - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
Lets hope no-one has an accident involving a mis-tied a Fo8 - what'll folk tie in with once the knot police have banned that as well????

Its their house, their rules I suppose but a pretty sad and disapointing decision to come from climbers.

Heres hoping other walls have a much more sensible and level headed approach to H&S and actually look at the cause of accidents and try to eliminate the behaviour that leads to the accident rather than blaming knots.

Cheers,

Stu


chris wyatt - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: Good thread .

Just for the record I know a bit of a plonker (me) who has had 3 near misses at a climbing wall and witnessed one guy break his leg.

Near Miss 1: I was chatting while belaying my partner who got to the top and let go. the combination of my lack of attention and the old stich plate belay device let him slip to within 5 feet of the deck.

Near Miss 2: I was chatting while tying on a figure of eight. Kind of forgot to bring the knot right back through and set off. My partner noticed when I was 10 feet up the wall and I down climbed

Near Miss 3: I was chatting while I tied a perfect figure of eight to the leg loop only. Fortunately did not fall

Accident : the guy tied into the tiny tape that controls the poitition of the leg loops.

the common theme is lack of attention, not type of knot. You cannot legistlate for this - just encourage people to take care!!
bigballsof flamingfire - on 16 Nov 2011
Maybe this is a trend towards better things?

I'd suggest that the IFSC is a fairly well renowned operator within our loved sport. They too frown upon any other knot than the figure of eight and insist that competitors only use this knot.

It is my understanding that this measure is designed to protect the people that climb the most (and probably the people that are most opposed to this new rule!?) as they are the ones most risk of being complacent when tieing in.

If through a long climbing life you make one complacent mistake (despite knowing how to competently tie in with a variety of knots) I'd imagine it is far safer to fall onto a "complacent figure of eight" than a "complacent bowline"?

Check out the IFSC rule book:
http://www.ifsc-climbing.org/2011/Admin/IFSC_Rules_2011.pdf
page 17. Rule 4.5.1.b.

Maybe the IFSC is leading the way in terms of safety evolution and this UK climbing wall is just following.............?
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to bigballsof flamingfire:

Or maybe this is a trend to worse and more restricted things?

Why do climbers need to be protected? I don't feel like I need a power that be telling my what I can and cannot do. We happened to being able to make your own decision on things.

I imagine it is safer to fall on neither. It also depends on what level you tie a complacent knot.
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to bigballsof flamingfire:

Just signed up this instant, just to post on this thread? Coincidence or might you be someone working for the wall - with research like that you seem pretty determined to defend.
mullermn - on 16 Nov 2011
That's a shame. My girlfriend and I were there at the weekend listening to Andy Kirkpatrick's talk (very good, btw) and we were saying that it looked really good and we wanted to go back and climb there.

I'm not so sure now. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth having some jobsworth legislating away your personal choice based on dubious reasoning.

I'm sure lead climbing (if done improperly) is the cause of many more accidents and injuries than top roping. Maybe they should remove all their lead lines too.
JoshOvki on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to chris wyatt:

The other common theme is you... so let me know where you are climbing so I can avoid it ;)

It is a fair point though, knots don't fail under normal use. People fail however, and it doesn't matter how many restrictions you apply, they always will.
mountain.martin - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Quiddity:
> (In reply to mountain.martin)
>
> [...]
>
> climbing
>
> [...]
>
> walking up the path up round the back

As stated in my post, I was refering to indoor walls. Not climbing outdoors. A lot of wall users are inexperienced.

This is a simple measure, that increases safety, without inconvieneincing anybody to any measurable extent.



antdav - on 16 Nov 2011
I dont have a problem with others using a bowline but personally dont like them. Its easier to make a mistake when tying and harder to spot the mistake and its the managements decision to remove as much risk as reasonably possible.

Saying a ban on bouldering or leading is the equivalent is no comparision. A bad fall bouldering or leading may end in a dislocation or break, a knot undone could end in a 5+ metre fall with much worse consequences.

People may feel 100% confident in their bowlines but the wall staff don't know the experience of every climber and feel the ability to easily check from a distance outweighs the negativity from those who are fond of the knot.
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I think one of the best points made against the removing reasonable risk argument so far is that of the old style harnesses which still need C-Locking.

Why not ban those? There is a viable alternative which removes the risk of improperly threaded harnesses. I happen to know that when boulders started out (I'm not sure about now) their own centre harnesses were the C Lock type. The advocated the use of a less safe alternative to the popular harnesses. Only made less safe by user error (as is a bowline). And infact many centres use these harnesses. They are the 'standard' centre harness.

Surely they should be removing this risk also, if there basis is that there is a safer option available.
mountain.martin - on 16 Nov 2011

> It is an old arguement and one which doesn't really work in a lot of cases, if you ban anything related to fatal accidents where a safer alternative exists then you'll die of boredom pretty quickly!

I agree that H & S is often taken too far but i think you are just being silly here.

Is tying a figure of 8 rather than a bowline going to increase anybody's boredom?
Ramblin dave - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to antdav:

> Saying a ban on bouldering or leading is the equivalent is no comparision. A bad fall bouldering or leading may end in a dislocation or break, a knot undone could end in a 5+ metre fall with much worse consequences.

Also, banning bouldering or leading massively reduces the enjoyment and value that a lot of people will get out of the wall. Specifying the knot that people should use means that occasionally someone will find it a bit harder to untie. People maybe need to get a sense of perspective here?
mountain.martin - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to mountain.martin)
> [...]
>
> Climbing is responsible for deaths, not climbing is a simple alternative.

Yes, but stopping people climbing could well be argued to be stopping people having fun and infringing their liberties.

The same could not be said about telling them that if they want to climb at a certain indoor wall they will need to tie a figure of 8 rather than a bowline.
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> I think one of the best points made against the removing reasonable risk argument so far is that of the old style harnesses which still need C-Locking.
>
> Why not ban those? There is a viable alternative which removes the risk of improperly threaded harnesses. I happen to know that when boulders started out (I'm not sure about now) their own centre harnesses were the C Lock type. The advocated the use of a less safe alternative to the popular harnesses. Only made less safe by user error (as is a bowline). And infact many centres use these harnesses. They are the 'standard' centre harness.
>
> Surely they should be removing this risk also, if there basis is that there is a safer option available.

Are harnesses with threadback buckles a greater risk?

IME it's far easier to misfit a the "modern" lazy, easyfit harnesses and they can have a nasty tendancy to slacken off during a session.

It's easy enough to perform a quick visual check on a threadback buckle.
winhill - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to bigballsof flamingfire:
>
> Check out the IFSC rule book:
> http://www.ifsc-climbing.org/2011/Admin/IFSC_Rules_2011.pdf
> page 17. Rule 4.5.1.b.
>
> Maybe the IFSC is leading the way in terms of safety evolution and this UK climbing wall is just following.............?

That also allows for direct connection via crabs, can't see that happening soon, although it would stop the knotted knot.
cfer - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: Well I'm alright, I have never used a bowline for climbing, and would have to think about how to tie in with one :)
mullermn - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to antdav:

"Saying a ban on bouldering or leading is the equivalent is no comparision. A bad fall bouldering or leading may end in a dislocation or break, a knot undone could end in a 5+ metre fall with much worse consequences."

There are errors that can be made leading (eg, back clipping) or, with a bit more imagination, even seconding (eg, getting carried away and unclipping the top bolt without realising) which could result in a complete ground fall.
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mountain.martin:
The problem is your arguement is what would often be jumped on by users of these forums as "the thin end of the wedge".
You cannot legislate against stupidity, there is no point making a reactionary step of banning bowlines without addressing the underlying problem:

People are very bad about performing basic safety checks.

I've witnessed far more accidents and near misses caused by careless belaying than through a lack of ability with knots but we haven't enforced the use of fail-safe belay devices. I've seen people trying to tie into leg loops, gear loops and a trouser belt but we don't mandate the use of a Metolius Safe-tech harness and a two signatory system.

We need climbing walls to get people to demonstrate good practice, not just write overly restrictive procedures.
GrahamD - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to chrisbaggy:

The easiest way to get a nice atmosphere for everyone is if everyone just winds their neck in a bit and make the supervisor's job easy by not trying to break the rules all the time. The last thing I want is for some lippy know it all to be remonstrating with some poor sap who is only trying to do their job whilst I'm trying to enjoy my climbing.
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Ramblin dave:
People maybe need to get a sense of perspective here?

I deal with a lot of risk assessments and industrial safety and the reason I'm so opposed to banning the use of the bowline is that doesn't solve the underlying problem: You don't ban a process to address a training or skill gap.

tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones:
> (In reply to tipsy)
> [...]

> It's easy enough to perform a quick visual check on a threadback buckle.

If you know what you're doing and what you're looking for.

The same can be said for a bowline. Is the simple fact that a lot of people don't know what they're doing and what to look for regarding a bowline grounds to ban it?



mullermn - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to antdav:

"Saying a ban on bouldering or leading is the equivalent is no comparision. A bad fall bouldering or leading may end in a dislocation or break, a knot undone could end in a 5+ metre fall with much worse consequences."

Not picking on you individually, btw, but another thought relevant to several points made in posts above occurred to me.. The only case I personally know of of someone getting seriously injured and suing a climbing wall was indeed a) due to bouldering, b) due to negligence on the part of the injured guy AND c) he lost his claim.

I believe that's 3 good points made (with citation from this very forum) in one go!

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=306025

tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:

Particularly interesting in this case considering Boulders, who certainly at the beginning, had notoriously high bouldering walls and notoriously hard bouldering mats. They have also have a number of accidents pertaining to this, with a few happening in the first year of opening.


NB: I am not saying I don't like their bouldering walls, I love them. I have tried not to express personal opinion in any of my posts, merely provoke discussion on a matter I feel is quite important and indicitive of the 'nanny society' we live in. And we've certainly had some very interesting points made on both sides of the argument.
Andy S - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: well I think it's important to ask what, if any, adverse effects this ban will have on climbing. I am struggling to think of any.

As for the benefits, I think they're right in that it might stop a death or injury one day.

Keep it in perspective, just go to their wall and use a figure-eight. If you wish, use a bowline elsewhere.

To be honest, I'm questioning why you felt it necessary to post this on here?
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Andy S:

Because it has provoked a lot of interesting discussion on the topic of health and safety in climbing, and precautions and proceedures relating to it.

I think it's important to ask what, if any, adverse effects this discussion has or will have on climbing. I am strugglign to think of any. ;)
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> (In reply to timjones)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> If you know what you're doing and what you're looking for.
>
> The same can be said for a bowline. Is the simple fact that a lot of people don't know what they're doing and what to look for regarding a bowline grounds to ban it?

Surely it's not banned because people don't know how to check it? It's banned to make their job easier and make simple safety checks easier. It's significantly easier to make quick visual checks on a figure of 8 from a distance than it is check and assess which variant of the bowline has been used.

mountain.martin - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to mountain.martin)
> The problem is your arguement is what would often be jumped on by users of these forums as "the thin end of the wedge".

As someone else said, some people need to get a sense of perspective.

No one is talking about stopping anyones fun or infringing anybodies liberties in any meaningful way. This is just one way to make a small improvement in safety.


> People are very bad about performing basic safety checks.
>

Agreed, I've been guilty on a couple of occassions. Anything that can encourage people to improve their basic safety checks should be welcomed. Do you have any ideas?

This doesn't mean walls shouldn't also ask people to use figure 8's.
Anonymous on 16 Nov 2011 - s-80-247-80-30-adsl.quikinternet.co.uk
In reply to tipsy:

The good thing with this is that now you have been told to do something specific ,and if this fails and you get injured you should be in a better position to sue the wall.
mountain.martin - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> People maybe need to get a sense of perspective here?
>
> I deal with a lot of risk assessments and industrial safety and the reason I'm so opposed to banning the use of the bowline is that doesn't solve the underlying problem: You don't ban a process to address a training or skill gap.

No it doesn't solve the underlying problem (people tieing knots incorrectly), but it does lower the likelyhood of an accident happening (less likeley for the knot to be tied incorrectly, more chancce of it being spotted, less likely to result in an accident if not spotted)

Isn't that what H & S is about?
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mountain.martin:
I'm a member of somewhere in the region of a dozen climbing walls, the sign up criteria have ranged from "Would you like to become a member?" to "Complete this written test and demonstrate you can tie in and belay effectively".

As a minimum requirement I would expect someone wanting to climb unsupervised to be able to demonstrate that they can belay safely, tie in with at least one recognised knot and be able to recognise common mistakes. For instance Harlow wall have a series of photos that you are expected to scrutinise for errors as part of a test that runs to several A4 pages.

antdav - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:
>
> There are errors that can be made leading (eg, back clipping) or, with a bit more imagination, even seconding (eg, getting carried away and unclipping the top bolt without realising) which could result in a complete ground fall.

The risks from back clipping and unclipping the top crab have been minimized as much as possible by training, floor walkers and screwgate crabs at the top of the route. Boulders think that banning the bowline is another method to reduce a risk.
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mountain.martin:
<'> Isn't that what H & S is about?

The first requirement of a H&S policy is to prevent access to a hazardous area or process to persons who can't demonstrate a documented competancy. You don't allow unsupervised access to untrained people.

Beyond that you put in procedures to mitigate risk, the problem is most walls never bother with step one which invalidates any further efforts.





ads.ukclimbing.com
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean:

This raises another point about Health and Safety concious walls.

I witnessed an incident at Boulders last year (this isn't some 'lets all attack Boulders' thing, merely that the incident in question left me quite angry).

A friend of mine from Norway, herself a competent and experience climber both outdoors and In, came over to this country to study. The first time I took her to Boulders she was required to choose from a bunch of pictures the correct way to tie in, the options being figure of 8 through belay loop, figure of 8 through tie in point, and figure of 8 clipped to crab and clipped through belay loop.

She chose the last option, crab to belay loop. Now, whilst not strictly best practice in the UK, it is a commonly used technique, one employed by members of staff at many walls including boulders when instructing large groups. Essentially, it may not be best practice, but it is not overly dangerous when done correctly, as will all methods of securing oneself.

She was failed on the spot and told out right by some well meaning lass with a CWA training weekend under her belt that she wasn't allowed to sign up as that was dangerous. I contested this stating clearly that the option she had chosen whilst not best practice wasn't dangerous and pointed out to her that in the particular circumstances given that my friend from Norway is used to tying in like this as accepted practice in Norway, should still be allowed to sign up.

She offered an outright no. I was appaled at her failure to grasp that a much more effective way of dealing with this situation would have been to explain the BMC's stance on attaching by this method and explain best practice in the UK. By offering an explanation my friend would learn, she would be able to climb, and all percieved additional danger would have been avoided.

This to me is a big problem with many outdoor and climing centres, in that their staff are themselves inexpereinced and have a list of do's and don'ts, without the knowledge of why which would allow them to apply intuition and discretion to many situations - much like tying in with a bowline.
GrahamD - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

How dangerous it is depends on whether you are leading or being dragged up on a top rope.

'Experienced' in the context of safety just means 'survived'. Whilst people who are trained might not know every permutation of equally safe ways of doing things, they are at least trained in one of them.
deepsoup - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to mountain.martin:
> No one is talking about stopping anyones fun or infringing anybodies liberties in any meaningful way. This is just one way to ...

Quite. Which is why its only the thin end of the wedge. ;o)
In reply to Anonymous:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> The good thing with this is that now you have been told to do something specific ,and if this fails and you get injured you should be in a better position to sue the wall.

I think that's bollocks.
Mark Collins - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: I agree with the ban. I'm a life long figure 8 devotee. My one and only forray into the world of bowlines in climbing resulted in me noticing the exact same failures as the climbing centre. This knot can work loose. Who cares if figure 8's are harder to undo, we're talking life and death here. That said, I don't think the trend towards increasingly shinier and thinner ropes is helping the situation.
Denni on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to tipsy)

> I also remember when Boulders was first opened and run by climbers, oh how the past seems so distant.


It is nice to see a centre making a decision in order to stop any potential accident or rather minimise the risk. The worst decison to make is no decision.

At least they have taken a stand and as it is their wall, then their rules. I can't see it making a massive impact on their attendance figures either.

As for your above statement, you're talking out of your arse.

Rob and Ollie who built the place and still run it are very accomplished climbers and to be honest probably a bit too obsessed with climbing thats why they built the wall. They are still as passionate about the wall and the climbing as they were on day one.

Also, if they weren't still as passionate about it all, then they wouldn't be arsed in making such a bold decision. It is only controversial because all the people on UKC that shout about how bad an idea it is have never been there and are too blinkered to see beyond their own opinions.

poeticshambles - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: I think it would be unfair of me to make a decision based on the merits of the knot itself, as I've not got enough experience to do so. However, I do think that climbing centres have the right to impose their own health and safety rules.
tipsy - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Denni:

I'd prefer it if people didn't use this thread to make personal attacks at other climbers for merely stating their opinion.

By all means defend boulders decision and state your case, but if you're going to judge the 'blinkered' of UKC then I would advise you to refrain from taking a 'blinkered' approach yourself and accusing others of talking our of their arse.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, especially so when set forward with well thought out points.

I realize this level of intellectual maturity can be a lot of ask of UKC but I for one have found arguments raised on both sides of this debate very interesting and it's certainly given me some points to think about - it need not stray from that.
birdie num num - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
If they banned a figure of eight, I'd use a bowline. If they banned a bowline, I'd use a figure of eight. I'm simply not bothered. I fail to see anything to be outraged about.
mkean - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Denni:
Top quality ranting, now do the sensible thing and actually read the posts.

It doesn't matter if the people debating the issue use the wall or not, those of us with responsibilities at other walls have every right to debate an issue that matters to us; guidance issued at one wall could potentially affect the investigation of accidents at another.

nniff - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

What many people seem to forget is that while they personally may be happy with what they are doing, the owner of the facilty that they are using is not, and that owner has obligations imposed upon them to which you are not exposed when you climb elsewhere.

Outside, do what you will - tie on with a round turn and two half hitches for all I care (as long as you're not climbing with me). But inside, play nicely, even if you think that the floor walker is barely competent. They have a job to do, which is to make sure that some fool doesn't fall and kill you.

Whatever, the fine detail of liability, investigations by the HSE are generally unwelcome: bad for business, bad for insurance premiums and possibly bad for the owner's freedom. Consider how you would feel if someone fell on you and broke your neck because they had tried a fangled bowline and had got it wrong. Personally, I'll do as I'm told and be grateful that someone's keeping an eye on the other idiots.
In reply to tipsy: While I don't agree with it, I can quite understand why and how it has come about.

It is easy to criticise the owners, but if you are the owner of a business and there's a fatality the pressure and stress is immense. You are faced with dealing with the emotional aspects of it, you are fearful that you will face formal legal action (including possibly prohibition), your business is disrupted during the investigation and you worry about the risk to your reputation. It is probably financially difficult, especially if you feel the need to instruct a solicitor. I suspect, but don't know, that you come under pressure from your insurers, and you worry about civil action.

In these circumstances it is easy to see why a particular aspect will be latched on to, either by the investigating officer, or by the business owners themselves, and seen as a way of mitigating future risk, real or perceived. It might not be the most rational or sensible move, but it's understandable why it's made.

Personally, I always use a bowline (and double stopper) and find it a right pain in the arse to untie a F8 after loading. I've not had a problem with it loosening. I do wonder why some walls make you do a lead climbing course with them, but none that I have been to check your belaying (other than by occasional floor walking. The most sensible position to take for walls IMO would be a reasonable competence test prior to use, and floor walking supervision. It will never remove the risk though; mistakes will always be made.
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to tipsy)
investigations by the HSE are generally unwelcome:

Agree in principle, but H&S at climbing walls is enforced by Local Authorities. This can, in some ways, make it worse as there's even more chance that the investigating officer will have little or no baseline knowledge of climbing safety issues, and will need to ask more questions and take longer investigating to satisfy themselves that formal legal action is not required. This would only add to the stress experienced by the owners.
Ben1983 - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
Ok, I generally tie in with a bowline when at the wall, single-pitch cragging and sport climbing. I use a figure 8 for anything longer - because, frankly, it can actually work loose, even when you tie a good stopper. I've got no problem if a wall wants to ban the bowline, because I find the reasoning that it makes staff more able to spot a bad knot persuasive, even if the staff are well-acquainted with the bowline.

There are a number of different ways of tieing off the bowline; the stopper might actually be the worst. The best is probably the rethreaded bowline; but this takes longer to tie. They are pretty much all 'safe' when tied correctly and not allowed to work loose, but having a longer list of 'safe' knots would make identifying a bad knot more difficult for centre staff.

The only drawback is that the bowline is a more versatile knot than the figure 8, especially when trad-climbing. New trad-climbers should probably know how to tie this knot sooner rather than later; learning to tie in with one under supervision at the wall was a way to do this.

I can see why Boulders have done this but I think it is misguided and I doubt many other walls will follow.

I have always maintained that the two part aspect of the figure of eight makes it a more dangerous knot. I don't have the figures here but I am pretty sure that there have been a reasonable number of accidents at walls due to people not completing their figure of eight - tie one 8, thread, get distracted, start climbing. This has certainly contributed to a number of accidents that I am aware of both indoors and out. A threaded figure of eight that hasn't been finished off is a completely useless knot.

With a simple bowline you only tie the one knot initially so there is less chance of you having the incorrect thought in your head that you 'have tied something' hence it is safe to start climbing. Even a simple bowline will work 99% of the time although obviously it needs to be backed up with a stopper or be an Edwards version to be a proper safe knot.

Alan
Graeme Alderson on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to JoshOvki)
> The disclaimers may be legally water tight

Disclaimers do not exist under British law

Graeme Alderson on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to timjones: The ABC has the power to impose things on it's members as following guidelines etc is a condition of membership.
In reply to Alan James - UKC: I've been to one wall where they are banned already.
jonnylowes - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

Well after wading through most posts I thought I'd have my 10p worth...

...As a person who climbs at several walls, I must admit that I'm not too fussed about one walls decision to ban a bowline. Most of the walls I use have banned the bowline anyway.

Having said that I see both sides of the argument.

As a climber then I think we should promote the use of as many different techniques as possible as not one solution fits all situations. Therefore the skill and judgement of the climber will be paramount to overcoming difficulties they encounter.

The responsibility of running a wall however, its a easy decision to make to mitigate liability isn't it? As mentioned previously a RT Fig8 is easier to spot if tied incorrectly and has better holding properties IF tied incorrectly. So if I was running the wall I'm sure that's a decision I'd take. I don't think it's that much of a burden to tie a RT fig8 every time is it?

I have used one wall where tying-in is banned completely. All the routes have a bight on the rope tied off with a fig8/stopper knot. The idea being that you just rock up to the lane, and clip into the bight with a locking crab and tie into your belay loop...now surely that's taking it too far?
Graeme Alderson on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: There have been many cases of walls being sued by climbers so I reckon your misheard or mis-understood what the BMC's Legal bod said.

The 'standard' registration form does not get you to agree to the BMC Participation Statement, it gets you to say that you have read and understood it. The form is used in court etc as evidence of knowledge of the risks involved in the activity. The form was designed as a result of various cases and was written with the advise of one of the BMC's Legal Advisors
Andy S - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: well sorry, I just don't think it's big news and is of little consequence to climbing or even discussions on health and safety. But that's just me :-) Carry on!

What would be useful he is if the ABC or BMC put together some stats on knot-related accidents at walls. My prediction is that the figure-of-eight would outstrip the bowline significantly in number of accidents count, but that is just a guess. it is a more popular knot mind, but even if the calculation was done proportionately.

If I was a wall manager then I would certainly want to know that figure before I made a decision about which knot to use.

All this may have already been done, I don't know, but it does seem to me that it would be useful and easily quantifiable information.

Alan
Graeme Alderson on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR): Yes climbers have won cases.
Graeme Alderson on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Submit to Gravity: The ABC is in a Lead Authority Partneship with the Enviro Health dept of Sheffield City Council where there is a guy with specialist knowledge. So all other local authority EHO's are supposed to contact him about climbing wall issues rather than make it up themselves. Which is good.
Graeme Alderson on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to bigballsof flamingfire)
> [...]
>
> That also allows for direct connection via crabs, can't see that happening soon, although it would stop the knotted knot.

It only allows for direct connection using krabs (2 of them in opposition or a single crab that prevents cross loading eg DMM Belay Master) for a very specific thing ie speed climbing, which is top roped.

The Figure of 8 only rule for the IFSC was introduced because it is the duty of the belayer to check the knot and whilst there are lots and lots of other knots that are perfectly safe it was deemed unreasonable to expect the belayer to know all of these knots. A correctly tied, or an incorrectly tied, Fig 8 is easily recognisable.

(I was involved with writing both of these rules when I was on the IFSC Rules Commission)

In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to Submit to Gravity) The ABC is in a Lead Authority Partneship with the Enviro Health dept of Sheffield City Council where there is a guy with specialist knowledge. So all other local authority EHO's are supposed to contact him about climbing wall issues rather than make it up themselves. Which is good.

I was aware had a sort of Lead Authority role, but I didn't know it was with ABC (not that I know what that is!)
Graeme Alderson on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Submit to Gravity: Association of British Climbing Walls, trade body with 62 walls being full members.
winhill - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
>
> What would be useful he is if the ABC or BMC put together some stats on knot-related accidents at walls. My prediction is that the figure-of-eight would outstrip the bowline significantly in number of accidents count, but that is just a guess. it is a more popular knot mind, but even if the calculation was done proportionately.

Is that information available via the ABC/BMC accident reporting database?
kilner on 16 Nov 2011
If i choose to use a bowline to tie in thats my choice. if i tie something else and it fails thats my choice/mistake its got nothing to do with boulders.

And if they are going to show examples of "good knots" maybe they should dress them properly!

At the end of the day climbing is a choice if they want to test peoples competency thats fine but to outright ban something grrr......

I will be tying my normal knot when i climb end of story.
birdie num num - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
I'm being a bit obtuse here, but a knot isn't a knot unless it is actually tied and complete. Regardless of what knot people use, there will always be accidents if those knots are not tied. It would be better if climbing walls banned untied or incomplete knots. Which is ridiculous.
A better approach would be for walls to robustly promote the practise of climbing partners checking eachothers tie in.
winhill - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to winhill)
> [That also allows for direct connection via crabs, can't see that happening soon, although it would stop the knotted knot.]
>
> It only allows for direct connection using krabs (2 of them in opposition or a single crab that prevents cross loading eg DMM Belay Master) for a very specific thing ie speed climbing, which is top roped.

I thought it might be for youth classes that are top roped, you never know what these foreign johnnies get up to, although not a bad idea if you spend time watching 7/8 year olds tie themselves in.
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC)
> [...]
>
> Is that information available via the ABC/BMC accident reporting database?

Not to the public, but then I don't think it necessarily needs to be. I would assume the Walls have access to it though and hopefully they are basing their knot decisions on this data.

Alan
In reply to birdie num num:
> I'm being a bit obtuse here, but a knot isn't a knot unless it is actually tied and complete. Regardless of what knot people use, there will always be accidents if those knots are not tied. It would be better if climbing walls banned untied or incomplete knots. Which is ridiculous.

Obviously. My point is that a badly tied bowline is a lot safer than an incomplete figure of 8 yet both occur in accidents at climbing walls.

> A better approach would be for walls to robustly promote the practise of climbing partners checking eachothers tie in.

I am sure they all try to do this anyway, but this is an additional protection, not an alternative.

Alan
1apetus - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: Ive got it. The wall should pre tie all ropes with a fig 8, then you can attach it with an autolocking carabiner to your harness. But then you would need to be supervised to ensure that you are attaching the biner to the harness correctly......

Education rather then ban. What happenend to partners checking knots?

Is it something people become blase about with experience?
Bulls Crack - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I think tying bowlines in cars should be banned.
Charlie_Zero on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
> (In reply to winhill)
> [...]
>
> Not to the public, but then I don't think it necessarily needs to be.

What is the reasoning behind keeping the details of climbing wall accident trends out of the public domain?

Seems different to the approach taken in safety conscious industries such as healthcare, the oil industry, aviation, shipping etc.
birdie num num - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
> (In reply to birdie num num)
> [...]
> I am sure they all try to do this anyway, but this is an additional protection, not an alternative.
>
> Alan

Not that I've ever seen. Easy enough to push the message home every so often in between piped music tracks. A bit like those irritating 'Mind The Gap' messages.
Oceanrower - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: CBA to read the whole thread so aplologies if this has been said previously.

But if they insist on making people use a specific knot, could they at least get that knot right themselves.

Their example is not a Double figure of eight as I understand it. It is a rethreaded figure of eight which is somewhat different.
deepsoup - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Alan James - UKC:
> I have always maintained that the two part aspect of the figure of eight makes it a more dangerous knot. I don't have the figures here but I am pretty sure that there have been a reasonable number of accidents at walls due to people not completing their figure of eight - tie one 8, thread, get distracted, start climbing. This has certainly contributed to a number of accidents that I am aware of both indoors and out. A threaded figure of eight that hasn't been finished off is a completely useless knot.

There's a poster further up the thread who's made this very mistake. I did it once too, and on one occasion my partner did. Fortunately in each of those cases their partner spotted it. The 'buddy' system in action. :o)

Whenever the bowline gets discussed there's always an underlying assumption that the fig-8 is intrinsically safer to use. I don't think I've ever seen any kind of firm evidence to back that up - I wonder if there's ever been any proper research into that. I don't think there have actually been enough knot-related accidents at climbing walls to form the basis for a meaningful statistical analysis. (Which is a good thing, obviously.)
zakmacro - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
I think it should be down to personal judgment... and personaly I wouldnt touch the bow-line with a barge-pole.

As well as its tendancy to come undone when the knot is under load, the tight bend in the rope cuts its braking strength by 80%
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:
> (In reply to tipsy)
> I think it should be down to personal judgment... and personaly I wouldnt touch the bow-line with a barge-pole.
>
> As well as its tendancy to come undone when the knot is under load, the tight bend in the rope cuts its braking strength by 80%

Who tols you that rubbish? the knot doesn't come undone when weighted nor does it make the rope 80% weaker
Oceanrower - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro: I really hope you mean when NOT under load. And what's braking got to do with it? That would be an Italian Hitch!

Oh, you mean breaking. No it doesn't.
zakmacro - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber: stewart johnson did a bunch of research and testing on it and found out that it does cut the average braking strength of your rope by 80% because of the tight bend it causes....
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro: are you sure it didn't mean it reduces the stregth of the rope by 20% thus 80% of its strength remains?

if you reduce the stregth of the rope by 80% on 25Kn breaking strength leaves just 5Kn left! and I know I have never broken my rope by falling on it with a bowline

can you provide a link to the research?
Oceanrower - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:
> (In reply to highclimber) stewart johnson did a bunch of research and testing on it and found out that it does cut the average braking strength of your rope by 80% because of the tight bend it causes....

Who? Most research suggest I've found suggests between 25% and 36% are you sure you don't mean TO 80% otherwise I would have to suggest you are talking bollocks!

P.s. Have you seen the tight bend in a figure of eight?

P.P.s. at the risk of repeating myself, it really is breaking!
andyathome - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:
I think you may have 'misheard'. The breaking strength of a rope may be reduced to around 80% of its nominal strength by having a knot tied in it? True.

A rope is weakened by 80% by having a bowline or fig 8 knot tied into it? Bolleaux
zakmacro - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber:
Trawlling through the internet now! :) The testing was done by Stuart Johnston and tony powle a few years ago for the MRC
John W - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:
> (In reply to highclimber) stewart johnson did a bunch of research and testing on it and found out that it does cut the average braking strength of your rope by 80% because of the tight bend it causes....

And my c@ck's a kipper!

zakmacro - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Oceanrower: I made a spelling mistake, get over it
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Oceanrower:
> (In reply to zakmacro)
> [...]
>
> Who? Most research suggest I've found suggests between 25% and 36% are you sure you don't mean TO 80% otherwise I would have to suggest you are talking bollocks!
>
> P.s. Have you seen the tight bend in a figure of eight?
>
> P.P.s. at the risk of repeating myself, it really is breaking!

I think he must have mis-heard as 80% of 25kn is 5kn, much too low for it to be correct!
John W - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:

It's not the spelling that's the problem - it's the fact that it's patently nonsense.
Jordon Fleming - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: there has been 2 accidents with bowlines being tied incorectly and they have been banned from this center but i garantee more injurys have happened from indoor bouldering so when are they goin to ban tht ?
Oceanrower - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro: Please post a link when (if) you find it. I suspect you are out by about 60%
timjones - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to timjones) The ABC has the power to impose things on it's members as following guidelines etc is a condition of membership.

Of course they can impose things on their mebers but is it compulsory for walls to be members of the ABC?
muppetfilter - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber: Look at page 19 of this document and it shows the relative strengths of the knots in question. You will notice the bowline is significantly weaker, the forces involved however can never be delivered in climbing .

I personaly believe in useing the most apropriate knot, that is the figure of 8. The bowline has its place , however it isnt as a conecting knot because of its vulnerability when loaded and unloaded if loosly tied.

This said a decent routine of CHECKING KNOTS, BELAY DEVICE and HARNESS BUCKLE is by far more pertinent and important than knot semantics.
muppetfilter - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to muppetfilter: I forgot to add this... sorry

http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/crr_pdf/2001/crr01364.pdf
Oceanrower - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> The bowline has its place , however it isnt as a conecting knot because of its vulnerability when loaded and unloaded if loosly tied.
>
Err, then either don't tie it loosely (would you not dress a figure of eight too?) or re-thread it (also like a f8)
muppetfilter - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Oceanrower: Or simply choose to use a better knot... Then again you dont have to wash you hands after takeing a piss or look both ways when crossing the road.
Thats the beauty of choice in life, you are free to make poor ones if you want...
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:
"This knot [bowline] showed the greatest variation in strength between the different ropes, 55% to 74%."

http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/crr_pdf/2001/crr01364.pdf

section 3.3.6 page 15.
Paul035 - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Oceanrower:

> But if they insist on making people use a specific knot, could they at least get that knot right themselves.
>
> Their example is not a Double figure of eight as I understand it. It is a rethreaded figure of eight which is somewhat different.

This was my first thought. Its a re-roved (re-threaded) figure of 8 they mean, a double figure of 8 would be tied on the bight and leave you a couple of loops to tie into.

Seems strange on what is obviously an important safety message from the centre that they provide the wrong name of knot for what they are after!!
ads.ukclimbing.com
ashley1_scott - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:

No knot 100%
Figure-8 Follow-Through 75-80%
Bowline 70-75%
Double Fisherman’s 65-70%
Water Knot 60-70%
Clove Hitch 60-65%

I choose to tie either a bowline or Figure 8, depending on how long a am likely to be on the route and if I expect that I am going to take a fall. ie. Big fall on a Figure 8 no matter how well dressed the knot, takes me upto 10 minutes to untie. Where as on a Bowline I can get undone in a couple. Note that when I tie a Bowline I use a double stopper knot
Andy Long - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to ashley1_scott:
> (In reply to zakmacro)
>
> No knot 100%
> Figure-8 Follow-Through 75-80%
> Bowline 70-75%
> Double Fisherman’s 65-70%
> Water Knot 60-70%
> Clove Hitch 60-65%
>
> I choose to tie either a bowline or Figure 8, depending on how long a am likely to be on the route and if I expect that I am going to take a fall. ie. Big fall on a Figure 8 no matter how well dressed the knot, takes me upto 10 minutes to untie. Where as on a Bowline I can get undone in a couple. Note that when I tie a Bowline I use a double stopper knot

I'd be interested to see the figure for an Edwards bowline. The free end passing through the trapping loop increases the minimum radius of the loop's turn. This being the most highly stressed point in the knot, I suspect that the weakening effect would be lessened.

I teach the F-o-8 to beginners. It's a beginner's knot, easy to learn and to check. I'm not a beginner, I've thought about my knots, so I use a locked bowline which doesn't need a stopper knot. Unlike internal locks, stoppers are never loaded so will easily work undone.
Mr Moac on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: Bowline or FO8. A knot is not a knot if its not tied correctly.Both are good safe knots I have been using and falling on both for over 40 years, neither has ever failed or become untied. This is another case of an Elf + Safety over reaction. I would vote with my feet and go elsewhere
jkarran - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to zakmacro:

> As well as its tendancy to come undone when the knot is under load, the tight bend in the rope cuts its braking strength by 80%

Evidence?
jk
highclimber - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to zakmacro)
>
> [...]
>
> Evidence?
> jk

Muppetfilter provided us with evidence above, indicating zakmacro has blatantly mis-heard/read the evidence.
trimtram - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
can't a fig.8 be tied incorrectly to form an unsafe knot?
'bring back the bowline on the bight'
needvert on 17 Nov 2011
In the gyms in my country you have to wear a shirt, safety and hygiene issues have been cited to me. It pisses me off.

- Apparently someone got dropped because their belayer was perving on someone else with no shirt. Ok. Ban hot women in tight clothing then.

- Hygiene...Well that's just bullshit. The blood on the walls are from peoples knees and elbows. Not grazed nipples.

Also at the gym I go to you're not allowed grigris or any other autolocking devices, and you must tie in with a FoE with a backup.

Oh, and they keep telling me off for taking off my climbing shoes when I'm not climbing. Apparently standing around in bare feet is risky.
hang 'em high - on 17 Nov 2011
I'm not sure that the type of knot I have to tie would ever influence my choice of which climbing wall I visit.

toad - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to hang 'em high: I'm guessing your preferred knot has 13 coils.
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to needvert:

This is quite a good illustration of why I dislike this bowline issue so much. Ultimately a knot is a knot - that is not (excuse the pun) the problem.

The problem is that its basically a test case for whether it's OK to continue turning climbing in to some sanitised activity where nobody is expected to be able to think for themselves much like you've described.

If you can't tie a bowline to your own satisfaction then don't use one, but don't project your choices on to everyone else.
stuartholmes - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: as some post have hinted at if a bowline is tied incorrectly, it is not a bowline. The same for a fig of 8 if you tie it wrong it isn't the knot. lots of people make this mistake. NICAS have this in the sylabus so will this mean the wall wont teach this.
JimboWizbo - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
If I ran a climbing center and heard reports of deaths due to incorrect Bowlines, I'd be tempted to do the same.
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to JimboWizbo:

If I was prone to panic over liability based on vague reports I'd be tempted not to run a climbing centre.
chrisbaggy - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to JimboWizbo:
> (In reply to tipsy)
> If I ran a climbing center and heard reports of deaths due to incorrect Bowlines, I'd be tempted to do the same.

If its an incorrect bowline then it is NOT a bowline! it is an incorrectly tied KNOT!
griffen - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
Ultimately walls will do what walls will do and there are usually very good reasons behind them imposing certain things, sometimes its common sense other times its on the recommendation of their technical advisor.

But please don't give us poor floor-walkers a hard time:
yes what you're doing might be safe, please dont assume i dont understand the safety of your system i probably do. Standing there arguing with me when i ask you to abide by our code of practice and conditions of use is not going to make me change my mind about doing my job properly. Some floorwalkers who ask you not to do that thing you're doing are inexperienced but a lot of us know what we're doing, understand what you're doing and are going to approach you anyway.
Be nice please.
mattrm - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I can see why they've done it, they're with in their rights to do so. I strongly doubt it'll stop accidents/fatalities at climbing walls, but there we go. Guess I'd go for 'while I do live locally, I rarely climb indoors, I don't use a bowline anyway, so don't give a monkeys'. I can see it being annoying for people who take lots of falls at climbing walls however.

As an aside, I'm never a big fan of 'you must do things by method X as everything else is unsafe and it'll kill you'. There's always lots of ways to do things and they're all (generally) as safe as each other, when done correctly.
Matt Vigg - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Monk:

Similar in walls in Australia I've been in, except every rope has two screwgates and 95% of the routes there had to be top roped! Perhaps this is the obvious next step for Boulders... I suspect the real problem here though is them sweating about the regulations and insurance they have to consider in order to run a wall at all.
Bulls Crack - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to chrisbaggy:
> (In reply to JimboWizbo)
> [...]
>
> If its an incorrect bowline then it is NOT a bowline! it is an incorrectly tied KNOT!


No it's not (aha) how can you have an incorrectly tied knot? It would just be another knot. Much clearer to say its an incorrectly tied bowline.
GrahamD - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:
> (In reply to needvert)

> The problem is that its basically a test case for whether it's OK to continue turning climbing in to some sanitised activity where nobody is expected to be able to think for themselves much like you've described.

Don't confuse climbing at an artificial and already regulated climbing wall with climbing in general. There is no way that the freedom available from climbing outside is ever going to translate to freedoms inside a commercial gym.
GrahamD - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Bulls Crack:

There are an infinite number of ways to mistie any knot. You can't tell from a non knot what it was supposed to have been. It could have just as easily been a mistied granny knot.
elsewhere on 17 Nov 2011
A bowline is not unsafe, but a bowline seems to be much less tolerant of human error if the majority of fatalities are associated with a less commonly used knot.
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:

Hang on, how did we get to the 'majority of fatalities' being associated with a bowline (I presume that's the knot you refer to)?

It started off as a couple of reports that an incorrectly tied bowline MAY have been involved in accidents at the top of this thread!
elsewhere on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:
Recent fatalities possibly associated with bowline - two
Recent fatalities possibly associated with figure of eight - zero

Hence my tentative statement "a bowline seems to be much less tolerant of human error if the majority of fatalities are associated with a less commonly used knot".
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:

> Don't confuse climbing at an artificial and already regulated climbing wall with climbing in general. There is no way that the freedom available from climbing outside is ever going to translate to freedoms inside a commercial gym.

The current regulations that you sign up to at every wall I've been to say that you have to use a 'suitable climbing knot' and that you are responsible for your own safety. That is more restrictive than outdoors (where you are free to tie on with a granny knot if you wish!) but nobody's objecting to it because it's a sensible way to encourage safe practice. This next step of specifying the One True Best Practice is what irritates people.

Running outdoors and running in a gym are two separate activities, but if the gym started telling you which running shoes to wear because they're worried about you hurting yourself you'd expect people to object.
winhill - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:
> (In reply to GrahamD)

> This next step of specifying the One True Best Practice is what irritates people.

Yes, the idea, stated in this thread, that Best Practice means the Single Safest Option is extremely irritating, not least because it isn't Best Practice!
GrahamD - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:

I'm pretty sure that a gym with a running machine WILL put restrictions on what footwear is acceptable (no outside shoes, usually). Ditto I suspect that many gyms will insist on shirts being worn.
Bulls Crack - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:

Infinite? How long is a piece of string?

But whatever - its mis-tied bowlines we're talking about.
birdie num num - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
This whole debate is just going round in figure of eights now.
fireman_al - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: "In the past year, there have been two tragic deaths at UK climbing walls. After preliminary investigations, it has been suggested that both of these climbers were using the bowline knot and failed to complete the knot with a stopper knot. These incidents amongst other topics are currently under review by the bodies that regulate our sport."

I think the suspected lack of a stopper was the pertinent point AND i wonder what the "other topics" includes???
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to GrahamD:

"I'm pretty sure that a gym with a running machine WILL put restrictions on what footwear is acceptable (no outside shoes, usually). Ditto I suspect that many gyms will insist on shirts being worn."

Well, my comment was within the context of restricting shoe choice in a safety basis. If you want to expand it to hygiene/cleanliness related concerns then that's roughly analogous to climbing walls restricting the use of loose chalk, which most do, and again which nobody objects to.
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to fireman_al:

On a slight tangent, is a normal bowline WITHOUT a stopper knot actually a valid knot in any context? We know it's not used in climbing, atleast by those who want to remain attached to the rope, but is it used in any other situation?
birdie num num - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:
A bowline is extensively used at sea as a method of tying a loop in a rope's end that will not slip. Generally used on a boatswains chair for working aloft or over the side. Used also as a method of tying a quick eye in a ship's mooring rope if it has parted.
Simon Caldwell - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:
> Recent fatalities possibly associated with bowline - two
> Recent fatalities possibly associated with figure of eight - zero

How many fatalities not associated with either? How many non-fatal accidents? How many climbers who don't have any accidents?

I don't know the answers to any of these but suspect that the last of the figures is large enough that 0 and 2 are effectively the same number.
GrahamD - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:

You can argue that if you like. I think you will find that a risk assesment of a climbing wall will, I'm sure, reveal far more life threatening potential than at a normal gym and so the level of procedure applied is expected to be correspondingly higher, however.
GrahamD - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Toreador:

To a certain extent, its academic, the safety record. A risk assesment needs to focus on potential fatalities. We don't want fatalities to occur before we put the safety measures in place.
elsewhere on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Toreador:
Fatalities are so rare that I suspect those two fatalities are all of the fatalities.
Non-fatal accidents - no idea but almost certainly a far greater number.

Fatalities possibly linked to bowline: 2 per x million visits to climbing wall.
Fatalities possibly linked to figure of 8: less than 1 per X million visits to climbing wall.
The sample sizes x and X are both large and I estimate (ie guess) X is much bigger than x.
Fig 8 usage is far more common but seems to be associated with fewer fatalities.
elsewhere on 17 Nov 2011
Let's take the climbing out of it to summarise my thinking.

Airline A, many flights, only 2 crashes.

Airline B, many more flights, no crashes.

Who do I fly with?
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:

Which one goes where you want to go when you want to go there? How much does it cost?

Maybe there are other factors that are relevant other than the difference between 0.0000001% and 0.0000002%

(Deliberately not putting 0% in on the 'fig 8' side of the equation here, as I am extremely sceptical that there has never been an accident as a result of someone tying one incorrectly)
mullermn - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:

I've just noticed this discussion is at 220ish posts, 5200 thread views and this hasn't descended in to name calling and hysteria. Have I logged on to the wrong website?
mkean - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:
I've just noticed this discussion is at 220ish posts, 5200 thread views and this hasn't descended in to name calling and hysteria. Have I logged on to the wrong website?

You missed a brief bit further up, you wally :-)
Ava Adore - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:

How ridiculous of you to notice. Fool.


;-)
elsewhere on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to mullermn:
Two otherwise identical airlines just like two interchangable knots that do the same job.

I'd be amazed if figure of 8 users are immune to human error. My suspicion is that the symmetrical shape of fig 8 means mistakes are more likely to be spotted and that a miss-tied Fig 8 is more likely to hold.
JoshOvki on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:

Airline A. Airline B is up for a crash next as Airline A has had two. Bit like heads or tales. If I get two heads in a row, always swap to tales. :)
kfv - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: The FO8 is simply easier to spot when tied wrong.

Working at a climbing wall last weekend i stopped a climber from going up the wall after he had not tied his figure of eight properly. I spotted this from the abseil tower 8m above him and about 15m from where he was climbing. There is no way i could have done this with a bowline (yes i can tie one).
Howard J - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: One of the drawbacks of this ban is that it fosters the idea that the bowline is unsafe. We've seen one young climber on here who's stated categorically that he would never use a bowline. That's not necessary, and it removes a very useful knot from the repertoire.

If you've ever been gripped and had someone lower you a rope without first tying a knot in it (as happened to me), you'll be very glad to know how to tie a bowline one-handed!

I usually use a bowline at the wall, because it's quicker to tie and easier to untie, especially when it's been loaded. Perhaps having started out with just a bowline around the waist I have more confidence in it than some. Yes, if you tie it incorrectly you may die, but if you do a lot of things in climbing incorrectly you may die - including tying a fig-8 incorrectly.

highclimber - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Howard J:
> (In reply to tipsy) We've seen one young climber on here who's stated categorically that he would never use a bowline.
>

To be fair, I think that more due to his inability to understand thedifference between 'reducing the strength by' and 'reducing the strength to' and not through the ban at Boulders.
John W - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to highclimber:

The problem is that (for some reason I've yet to fully understand) rumour, half-truth and misunderstanding seems to travel further and faster and hold more credence than truth and fact. Hence the blatant b@llshit we hear about the "unsafe" nature of the bowline, which in turn leads to the "if you use it you will die" mantra, usually (but not always) spouted by the young and / or inexperienced.
gary.barr on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
> Before I start I'd like to state the is not the place for discussion, guesswork, criticism, condolences, or anything else related to the incidents mentioned.
>
> Now, a well known welsh climbing centre has just sent out an email effectively banning the use of the bowline knot in their centre.
>
> See below:
> http://www.bouldersclimbingcentre.co.uk/news/Using-the-double-figure-8-knot-at-Boulders
>
> Is this right? What's your opinion on it? They certainly put together a good case and appear to be promoting health and safety, however on the other hand is it a bit of a cotton wool approach banning a technique that has been used and practiced for an extremely long time and could be argued is in some ways a more versatile and useful knot? Are the right or wrong to take this stance or do you simply not care?
>
> Discuss..

I simply don't care.
standard on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to gary.barr:
Congratulations
lithos on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to elsewhere:
...
>
> Who do I fly with?

depends where you want to go
elsewhere on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to lithos:
Choice of the two airlines given - who do I fly with?
gary.barr on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to standard: Thanks, I'm glad I got that one off me chest. Feel much better.
birdie num num - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to gary.barr:
How would you feel about a ban on sheepshanks at Stanage Popular?
gary.barr on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to birdie num num: mate, I'd be gutted! I'd post about my greif in this here forum!
birdie num num - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to gary.barr:
Me too. The whole thing is such a worry.
jonnylowes - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to elsewhere)
> [...]
>
> I don't know the answers to any of these but suspect that the last of the figures is large enough that 0 and 2 are effectively the same number.

B.S.

If a death of a person is preventable, then it is a death too many. At a controllable environment like a climbing wall then the wall has a duty of care to take steps that are reasonably practable i.e. control measures to reduce the residual risk to a negligible level.
Jonathan Emett - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
I got told to use a fig8 today at the quay, exeter and it annoyed me because it takes ages to undo (5 minutes after one fall) and it isn't any safer than bowline+stopper. It slightly spoiled my evening's climbing for no benefit. My bowline+stopper has never untied; never even come close to it! - I don't understand how it could if tied correctly.

If someone can tell me a good way of tying a fig8 so it doesn't jam after a fall I will be content to use it, but otherwise this is nonsense dressed up as sense.

0/lots vs 2/lots suggest there is no significance in the numerator.
Luke90 on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Jonathan Emett:
> If someone can tell me a good way of tying a fig8 so it doesn't jam after a fall I will be content to use it

I've also been climbing at the quay and getting frustrated with my slightly ratty rope which gets very jammed if I fall on it on a Figure Eight. I started tucking the free tail back through the knot which seems to make untying significantly easier. Having looked it up online this seems to be referred to as the Yosemite Finish (though Urban Dictionary has a VERY different definition of the Yosemite Finish!). I've been tying a normal fisherman's stopper knot with the free end after tucking it back through the knot. I don't think that's normal procedure with the Yosemite finish but it seems like it would make it easier to defend if I'm challenged by one of the floor-walkers because then I have actually tied a rethreaded figure of eight with a stopper knot (the stopper knot just happens to be in an unconventional location).
AlH - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Luke90: Just checked the Urban Dictionary definition of a Yosemite finish.... aye, floorwalkers will either strongly disapprove, or cheer!
Jonathan Emett - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Luke90:
thanks, that's really useful info, I'll try that out next time.
Bulls Crack - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to AlH:

I never knew one could have so much fun top-roping!
Max factor - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

I guess I would use a fig-8 if I had to indoors. But this regulation of the indoor game just takes it a step further removed from climbing outdoors. How is the burgeoning population of indoor climbers ever going to make the transition to outdoors, and all the judgement calls and compromises that entails, if they are not even allowed to make their mind up over something so simple as what knot to tie in with?
HB1 - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Jonathan Emett: I've been using what I know as the figure-of-nine for many years. I just thread the rope-end back through the knot. There's no need to add a stopper knot, and it does ease the undoing of the whole at the end (even when - and I don't often - fallen on)
JoshOvki on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to HB1:

You wouldn't be able to use that at Boulders if you where to climb there, or the figure of 8 with a yosemite finish.
Richard Wilson - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to HB1:

Fig of 9 has an extra twist in it not a second rethread. I guess your knot is a rethreaded rethreaded fig 8.
Andy Long - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Max factor:
I agree. Judging by the numerous plaintive threads along the lines of "we're thinking of trying to go outdoors/trad/multipitch" (take your pick), climbing walls have a lot to answer for, even though they're such a wonderful training aid. I'm concerned that the legalistic mindset may start to influence our freedoms in normal climbing.
kilner on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Andy Long:
I dont understand how they justify that using one knot over another is safer.
For the purpose of tying in, there is no relevent safty advantage of a correctly tied bowline or a FO8 both are more than strong enough! so we can do away with that argument for a start.

Being able to spot an incorrectly tied knot. really?? unless its a group under supervision where instructors/floorwalkers are inspecting the knots its not going to happen i can tie a knot that looks like a fo8 with a stopper and it wouldnt hold a tea bag but looks the part. surely if the dreaded bowline is as dangerous as we are led to believe then this knot would need a more rigouroues inspection.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

GrahamD - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to kilner:

Yes, really. People get very blase at climbing walls because of the apparently safe nature of the place.

I know people who have forgotten to clip into automatic belay devices and just jumping off the top of the wall (a few painful weeks in hospital for her with chipped vertebrae)

Personally I have set off up routes after walming up on top ropes and simply forgetting to clip.

Don't underestimate how dangerous environment it is and how easy it is for even died in the wool old crusties to have concentration lapses.
elsewhere on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to kilner:
The issue is almost certainly not correctly tied knots which are strong enough. The issue is more likely to be some form of human error. It may be that the Fo8 is forgiving of human error because it may be more fault tolerant when the knot is not quite right.

Competent climbers & belayers will be spotting most of their own mistakes before the staff spot anything. A bad Fo8 may be easier to spot.

The weak non-teabag holding Fo8 knots you describe do not seem to be a happening.

Since many times more people use Fo8 indoors if the knots were equally safe we'd expect fatalities amongst Fo8 users before we see any fatalities amongst bowline users.





Stuart William - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: The worrying thing is the number of people who say that as instructors they would not teach people the knot. So if instructors and climbing centres won't teach it then a novice who has heard of the potential benefits of a bowline and wants to try it out has no option but to teach themselves, probably using dubious internet sources, and then there is obviously an even greater chance of it all going horribly wrong since there is no-one willing to help them out. People say "they don't want the responsibility" if it goes wrong but in doing so surely you are partly responsible for letting them try and fail on their own instead of carefully teaching them all you can about how to tie it and the potential pitfalls. As long as you teach them well it is not your responsibility if they get hurt because they did not listen properly. Give people the necessary information and then it is up to them to decide if they feel confident using it. If you give them no information they will try anyway without knowing the dangers.
In reply to tipsy: I think given that these accidents seem to all share the common cause of human error, buddy checking should be encouraged to prevent people setting-off on a route incorrectly tied-in, or with harness worn incorrectly etc. I think Num Num suggested it further up the thread and it's a logical conclusion.
Phantom35 - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:
The centre I work at we allow both knots. however for our safety test you must use a figure of 8 and in any of our sessions you must use it as well because some of our instructors may not recognise it (just to add i do recognise it).
Also every beginners course I have ever seen teaches the figure of 8 know. why because it is a lot easier to spot if you get it wrong and also it is a safe knot and one of the easiest to tie in with.
Whilst the complete ban is a little harsh I can understand why as if you have accidents on your wall you get a bad reputation even if its not your fault and the climbers. The wall is entititled to take what ever measures it feels nesscary, as at the end of the day its their wall.
Dnmn - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to chris wyatt: Great post Chris. And a really good point! We can all learn from examining our own mistakes and near misses.

Using another set of eyes to check your harness/knots/belay plate and everything else in the safety chain before climbing, might be worthwhile practice for all to adopt.
Dnmn - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to gary.barr:
> (In reply to tipsy)
> [...]
>
> I simply don't care.

now now!

;-)
Howard J - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: I'm not a lawyer, and no doubt the walls have taken legal advice, but one thing puzzles me. Climbing walls make it very clear that to climb unsupervised you have to register to say you're competent. The usual conditions go on to say that "unsupervised means just that". So why do they then go around supervising people? It's one thing making sure that people are obeying the rules of the wall, but if they take it upon themselves to check knots, after making it very clear that you're responsible for yourself, aren't they adding to their duty of care, and potential liability?

Richard Wilson - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to Howard J:

So that you dont hurt a third party as they could be liable. Hurt yourself no problem hurt others & it gets costly. You might not have insurance so they have to have it.
wushu - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to Howard J:

It's because people regularly flout the walls rules and then take in a novice with them, whom they teach to belay while they're climbing up the wall, which could end badly if the 'novice' belayer makes a mistake. I think they also do it to keep an up to date incident record, showing they have measures in place to prevent them. Such as floor walking.
Howard J - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: Checking that people behave and observe the rules is one thing. Checking how they are climbing is something else.

The deal at a wall is, "You've told us, in writing, that you're competent. We've told you, in writing, that we're not going to supervise you. Unsupervised means just that. If you do something incompetent, don't rely on us to stop you". That seems clear enough. If despite this they then go around checking climbers' knots, they're undermining this - they're supervising.

If in fact they're going to supervise me, and I fail to tie my knot correctly, what's then to stop me claiming that the floorwalker should have stopped me?
JoshOvki on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to Howard J:

If that is what you where building a case around, you wouldn't have much of a case.

"Oh but their was someone their that should have spotted it"
"Like you?"
"Umm, No"
"Your belayer?"
"Well I guess, but no"
"Who then?"
"The person that works their who is talking to someone else"

Don't be a fool
RachelP - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: yes it is a bit cotton wool, but then there are a lot of wooly climbers out there who "teach" themselves and then end up making the rest of us look bad when they fluff it up and get killed.

If I'm with a group, i tie in with an 8, if i'm out with my mates I use a bowline.

I can sort of see where they are coming from, but its crap for those of us that can.

Begs the question of should gri-gri's be banned - i heard a couple of people i know, both mountain guides had a bit of a mistake at the wall, one dropped the other cos they werent concentrating...
Howard J - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: If the wall is employing someone whose job (or part of it) is to check knots, then why wouldn't they be at least partly responsible? Of course the climber and belayer carry the main responsibility, but by checking some knots the wall is assuming a duty of care. If they've checked one climber's knot, why not the knot of the climber next to them?

Obviously it would be impossible and impractical for them to check everyone, so why are they doing it at all, and not relying on their original statement, which says "You're a competent climber, it's up to you to get it right"?
Howard J - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy: What will they do when someone decks because they forgot to rethread their fig 8? It's a common enough mistake, so it's only a matter of time.
John5 - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

For what its worth, I dont know of a single indoor wall (in canada, mind you) that allows the use of a bowline. Figure 8's all around.

Mind you, somethings here do tend to be over regulated.
rasilon - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to Howard J:
What will they do when someone decks because they forgot to rethread their fig 8? It's a common enough mistake, so it's only a matter of time.

That time was long ago. The HSE's AALA pages present two fatality case studies; that appears to be one of them - getting distracted between threading the harness and rethreading the knot and failing to notice until the rope comes out at the top. (The other is a Grigri threaded backwards.) The HSE's recommendation in both cases is basically the buddy system as discussed above.

With regard to other people's points about liability, I'm not a lawyer etc., but this is my interpretation; it's possible to commit a health and safety offense by failing to mitigate against an accident that you're not liable for. So climbers accept liability for the bits they are in control of. But the possibility that one or more lie about their ability or just plain screw up is something that could be foreseen, so (since you;re paying to be there) the wall management need to take reasonable (not perfect) steps to avoid.
standard on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to Howard J:

Already happened about 2 months ago.
Mattdixclimb on 20 Nov 2011 - host217-42-69-109.range217-42.btcentralplus.com
In reply to tipsy: To be honest the amount of times i've seen a bowline incorrectly tied in a climbing centre hasn't lead to more fatality's and i've told people is incorrect and told me "it'll be fine" or " I've tied it like this for ages" To be honest its quite frightening. Although i am a keen user of the bowline and i think it is no less dangerous than a rethreaded figure of 8 (if tied correctly), In my opinion and i'm hate what im going to say but i think more centres should follow suit with boulders to prevent accidents and fatality's in the future. At the end of the day i climb because i love climbing and i get fulfilment out of it. Changing the knot I use in the centre is not going to stop me using the centre.
dazwan on 20 Nov 2011
Not noticed it mentioned, but when I first learnt to climb we were taught to check each other. So basically before doing anything you'd turn to your belayer/mate/etc put your arms up and ask for a check, this way they could give your harness a once over (if not already done) and check your knot.

These days I very rarely see anyone turn to their partner and ask for a check. I know there aren't always circumstances when you can get a check but at least if we all adopted it as part of the routine it would become second nature, (basically "check... climb when ready... climbing... etc..."). I'm sure this would cut down on a few accidents of folk not tying in properly etc.
Jamie B - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to dazwan:

> Not noticed it mentioned, but when I first learnt to climb we were taught to check each other. So basically before doing anything you'd turn to your belayer/mate/etc put your arms up and ask for a check, this way they could give your harness a once over and check your knot.

I check my partner's tie-in before every climb, but somewhat less obtrusively than you're suggesting. A lot of climbers would feel, rightly or wrongly, that you were insulting their intelligence if you did it the way you've described.
muppetfilter - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to Jamie Bankhead
>
> I check my partner's tie-in before every climb, but somewhat less obtrusively than you're suggesting. A lot of climbers would feel, rightly or wrongly, that you were insulting their intelligence if you did it the way you've described.

Makeing the buddy check clear really has nothing to do with insulting intellligence and everything to do with safety.
Alkis - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to FiendishMcButton:

I wouldn't assume that a rethreaded version of the bowline will not quench tight if it goes loose. I'd guess it'd be less likely to happen with an Edwards' but I had the sheath of my slick rope singed by a Yosemite finish bowline that had worked itself slightly loose.
ads.ukclimbing.com
GrahamD - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to 2PointO:
> (In reply to tipsy) The worrying thing is the number of people who say that as instructors they would not teach people the knot. So if instructors and climbing centres won't teach it then a novice who has heard of the potential benefits of a bowline and wants to try it out has no option but to teach themselves....

Sounds familiar. Luckily they teach it in the cubs and the brownies so it can't be that hard.
ClimberMatG - on 21 Nov 2011
Not wanting to hijack this thread, but can anyone detail the "well-known" safety issues with using a bowline to tie in? After piecing together various conflicting information, myself and my regular climbing partner started using the bowline with a double stopper at the beginning of this year, as we've been pushing our sport grades and hence taking a lot of falls - we definitely get more climbing in now we spend less time undoing an impossible tight rethreaded figure-8. From people I've spoken to, there seems to be a trend among younger climbers to massively mistrust the bowline ("death knot"), based on nothing concrete, whereas more experienced climbers that use the bowline tend to have used it for years and have never had a problem with it. Apart from tying it incorrectly (as pointed out above, any knot incorrectly tied isn't going to work as it should), are there any other concrete issues with tying in using a bowline plus double stopper?
John W - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to freefallerTam:

Nope.
Bulls Crack - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

Is Bowline Ban a munro?
GrahamD - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to Bulls Crack:

I think its a traditional Celtic band
needvert on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to ClimberMatG:

I had a logically related question,

Is just the double stopper (double overhand) sufficient without any other knot?

I suspect it is, but don't have any references. Anyone know?

At any rate if it is, presuming you only thread through your harness once, and you use a double overhand as a backup, it doesn't really matter what knot you use, it'll be ok.
deepsoup - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to needvert:
> Is just the double stopper (double overhand) sufficient without any other knot?

Yes - depending on what exactly you mean by 'sufficient'.

Its generally called a 'barrel knot'. Its a slip-knot and cinches up tight under load, so it wouldn't be a good choice to tie into a harness with. But it is good for making a carabiner 'captive' on the end of a rope (like a cow-tail for example). Because it grips the carabiner securely it can help prevent it from getting cross-loaded.

> I suspect it is, but don't have any references. Anyone know?
http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/crr_pdf/2001/crr01364.pdf


> At any rate if it is, presuming you only thread through your harness once, and you use a double overhand as a backup, it doesn't really matter what knot you use, it'll be ok.

Being a slip-knot and all, on its own it might well damage the harness as it cinches up (and could be painful!). Otherwise, you might well be right - though there's no guarantee you'd ever be able to untie it after a fall.
Luke90 on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

Andy Kirkpatrick has weighed in on this issue on his blog and I think he talks a lot of sense... http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/blog/view/ban_the_bowline
birdie num num - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Luke90:
> (In reply to tipsy)
>
> Andy Kirkpatrick has weighed in on this issue on his blog and I think he talks a lot of sense... http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/blog/view/ban_the_bowline

Well, he may talk a lot of sense, but I'm afraid he begins with a nonsensical cartoon of how to tie a bowline. That is not a bowline. Perhaps somebody should tell him.

birdie num num - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Luke90:
PS. If folks start tying bowlines like that, I wouldn't be surprised if all climbing walls ban them.
a lakeland climber on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to birdie num num:

I'm assuming you mean that you'd pass the end of the rope the other way round the "tree"?

Animated knots - http://www.animatedknots.com/bowline/ show the same method as AK and calls the version with the tail on the outside the "left hand bowline". In fact four out of the first five hits for "bowline knot" show the same method as AK.

ALC
In reply to Luke90:
> Andy Kirkpatrick has weighed in on this issue on his blog and I think he talks a lot of sense... http://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/blog/view/ban_the_bowline

As I have said further up, ten years ago it was unthread Fo8's that were the danger, now it is bowlines. Forcing people to tie-on using unfamiliar knots due to a knee-jerk reaction to keep an insurance company happy, is not sound planning. It needs proper analysis backed up with good education.

Alan
Wayne.Gaudin - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to tipsy:

Try tying the knot exactly as it is in his cartoon. Then decided if you think you would want to climb on it.

I put my harness on and tried it just to be sure!

I think the first loop goes the wrong way.
rasilon - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:
I suspect he means he'd flip the loop the right way round so it doesn't fall apart when you pull on it. It looks like those instructions are deliberately wrong in a way that you need to know the knot to spot. hence the caution to try pulling on the knot at the end.
a lakeland climber on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to rasilon:

Oops! That'll teach me to look at all the drawings not just the one I thought was the problem :-)

However the advised simple tug to set the knot before tying the stopper knot will cause it to come undone so you'd know.

ALC
JoshOvki on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Tie a slipknot, poke the end through, collapse the slipknot. Tie a stopper knot. Done!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2-vBgEKMsc
a lakeland climber on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:

So how do you tie it in to the harness? BTW that looks like the marlin spike way of tying the knot.

Back to the original question.

The wall has every right to specify what procedures their clients should follow.

However, I would expect both them and any other wall that might introduce such a restriction to state this prominently on their website to let potential customers know, I'd hate to travel to a wall to be told I had to use a tie in knot that I'm not happy with.

ALC
JoshOvki on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

You thread the harness, tie the stopper knot on the longest bit of rope, then poke through with the short end.
RichieCaves - on 04 Dec 2011
There is no such thing as an unsafe knot, just a knot that is used for the wrong purpose or tied incorrectly - Both knots (bowline and FO8) have been used since the start of time with regard to mountaineering (in its' widest possible sense. Accidents are unfortunate but let us not forget that human error is the biggest cause of all accidents - a better solution would be to teach people to tie knots correctly and use the right knot for the right job.
muppetfilter - on 04 Dec 2011
In reply to RichieCaves: I would like to ask that you please bare in mind that friends and relatives of those involved in the "unfortunate accidents" post and read these forums so to even remotely point a finger of blame is unfaire.
John W - on 04 Dec 2011
In reply to muppetfilter:

Sorry, but I see no evidence whatsoever of "finger of blame" pointing in RichieCaves post.
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 04 Dec 2011
In reply to John W:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
>
> Sorry, but I see no evidence whatsoever of "finger of blame" pointing in RichieCaves post.

What he said.

r0x0r.wolfo - on 05 Dec 2011
In reply to tipsy: You can't blame an inaminate knot for an accident, only the choice to use it or the actually tying of it. So I'm saying it's their fault, attributing blame if you want so as above x2.
RichieCaves - on 11 Dec 2011
In reply to muppetfilter: Perhaps we should blame gravity! - after all without it we would not need to tie on at all - I was extremely careful not to 'point the finger' but as mentioned later you 'can't blame a knot', phrases like 'a poor work person blames their tools' (deliberately being non sexist) spring to mind. We also need to accept that accidents happen and all we can ever hope to do is reduce risk and not eliminate it (now speaking with my Health & Safety hat on). After all, mountaineering is a risky sport, pretty sure that every climbing wall gets their users when they register to sign accepting this 'risk'.
GrahamD - on 12 Dec 2011
In reply to RichieCaves:

Asking people to accept risk unfortunately (or fortunately) does NOT abdicate yourself responsibility.
Stephen R Young - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to tipsy: Teach people to tie knots before teaching them to climb
muppetfilter - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to Stephen R Young: The sad aspect of both bowline fatalities in the last year is that both were highly competent and very experienced climbers. Both have family and friends that read this forum as I pointed out earlier.
JoshOvki on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to muppetfilter:

I think the best way to stop tragic accidents like this is to check each other before climbing, rather than banning a knot. It is easy for one person to make a mistake, and checking can reduce the number of accidents.
colina - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to tipsy:
probably been discussed before but i cant see why some sort of permanent knot shouldnt be in-place at least on every insitu rope that you could clip straight onto your harness with a karabina eliminating the risk of tying a sub-standard knot by someone who may be unsure or making a silly mistake?
balmybaldwin - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to colina:

I believe (at least have been told) that this can cause weaknesses from a knot continualy loading the rope in the same place.
kevin stephens - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to colina:
Because harnesses are not made to take lead falls on the belay loop, only on ropes tied through both legllop and belt components of the harness
escalator on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to colina:
> (In reply to tipsy)
...karabina eliminating the risk of tying a sub-standard knot by someone who may be unsure or making a silly mistake?

And then making the silly mistake of not doing up the karabiner. Or it coming undone.
colina - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to balmybaldwin: fair comment,but the same could be said by continuous tying a knot on the end hundreds of times ,
maybe instead of an insitu knot make a reinforced "eye" on the end..
just a thought
colina - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to kevin stephens: yeah youre right kevin but dont see why you couldnt use a large karabiner and go through the leg and belay loop.
Sir Chasm - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to kevin stephens: Isn't it great that ukc exists so we can come on here and spout pish?
Oceanrower - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to kevin stephens:
> (In reply to colina)
> Because harnesses are not made to take lead falls on the belay loop, only on ropes tied through both legllop and belt components of the harness

Really? So if I'm belaying someone who takes a lead fall, my belay loop is not designed to hold them. You sure about that? Someone less polite that me might suggest you are talking bollocks!
kevin stephens - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to Oceanrower:
No, only that you can't read!

It's the leader's harness that has to absorb the dynamic energy of the fall and distribute the forces to the waist and thighs, hence the need for the leader to tie on to the rope. These factors don't apply to the "belayer" who of course can use the "belay" loop for "belaying". I could carry on but maybe you should read the user instructions for a whole range of harness manufacturers that are availableon the internet



needvert on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to kevin stephens:

Looking at the one-pager of UIAA-105/EN-12277, I notice in the sit harness diagram depicting the requirement to hold 15kN, the rope is tied to the belay loop.

From that I would infer they are designed to take loads in excess of even an extreme lead fall, on the belay loop (which itself is often rated at 25kN).

But naturally we'll have to wait for someone who actually makes harnesses to comment!
kevin stephens - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to needvert: It's not about the strength of the belay loop, but reducing shock to the human body, which is rated much less than 25kN
Oceanrower - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to kevin stephens: A quick trawl through the internet. Wild Country and Petzl recommend through the leg/waist loops, yes, but at no point say you can't use the belay loop. Edelrid recommends both methods. All state that the belay loop is the strongest part of the harness.

And Newton had something to say about equal and opposite reaction.
GrahamD - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to Oceanrower:

Its all rather irrelevent to a climbing wall top roping scenario in any case.
Oceanrower - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to kevin stephens:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
>
> It's the leader's harness that has to absorb the dynamic energy of the fall and distribute the forces to the waist and thighs, hence the need for the leader to tie on to the rope.

I think you'll find that the belay loop goes through the waist and leg loops. Therefore, in terms of distributing the weight, there is no difference. The weight will either be spread by the belay loop or the loop in the rope.

Oceanrower - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to GrahamD: This is true. Maybe a separate thread.
elsewhere on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to kevin stephens:
The nylon tape of a harness is static and a harness is static. Its role is not to absorb or distrubute energy. Its role is to distribute the force in the rope to the legs & waist.
The rope is the dynamic element that absorbs energy.
54ms - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to colina:
> (In reply to kevin stephens) yeah youre right kevin but dont see why you couldnt use a large karabiner and go through the leg and belay loop.

It would have to be huge to avoid cross loading the thing!
dan - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to tipsy: Ive worked at at a wall that originally only the fig 8 was allowed for the reasons stated above, then we relaxed the rules to use bowlines (i use one) as so many people complained. When teaching only a fig 8 was shown though, as that was the recommend knot to tie in with.

Myself, I will tie in with what ever the wall states.

At the end of the day the wall management can do whatever they want to cover their arses but it wont stop someone cocking up.

There is only 1 reason why a bowline comes undone and that's user error, if its tied correctly with a stopper and sinched up tight it, under normal climbing conditions wont come undone.
Over the last 25 years and thousands of routes I`ve never had one come loose, even using one to make my foot loop on my SRT kit and that gets dragged through rocks, water, mud all kinds thats never come loose as its tied correctly!

If you tie it wrong you will hit the deck though, where as with a fig 8 there can be all manner of cockups when you tie it and chances are it wont work loose.
RichieCaves - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to dan: At last someone after my own heart, if we ban a bowline after an accident do we do the same with a FO8 when there is an accident with that knot (there probably already has been one)? If we are not careful we will run out of knots - this situation is rapidly going down the 'banning door mats as they are a trip hazard' or the 'safety goggles to play conkers' route, decisions like these give Health & Safety a bad name, and worse of all do nothing to enhance safety or control risk.
RichieCaves - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to GrahamD: It also does not abdicate the wall either, a wall has a duty of care to their users and they cannot discharge that duty by someone simply signing a piece of paper. Check, check and double check all knots is the only way to go:)
GrahamD - on 13 Dec 2011
In reply to RichieCaves:

As part of that duty of care, therefore, it makes sense for them to insist on procedures that they feel happy monitoring. If they are not happy monitoring for correctly tied bowlines, then it makes sense for them to insist on using FO8s.

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