/ Awesome walls accident

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BCT on 14 Oct 2013
Was anyone else at Sheffield Awesome Walls Sunday? Just wondering if the guy was ok who had a bit of a tumble, and if anyone knows what happened exactly?
I was the other side of the room tying on and heard the yelp and looked around and the guy was on his back, his rope clipped in about 4/5 clips up; looked like he decked it.
Anyway the staff were instant in their care and gave immediate first aid, I was really impressed by their response rate and the fact that other climbers left them pretty much to it without making a scene. I just hope the guy was ok so if anyone knows anything!....
GuitarGenius92 on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: Hello, I am with his university climbing club. He was rushed to hospital and had a few scans and was kept over night. I also know that he could move his hands and his feet but was in some discomfort.
There is probably some more up to date information and we'll post it here when it filters through.

We were all really impressed with the response of the staff at Awesome walls and the paramedics.

Thank you for your concern.
Turbo tommy - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

How did he manage to deck out with the 4/5th clip in? Did the belayer drop him?
BCT on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to GuitarGenius92: Cheers for the update please do let us know how he got on.
BCT on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Turbo tommy: No idea what happened, hoping someone could shed some more light on it
andyathome - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Turbo tommy:
> (In reply to Beth-Cath-T)
>
> How did he manage to deck out with the 4/5th clip in? Did the belayer drop him?

You can hit the ground from the 4th bolt in many walls. If you miss the 5th bolt clip it can be equally dodgy.

You would need to be there to comment on the belaying. I wasn't; you weren't.

Kieran_John - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: I saw an ambulance coming up the hill on Sunday as I was leaving, glad to hear that they're (in the grand scheme of things) ok.
Robert Durran - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to andyathome:
>
> You can hit the ground from the 4th bolt in many walls.

You can hit the ground from any bolt if the belaying is bad enough. With good belaying you will only hit the ground from below the first bolt (and maybe from between the first and second if you clip too early).
johncoxmysteriously - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to andyathome:

I'm not sure you need to have been anywhere much to say that if you deck out having clipped the 4th bolt a certain amount of operator error somewhere along the line must have been involved.

Not that speculation about precisely what o.e. would be useful, I agree.

jcm
Offwidth - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Turbo tommy:

What has happened is that the psychic power of all the world's rubber neckers has reached such an anti-karmic pressure that accidents are being hypnotically willed to feed their needs. When 6th bolt deck-outs start to become common maybe the government will take action?

In the meantime I'm sending my best wishes and am hoping the injuries really are minor.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: Hope he's okay, seen a few deck outs from fairly high up. Two at mcc. Usually just the belayer giving too much slack with someone above the bolt then just decking on rope stretch. At the fourth bolt there has been too much slack given, or a failure to hold the rope, accidents happen. I know awesome walls, pretty typical and safe bolting. Obviously these incidents vary in severity but I hope he and the belayer are fine, if a little shaken up.
Duncan P - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

I rarely comment on accidents etc. but felt your post needed a little input.

Without criticising your comments and to raise awareness to those that may skim read and not think any better;

Taking out all the other factors of bad belaying, stance, route etc. etc. the climber themselves can cause decking out much higher than the second clip indoors purely by clipping from less than desirable positions (in relation to the quickdraw being clipped).

Many trainers use this as an illustration either for staff going on to teach lead climbing indoors and if necessary a dumbed down version for clients to show the same result. This result is that at many walls (obviously dependent on clip location) it is still possible to have a ground fall from the 4th clip despite competent belaying. The issue is that climbers may be clipping above them as mentioned in previous posts which causes a lot more rope in the system when still fairly close to the ground. A rule of thumb i tend to stick to for indoors is clipping at waist height until at least the 4th bolt. This then reduces how much rope is in the system and will reduce the fall distance. Once you take into account slack from the belayer to allow for clipping, movement of the belayer when force applied, and (if applicable) poor belaying; there may not even be tension on the rope before the climber hits the ground.

I am pointing this out as it is something that is seen regularly in walls and picked up on regularly by wall staff. Those that are less experienced with lead climbing indoors or hanging on to bad practice can unknowingly end up in this situation with higher, necessary risk of a ground fall.

Happy and safe climbing...
CarolineMc - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

/ / / What Duncan said.
| | |

Next time you are at a wall, clip the fourth and climb down from the fifth clip (with enough slack to have clipped it) then take into account a bit of momentum and stretch and see where you end up...

With a bit of give and a sure but dynamic belayer you'll be surprised.

CO:
GeoffRadcliffe - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: I spoke to someone last night who were next to the climbers involved when the incident happened. They told me that the climber was being lowered off and the belayer lost control of the rope and burnt their hands.
Ramblin dave - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Duncan P:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> Many trainers use this as an illustration either for staff going on to teach lead climbing indoors and if necessary a dumbed down version for clients to show the same result. This result is that at many walls (obviously dependent on clip location) it is still possible to have a ground fall from the 4th clip despite competent belaying. The issue is that climbers may be clipping above them as mentioned in previous posts which causes a lot more rope in the system when still fairly close to the ground. A rule of thumb i tend to stick to for indoors is clipping at waist height until at least the 4th bolt. This then reduces how much rope is in the system and will reduce the fall distance.

Pedantry: the fall distance is the same (apart from a slight increase in rope stretch because of there being more rope out to stretch) but you start lower and hence end up lower and hence are more likely to deck.

No argument otherwise, though.

Kieran_John - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Duncan P:

I'm probably being REALLY dumb here and expect to be well and truly schooled but if I fall from the two situations below:

a) I'm well below the bolt, take a fair bit of rope out and stretch to clip in, and fall.
b) I decide to climb up to waist height instead, go to clip in and fall.

I imagine I'd fall a pretty similar distance. By and large the same amount of rope is surely still in the system isn't it?

Unless the person belaying has given an ungodly amount of slack for the climber to clip in from below.

I tend to just clip from the waist because it feels more natural, it's smoother and wastes less energy. I hadn't considered it'd result in me falling further.
Bazzer - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Kieran_John:

Think about it. However far you are beneath the bolt when you're clipping. That is the extra length of rope that you are pulling through in order to clip.
Ramblin dave - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Kieran_John:
No, you're basically right.

Suppose the previous bolt is at 10m and the next is at 12m.

If you go for a clip and fail when your waist is at 11m, there's 3m of rope above the previous bolt (2m up to the next bolt and 1m back down to you) so you end up with your waist 3m below the previous bolt - so you've fallen from 11m to 7m ie you've fallen 4m.

If you go for a clip and fail when your waist is at 12m, there's 2m of rope above the previous bolt (2m up to the next bolt and 0m back down to you) so you end up with your waist 2m below the previous bolt - so you've fallen from 12m to 8m, ie you've fallen 4m.

So in practice if you're well off the ground it's going to depend on a load of other stuff more than just "always clip at waist height so it's safer" - eg is there a ledge for me to whack into and if so, where is it, where are the easiest holds to clip from (you'd be daft go from a nice restful bridge onto a strenuous layback just so you can clip at waist height, for instance) and so on.

It becomes much more of an issue if you're not very far off the ground, so you're talking about the difference between ending up at 1m above the ground and ending up on the deck - and I think the point that Duncan was making, which is much more important than the all the pedantry above, is that "not very far" is a lot further than people sometimes think.
stella1 - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Kieran_John:
There would be extra rope in the system in your scenario a. If you were to clip the bolt at waist height there is the distance from the floor to fairly close to the actual bot being clipped. If you are at full stretch and pulling out lots of rope there will be the distance between the floor and bolt plus the distance back down to your harness. I wouldn't think it would dramatically increase a fall but it certainly would add some distance.
chrisbaggy - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Kieran_John:
> (In reply to Duncan P)
>
> I'm probably being REALLY dumb here and expect to be well and truly schooled but if I fall from the two situations below:
>
> a) I'm well below the bolt, take a fair bit of rope out and stretch to clip in, and fall.
> b) I decide to climb up to waist height instead, go to clip in and fall.
>
> I imagine I'd fall a pretty similar distance. By and large the same amount of rope is surely still in the system isn't it?

No, alot of walls if you clip the 3rd bolt from a full reach and fell before clipping the bolt you'd deck, If you clip the 3rd bolt at waist height you'd be close usually about half a metre off the deck depending on the belayer.

To show this on "Learn to Lead courses" i put someone on a top rope, and a lead rope, get them to clip the lead rope as above and be lowered on the top rope to see where they would end up without taking into account the forces of the fall etc.

Chris
mattrm - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Kieran_John:

If you actually look at the amount of rope out in situation A, it's a lot more than in B. In A you'll go a lot further.

In A, if you're just above the previous bolt, say to make it simple, there is 1 meter between bolts. You've climbed 30 cms above the previous bolt and can reach the next bolt, 70cms away. To get the rope up to it you'll have to make a loop of rope that's 70cms up to the rope and 1m back down. That's 1.7 meters in total. Again assuming that the first bolt is 1m of the floor and the second bolt is 2m off the floor, you'll end up on the deck. Walls take this into account and the spacing is such that if you clip the second bolt when you're in line with it, you won't hit the deck. eg the first bolt will be 2m off the ground, second 3m, so your 1.7m will leave you 30cm from the deck. Add rope stretch into that and it's scary.

In B, if you've climbed up to the bolt, i.e. your knot is in line with the quickdraw, you've got 1m of rope out from the previous bolt. Not 1.7m. So on a good wall, you'll be 1m off the ground. With rope stretch, you still should be off the deck.

B is scarier, but much safer.

It's also worth considering how well the belayer catches the fall, as some let more slack through than others.

Think about this when you're next at the wall and watch everyone clipping way above their head. Makes you shiver doesn't it?
Shani - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Duncan P)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Pedantry: the fall distance is the same (apart from a slight increase in rope stretch because of there being more rope out to stretch) but you start lower and hence end up lower and hence are more likely to deck.

Not sure I understand this.

Duncan advises clipping the 4th bolt at waist height, so if you fall before actually making the clip, you go fall a rope length distance '3rd clip to 4th clip' (ignoring slack and stretch in the system.

If you fall whilst trying to clip the 4th bolt from BELOW - let's say from an outstretched arm, you fall '3rd clip to 4th clip' in addition to the rope length from 'waist to end-of-clipping-arm'.

In the latter case you fall further.
Ramblin dave - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to mattrm:
> (In reply to Kieran_John)
>
> If you actually look at the amount of rope out in situation A, it's a lot more than in B. In A you'll go a lot further.

Repeat pedantry: if nothing gets in the way, you'll go the same distance but end up lower because you started lower.

It's when something large and floor-like gets in the way that this becomes an issue. (Although ironically if you end up on the deck then you'll actually fall less far because the ground will have stopped you. Try to manage a wry smile at this while you wait for the x-ray.)
Ramblin dave - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> [...]
>
> Not sure I understand this.
>
> Duncan advises clipping the 4th bolt at waist height, so if you fall before actually making the clip, you go fall a rope length distance '3rd clip to 4th clip' (ignoring slack and stretch in the system.
>
> If you fall whilst trying to clip the 4th bolt from BELOW - let's say from an outstretched arm, you fall '3rd clip to 4th clip' in addition to the rope length from 'waist to end-of-clipping-arm'.
>
> In the latter case you fall further.

No, you fall the same distance but end up lower because you started lower. Check the worked example above if you want. Sometimes ending up lower is the crucial factor, but "you'll fall further" is just plain wrong.

Intuitively, the distance you fall doesn't depend on the length of rope that's out above the last clipped bolt, it depends on the length of rope that's out above the last clipped bolt *that goes from going "up" to going "down" in the course of the fall.* Which is going to be the same in either case. The rope that goes back from the clipping hand to your harness is already going "down", so it doesn't make any difference to the length of the fall how much of it there is.
Shani - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Shani)
> [...]
>
> No, you fall the same distance but end up lower because you started lower. Check the worked example above if you want. Sometimes ending up lower is the crucial factor, but "you'll fall further" is just plain wrong.
>
> Intuitively, the distance you fall doesn't depend on the length of rope that's out above the last clipped bolt, it depends on the length of rope that's out above the last clipped bolt *that goes from going "up" to going "down" in the course of the fall.* Which is going to be the same in either case. The rope that goes back from the clipping hand to your harness is already going "down", so it doesn't make any difference to the length of the fall how much of it there is.

Ok, so I imagine a 2m tall climber on a wall with the bolts spaced 2m apart. He is at the fourth bolt (head height):

1) If he tries to clip the 4th bolt from his current position he has to reach down to his waist and pull up the rope to clip. Assuming his waist is midway between head and foot, the 'live' rope beyond the 3rd clip is 3m.

2) If he chooses to climbs up to the 4th bolt such that it is now at waist height, there is now only 2m of 'live' rope beyond the 3rd clip.

Should our climber fail to clip the 4th bolt in our to scenarios, given his arrest point is the 3rd bolt and the two scenarios lead to different lengths of rope above his arrest point, I fail to see how his fall is the same!
jpicksley - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Shani:

In scenario 1 he has fallen 4m but stops 3m below the 3rd clip.

In scenario 2 he has fallen 4m but stops 2m below the 3rd clip.

Assuming no input from other factors, e.g. rope stretch, belayer attentiveness, etc.
john arran - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Shani:

It may be slightly less dauntingly mathematical if you consider bolts 1m apart.
With a clipped bolt by your waist (at 10m height) you can use 2m of slack to reach up and clip the next - potential fall of 2m (from 10m to 8m)
Alternatively you can climb 1m higher and clip by your waist but if you fall before clipping you fall from 11m down to 9m - still a 2m fall.
Note that the only real difference is that the same length fall is taken slightly higher, so if the ground is nearby there's less chance of hitting it.

Very counter-intuitive but undeniably true.
Shani - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to jpicksley:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> In scenario 1 he has fallen 4m but stops 3m below the 3rd clip.
>
> In scenario 2 he has fallen 4m but stops 2m below the 3rd clip.
>
> Assuming no input from other factors, e.g. rope stretch, belayer attentiveness, etc.

My bad. I just drew this out and you are right.
1poundSOCKS - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Shani: It's also worth ignoring the climber's height, and where their head is, it's where their waist and the bolts are that matter.
highclimber - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I agree. I have just drawn it out and mathmatically, you would fall the same distance regardless of belayer (in)attention rope stretch etc.

I was going to write oout how I came to this conclusion but it's really a lot easier to draw a simple diagram to show the working, as it were.
ads.ukclimbing.com
johncoxmysteriously - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Shani:

>Should our climber fail to clip the 4th bolt in our to scenarios, given his arrest point is the 3rd bolt and the two scenarios lead to different lengths of rope above his arrest point, I fail to see how his fall is the same!

That just means climber 1 ends up lower. But then he was lower to begin with. He falls the same distance.

Draw it on a piece of paper.

jcm
highclimber - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: I think the issue of falling further comes down to when you clip at waist height you tend not to pull more rope than is needed. I've seen people pull yards of rope to make it reach when the clip is above them.
john arran - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Shani:

The key to understanding why is to realise that a fall due to slack will be the SAME length as the amount of slack out, whereas a fall due to runout will be TWICE the length of the runout.
Ramblin dave - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Shani:
I'll freely admit that this is pedantic nitpicking by the way - in terms of actual safety I think the real questions are:
i) how far away is the big object that you might hit on the way down (you're more likely to deck if you clip at head height when you're low on the route, but you might be better off clipping at head height if there's a big ledge between you and the last bolt...) and
ii) where are you going to be most comfortable to make the clip (eg from my limited experience, easy sport routes often give you the option to clip high from a good rest before a hard sequence - it'd be daft to wait until you're half way through the hard bit to make the clip "because it's safer").
Andy Say - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:
Clipping the fifth bolt, fourth bolt clipped, good belayer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLilKfDBWxc

My thanks to Phil Thomas, the crash test dummy.
Shani - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Shani)
> I'll freely admit that this is pedantic nitpicking by the way

It is actually a very good point and one I hadn't considered before.

It reminds me of the Monty Hall problem.
mattrm - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to mattrm)
> [...]
>
> Repeat pedantry: if nothing gets in the way, you'll go the same distance but end up lower because you started lower.
>
> It's when something large and floor-like gets in the way that this becomes an issue. (Although ironically if you end up on the deck then you'll actually fall less far because the ground will have stopped you. Try to manage a wry smile at this while you wait for the x-ray.)

I'm also confused now. You'll go two different distances, as there is two different amounts of rope out. I'm very willing to believe I'm wrong, as my understanding of maths is poor at best.

So taking the two situations:

a) I'm well below the bolt, take a fair bit of rope out and stretch to clip in, and fall.

So in this scenario I'm assuming bolts are 1 meter apart. Assuming you've climbed 30 cms above the bolt. By that I mean your knot/waist/harness is 30 cms above the bolt.

You have 70cms from that knot to the next bolt. For the rope to reach the next bolt, it's got to go up 1m from the bolt below you, up to the bolt and then 70 cms back down. So if you've got the rope up to the bolt, you've got 1.7m of rope out. If you fall of then, there's 1.7m out and you'll fall 1.7m below the bolt that's only 30cms away from you. Right? Wrong?

b) I decide to climb up to waist height instead, go to clip in and fall.

Again, bolts 1m apart. I climb from the bolt to the next bolt. So my waist is right by the next bolt. 1m of rope out. I fall off, I end up 1m below the next bolt.
mattrm - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to mattrm:

Ok, got what you mean. Distance fallen. In both instances, you've fallen the same distance. But in A, you're closer to the floor, which is what we're all worrying about.
Neil Williams - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

...unless your climber is very heavy and the bolts are quite close together. I once (belaying a 19 stoner) caught him from missing 3rd having just pulled slack out to clip (quite high I believe, so extra slack pulled out than if he'd been clipping near the waist). The ending position was me lying on the floor (I dived backwards) and him 6" from the floor upside down (he caught his foot on the rope and flipped). Very, very close to serious injury for him.

I'm not light either so most of it was the slack he had pulled and rope stretch. If that was a 10 stoner belaying him, he'd have hit the floor hard.

Neil
Shani - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to mattrm:

In your scenario (a) where clipping from below, you are already actually 140cm in to the 'fall distance'.
highclimber - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to mattrm:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> [...]
>
> I'm also confused now. You'll go two different distances, as there is two different amounts of rope out. I'm very willing to believe I'm wrong, as my understanding of maths is poor at best.
>
> So taking the two situations:
>
> a) I'm well below the bolt, take a fair bit of rope out and stretch to clip in, and fall.
>
> So in this scenario I'm assuming bolts are 1 meter apart. Assuming you've climbed 30 cms above the bolt. By that I mean your knot/waist/harness is 30 cms above the bolt.
>
> You have 70cms from that knot to the next bolt. For the rope to reach the next bolt, it's got to go up 1m from the bolt below you, up to the bolt and then 70 cms back down. So if you've got the rope up to the bolt, you've got 1.7m of rope out. If you fall of then, there's 1.7m out and you'll fall 1.7m below the bolt that's only 30cms away from you. Right? Wrong?
>
> b) I decide to climb up to waist height instead, go to clip in and fall.
>
> Again, bolts 1m apart. I climb from the bolt to the next bolt. So my waist is right by the next bolt. 1m of rope out. I fall off, I end up 1m below the next bolt.

You are making the maths too complicated for yourself. If you use 2m clip spacing, climb to 1m above the last clip and clip above your head, you will fall 4 metres. Climb up to the next clip and fall, you will fall 4 metres.
In reply to GeoffRadcliffe:
> I spoke to someone last night who were next to the climbers involved when the incident happened. They told me that the climber was being lowered off and the belayer lost control of the rope and burnt their hands.

You can't come on here with FACTS - what are people going to speculate about?


Chris ;-)
Robert Durran - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> With good belaying you will only hit the ground from below the first bolt (and maybe from between the first and second if you clip too early).

I seem to have opened a can of worms here.

I hope it is now established that you will fall twice the distance between bolts wherever you clip from. So yes, I concede you could deck out clipping the third bolt if either/or/and:

(1) Your waist is below the second bolt (unrealistic)
(2) the first bolt is unrealistically low (it will almost always be much further off the ground than the subsequent spacing of bolts).
(3) there is excess slack in the system (user error).
(4) you are a fat bastard climbing with someone who is not and they get pulled off the ground (again, user error)
(5) the belayer is standing out from the wall and gets pulled in (user error)

Having said that, my observations suggest that bad belaying that would result in decking out from much higher is worryingly common at walls.
lmarenzi - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Climbing at the Westway for 6 foot climbers: in practice touching the ground would be certain if high clipping the second clip and should be expected when trying a high 3rd clip, but very unlikely from the 4th bolt.

A very good belayer can just about stop you touching the ground from a high 3rd clip.

Not ever heard of anyone getting properly injured from a high 3rd clip as your feet are only about 3m off the deck (by the first bolt) and the ground is flat and reasonably soft, but it is certainly a possibility.

My thoughts with the team who got hurt at Awesome walls.

Mick Ward - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> You can't come on here with FACTS - what are people going to speculate about?

Totally agree. I've just read Geoff's post and thought, "Oh, so that's what happened." Everyone else (apart from you) seems to have totally ignored it. Am I simple? Probably. (And maybe it's better to be simple.)

Mick

kilner on 16 Oct 2013
Its not really important weather you clip above or below the bolt! Whats important is that you clip efficiently from the most restfull position, so you dont fall offf in the first place!

I've seen people trying to clip from crap positions because some mug told them they had to clip from level with the bolt!

Hope the climber recovers soon.
chrissyboy - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to kilner:
At last!someone with some common sense.
Swift recovery to the climber involved.
ledifer on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to kilner:

That's true, but I've been called up at the wall because of my "chicken clipping"
I thoroughly recommend doing the "get to 3rd clip, and pull out enough rope to just reach the 4th and then down climb until the rope goes tight". It's a genuine eye opener if you've not tried it before.

Obviously there's no point getting into a horrible insecure position just to get closer to the clip. But if you're going to chicken clip, check that it doesn't get any better above and make sure you're definitely secure before you try clipping.

My 2 cents anyway.

Oh and back on topic, hope both involved in the now unrelated accident are ok
Enty - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to kilner:
> Its not really important weather you clip above or below the bolt! Whats important is that you clip efficiently from the most restfull position, so you dont fall offf in the first place!
>
> I've seen people trying to clip from crap positions because some mug told them they had to clip from level with the bolt!
>
> Hope the climber recovers soon.

Ha ha spot on. Why can't people with all those really cool instructors quals realise this too?

E
Robert Durran - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to ledifer:

> I thoroughly recommend doing the "get to 3rd clip, and pull out enough rope to just reach the 4th and then down climb until the rope goes tight". It's a genuine eye opener if you've not tried it before.

So you end up by the 1st clip. No need to actually do it. Why is that an eye opener?
andrewmcleod - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to kilner:

Somewhat true, but falling off from that crap position may be completely safe while (the admittedly smaller risk) of slipping off from the good position may result in serious injury or death. That said I have got into a bad habit of high-clipping the second bolt (in full knowledge that falling off means hitting the floor)...
Enty - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to kilner:
> Whats important is that you clip efficiently from the most restfull position, so you dont fall offf in the first place!
>
>

Just to add to this. I really think that clipping from the best hold in the most comfortable position trumps this waist height clipping every time.

Actually - I clipped a bolt at waist height last week. Because I'd forgot to clip it as I went past it.

E
Robert Durran - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> (In reply to kilner)
>
> That said I have got into a bad habit of high-clipping the second bolt.

I always skip the first bolt indoors anyway. Personally I prefer the added leeway it gives to the belayer's position while maintaining a sensible angle of the rope to the small risk of falling off and getting hurt or the occasional wrath of the belay police.

Kieran_John - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

If anyone sees a confused looking climber repeatedly falling off "The Leeds Wall" whilst clutching a tape measure then don't worry, it's just me.
Sankey - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: Hope the faller gets well soon.

No one has said that the decking potential on an indoor route is mainly due to the route setting. Most walls position cruxes high enough up that they are safe to fall from. Also, the route setter can clearly arrange for stable clipping positions in the lower section of the route in such a way that high clipping is discouraged. Random slips can of course occur to scupper all this though.
FiendishMcButton on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to andrewmcleod)
> [...]
>
> I always skip the first bolt indoors anyway. Personally I prefer the added leeway it gives to the belayer's position while maintaining a sensible angle of the rope to the small risk of falling off and getting hurt or the occasional wrath of the belay police.

Most walls tend to have the first bolt as a steel krab because of the rope wear it gets.
elliptic on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Enty:

> I really think that clipping from the best hold in the most comfortable position trumps this waist height clipping every time.

Well, god forbid anybody should make a rational choice of the best option in each individual circumstance...

Anyway, the side benefit of clipping at/below waist height is it's so much easier and quicker that you don't *need* to find a stable three-points rest position, or even break your momentum at all.

Just clip in the normal flow of hand movement as the rope comes past the QD, and then carry on moving.
winhill - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to FiendishMcButton:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Most walls tend to have the first bolt as a steel krab because of the rope wear it gets.

I've never seen a steel krab on the first bolt at a wall.
Enty - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to elliptic:
> (In reply to Enty)
>
> [...]
>
> Well, god forbid anybody should make a rational choice of the best option in each individual circumstance...
>
> Anyway, the side benefit of clipping at/below waist height is it's so much easier and quicker that you don't *need* to find a stable three-points rest position, or even break your momentum at all.
>
> Just clip in the normal flow of hand movement as the rope comes past the QD, and then carry on moving.

Doesn't your first sentence contadict the second two? I'm confused.

E
Enty - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to elliptic:

And what no one has mentioned (i think) is the pschological effect of having a bolt clipped above your head when about to do a hard move.

E
ads.ukclimbing.com
Neil Williams - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to FiendishMcButton:

I've been caught (very good belayer) from a fall above 1st. Don't think I'd want to risk the twisted ankle potential of not having it clipped. It's also specifically against the rules at most walls (it normally says "you must clip all bolts on your line of route when leading", I think it's on the standard form) so you might find yourself being chucked out or at least corrected.

(Yes, outdoors it might not be an option, but indoors it is!)

Neil
BCT on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to GeoffRadcliffe: Thanks although it now seems that a debate has started as the poor chap who fell has been forgotten :P Ah well always good to have a good old debate about climbing safety!
Neil Williams - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Enty:

This is very true and is why I've been known to do it, but only when sure of my footing. That said, I fell off a route (after I'd put the clip in high) when a hold slowly spun from under me a week or so ago - when I was just standing on it, not shock loading it.

That said, being quite heavy I would tend to assume a light or less experienced belayer is unlikely to catch me until 3rd is in, so there's an argument that you should get second in as soon as you can if your belayer is not so good that you would expect a catch from above 1st (not many people I think that's true of, though I do know a couple per my other post).

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Only so many times we can say we hope he's OK (I certainly do). But we should never shy away from discussing (in a non-accusatory manner) safety issues. That's the only way we can adapt to make things safer.

Neil
deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to winhill:
> I've never seen a steel krab on the first bolt at a wall.

Coming back to the topic, AW in Sheffield has them.
Robert Durran - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to FiendishMcButton:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> Most walls tend to have the first bolt as a steel krab because of the rope wear it gets.

Really? I would have thought the first clip might well get less wear than any other clip (most routes are set easy at the start to avoid falling/decking on the first clip).

Robert Durran - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to deepsoup:
> (In reply to winhill)
>
> Coming back to the topic, AW in Sheffield has them.

That's bacause most Sheffield climbers can barely get past the first clip due to too much bouldering.

Enty - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to FiendishMcButton)
> [...]
>
> Really? I would have thought the first clip might well get less wear than any other clip (most routes are set easy at the start to avoid falling/decking on the first clip).

There's the case that the rope runs through them at a steeper angle causing sharp edges when the krab wears. Happens when lowering off and the belayer is standing too far back.
There was a death due to a worn krab snapping a rope last year.

E
Enty - on 17 Oct 2013
Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Enty:

Thats food for thought!
deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> Really? I would have thought the first clip might well get less wear than any other clip (most routes are set easy at the start to avoid falling/decking on the first clip).

It isn't to do with falling on the first clip, it's mainly to do with lowering off. (Bearing in mind that the belayer will generally be stood back a bit from the wall.)
Robert Durran - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> There's the case that the rope runs through them at a steeper angle causing sharp edges when the krab wears.

Good point. Hadn't thought of that.
winhill - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to deepsoup:
> (In reply to winhill)
> [I've never seen a steel krab on the first bolt at a wall.]
>
> Coming back to the topic, AW in Sheffield has them.

No, they don't.

They have maillons for the hanger end, but as the krab reference was talking about rope wear, I think they mean the rope end?

Especially as walls that use maillons tend to use them all the way up the wall.

deepsoup - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to winhill:
> They have maillons for the hanger end, but as the krab reference was talking about rope wear, I think they mean the rope end?

Yes, I'm not confusing karabiners with maillons, I am talking about the karabiner that you clip the rope into.

I haven't been in since a week or so before they were fully open, but at that point all of the lines equipped so far had a steel karabiner on the bottom 'draw and then aluminium the rest of the way up to the lower-off.
Oceanrower - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to FiendishMcButton:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> Most walls tend to have the first bolt as a steel krab because of the rope wear it gets.

ALL the crabs at White Spider are steel.

Why on earth would anyone use alloy? Steel is harder wearing, stronger and cheaper.

It's not like weight is a problem.
andrewmcleod - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to winhill:

The Quay climbing centre (Exeter) has considerably beefier carabiners that I believe to be steel for the first clip, at intermediate loweroffs (you can alternatively clip the lower-off crab but there is a normal half-quickdraw which is easier to clip), and they may also have some at direction changes (i.e. under roofs). You can see where the alloy crabs get worn, particularly higher up (they also get checked and replaced when too worn).
andrewmcleod - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Oceanrower:

The Quay uses DMM Alpha Clip for the alloy crabs, which are great and very easy to clip. Clipping the steel crabs is noticeably more difficult.
biscuit - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to kilner)
> [...]
>
> Ha ha spot on. Why can't people with all those really cool instructors quals realise this too?
>
> E
I've got cool quals and when teaching lead climbing my mantra is it's better to be clipped than not clipped so do it whatever way works for that situation. It's no good trying to do a neat waist level clip on your right side with your left hand if it puts you in more risk of falling.

Give them the skills/info for sure but it's much more important to teach people to have initiative and be able to adapt what they know.

Enty - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to Enty)
> [...]
> I've got cool quals and when teaching lead climbing my mantra is it's better to be clipped than not clipped so do it whatever way works for that situation. It's no good trying to do a neat waist level clip on your right side with your left hand if it puts you in more risk of falling.
>
> Give them the skills/info for sure but it's much more important to teach people to have initiative and be able to adapt what they know.

Exactly. This is where experience is sometimes more important than text book stuff.

E
mbh - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to Enty)
> [...]

> Give them the skills/info for sure but it's much more important to teach people to have initiative and be able to adapt what they know.

That's the best way to teach, that is.
winhill - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to deepsoup:
> (In reply to winhill)
> [...]
>
> Yes, I'm not confusing karabiners with maillons, I am talking about the karabiner that you clip the rope into.
>
> I haven't been in since a week or so before they were fully open, but at that point all of the lines equipped so far had a steel karabiner on the bottom 'draw and then aluminium the rest of the way up to the lower-off.

I was there on opening Saturday, on the Prow, Roof and the wall on the right (as you look at the roof) but also just asked someone I was there with and he thought aluminium but now you've placed the doubt no-one's sure!
David Bennett - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Kieran_John:
> (In reply to Beth-Cath-T)
>
> If anyone sees a confused looking climber repeatedly falling off "The Leeds Wall" whilst clutching a tape measure then don't worry, it's just me.

I'm with you. Just goes to show the lack of real understanding about clipping and fall distances.... And no I'm not claiming to know the answer....... Think I' m just going to carry on clipping around waist height from a comfortable base.
Otis - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Rule of thumb: if you fall off whilst in the process of actually clipping a bolt your fall distance will ALWAYS be twice the distance between the last/next bolts.

The height you end up (hopefully) dangling at depends on the height you started falling from.

(ignoring rope stretch and belayer movemwent)

Simples (I think....!)

Mike.
EddInaBox on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Otis:

No, assuming you don't get stopped earlier by the ground or a ledge or something (and ignoring rope stretch and belayer movement) the distance you fall whilst in the process of clipping will be the distance from your tie in point to the previous bolt plus however much rope you have out between you and the previous bolt. If you have more rope out than is needed to reach the clip then you will fall farther than twice the distance between the bolts.
johncoxmysteriously - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to EddInaBox:

Oh God. RTFT, willya?

jcm
EddInaBox on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

...snigger...
Mr Eddie - on 22 Oct 2013
This is my take on it: With the assumption of 2m spacing and a 2m climber with the harness at half way along his(or her) body:

If clipping, but falling with harness level with QD then there is a 4m fall.

If clipping (and falling off whilst clipping) at head height: The rope has to run from the last QD to the next (2m) plus then back to the harness (another 1m) so if clipping below there is a 6m fall.

So to clip at waist height there is LESS of a fall.

Everyone seems to have forgotten the rope having to return to the harness.
MeMeMe - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Mr Eddie:


> Everyone seems to have forgotten the rope having to return to the harness.

Oh my god, we're all idiots! How did we not notice!



Seriously, is this thread really still going?
Otis - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Mr Eddie:
> If clipping (and falling off whilst clipping) at head height: The rope has to run from the last QD to the next (2m) plus then back to the harness (another 1m) so if clipping below there is a 6m fall.

At the risk of (probably!) re-iterating someone above you've got 3m of available rope in your example, meaning you will end up 3m below the clip when you come to rest. You started falling from 1m above the clip.

Fall distance = 4m = 2xbolt spacing :-)

Mike.

uselesshippy - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Mr Eddie:
> If clipping (and falling off whilst clipping) at head height: The rope has to run from the last QD to the next (2m) plus then back to the harness (another 1m) so if clipping below there is a 6m fall.


No, just because you have 3m of slack doesn't mean you fall 6m. In your example your harness (where the rope is attached to you) is only 1m above the last clip, so you fall 4m, 3 for the slack and one back to the clip.

Have you read none of the rest of this forum? Try drawing some pictures or playing with some string?
Mr Eddie - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to uselesshippy:

Sorry, I stand corrected. Just had another play with some string. My apologies.
GridNorth - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: I won't comment on the accident, I wasn't there, but it would not surprise me if indoors walls were to introduce a rule wherebye only "assisted breaking" belay devices can be used. I know this doesn't guarantee anything but cases where inexperienced belayers let go of the rope seem to be occurring on an increasingly frequent basis.
Neil Williams - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

Then people drop people when they fumble with the release lever of a Gri-Gri. Novices should not be allowed anywhere near the things unless the instructor controls the lowering. It's also an almighty faff to lead belay with one (due to my broken finger meaning my grip on the rope isn't what I'd want it to be I've been using one for that purpose and it's taken me ages to get even vaguely slick with it).

I've not used other devices, so if lowering is easier with other devices that might not be a bad idea, though.

Neil
Oceanrower - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth: I would be absolutely amazed if any wall in the country imposed that rule. It would be financial suicide!
Neil Williams - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Oceanrower:

I figure if that happened (or anything similar like a helmet rule) it would be agreed nationally by the Association of British Climbing Walls and the BMC.

Neil
Graeme Alderson on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> but cases where inexperienced belayers let go of the rope seem to be occurring on an increasingly frequent basis.

Any evidence of this?

Wee Davie - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T:

Seen a 7b leader almost deck out from failing to clip 5th bolt in my local indoor plastic emporium. Loads of rope out. There's belaying, and then there's f'ing belaying.
Neil Williams - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Wee Davie:

I don't think the risk of having loads of slack out when low down on an indoor wall is emphasized enough. Perhaps time for one of those "check or deck" style posters from the BMC?

Neil
Wee Davie - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

5 bolts up shouldn't be one of those occasions! I hear what you're saying though. 'Sport belaying'/ 'soft catch' is a good idea- in moderation...
GridNorth - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Graeme Alderson: None at all but then I thought this was an informal discussion forum not a judicial inquest.
Oceanrower - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
>
> I figure if that happened (or anything similar like a helmet rule) it would be agreed nationally by the Association of British Climbing Walls and the BMC.
>
> Neil

But 1. it's nothing whatsoever to do with the BMC
2. Not all walls are under the auspices of the ABC
And 3. Neither have any authority to impose anything on a private business anyway.
Graeme Alderson on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth: Calm down dear. You made a claim, I asked if there was any evidence. Simple question.
winhill - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Graeme Alderson) None at all but then I thought this was an informal discussion forum not a judicial inquest.

It's a weird rumour to start.
Graeme Alderson on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Oceanrower:
> (In reply to Neil Williams)
> [...]
>
> But 1. it's nothing whatsoever to do with the BMC

It has actually. Ask any personal accident lawyer whether they take notice of what the BMC and the ABC say.

> 2. Not all walls are under the auspices of the ABC

Correct

> And 3. Neither have any authority to impose anything on a private business anyway.

Incorrect. If a wall is a member of the ABC then they have to abide by certain rules. Of course a member wall has an input on those rules.

Graeme Alderson on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Graeme Alderson: And I forgot the Health & Safety Executive take notice of what the ABC & BMC has to say and by extension Local Authority Environmental Health Officers.
Oceanrower - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
>
> I figure if that happened (or anything similar like a helmet rule) it would be agreed nationally by the Association of British Climbing Walls and the BMC.
>
> Neil

However,

1. The BMC have no say in how climbing walls are run.
2. Not all climbing walls (even some large ones) are not members of the ABC
3. Neither of them have any say whatsoever in how a private business wants to conduct itself.

Neil Williams - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Oceanrower:

> 1. The BMC have no say in how climbing walls are run.

They have a lot of influence on climbing in general.

> 2. Not all climbing walls (even some large ones) are not members of the ABC

True. But there are a lot that are.

> 3. Neither of them have any say whatsoever in how a private business wants to conduct itself.

As others have pointed out, they do on their members, as they can make things a condition of membership. And if a big chunk of walls do X because X is safer than what went before, you can be sure insurers will show an interest and could force the hands of others.

I don't agree with this (because brake assist devices have their own problems, and because head injuries at climbing walls are pretty rare, respectively) but I do see those as mechanisms through which safety rule changes could be applied.

Neil
winhill - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Oceanrower)
>
> I don't agree with this (because brake assist devices have their own problems, and because head injuries at climbing walls are pretty rare, respectively) but I do see those as mechanisms through which safety rule changes could be applied.

It's just a bit of a non-problem that people are trying to make into a problem.
AndrewW - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

I agree. The only time I have ever been dropped was by an inexperienced belayer using a gri gri (it was at a US wall where they insisted you use one).
redcal - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to Beth-Cath-T: anyone know how the climber is getting on? Recovering well? Or is that off topic? On a more serious note if we replaced all lead walls with the equivalent sq footage of bouldering then this problem would be solved and we would all be stronger...knowledge. (Now has anybody seen a sleeping bear I can go poke with a pointy stick)
Neil Williams - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to redcal:

"if we replaced all lead walls with the equivalent sq footage of bouldering then this problem would be solved"

...then there'd be more twisted ankles and similar. At a wall, most injuries (albeit not very serious ones) occur bouldering, not leading.

Neil
tom_in_edinburgh - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

The way I look at it until the second clip is in lead climbing is bouldering.
EddInaBox on 24 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Yep, the second clip is always where I stop to take off my beenie, put on a t-shirt and dust the ludicrous amounts of chalk off my hands.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 24 Oct 2013
In reply to EddInaBox:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> Yep, the second clip is always where I stop to take off my beenie, put on a t-shirt and dust the ludicrous amounts of chalk off my hands.

They should have a little sign at 4m: "No beanies beyond this point".

redcal - on 25 Oct 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to redcal)
>
> "if we replaced all lead walls with the equivalent sq footage of bouldering then this problem would be solved"
>
> ...then there'd be more twisted ankles and similar. At a wall, most injuries (albeit not very serious ones) occur bouldering, not leading.
>
> Neil

replace padding in the bouldering area with DWS pools, add pfd's and life guards, then try twisting an ankle. This wildly off topic thread is drowning in sarcasm already, might aswell add drowning to the speculated risks of using a climbing wall.
ashaw - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to GuitarGenius92: the staff at awesome walls must have done a good first aid course eh!!

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