UKC

/ Culpability for future accidents

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Brown - on 29 May 2018

Are those who repeatedly shut down discussions on accidents responsible for future accidents.

I think that the wilful suppression of accident reporting has prevented the widespread adoption of good practice and that those responsible for this hold moral responsibility for accidents arising as a result of this.

Rather than them protecting peoples feeling we should be protecting peoples lives.

 

 

49
what the hex on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

How on earth do expect to establish what happens in an accident in an open forum populated by rubber neckers, arm chair experts, journalists and relatives? Your sentiment of protecting lives is right but an online chat is not the appropriate forum. The information can be, and is, disseminated in other, more appropriate ways.

Post edited at 12:26
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elsewhere on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

Plenty of discussion here to get your teeth stuck into if you want to spread good practice.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/ukc/instructor_sentenced_in_tito_traversa_death-685189

 

Phil79 - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

Problem is most discussions about accidents on here seem to occur immediately after the event when the circumstances aren't clear, and quickly descend into uniformed speculation about what might or might not have happened.

That's not a helpful way to learn lessons IMO, irrespective of feelings of those people involved.

If the facts are out in public domain, and its clear what the fault was, then perhaps its relevant to discuss.

If not, then speculating helps no-one.

1
timjones - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> Are those who repeatedly shut down discussions on accidents responsible for future accidents.

> I think that the wilful suppression of accident reporting has prevented the widespread adoption of good practice and that those responsible for this hold moral responsibility for accidents arising as a result of this.

> Rather than them protecting peoples feeling we should be protecting peoples lives.

Tittle tattle in the days immediately following an accident will do little to prevent future accidents.

Good quality accident reporting takes time.

1
Pursued by a bear - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> Are those who repeatedly shut down discussions on accidents responsible for future accidents.

I've read some rubbish on this site, but that's top of the list.  And...

> I think that the wilful suppression of accident reporting has prevented the widespread adoption of good practice and that those responsible for this hold moral responsibility for accidents arising as a result of this.

...that joins it.

> Rather than them protecting peoples feeling we should be protecting peoples lives.

The two are not incompatible and it isn't a direct choice.

T.

 

2
summo on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

There is a difference between someone out in the hills at the weekend having a near miss and posting about from home on a Monday morning, or even sat in a hospital bed with cast on their foot and an accident at a climbing wall where someone died. If you can't differentiate between the two totally different instances then it is a subject matter best avoided altogether.

2
BFG on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

Closing a thread on UKC is not shutting down accident reporting. Discussion of an accident in the immediate aftermath does not equate to reporting.

If there is something to learn about the incident, reporting will occur after it has been properly investigated; the same way that we do with any industrial accident. Anything up to that point, especially when it's being done by random people on an internet forum, amounts to mere speculation. Speculation that neither helps the community or the bereaved.

 

Post edited at 12:59
Mr Trebus - on 29 May 2018
In reply to timjones:

> Tittle tattle in the days immediately following an accident will do little to prevent future accidents.

> Good quality accident reporting takes time.


Spot on. I think the way the American Alpine Club do an annual Accidents in North America report would be the way to go for accident reporting.

Chris Harris - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Phil79:

> Problem is most discussions about accidents on here seem to occur immediately after the event when the circumstances aren't clear, and quickly descend into uniformed speculation.

How do you know what everyone's wearing?

 

 

1
Bob Kemp - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

Have you any knowledge of actual accident cases that were shown to have been caused because of the 'wilful suppression of accident reporting'? I've certainly never heard of such a thing.

1
Phil79 - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Chris Harris:

I know its not just me that puts the SS uniform on when posting on here!

Come on Chris, 'fess up.....

Brown - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

I'm not able to prove that an accident has been caused by the wilful supression of reporting because all the accidents have gone unreported.

I do know of some accidents which initially seemed very straightforward. When fully explored the causes were much more nuanced. I'm sure my behaviour has changed as a result of my knowledge.

Preventing others from benefitting from this is immoral but that's exactly what happens. 

As a utilitarian I think we should maximize good. I think the discomfort of friends and family is a small price to pay to prevent future injury.

14
Jon Greengrass on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> I'm not able to prove that an accident has been caused by the wilful supression of reporting because all the accidents have gone unreported.

In tests 9 out of 10 tin foil hat wearers were protected from conspiracies.

1
BFG on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> I'm not able to prove that an accident has been caused by the wilful supression of reporting because all the accidents have gone unreported.

> I do know of some accidents which initially seemed very straightforward. When fully explored the causes were much more nuanced. I'm sure my behaviour has changed as a result of my knowledge.

> Preventing others from benefitting from this is immoral but that's exactly what happens. 

I'm terribly sorry. I must have misunderstood your first post. 

I assumed that you were posting about the other threads discussing accidents. Your OP must be entirely coincidental as the description above doesn't fit that at all. Could you please point to an example of where accident reporting is actively being suppressed?

> As a utilitarian I think we should maximize good. I think the discomfort of friends and family is a small price to pay to prevent future injury.

Such blunt, unthinking utilitarianism can be used to justify quite a lot. Plus, you seem to be inventing a dichotomy that doesn't exist. Given that, as you rightly point out, the nuanced benefits of accident reporting require 'full exploration'; how does being respectful of someone's feelings in the mean time undermine or interfere with this?

1
MG - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

Given that in  60 years we have moved from hemp rope around the waist to the full range of modern gear and techniques, I'd say accidents are thought about and acted upon quite  a lot.

1
profitofdoom on 29 May 2018
In reply to MG:

> Given that in  60 years we have moved from hemp rope around the waist to the full range of modern gear and techniques, I'd say accidents are thought about and acted upon quite  a lot.

Maybe so, although I would say that equipment advances are not most commonly driven by thinking about/ acting on accidents... Thanks

marsbar - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> Are those who repeatedly shut down discussions on accidents responsible for future accidents.

No

> I think that the wilful suppression of accident reporting has prevented the widespread adoption of good practice and that those responsible for this hold moral responsibility for accidents arising as a result of this.

Any evidence for this?  

> Rather than them protecting peoples feeling we should be protecting peoples lives.

Maybe we could do both, by waiting for the right time to discuss any incident, which is once the investigation/coroner etc finish.  

Speculation is just that.  It’s unhelpful and potentially dangerous.  

 

2
Bob Kemp - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> I'm not able to prove that an accident has been caused by the wilful supression of reporting because all the accidents have gone unreported.

All accidents are not unreported. Sometimes it takes a while for reporting to take place. 

> I do know of some accidents which initially seemed very straightforward. When fully explored the causes were much more nuanced. I'm sure my behaviour has changed as a result of my knowledge.

> Preventing others from benefitting from this is immoral but that's exactly what happens. 

No-one is prevented from benefiting - unless you know of specific cases where this has happened?

> As a utilitarian I think we should maximize good. I think the discomfort of friends and family is a small price to pay to prevent future injury.

The means problem is a well known issue with utilitarianism. It severely undermines its value as a usable ethical theory.

 

1
Pan Ron - on 29 May 2018
In reply to timjones:

> Good quality accident reporting takes time.

Or in the case of the UK, never.

> Tittle tattle in the days immediately following an accident will do little to prevent future accidents.

In the absence of anything, I'll take tittle tattle (which is a less than charitable way of referring to understandable discussion catalysed by an incident) any day.  I'm willing to take responsibility for taking from the discussion what I see fit.

 

2
Pan Ron - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> Have you any knowledge of actual accident cases that were shown to have been caused because of the 'wilful suppression of accident reporting'? I've certainly never heard of such a thing.

As I said in the other thread, in the absence of discussion I am left with no other conclusion than the practices I under-take every time I climb are still current and safe.  Even though they may be anything but.

I'd go as far as to say nearly all accidents are caused by a lack of knowledge.  That knowledge may be nothing more than a recurring reminder that the last 10 accidents you read about had X, Y and Z as recurring factors.

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Pan Ron - on 29 May 2018
In reply to BFG:

> Could you please point to an example of where accident reporting is actively being suppressed?

I can't help but feel you are being willingly obtuse with that comment.

A series of accidents, including one a few days ago, were reported here and then shut.

If they can't be discussed on UKC where can they be discussed?  If I were start up another thread trying to understand the circumstances of said accidents, which may already be as clear as they will ever be, should I expect that thread to be closed too?

That looks like active suppression to me.

 

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MG - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> That looks like active suppression to me.

I think what's being suppressed is gleeful, almost certainly poorly-informed, possibly libellous comment on those involved and their shortcomings.  This isn't discussing accidents but rubbernecking at others' misfortune.  Given the nature of real-time discussion on these forums it would be practically impossible to separate this from objective analysis of what has gone wrong.

 

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Dave Kerr - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> As a utilitarian I think we should maximize good. 

Crikey, I didn't know there were any of those left.

 

Pursued by a bear - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> I can't help but feel you are being willingly obtuse with that comment.

> A series of accidents, including one a few days ago, were reported here and then shut.

> That looks like active suppression to me.

As MG has said, the report of that incident wasn't suppressed: the thread was archived. 

I suspect that what you're seeing more than anything else is what you want to see, rather than what's actually there.

T.

Pan Ron - on 29 May 2018
In reply to MG:

> I think what's being suppressed is gleeful, almost certainly poorly-informed, possibly libellous comment on those involved and their shortcomings.  

Really? You honestly believe people are gleeful about a climber being killed or injured?  

I didn't see anything on these threads that was asking anything more than what happened.  I want to know what happened.  I want to know what could potentially kill me.

> As MG has said, the report of that incident wasn't suppressed: the thread was archived. 

Quibble over the terminology all you like.  There was a discussion, and quicker than just about any other discussion on here it is closed.  I presume any subsequent thread started up to discuss it, or any other accident, will also be closed.

> I suspect that what you're seeing more than anything else is what you want to see, rather than what's actually there.

What I want to see has been clearly stated.  I'm not seeing it here, or on anything the BMC produces.  It has been this way for as long as I have been climbing and is pathetically inadequate.

Liability was mentioned.  Why not consider all those who have life-changing changing injuries or died because they simply weren't aware of the number of accidents caused by the faulty behaviours they engage in whenever they climb?

I find the attitude here staggering.

4
In reply to Brown:

I'll repeat my response to the other thread 'Why does UKC not report accidents?'

We don't feel that UKC is the place for announcing accidents and evaluating them. As a few people have commented, occasionally forum responses aren't always particularly thoughtful and sometimes attract mainstream journalists looking for soundbites without questioning the validity of the speculations/comments etc. There are plans being discussed for a UK national incident reporting system for climbers and mountaineers and we are in communication about linking through to this system from UKC.

Edit to add to the above: As others have said, there's a difference between evaluating an accident further down the line once facts have been established, and discussing potential causes and making conjectures in the immediate aftermath, while an investigation is underway and those close to the person/people involved are likely none the wiser and emotionally fraught.

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MG - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Really? You honestly believe people are gleeful about a climber being killed or injured?   I didn't see anything on these threads that was asking anything more than what happened. 

I haven't read the recent threads in detail but previous threads have certainly had, at best, insensitive comments, yes.

> I want to know what happened.  I want to know what could potentially kill me.

There plenty of books and instructors that will tell you that.  

> I find the attitude here staggering.

Why, given the numerous reasons you have been given for these threads being problematic?

1
Pan Ron - on 29 May 2018
In reply to MG:

> I haven't read the recent threads in detail but previous threads have certainly had, at best, insensitive comments, yes.

Might you simply be mistaking bruised egos or full and frank (embarrassing) discussion of failures for insensitivity?

If so we may as well not bother with full investigations and reporting.

> There plenty of books and instructors that will tell you that.  

Ok.  Practical thinking here.  If books and instructors are the recommended (in this case only) way to ensure we stay up with current practice then what you are essentially saying is, for any climber to be safe, they must enlist, pay and purchase both on a recurrent basis.  You might as well then have a certification requirement.  Still sound practical? 

My Climbing Anchors book from 10 years ago has been re-published.  You are saying it is incumbent on me, and every other climber, to buy each edition, regardless of whether there are substantive changes or not to be up to date?  To hire a climbing instructor every few years to tell me what has changed in the scholarship of anchor-setting?

....or, we could just have a free discussion on UKC or elsewhere.

It feels like there is no limit to the hoops you would have us jump through...anything but have discussions about accidents on UKC.  

> Why, given the numerous reasons you have been given for these threads being problematic?

The numerous reasons given (journalists, hurt feelings of relatives or friends, possible inaccuracies) all sound pretty minimal to me. 

- Journalists will write whatever they wish, and can be challenged on their reporting. They are a problem/benefit impacting all safety-conscious industries.

- Anyone not wishing to read a warts and all discussion can steer well clear of a dedicated accidents thread.  As it is, you have to be a logged in member of UKC to access a lot of what is said here and few members of the public on coming here would even be aware of there are forums they can't see.

- Good discussion can come out of discussing inaccurate information.  It is through them where reality it thrashed out.  See Wikipedia for a perfect example of where open access can result in high quality.

 

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MG - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Might you simply be mistaking bruised egos or full and frank (embarrassing) discussion of failures for insensitivity?

No.  You seem to be completely missing the points that a) it isn't just the climbers affected by accidents but relatives, onlookers and others who probably don't want events discussed in an uninformed manner in public, particularly after a death when they may be shocked and grieving. b) The discussions often lead to all sorts of assertion and speculation that won't be accurate c) some, whatever you think, are clearly there to gloat.

> If so we may as well not bother with full investigations and reporting.

No.  As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, sober, rigorous investigations are entirely different to uninformed public discussion and chatter. 

> Ok.  Practical thinking here.  If books and instructors are the recommended (in this case only) way to ensure we stay up with current practice then what you are essentially saying is, for any climber to be safe, they must enlist, pay and purchase both on a recurrent basis.

Spending ~£30 on up to date books every few years doesn't sound onerous to me.  Or simply reading the copious free information online.

> My Climbing Anchors book from 10 years ago has been re-published.  You are saying it is incumbent on me, and every other climber, to buy each edition, regardless of whether there are substantive changes or not to be up to date?  To hire a climbing instructor every few years to tell me what has changed in the scholarship of anchor-setting?

No.  *You* were saying you wanted information.  It sounds like you already have it but if you think it is dated, they spend a little money to get it updated.

> ....or, we could just have a free discussion on UKC or elsewhere.

Which, as has been explained repeatedly to you, wouldn't save you the vast cost of a new book because it would be anecdotal and inaccurate.

Post edited at 22:29
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Pan Ron - on 29 May 2018
In reply to MG:

Can't disagree with you more, and really not sure how I can explain this any better - but I'll give it one more shot.

> Spending ~£30 on up to date books every few years doesn't sound onerous to me.  Or simply reading the copious free information online.

Discussion on a forum like this IS current.  It's up to date.  It's right here, right now.

On the other hand, how am I to know when to buy a book, or arrange an instruction weekend?  How am I to know when substantial and important information has changed?  Is it every time a new edition of any one of my climbing guides comes out?  Do I really need to buy a new copy of each just to ensure I'm current?  Do you actually know anyone who has each edition of the books they own in their library (I would hope you do if this is what staying current requires)?  Do you realise how ridiculous that sounds?  It is impractical in just about every sense - might as well be reverting to scrolls on parchment.

All of that can be resolved by a single post on UKC.  It can come up as part of a discussion about an incident.  

> No.  *You* were saying you wanted information.  It sounds like you already have it but if you think it is dated, they spend a little money to get it updated.

I have no idea if its dated or not.  How would I?  I certainly came across sections of my books that have stated recommendations had changed since previous editions.  Under the few periods of instruction I've had I've learnt new things.  But some of the most surprising lessons I've had were in the brief periods that accident threads were allowed to roll.  Buying and reading every climbing guide from cover to cover is hardly an efficient way for each climber to reach that same conclusion.

> No.  As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, sober, rigorous investigations are entirely different to uninformed public discussion and chatter. 

Not entirely different at all.  If I don't tie a knot at the end of my abseil ropes, if my anchor fails for entirely obvious reasons, or if I step backwards off the top of a crag after summiting simply because I decided to eat my ham-sandwich with my back turned downhill, you don't need to wait a year (or in this case, eternity) for an accident report.  You'll get all the information you know from those who were there, plus probably a lot more useful discussion tangential to the actual incident.  Simply reporting this much alone would be better than what we currently have and give everyone a necessary reminder of what matters.

This doesn't have to be an all or nothing arrangement.

Anyway, you be content that, at least for as long as I have been climbing, you have won this argument.  Nothing has been said, its all swept under the carpet, no accidents and nothing to be learnt here....and don't you dare discuss it folks.

Post edited at 23:00
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Bob Kemp - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

>See Wikipedia for a perfect example of where open access can result in high quality.

Not really. Check out the Gamergate furore for an example of how Wikipedia can go terribly wrong. And there are plenty of other examples of bad actors and false information. 

 

MG - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> On the other hand, how am I to know when to buy a book, or arrange an instruction weekend?  How am I to know when substantial and important information has changed? 

No,  You are right. Without an inaccurate anecdote on UKC you will die in some previously unimaginable way climbing. Quite impossible to learn anything in any other way. That's why everyone knew nothing and died horribly before the Internet. 

7
Pan Ron - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Then using the UKC argument, Gamergate would presumably be grounds for saying Wikipedia is not a useful medium for information.  Strange, as it has been studied to be more accurate than Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Babies and bathwater?

Likewise, MG, what about the accurate anecdotes?  Do you not get that people are probably killed or maimed ("probably" because I really have no idea - the only one I know about is the guy at an indoor wall a few days ago) every year climbing, all probably a result of really simple things?  Things that this tool called social media is perfectly set up to remind us of?  

Just being reminded of common incidents is enough - that is why we have anything from ghost bikes, "check your speed" messages on roads, or "check your knots" message at walls.

3
Bob Kemp - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Then using the UKC argument, Gamergate would presumably be grounds for saying Wikipedia is not a useful medium for information.  Strange, as it has been studied to be more accurate than Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Babies and bathwater?

I wasn't using 'the UKC argument', whatever that is. I'm not saying Wikipedia is not a useful medium for information. It's very handy for some things, but not reliable for safety-critical information. My understanding is that professionals are advised against using it as a sole source. Who uses Encyclopaedia Britannica for safety-critical information anyway? 

> Just being reminded of common incidents is enough - that is why we have anything from ghost bikes, "check your speed" messages on roads, or "check your knots" message at walls.

That's okay but you're going a bit off-topic here aren't you? Common incidents are surely not the problem that Brown was initially concerned with - it's new causes of accidents that haven't been previously reported isn't it?

 

Bob Kemp - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> As I said in the other thread, in the absence of discussion I am left with no other conclusion than the practices I under-take every time I climb are still current and safe.  Even though they may be anything but.

Life's a bastard isn't it?

> I'd go as far as to say nearly all accidents are caused by a lack of knowledge.  That knowledge may be nothing more than a recurring reminder that the last 10 accidents you read about had X, Y and Z as recurring factors.

That's a big generalisation. It may play a part but I think you are forgetting systems failure, recklessness, carelessness, incompetence (not the same thing as lack of knowledge although the latter may be involved) and more. 

 

climbwhenready - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

A lot of people are posting about waiting for the full complete accident investigations before speculating.

What accident investigation? Who is doing these? In the absence of a death & coroner’s report, asking people to wait until a non-existent investigation is concluded is a bit disingenuous. And it’s the “small” near misses which are actually useful to the climbing community.

1
marsbar - on 30 May 2018
In reply to climbwhenready:

It’s not the small near misses that people generally show concern about, it is the fatalities or serious injuries where it’s in extremely poor taste to speculate.  

2
elsewhere on 30 May 2018
In reply to climbwhenready:

Suggest a safety forum to UKC or start a "Near Miss & Accidents (no fatalities) open discussion" thread - preferably with a snappier title.

Ramblin dave - on 30 May 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

I'm sort of 50-50 on the value of people reporting near misses (because of survivorship bias, if nothing else), but if people did want to implement it then something like an anonymous logbook system might make people more willing to share experiences without worrying about being judged.

MG - on 30 May 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

Such things exist in other areas such as aviation, medicine and engineering. There are various approaches and they seem to work but several things are needed: clearly stated facts, some system of highlighting trends/statistics so disproportionate attention isn't paid to one-off but widely reported incidents, and, crucially for a forum environment, avoidance of speculation and blame apportioning.  I suspect there aren't the resources to do it well in climbing, although Natalie's comments above suggest that might not be the case.

elsewhere on 30 May 2018
In reply to MG:

I'll give it a go.

Bob Kemp - on 30 May 2018
In reply to MG:

> No,  You are right. Without an inaccurate anecdote on UKC you will die in some previously unimaginable way climbing. Quite impossible to learn anything in any other way. That's why everyone knew nothing and died horribly before the Internet. 

Okay,  this is a bit off the top of my head, so very speculative and no doubt full of holes, (and maybe better as a separate thread) but... I'm wondering if there's a split going on here in terms of underlying assumptions about risk in climbing. Some see climbing as inherently dangerous. If you're in that camp, you try your best to make it as safe as possible within the parameters of the climbing games you wish to play, but you accept that it is always risky. You emphasise personal responsibility and constant awareness and reflection on the dangers of each situation you find yourself in. You don't need the latest information although you would always take note of it, because you're always checking your practice.

Others don't necessarily deny these aspects but they also appear to view climbing in terms of broader contemporary professional attitudes to risk, where risk is to be managed to the point where it is ideally minimal or non-existent, often using rules, standards and regulations. This conception is more like that of sports like paragliding and sub-aqua. I suspect that for many (older?) climbers it's a way of looking at our activity which is alien to them. 

 

Post edited at 10:21
MG - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Possibly but I don't think discussion got that far.  It seemed, until a few posts ago, to be stuck at the "is speculation, anecdote and uninformed discussion useful?" stage.

Bob Kemp - on 30 May 2018
In reply to MG:

No overt discussion I know - I was just wondering about underlying assumptions about risk and how that might affect people's thoughts on this issue.

marsbar - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

What you seem to have missed is that UKC isn’t the council or the BBC or any other state funded body whose job it is to do anything.  

UKC have the right to decide who says what on their site.  

If you are being loud in a pub whilst disagreeing with the landlord about what colour they painted the walls, it isn’t a matter of free speech if they decide to kick you out.  Their pub, their rules.  

If UKC want to stop speculation or conversation on accidents, their choice.  One I’d agree with as it happens, having seen some unpleasant discussions elsewhere on a forum for a different activity.  

1
Ramblin dave - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Not sure. I think some people are just massively overestimating the amount of new information that there is to be obtained from a speculative "does anyone know what happened" on a forum in the immediate aftermath of an accident that wouldn't have come to light soon enough anyway.

Post edited at 11:23
Brown - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

I think what you have to say about two camps or attitudes to risk is really interesting.

I personally do not want to reduce risk to zero but I want to really understand the risks I take. I also understand that some accidents are not obvious and people I consider sensible using the same risk assessment processes as me have f*cked up.

Take pegs. I know old pegs are suspect. I was shocked to the core when I found out about an accident where a peg had been swung on at ground level by a couple of people prior to it snapping when sat on two minumin later on lead.

This level of detail changed my behaviour but as far as I know all that escaped to the wider world was the standard don't trust old pegs.

If I did not share that knowledge with the visiting Frenchman I climbed with at gogarth who climbed the last pitch of the Moon clipping nothing but in situ pegs I'd consider myself negligent. If he went on to fall off and hurt himself without this information id feel morally responsible.

Those supressing  the gory details which make people change their behaviour are likewise responsible.

1
Deadeye - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> When fully explored the causes were much more nuanced.

"When fully explored" - i.e. when people who know the actual facts have analysed them and made the findings public.

"Much more nuanced" - i.e. all the initial speculation was bollocks.

Can you not see where almost everyone else is coming from on this?

 

 

2
Pan Ron - on 30 May 2018
In reply to MG:

> Such things exist in other areas such as aviation, medicine and engineering.

And there you have the problem with what is being proposed.  They certainly exist in those areas.  But these are strictly regulated industries, even their amateur sectors.

Obviously, I absolutely support instituting a formal system.  I've been banging on about it for years.  But you need to be realistic.

Those who are saying we should have no discussion on a free forum and all investigation must be formal are dooming a climbing accident reporting system to failure!

You are essentially saying anything short of a gold-standard reporting system is forbidden.  But the idea that a gold-standard, or even silver-standard, is going to be effective in a recreational industry to which zero fees are paid, and on which there is no existing safety reporting culture, or expected is naive. 

This isn't cave-diving or re-breather tech, where industry has an interest in investigating each incident, fatal, injury, or simply a near miss. Its not a sector where harm potentially befalls others or causes huge costs, to the degree of aviation.

Sorry, the approach here to safety and a safety mechanism just seems entirely arse-about-face.  It almost looks like folks want it to fail.

4
Ramblin dave - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> You are essentially saying anything short of a gold-standard reporting system is forbidden.

No, people are saying that a "system" which can have very unpleasant consequences for the friends and family of the victim while being no more useful than letting people who actually know what happened and who feel that there's a useful lesson to be learnt volunteer that information if and when they feel it's appropriate is forbidden.

 

Post edited at 11:49
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Pan Ron - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> Okay,  this is a bit off the top of my head, so very speculative and no doubt full of holes, (and maybe better as a separate thread) but... 

Not sure I agree as I think both categories apply equally.

I come from an aviation background, so I've been brought up in that culture.  That doesn't mean I really want something as formalised though - there is a sliding scale in aviation incident approaches between professional, GA, and then the relatively unregulated, industries of "free-flight".

Paragliding and sailplane aviation are particularly leftfield in their determination to stay unregulated.   It's admirable.  But I know a substantial segment of these pilots who think nothing about violating airspace and airmanship regulations, with a stated attitude of "screw the regs".  This same niche is conspicuously the first, much like UKC, to call out any attempt at talking about accidents and shut down discussion.

That is, there are two competing narratives:  

The amateur thrill seeker who thinks this is the way it should be, that no improvement can or should be made as it will necessarily take away the fun/freedom/etc.

The amateur who has some formal contact with either military, commercial, GA, or perhaps safety-conscious industry.  That exposure has either inculcated a culture, or at least made them aware of the substantive change that can be brought not just by investigation but also a no-blame and open discussion culture.

Paragliding will continue to be extremely dangerous and micro-meteorology so variable that it is incredibly difficult to know from one minute to the next what is safe and dangerous - the risks are almost always invisible and can only be inferred.  The knowledge base developed by discussion, rather than hard-and-fast rules-based systems is invaluable.  Climbing also seems to fit in to that camp.

 

3
MG - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> the first, much like UKC, to call out any attempt at talking about accidents and shut down discussion.

You are now just getting tedious.  It's been explained to you repeatedly this isn't about shutting down discussion about accidents.    If you want to discuss this honestly, you need to stop making this claim.

In fact another thread has just started attempting to explicitly discuss them with quite a few posts and no objections.

Pan Ron - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Ramblin dave:

But that simply isn't the case.

Friends and family are under no obligation to see any of this and there is only an off-chance that any of it will be distressing anyway - at least any more distressing than anything they are already going through.  And the assumption that those who were there have no idea about what went wrong is ludicrous.  We seem to be taking a small number of cases and using them to justify a ban on the majority.

The proposed alternative (essentially going hand-in-hand with a commandment that no other discussion may take place) is going to be a formalised investigation farmed out to a central service.  That is what I defined as a gold standard.  It will discourage reporting, many of the near misses that are valuable to learn from won't be deemed by the potential reportee as big enough to warrant a report.  Quite likely that the vast majority of incidents and potential incidents will remain unseen.  So it will be useless for statistical generation and a resulting apparently small number of accidents likely to lull climbers in to a false belief about safety.

 

2
Pan Ron - on 30 May 2018
In reply to MG:

> You are now just getting tedious. 

Likewise.  Threads are literally being locked down.  People are demanding discussion stops.  I anticipate the same will occur on whatever new thread has started. 

You appear to think otherwise.

You appear to be willfully blind.

But hey, the entire community can go buy books every year can't they?

Post edited at 12:04
6
MG - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> But hey, the entire community can go buy books every can't they?

Well, yes.

1
Ramblin dave - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> The proposed alternative (essentially going hand-in-hand with a commandment that no other discussion may take place) is going to be a formalised investigation farmed out to a central service.

No it isn't. As MG said, if you aren't going to make any effort to understand and reply to what people are actually saying and are just going to keep shouting the same thing over and over again regardless then this conversation is going to get pointless fast.

 

1
MG - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Likewise.  Threads are literally being locked down.  People are demanding discussion stops.  I anticipate the same will occur on whatever new thread has started. 

Well you anticipated wrong.  Note the discussion is around near misses, almost all in the past rather than raw, and so far without without speculation.  Seems a much better approach to me.  That said, I don't think it has yet highlighted anything that surprising from a safety point of view.

timjones - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

There are many photos of rotten pegs all over the web and other climbing publications, you should not need "gory details" to become aware of the risk involved in clipping old pegs.
 

marsbar - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

Information picked up by journalists means friends and family will have no choice but to hear it.  I don’t trust the media to be sensitive and not camp on the doorstep of family members if they think they can get a story out of it.  Certain papers love nothing more than ridiculous “risky climbers costing the taxpayers” stories.  

marsbar - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

Maybe you need to use the information you already have better.  

Did you really need a near miss or an accident to let you know that old pegs could be dangerous?  

Your personal risk assessment sounds faulty to me. 

1
Brown - on 30 May 2018
In reply to timjones:

I disagree.

I think highly generalised warnings regarding pegs are less than useless.

Clearly the peg is not to be trusted. We all know that. When we encounter a dodgy peg this generalised warning is very unhelpful.

In the past I've encountered pegs whilst run out on dangerous routes. If I was appraised of all the accidents involving pegs snapping I would have more evidence to base my decision to press on or back off on. What actually happens is I press on as I've never heard of it actually happening to anybody.

I like doing really risky things. I've climbed really dangerous routes. I don't like not having all the available evidence and I see the reluctance to discuss things as a direct threat to my safety.

Selfishly I do not consider the feelings of bereaved friends and family trump future accidents. I'd have thought people would want to have at least something positive come out of a death and not have the same thing happen to another family.

5
Ramblin dave - on 30 May 2018
In reply to MG:

> Well you anticipated wrong.  Note the discussion is around near misses, almost all in the past rather than raw, and so far without without speculation.  Seems a much better approach to me. 

Agreed. I've also seen plenty of references to past incidents, including fatal ones, where the facts are reasonably well established and they've been (sensitively) brought up because they're relevant to an ongoing discussion about safety - no complaints. I've also seen posts when people who have some solid facts about in an incident have good reason to believe that it was caused by a lack of understanding of some risk factor that other climbers might also be unaware of - again, no complaints.

It's just the ambulance chasing speculation-fests that people object to, quite reasonably in my view.

1
timjones - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

You seem to be wilfully ignoring the simple notion that a bit of time should be allowed before launching into speculation and discussion.

Beyond that it is nonsense to claim that information on how pegs degrade is less than useless.

 

1
timjones - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Likewise.  Threads are literally being locked down.  People are demanding discussion stops.  I anticipate the same will occur on whatever new thread has started. 

> You appear to think otherwise.

> You appear to be willfully blind.

> But hey, the entire community can go buy books every year can't they?

As far as I can see just one thread has been "locked down" and if you can't understand why that happened then you are probably part of the reason that it is necessary to prevent tasteless specualtion in the immediate aftermath of a tragic accident.

 

Pursued by a bear - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

I think there's a kernel of truth in what you say.  It neatly - perhaps too neatly, but nevertheless - divides attitudes for indoor walls and attitudes for traditional climbing. One is supposed to be as safe as such exercise can be; for the other, risk is part of the package.

I'm quite happy to say that I'm in the group of older climbers that you rightly surmise to find alien the idea of sanitised, risk-averse climbing.  Nothing wrong with going to the climbing wall (and please, never 'climbing gym') and working your arms until you're unable to hold onto a pint of beer afterwards, but it's got little in common with carrying a laden rucksack uphill for three hours in order to struggle your way up a route that sounded good in the guidebook but which is now disappearing into the mountain mist and being showered with fat drops of rain so cold they should be ice cubes, a route which you believe has now become possibly the worst thing you've ever done in your life, getting to the top eventually, walking back to the car in the cold wet dark and when you've got home, dried out and finally warmed up and someone asks how your day was, you reply 'Pretty good, thanks'.

The thing with the modern attitude to what are branded as 'adventure sports' is that they have to have pretty much all the risk eliminated from them so that in the end it becomes an exercise in gymnastics, not about how you as an individual balance your judgement and belief in your ability against what you can see, what you can't see but the guidebook tells you is there, conditions, time, weather, your assessment of the available protection and a thousand other things, not forgetting gravity.

If that makes me a prehistoric old scrote then fair play; I'll wear that badge with honour.  

T.

2
Phil79 - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> I think highly generalised warnings regarding pegs are less than useless.

> Clearly the peg is not to be trusted. We all know that. When we encounter a dodgy peg this generalised warning is very unhelpful.

> In the past I've encountered pegs whilst run out on dangerous routes. If I was appraised of all the accidents involving pegs snapping I would have more evidence to base my decision to press on or back off on. What actually happens is I press on as I've never heard of it actually happening to anybody.

Sorry, but I don't see how that would help?

Generally, the only time you'll ever hear about a peg is when someone fell on it and it snapped/pulled. You wont ever know how many times people have fallen/hung on them and they have held.

Therefore you have absolutely no idea how likely failure of any particular peg is (if you are basing it on purely on numbers of falls they have held before failing?).

The only time you know anything useful is when you inspect it first hand, or you happen to meet/know the person that placed it (i.e. it was placed last year = probably safe. It was placed 20 years ago = probably unsafe), or someone posts as much on a log book entry.

Plus there are so many other variables involved (age of peg/type of peg/corrosion/rock type/rock quality/placement quality etc) its all still guesswork. 

Clearly you can test a peg yourself by lobbing a rucksack onto it, or hanging off it, but even that doesn't tell you much as you might have just weakened it to the point of failure.

Personally, I think the only thing you can reliably say about any existing peg is potentially unsafe, back it up if at all possible, and don't expect it to hold a fall.

Post edited at 15:26
LeeWood - on 30 May 2018
In reply to marsbar:

>  I don’t trust the media to be sensitive 

Correct! Do you remember the Camillagate tapes ? Perso I thought that was a major embarrassment to every person in the UK. But its the age we're in - its unlikely that discussion on an accident could approach this level of sensitivity. There's many a documentary about to reveal how the media pries - and if there was a juicy story to be had someone would worm their way in. Maybe we should all just toughen up ?

 

2
marsbar - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Brown:

> I disagree.

> I think highly generalised warnings regarding pegs are less than useless.

> Clearly the peg is not to be trusted. We all know that. When we encounter a dodgy peg this generalised warning is very unhelpful.

> In the past I've encountered pegs whilst run out on dangerous routes. If I was appraised of all the accidents involving pegs snapping I would have more evidence to base my decision to press on or back off on. What actually happens is I press on as I've never heard of it actually happening to anybody.

> I like doing really risky things. I've climbed really dangerous routes. I don't like not having all the available evidence and I see the reluctance to discuss things as a direct threat to my safety.

> Selfishly I do not consider the feelings of bereaved friends and family trump future accidents. I'd have thought people would want to have at least something positive come out of a death and not have the same thing happen to another family.

 

You being selfish risky impulsive and unable to clearly risk assess without illogical reliance on gossip and anecdotal evidence doesn’t entitle you to anything.  If a family want to discuss an accident, fine, if not, that is their decision.  

You sound like you think you are being logical.  The logical approach would be for you to heed the existing safety information.  I’m not hearing any new information that is being withheld from anyone.  

1
marsbar - on 30 May 2018
In reply to LeeWood:

Feel free to find a grieving family and tell them to toughen up.  I’m sure that conversation will go really well and not put you at all at risk.  

LeeWood - on 30 May 2018
In reply to marsbar:

> Feel free to find a grieving family and tell them to toughen up.  

gross mis-representation !!!

grieving has its place 

but if someone ignorant says potentially hurtful things about me - and esp if they're so remote as 'some incognito forum respondent' - well I think I can cope

1
Wilberforce - on 05 Jun 2018
In reply to Pursued by a bear and Bob Kemp: 

This might just be me projecting, but I suspect that experience (or rather a lack thereof) underlies a good deal of your observations on attitudes to risk analysis and to accident discussions. For the novice climber, the most worrying thing about climbing is not knowing what to worry about. As a consequence, new climbers tend to worry about everything and are more likely to dissect accidents in order to avoid becoming one. Personally, the current near misses thread is probably the single most useful thing I have read on UKC... 

In contrast, the experienced climber has already developed the skills needed to keep themselves safe and they already know the main fubars they need to avoid making. This means they are far more comfortable with their capacity to assess risk on the fly and to manage risky situations effectively. For these reasons, experienced climbers are unlikely to benefit from discussions of accidents. They are also more likely to have lost friends/acquaintances to accidents which would (I imagine) tend to make accident discussions (especially when insensitive) painful or distasteful. 

 

Bob Kemp - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Wilberforce:

I think there's a lot in what you say but I would add that there are likely to be other dimensions than just novice/experienced. For a start I'd say the kind of community and culture that surrounds you (the 'community of practice' in the anthropological/educational theory jargon) when you're introduced to climbing will make a difference, whether via a course, a club, an informal group of friends or whatever.  

Neil Williams - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> The thing with the modern attitude to what are branded as 'adventure sports' is that they have to have pretty much all the risk eliminated from them so that in the end it becomes an exercise in gymnastics,

But what's wrong with that?  Not all of us are actually interested in putting ourselves at risk of permanent disability (I'll be honest, I'm actually more scared of that than I am of being killed outright).  I like climbing for the physical challenge.  This does mean I'm never going to be leading E-numbers - but so what?

I think everyone should climb in the style they wish and for the reasons they wish.  There is room for all of it - the only bits that need watching out for, really, are where they overlap, e.g. if someone tried to bolt an established trad crag (or chopped bolts at an established sport crag, for that matter).

I don't see a significant conflict between you wanting to incorporate risk into your climbing and me not - we just climb as we each wish to, surely?

Post edited at 10:14
deepsoup - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

>  I like climbing for the physical challenge.  This does mean I'm never going to be leading E-numbers - but so what?

I don't see why that follows.  Not every 'E' route is a chop route, plenty are well protected.

> I don't see a significant conflict between you wanting to incorporate risk into your climbing and me not - we just climb as we each wish to, surely?

That's fine, as long as you don't kid yourself that others are choosing to "incorporate risk" and you are not.  *All* climbing carries a risk of injury or death, sport or trad, indoors or out. 

You can manage the risk by the decisions you make about how and what you will climb, to a point where you feel the risk is acceptable.  You can never completely eliminate it though, and it would be better to quit climbing than delude oneself otherwise imo.

1
Bob Kemp - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> But what's wrong with that?  

> I think everyone should climb in the style they wish and for the reasons they wish.  There is room for all of it - the only bits that need watching out for, really, are where they overlap, e.g. if someone tried to bolt an established trad crag (or chopped bolts at an established sport crag, for that matter).

> I don't see a significant conflict between you wanting to incorporate risk into your climbing and me not - we just climb as we each wish to, surely?

I agree actually. The classic essay 'Games Climbers Play' by Lito Tejada-Flores discerned various different but related activities, from bouldering to expeditions. He analysed them in terms of complexity (and rigidity) of the game rules, but you could also reapply his approach to classify our climbing games in terms of risk. Just as climbers might specialist in one of Tejada-Flores' games or move between different games at different times depending on the kinds of rules we wished to adopt, I think that we have a free choice too, to move between high- and low-risk games. 

My earlier post was really an attempt to explain different attitudes rather than to be prescriptive about what climbers should do, or be disdainful about highly safety-conscious approaches. 

(The original 'Games Climbers Play' was in Ken Wilson's anthology of climbing essays and stories, 'The Games Climbers Play', but there's a version online here for anyone who isn't familiar with it:

http://web.mit.edu/lin/Public/climbing/Games_Climbers_Play.txt )

 

Post edited at 10:52
timjones - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> But what's wrong with that?  Not all of us are actually interested in putting ourselves at risk of permanent disability (I'll be honest, I'm actually more scared of that than I am of being killed outright).  I like climbing for the physical challenge.  This does mean I'm never going to be leading E-numbers - but so what?

> I think everyone should climb in the style they wish and for the reasons they wish.  There is room for all of it - the only bits that need watching out for, really, are where they overlap, e.g. if someone tried to bolt an established trad crag (or chopped bolts at an established sport crag, for that matter).

> I don't see a significant conflict between you wanting to incorporate risk into your climbing and me not - we just climb as we each wish to, surely?

There is a conflict when those who are more risk averse start demanding immediate details of accidents in the mistaken belief that is their right in order to make their own climbing safer.

 

3
Neil Williams - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

> That's fine, as long as you don't kid yourself that others are choosing to "incorporate risk" and you are not.  *All* climbing carries a risk of injury or death, sport or trad, indoors or out. 

Realistically indoor roped climbing done correctly (i.e. attentive belayer etc) is most likely safer than driving or cycling to the wall.  Trad leading or soloing incorporate a much higher risk as part of the activity - at many UK trad crags that is a very deliberate incorporation of that risk, as normally it would be possible to go to the top and throw a top-rope on instead if you wanted a much lower risk (though still higher than indoor as the anchors are not tested and certified).

In the end it's down to the risk individuals wish to take against what benefits they feel they wish to derive from it.  I have no issue with anyone choosing any level of risk they wish, it's their body.  But I do have an issue with people telling me I'm not a proper climber just because I am comparatively quite risk-averse - I just choose to prioritise a different aspect of the sport.

Post edited at 11:05
1
Neil Williams - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to timjones:

> There is a conflict when those who are more risk averse start demanding immediate details of accidents in the mistaken belief that is their right in order to make their own climbing safer.

An interesting point.

I'd rather see a formal (but clearly optional, as there's no way to force it) way of reporting anonymously via the BMC or similar to allow a knowledgebase of "bad stuff" to be created and thus give people a source of improving safety if they wish to use it.

But I can see why others wouldn't.

deepsoup - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

If you want to make your climbing safer through the use of decades of knowledge of "bad things that can happen and how to avoid them" there's an obvious, and excellent, option that nobody has mentioned in this thread yet: find an MIA and get some tuition.  (Books and DVDs are also available.)

It'll get you a lot further than going over the dispassionately reported details of a single accident, or a couple of dozen such.  Let alone trying to parse the relevant information out of a 'rubbernecking' thread full of tactless bickering, ill-informed speculation and Dunning-Kruger fuelled sanctimony on here.

3
timjones - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

Are you overlooking the fact that we have a huge range of books, magazine articles and online resources that we can use to learn the good practice that has been derived from hard won lessons over many years without having to resort to a knowledgebase of bad stuff.

Brown - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to timjones:

I think you have misunderstood my aversion to risk.

> There is a conflict when those who are more risk averse start demanding immediate details of accidents in the mistaken belief that is their right in order to make their own climbing safer.

I want to be able to discuss and understand accidents and risk not due to an aversion to risk but because I think I might sail much closer to the wind than many people.

timjones - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Brown:

> I think you have misunderstood my aversion to risk.

> I want to be able to discuss and understand accidents and risk not due to an aversion to risk but because I think I might sail much closer to the wind than many people.

In that case can't you still learn more by discussing last years accidents when a few more facts are known rather than clamouring for details of yeatserdays accidents?

Pursued by a bear - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Wilberforce:

Well, first off thanks for the considered reply.  In truth, I'd forgotten what I'd posted and so have had to go back and read everything to get back up to speed.

Thanks to Bob Kemp for posting the link to Tejada-Flores' seminal essay; it should be compulsory reading, particularly for boulderers as it tells you why using *that* hold is cheating.

As a self-confessed prehistoric old scote, I'd class myself at the 'experienced' end of the spectrum; I'm not sure whether that's come across (in your post "I suspect that experience (or rather a lack thereof) underlies a good deal of your observations on attitudes to risk analysis" and "In contrast, the experienced climber has already developed the skills needed"); best to have that up front so we know where we are.

There is a good deal of truth in the old saying that good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from poor judgement.  As someone who started climbing 35 years ago, in the information-poor pre-internet days, most of the information that coloured your judgement was acquired from fellow club members, from books and magazines, and from your own experience; also though I could never afford them, I shouldn't fail to mention the courses run by the likes of Plas-y-Brenin, where a good many others learned valuable things that they would then pass on to others.  But it remains true that even in today's information-rich multi-platform content-heavy world, the lessons you learn yourself are the ones that stick with you.  One of the really valuable things about UKC is that discussion can point out poor advice and highlight best practice but even so, you must judge for yourself what's vital, important or useful and what's poor, silly or just plain dangerous; but even so, it you that has to make that judgement.

Which brings us back to risk, and assessment of risk (also branding, but I need to reply to another post so I'll cover that there).  Times have definitely changed, as I alluded to earlier.  Rather than the classic understatement so beloved of years gone, where a pitch that had little protection, its hardest moves right at the end and which carried the definite possibility of serious injury or worse was described as a 'steady' lead, now everyone wants information up-front and that language of understatement that was understood by an older generation seems to be slipping away.  It was always understood that when climbing a multi-pitch route, the second would have a look at the belay their partner had arranged and say something if it could be improved before they set off to lead the next pitch; everyone understood that, no-one took umbrage at comments and sometimes, when the belay was rubbish and the next pitch difficult, both partners were very pleased to see the first really sound piece of gear placed on the following pitch; sometimes though, you just had to accept that the belay was the best that could be arranged, there was no protection until after the hard moves on the next pitch and that if the leader fell off, you'd both probably become a statistic of some sort.  All the information, all the forewarning, all the talk with others about that only helps so much; when it's your lead and the moves are in front of you, it's down to you.  Are you happy to accept that risk?  

That, for me, is the paradox of climbing; the greatest rewards often come from the greatest risks, and we who so value everything about what we do and our ability to do it are willing to risk that and so much more for the reward that only those who have been there will understand.

Which has taken me a fair way from where I started.  To get back on point yes, I can see that someone new starting without an experienced partner may worry about more than a prehistoric old scrote.  Yes, I can see the value of the near misses thread (and proposed a few weeks ago that someone who wished to impose their opinions on me started one; they didn't, of course).  Yes, the greatest danger is most often ignorance.  Yes too, that's what's been lost in a world where people don't join clubs like they used too and where people say they're a 6b leader because they can do it at the local wall but get reduced to a gibbering wreck on a scramble.  Yes, more information about safe practice helps.  

But in the end, it's you that has to do it.  Risk is part of the package.  Climb when you're ready...

T.

Pursued by a bear - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> But what's wrong with that? 

I think you're missing part of my point which, in truth, I could have made a bit more explicit.  I'm reacting against the branding; 'adventure' sports which are a paler version of the sport from which they're derived, marketed to attract people for the sensation.  I suspect that people who say they take part in 'adventure' sports are likely to say things like 'Way rad, dude!' and because of that, need to be taken away and re-educated into ways of behaviour that are more acceptable in British society.

> I don't see a significant conflict between you wanting to incorporate risk into your climbing and me not - we just climb as we each wish to, surely?

There is little (beyond things like bolting crags, say) but I suspect we're in the process of evolving into two separate activities divided by a common name in much the same way as the USA and Britain are divided by a common language.  Yes, I've already confessed to being a prehistoric old scrote.  Now where are my Ron Hills...?

T.

Wilberforce - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp and Pursued by a bear:

>As a self-confessed prehistoric old scote, I'd class myself at the 'experienced' end of the spectrum; I'm not sure whether that's come across 

Ah yes, I see my wording was ambiguous there. I very much meant that fretting greenhorns (e.g. moi) would likely appear over-anxious/risk-averse to venerable gentlemen such as yourself and Mr Kemp.

>I think there's a lot in what you say but I would add that there are likely to be other dimensions than just novice/experienced. For a start I'd say the kind of community and culture that surrounds you (the 'community of practice' in the anthropological/educational theory jargon) when you're introduced to climbing will make a difference, whether via a course, a club, an informal group of friends or whatever.  

Absolutely, it’s far more nuanced than experience/inexperience. The communities of practice element you refer to seems key given that ‘typical’ learning environments have changed so dramatically (i.e. climbers learning outside of clubs). I wonder whether the club environment itself has changed too? I’d guess that the broader modern social trends in health and safety are likely to be pervasive across communities of practice.

That said I also think that the current trend towards risk aversion in trad climbing (and in society) is not a modern one. Arguably every innovation in technology and practice going back to the paleolithic has been a step away from raw or real climbing towards a sanitised game of gymnastics-chess (which we cheat at with prosthetic aids). At one extreme there’s bollock naked climbing in the dark and at the other there’s indoor top roping. Most of us operate somewhere in the middle and as you say Bear, we makes our choices and we takes our rewards – be they fair or foul.

Given that everyone seems to agree (wow a UKC consensus…) that it’s up to us all as individual climbers to make our own risk and reward judgements, does it actually matter if the zeitgeist changes??

>I suspect we're in the process of evolving into two separate activities divided by a common name in much the same way as the USA and Britain are divided by a common language.

Short of another revolution in gear I don’t see how trad could diverge into separate activities based on risk-profile; there’s always going to be a minimum level of danger and people who are intrinsically uncomfortable with that are already mopped up by sport climbing, low-ball bouldering or indoor climbing. The real danger to my mind is if the balance of participants shifts sufficiently to sport climbing that the idea of bolting potential or current trad venues gains traction. For that reason if none other, I think even hardcore trad-heads should proselyte (rather than condemn) their meeker brethren.

 

 

Toerag - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to timjones:

> Are you overlooking the fact that we have a huge range of books, magazine articles and online resources that we can use to learn the good practice that has been derived from hard won lessons over many years without having to resort to a knowledgebase of bad stuff.

The problem is that progress in methods and gear move faster than training & publishing, and although the info you want may exist online where do you look? If someone did their SPA / SPSA / ML years ago is there a mechanism for them to be informed about the latest techniques? Are the techniques they learnt still valid, or have they been surpassed?

timjones - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Toerag:

> The problem is that progress in methods and gear move faster than training & publishing, and although the info you want may exist online where do you look? If someone did their SPA / SPSA / ML years ago is there a mechanism for them to be informed about the latest techniques? Are the techniques they learnt still valid, or have they been surpassed?

Well I did my SPSA trainingover 20 years ago, nothing that was taught then would be invalid today. Simple and safe techniques are very rarely "surpassed".

Bob Kemp - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Toerag:

> The problem is that progress in methods and gear move faster than training & publishing, and although the info you want may exist online where do you look? If someone did their SPA / SPSA / ML years ago is there a mechanism for them to be informed about the latest techniques? Are the techniques they learnt still valid, or have they been surpassed?

It's a valid question, but it would be interesting to know if there are techniques in use that have been deprecated as being distinctly unsafe, as opposed to superseded by techniques that are better because they are more effective or  quicker/easier to use.

deepsoup - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Gear does tend to change (improve, hopefully) by evolution rather than revolution.  And what was good practice with the old stuff does tend to remain so with the new.

It doesn't quite fit the bill, but the best example I can think of would be how we have largely moved to using dyneema slings relatively recently rather than nylon, and how they are much less forgiving they can be if you tie a knot in one and then shock load it.  (Which was never 'good practice' with a nylon sling, obviously, but you were much more likely to get away with it.)

The general feeling against publicly dissecting accidents on here doesn't seem to have done anything to prevent word getting out, there has been plenty of discussion on the forum, articles, videos, etc..


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