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/ Club accidents or neat misses

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idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Oct 2018

Do any UK based clubs have a time where they discuss any incidents/accidents and/or near misses. 

I dont mean a quick chat that night in a pub but somerhing more formal/scheduled  to look at any lessons that can be learnt etc

Milesy - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

We in the Lomond MC certainly don't. We have always been a loosely organised club, in all senses.

From my own experience, I was belaying someone to took a bad ground fall about 7 or 8 years ago, which ended up in hospital time, I don't think either of us could give an accurate eyewitness account of what happened anyway, given the speed of it all, and the resulting adrenaline / shock. We both knew the risks and climbed, and certainly I think we both probably became more cautious, but I am not particularly sure there was anything to take up in some formal debrief.

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to Milesy:

We are a pretty  small club too. We have just had a couple of note worthy incidents this year and a member has who works in the outdoor industry is wondering whether a group learning/ debrief would be interesting to members.

Going to raise it at AGM but was just wondering if others do it.

Post edited at 16:46
TobyA on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I'm not a member but the Eagle Ski Club do (they're the UK wide ski mountaineering club), because my friend has now done two I think, for incidents on club trips where he was involved. I know they have special meets for people who are leading club trips, so it might well have been only there where they do it.

Michael Gordon - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

> We are a pretty  small club too. We have just had a couple of note worthy incidents this year and a member has who works in the outdoor industry is wondering whether a group learning/ debrief would be interesting to members.> 

Not sure what you had in mind exactly, but a group discussion sounds much better than one 'qualified person' giving their assessment. 

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Yes the idea was a group discussion... the member just had the idea, they arent intending to deliver a session

Kevster - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I think this can be important. Obviously severity of the incidents will dictate the emotion etc of those affected. Near misses should be considered and reflected upon before they become "not so" near misses. It would also get the members used to the idea of a discussion etc should the worst happen. 

Pay Attention - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

> Do any UK based clubs have a time where they discuss any incidents/accidents and/or near misses. 

Yes, it's a well established tradition to commemorate these things in the annual prize giving.

 

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to Pay Attention:

We have the 'Golden Headtorch Award' which kind of covers that.

Pay Attention - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

What do you have to do to get the 'Golden Headtorch Award'?  I probably earned several ....

marsbar - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I think it may be easier and more useful and less fraught to run an occasional training/discussion session (if there is any interest) based on other near misses or incidents of strangers. That way you can have a useful discussion and learn from mistakes without all the difficulty of dealing with the emotional fallout from the conversations.   

If you do go ahead with club incidents or near misses I think it would need extremely strong and tactful leading with clear ground rules to avoid blaming and arguments and to keep on topic with the learning.  

CathS - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to Pay Attention:

> > 

> Yes, it's a well established tradition to commemorate these things in the annual prize giving.

My club used to do that, but after three very serious accidents and a fatality it wasn't funny any more, so we stopped it.

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to marsbar:

We envisaged the need for careful handling... the idea of using 3rd party incidents hadnt actually occurred to me, but its  good idea. Ta

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to Pay Attention:

Its generally for benightments or unintended late finishes. This means we can include incidents or accidents if non serious

Pay Attention - on 29 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I've earned several.  It's generally best not to spend a whole night roped to a pillar when the descent path is only twenty feet away.

There is little difference between learning and earning ....

Roberttaylor - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

The ''Poulet D'Or' at my old club.

 

 

 

Michael Gordon - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to marsbar:

> I think it may be easier and more useful and less fraught to run an occasional training/discussion session (if there is any interest) based on other near misses or incidents of strangers. 

I find it's often hard to assess incidents properly without at least a couple of folk in the discussion having first hand knowledge of the incident in question.

 

marsbar - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Fair point.  

joshtee25 - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Are clubs any good at sharing near misses/incidents? If after an incident, people were asked to write a detailed incident report, this could have names redacted before being shared among clubs, allowing lots of learning (from some incidents).

I'm fortunate enough to work in an industry (expeditions) where after a major incident, we (as in members of the industry, we as a company have been fortunate enough to have never had a major incident) share with all our 'competitors' etc what happened, what our response was, and what we learnt from it. 

J

johncook - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

It is a good idea but, I find that the people who would benefit most from discussing the causes and outcomes of 'incidents' and 'near incidents' are the ones least likely to turn up and listen!

Obviously I can only speak from 51 years of experience of being near or involved in 'incidents' and 'near incidents' and the responses of others to them!

Michael Gordon - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to joshtee25:

In industry standard work procedures should be in place and training has already occurred, so there shouldn't (in an ideal world) be incidents and when there are it makes sense to try and learn as many lessons as possible. In climbing/mountaineering, incidents are really inevitable since learning tends to happen more through experience and less through prior training. We also on the whole tend to accept much more risk than we ever would in the world of work.

One might argue that for uni mountaineering clubs there are so many accidents and near misses that if there was an information sharing procedure in place amongst many many clubs, either newbies might be put off from persisting with the activity in the first place or many might purposely avoid the information so as not to be put off! 

EarlyBird - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

A couple of incidents? I thought it was just THE incident! 

Ramblin dave - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

One question here is whether your club is seeing the sort of accidents and near misses where there actually were useful lessons to be learnt?

Thinking of incidents in the clubs that I've been a member of, I'm aware of a couple where it was concluded that a given individual was basically dangerous, and one bolt failure that ended up being looked at by the BMC technical committee, but otherwise the most that I can really think of to learn is along the lines of "don't fall off", "don't go off route then fall off", "don't fall off if your gear isn't great", "really don't fall off if you're soloing". Oh, and "don't bumslide wearing crampons."

Basically, I'm not sure how much we'd have got from that sort of session...

Jamie Wakeham - on 30 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> One might argue that for uni mountaineering clubs there are so many accidents and near misses...

What on earth makes you think that uni clubs are so much more accident prone than any other club? 

Michael Gordon - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

That was just the impression I got from being a member of one, and hearing similar tales from others. Youth obviously is a factor.

gethin_allen on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

The one incident I was involved in with a university club was very well investigated by the societies safety officer, since joining a club outside of university the club has had 2 fairly major incidents involving serious injury and helicopter rescue. One accident that couldn't really be mitigated without just staying at home and one which was an absolute sh!t shower from start to finish and was totally swept under the carpet. Personally I wonder if the people involved actually believed the line that they took or if theu were just trying to protect the feelings of those involved. The former is just a recipe for another incident.

 

jkarran - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Different context but we almost always get a brief review of incidents, relevant training reminders, notification of changed procedures etc when there's an incident or accident at my gliding club. Usually just an email.

We never bothered in the student climbing club I was a member of but I don't recall many incidents of note or learning/teaching value occurring either.

jk

Post edited at 08:52
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to jkarran:

Well the idea had a vagely positive though maybe unenthusiastic reception at the AGM. We are going to give it a go in a room in a pub and see where it takes us... I'll report back on format and how it goes when it happens.

Re uni clubs...... i think the problems sometimes occur when 2nd years are seen as 'experienced climbers'. I know as a london based uni club we got people who got into climbing, with access to loads of indoor walls.. are young so get strong and good climbers pretty quick, but maybe only go outdoors a handful of times.

Then 2nd years starts and you get freshers looking up to these super enthusiastic guys whose climbing abilty well outshines their rock and rope work...

... in clubs you often get climbers with 1-2 years of climbing experience but they are surrounded by people with more... that is often lesser in uni clubs.

IJL99 on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> What on earth makes you think that uni clubs are so much more accident prone than any other club? 

About 25 years ago I was at Froggat at the same time as a very large uni climbing club was there.  It might have been Freshers week.  I saw more accidents in that day than in the preceding 10 years of climbing.  Not just falls climbing but one young women fell off the crag!  I ended up running along the track back to the road to call for help.  The lack of mobiles shows for far back it was.  Things are probably different now but a huge influx of new Freshers and a handful of people who know what their doing does not make for a great learning experience.

oldie - on 31 Oct 2018

> What on earth makes you think that uni clubs are so much more accident prone than any other club? <

Similar to a few preceding replies: IMHO there may well be increased risk as there will be an influx of new, inexperienced members each year and many (not all) of the existing members will only have one or two years of sometimes infrequent experience. Added to that 18 to 21 year olds probably take more risks and have less experience (insurance actuaries might back this up).
Many non-uni clubs have a trickle of newcomers backed up a large number of established, experienced members.
My own experience as a fresher. Desperate to climb (some southern sandstone experience). First available meet was with Uni club in N Wales; day1 being led; day2 me left to struggle up a couple of short routes in pouring rain leading another newcomer. Offered 80 feet of rope by college club over Christmas: N Wales with inexperienced school friend struggled up Diff; next day benighted at top of of long iced up climb on Idwal Slabs and escaped in morning abbing down ice on descent route (fortunately had learnt to ab at Harrison's which would be taboo today). First college club meet in January at Swanage: led Vdiff, requested toprope on S; another guy with one day's experience led a VS, long fall and held on the only peg runner, helicopter, hospital, but no serious injuries. I could continue...
However all a long time ago and there must have been many changes in the way Uni clubs work (also some freshers have useful experience from indoor walls).

 

Jamie Wakeham - on 31 Oct 2018

I thnk some people may be extrapolating from experiences of uni clubs in the very distant past.  My up-to-date experience of one uni club (OUMC) is that it has a strong ethos of passing on best practice; the leaders are very keen to get it right, and the new members are very keen to learn safely.  In 20-odd years of association with them I really struggle to recall any serious incidents.  The usual minor breaks and strains from falls, the odd near-hypothermia from benightment, but nothing like what's being suggested!

Mind you, OUMC has a very unusual age distribution for an uni club - there are plenty of older members who remain active for years and years.  I can see that it could be different in a club with a rigid three- or four-year turnaround of membership.  Even so, with the university sports federation or similar breathing down their necks, any club that regularly damaged its members these days wouldn't last long.

Misha - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

There seems to be a general reluctance in British climbing circles to review and learn from accidents. The BMC should be keeping a log of any serious accidents and publishing some statistics and learning points. That’s what the AAC do in the States. I’m told that other high risk sports such as skydiving have procedures in place to do this. I don’t know why the BMC don’t do this. They would probably say it’s due to a lack of resources but I think this should be a core activity for the BMC and they need to make the resources available.

In the meantime, discussion at club level is a sensible approach, as long as it’s possible to get the facts and sufficiently experienced people are involved in the analysis.

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 31 Oct 2018

 

Our thoughts are that it is as much to do with what follows and accident as proceeds it...

I was recently the first person on the scene of an accident and made wrong decisions due to 'being there and in the moment'. If we discuss the possibly wrong calls i made and why in a nice warm pub it might lead to a better response if there is a next time for me or others.  We dont want it to be a blame seeking witch hunt

Michael Gordon - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> My up-to-date experience of one uni club (OUMC) is that it has a strong ethos of passing on best practice; the leaders are very keen to get it right, and the new members are very keen to learn safely.  > 

That's good. Obviously lots of clubs are different - at mine I don't recall anyone ever being referred to as a 'leader' there. I'm not sure anyone considered themselves experienced enough to do so, and certainly wouldn't have been in any way qualified. Besides, the better / more experienced climbers would be keen to do their own thing, not just set up an endless string of top ropes... 

Michael Gordon - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to oldie:

> My own experience as a fresher. Desperate to climb (some southern sandstone experience). First available meet was with Uni club in N Wales; day1 being led; day2 me left to struggle up a couple of short routes in pouring rain leading another newcomer. Offered 80 feet of rope by college club over Christmas: N Wales with inexperienced school friend struggled up Diff; next day benighted at top of of long iced up climb on Idwal Slabs and escaped in morning abbing down ice on descent route (fortunately had learnt to ab at Harrison's which would be taboo today). First college club meet in January at Swanage: led Vdiff, requested toprope on S; another guy with one day's experience led a VS, long fall and held on the only peg runner, helicopter, hospital, but no serious injuries. I could continue...>

Brings back similar memories - great stuff! Got to love starting out on easy routes in crap conditions, and the ensuing pub tales afterwards...

petecallaghan - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I'm part of a small group working with the BMC on planning a trial service to share lessons learned from accidents and near misses: 

https://wpetecallaghan.wixsite.com/incidentreportstrial

We have a small trial currently in place. 

The blog on the site summarises our progress. It's very much exploratory at the present. 

Pete

Dave Garnett - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> One question here is whether your club is seeing the sort of accidents and near misses where there actually were useful lessons to be learnt?

I agree.  It's well-intentioned but difficult for me to imagine any sort of mechanism that wouldn't pretty quickly descend into either bureaucratic pointlessness or intrusive voyeurism.

In the one fatal accident our club suffered recently the lessons were painfully obvious. 

 

Ramblin dave - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Vaguely interesting on this, I've come across a blog post from the REI Co-Op about the "top 5 takeaways" from the American Alpine Clubs accident analysis for 2017:
https://www.rei.com/blog/climb/top-5-takeaways-from-accidents-in-north-american-climbing-2017

First of all they make the following observation.

"Many of the same mistakes cause climbing accidents year after year, including failure to self-arrest on snow, failure to tie stopper knots in the ends of ropes before rappelling or lowering, and inadequate preparation or experience for a given route."

They then go on to "less familiar themes", and find five biggest lessons.

1. Micro-Cams Have Micro Margins of Error

2. Beware of Swinging Falls

3. Weight-Test a Rappel or Lower Before Unclipping From the Anchor

4. Consider Roping Up on Fourth-Class Terrain

5. Lube Your Sticky Cams

Of these, my gut reaction is that 1-4 aren't _that_ surprising, although I guess it's good to have a reminder. 5 is a genuinely interesting point - sticky cams aren't just more effort to place, they're actually less likely to hold a fall. But on the flipside, this information is based on one out of the 180+ incidents that were investigated in the report.

So yeah, my personal takeaway from the takeaway is probably that there's value in high level analysis - for instance, it's worth being reminded that lowering or abbing off the end of the rope isn't just some "what-if" scenario made up by safety freaks, it's something that can and does kill and injure people every year - but that the odds of getting some significant new insight out of a detailed analysis of the exact causes of any given accident are relatively small.

Ramblin dave - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

> Our thoughts are that it is as much to do with what follows and accident as proceeds it...

> I was recently the first person on the scene of an accident and made wrong decisions due to 'being there and in the moment'. If we discuss the possibly wrong calls i made and why in a nice warm pub it might lead to a better response if there is a next time for me or others.

Good point, this. Hope it goes well.

 

Chris Craggs - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> First of all they make the following observation.

> "Many of the same mistakes cause climbing accidents year after year, including failure to self-arrest on snow, failure to tie stopper knots in the ends of ropes before rappelling or lowering, and inadequate preparation or experience for a given route."

Maybe these three need shouting out and shouting regularly?

 

Chris

Mark Kemball - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to Chris Craggs:

The other thing that needs a regular shout is the "Buddy-Buddy check". The kids at climbing walls are good at this, but seem to feel a need to apologise to me when they check my belay device at a comp. It's us old farts where the problem is - familiarity leads to complacency which in turn can result in silly errors like not tying in properly. I now try to make a point of saying "check" and checking my partner before either of us starts to climb. We learn the climbing calls, perhaps this should be included...

Chris Craggs - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I reintroduced someone to climbing a couple of years back and taught him the Buddy System - 'check and cross check'. On about the 4th day I left the rope just threaded through my harness and my bowline undone. We did the  Buddy Check but didn't spot anything untoward! I guess he saw what he expected to see.

Chris

petecallaghan - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Chris Craggs:

It's worth extending the buddy check from visual only to physical:belayer tugs the climbers rope and climber tugs the belayers locked off rope. No slower than a visual check if you're used to doing it

petecallaghan - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to petecallaghan:

It's also worth making a habit of self-checking (physically rather than visually: tug the rope) before leaving the ground, and especially so when abseiling/rappelling. 

Buddy checks at ab/rap are particularly valuable, and have saved me from serious harm on one occasion. 

Dave Garnett - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> The other thing that needs a regular shout is the "Buddy-Buddy check". The kids at climbing walls are good at this, but seem to feel a need to apologise to me when they check my belay device at a comp. It's us old farts where the problem is - 

I agree.  I guess I've always done it almost subliminally with a quick glance to how my partner is tied on / belaying but it really should be explicit and, for some reason,  this can seem a little awkward. 

It's obligatory in diving, which has a lot in common with roped climbing in terms of risk and responsibility.  

 

 

Brown - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Unfortunately with climbing accidents and best practice it's all opinion and guesswork.

I disagree about the buddy check system. I think that climbing involves far more independent working than diving from which the buddy check is copied.

Reliance on the buddy check system rather than eliminating risk is introducing a reliance on a second party who is often not there.

Who buddy checks you when you put your second on belay, when you abseil second, when you clip the lower off, build a belay. Take responsibility for yourself.

Of course we have no proper data on this as in order to protect the feelings of victims of accidents we don't discuss it online and by the sounds of the above discussion we don't discuss it in person.

It makes me sad that we respect the feelings of people who have had accidents more than we respect those who will go on to have accidents due to our failure to analyse them.

Mark Kemball - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Brown:

While I agree with you on the importance of self reliance in climbing and the importance of double checking everything yourself, I disagree with your analysis of the buddy system - it is not relying on the second person, it's more a further back up check. This is particularly important in the often very relaxed atmosphere of a climbing wall or (less so) when sports climbing. There have been too many serious accidents simply because someone has not tied in properly.

Brown - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

But we do not know how many serious accidents have been avoided by giving people a full grounding in self reliance.

How many more people would have had accidents due to being soothed into a false sense of complacency by their buddy checking up on them.

And we will never know as we cannot discuss accidents to protect people's feelings.

Jamie Wakeham - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Brown:

Versus how many accidents would have been prevented by an effective buddy check?  I teach it as an absolutely integral, non-negotiable part of tying in.  Just before I leave the ground, I show my second my tie-in knot, and I expect them to show me theirs and the loading of their belay plate - whether they're complete novices, or someone I've climbed with for 20 years.

I've said this to I-don't-know-how-many new climbers: "if Lynn Hill and John Long can f*ck this bit up, so can I"

Having said that, I am in agreement with you that in the UK we ought to be more open about discussing the learning points from serious accidents.  The US seems to be well ahead of us in this regard.  I think it needs to be on a much wider basis than within a given club, though.  I can't imagine why the BMC doesn't run a reporting scheme similar to the US Alpine Club.

Mark Kemball - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Brown:

> How many more people would have had accidents due to being soothed into a false sense of complacency by their buddy checking up on them.

I do not recognise this as at all likely.

> And we will never know as we cannot discuss accidents to protect people's feelings.

This is not the case, we can discuss accidents, but this needs to be done sensitively and not on an open forum with random uninformed speculation in the immediate aftermath of a fatality. In fact, members of the BMC are working on a near miss / accident reporting system at the moment - see item 9 in the SW area minutes of September's meeting http://community.thebmc.co.uk/Event.aspx?id=4013 

 

Post edited at 11:52
Brown - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I admire your confidence that your own personal anecdotes and experience will result in good outcomes when scaled up to a population level.

It strikes me as being similar to helmet wearing in cycling. On an individual level everyone has an anecdote about someone whose life was saved by wearing a helmet. On a population level studies have repeatedly shown that mass wearing of helmets makes head injury to participants more probable.

You think your personal anecdote is conclusive. I think you may be underestimating the population level impacts. Collectively we have no real data.

Efforts to increase the quality of information should be aplauded. 

Misha - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Brown:

I think you’re over analysing this. Partner check (I hate the word buddy, especially in a climbing context) is an additional check, not something which reduces or is a substitute for self reliance. I can’t see how it can make accidents more likely, unless people start relying on partner checks as their primary check - but I very much doubt people would see it that way.

Interesting point about cycling. I find it hard to believe but presumably it’s due to people taking more risks? This is assuming these are scientific studies which factor out the impact of other things such as increased traffic and higher numbers of cyclists.

Would you say the same is true with climbing? Do you see people taking more risks because they’ve got a helmet on? I think most people who use helmets do so as a risk mitigation strategy, just in case they fall off or something falls on their head. Same principle with the buddy check. 

Brown - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Misha:

I think they have identified a number of key factors with the bike helmets:

Increased willingness to take risk. This has strong experimental evidence from lab studies and epidemiology studies in a range of sports.

Increase in the willingness of drivers to subject cyclists to risk with closer passing etc. This factor is a bit weaker with less replication of academic studies. See the man with wig study!

Reduction in overall cycling due to inconvenience and increased perception of danger which results in fewer bikes on the road. There is quite strong evidence that expectations of drivers to see bikes and increased density of cyclists is linked to reduction in risk.

Climbing helmets are an unknown. Seeing as they were historically only ever designed to protect against top impacts I wonder how many people wore them to protect against inverted falls and gained nothing whilst taking more risks!

I do think people take bigger risks above bouldering pads than they should. I'd be interested to see information collected on that. (I speak as someone who has injured myself bouldering)

Post edited at 15:24
Misha - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Brown:

It’s probably right to say that wearing a helmet can create a false sense of security and encourage risk taking in climbing but I suspect it’s not a major factor. This is just speculation, may be someone will do a study one day.

Totally agree re bouldering pads. 

Michael Gordon - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

>This is not the case, we can discuss accidents, but this needs to be done sensitively and not on an open forum with random uninformed speculation in the immediate aftermath of a fatality.

So how do we discuss accidents then? If you just mean we can discuss things face to face, this surely goes without saying.

"In fact, members of the BMC are working on a near miss / accident reporting system at the moment - see item 9 in the SW area minutes of September's meeting http://community.thebmc.co.uk/Event.aspx?id=4013 "

That's great, though it doesn't equate to discussing incidents.

Post edited at 15:42
Mark Kemball - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> So how do we discuss accidents then?

It's very difficult, especially if there's been a fatality. Relatives will be grieving and we need to be very sensitive to this. In the past, on these forums, there has been a certain amount of "rubber necking" and uninformed speculation as to the cause of an accident - this does not help anyone. Fortunately the mods are good at removing such insensitive posts. It is probably best to wait until after the inquest has reached its conclusion before trying to learn lessons.

Too many accidents seem to be caused by silly mistakes due to lack of concentration / distraction. Probably the best way to prevent these is to check, double check and check each other...

 

petecallaghan - on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It's an interesting question. A comprehensive public near miss and accident online service can help provide real world lessons from the experiences of our community.

The American Alpine Club's annual accidents report shows that as we build up a record of people's experiences, clear lessons can emerge. 

To make people genuinely safer we need use to these lessons to promote better practice in a variety of ways, including via blogs, articles, books, videos, seminars, training sessions or informal discussions. 

jcw on 02 Nov 2018
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Glad to see you still use a bowline

jcw on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I've just found a long .letter and follow up concerning two accidents on consecutive days late November  1986 on a OUMC meet at Pembroke when one member of three relative beginners was  fortunately only injured in a potentially fatal situation on the first day and the next day two others killed. I was Senior Member (Oxford rightly makes it obligatory that clubs have a "don" who is ultimately responsible to the University for overseeing its affairs) but was on sabbatical leave and my stand in had to deal with this situation. But the Secretary of the new Committee  wrote a long account to me with a follow up of the actions that had been decided on concerning instruction of freshers and beginners meets. It was the start of the real change in outlook from the happy go usually lucky old days that you and others refer to and which I have described elsewhere. 

mbh - on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I was once in the ETH/Uni Zurich MC. Before you could go cragging with them you had to do a climbing wall training session, and before you could out go with them on the higher hills (there were a few nearby) you had to attend a weekend of training in ice climbing and glacier safety.

Dave Garnett - on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to jcw:

Even in the late 1970s I remember the University of Birmingham club limited attendance to the annual CIC winter meet (actually held at Easter) to members deemed sufficiently experienced, following a fatal accident the year before I joined.  It wasn't nearly as formalised as now but there was a lot of common sense applied.  Back in those days it was Cambridge that had a bit of a reputation for airmiles.

During the year I was president of UBMC a member was killed, but not on a club meet (actually in a well-known major incident on the Tour Ronde).

I don't recall any serious incidents while I was in the OUMC.  

mbh - on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to mbh:

That was in the early-mid 90s.

Fakey Rocks - on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> I do not recognise this as at all likely.

> This is not the case, we can discuss accidents, but this needs to be done sensitively and not on an open forum with random uninformed speculation in the immediate aftermath of a fatality. In fact, members of the BMC are working on a near miss / accident reporting system at the moment - see item 9 in the SW area minutes of September's meeting http://community.thebmc.co.uk/Event.aspx?id=4013 

Can a link start going up here on UKC, say quarterly, or 6 monthly?, at some point soon, say to draw people's attention to the outcomes of coroners reports etc, so we can learn, where possible, from the accidents that happen, or so we continue to be reminded of the things we need to keep checking to be safe?

Perhaps this might start happening when the BMC project takes off, or maybe in some cases where it's perhaps already clear what happened, it could already be taking place?

Perhaps it's important enough to have its own tab on the menu row, with a link to the new site, and then the discussion can take place on its own page here too?

krikoman - on 05 Nov 2018
In reply to Pay Attention:

> > 

> Yes, it's a well established tradition to commemorate these things in the annual prize giving.


We have the CFC award, for dangerous incidents, awarded annually.

krikoman - on 05 Nov 2018
In reply to Brown:

> Reliance on the buddy check system rather than eliminating risk is introducing a reliance on a second party who is often not there.

It's not reliance on the buddy system, though is it? It's simply an extra check. How do you come to reliance on this rather than anything else. No one does a slap dash job because it'll be picked up by their buddy, do they?

Steve Hill - on 09:47 Thu
In reply to gethin_allen:

I'm not sure why you're saying anything was swept under the carpet.  There were 2 serious accidents in the space of a year (which is waay out of the ordinary - I've seen a fair few accidents over the years, but usually they are of the "I fell off the bottom of a route and now have a hurty bum" kind), and I was in attendance at both.  In both cases, people were climbing on rock that pretty much anyone would consider very solid, and in both cases the critical hold unexpectedly broke, causing the climber to fall off.

The first incident (which is the one I suspect is what you're calling a "sh!t shower") was on an unprotectable section of rock.  About 3 other groups had already climbed that section over the course of the evening, none of those groups had gear in at that point and all of them would have pulled on exactly the same hold.  The climber involved didn't particularly want to talk about what had happened while they were recovering, and as a result of the "information vacuum" there seemed to be a *lot* of people who weren't there, claiming that things happened that simply didn't happen.  I'm honestly not sure how that accident could have been avoided, other than just staying at home.

The second incident was on an easy route (Diff or Vdiff I think), the climber was very experienced and the route was well under his top grade.  As a lot of us are prone to do on easy routes, he hadn't put as much gear in as he probably should have and his gear ripped when he pulled off a fairly sizeable boulder.  Could have been mitigated with more gear, but then I would have previously considered that rock plenty solid enough and would've had no qualms about soloing that route (in fact I've probably soloed it several times in the past).

In any case, it isn't "sweeping things under the carpet" when the people who were there explain that the "facts" that are being put about by folks who weren't there and who haven't even talked to those involved are BS.  Notably the club's current committee haven't seen the need to investigate either accident.

gethin_allen on 16:10 Thu
In reply to Steve Hill:

Hi Steve,

I'll try not to air the clubs dirty laundry in a public forum, but, I have spoken to people who were there, I have also spoken to many people who where not there because, like myself, they considered the conditions on the evening in question to be totally unsuitable. The rescuers were apparently pretty damming about the whole affair.  And, if having a leader leave a novice belaying half way up a multipitch climb without any gear in is not an issue I don't know what is.

The big difference in the second incident is that nobody other than the climber in question was put at risk and he's a bigger person in that he's willing to discuss the incident and people can/will learn from it.

It should have been looked at but it wasn't. The current committee hasn't because they have been working had to get things done move forward and unify the club. In my opinion they have been doing a sterling job of it.

oldie - on 23:51 Thu
In reply to Brown:

> Climbing helmets are an unknown. Seeing as they were historically only ever designed to protect against top impacts I wonder how many people wore them to protect against inverted falls and gained nothing whilst taking more risks! <

Sorry for being a bit pedantic here. My first helmet was a Compton Climber Mark 2 in 1960s. Absurdly heavy by current standards and came down over ears and top of neck. It was made to a BS standard rather than UIAA as I remember and was probably designed to be much safer in a fall than modern helmets. Tested involuntarily in a direct head first fall; there was a radiating splatter of red helmet coating on the rock.
 

 

 

 

jimtitt - on 07:32 Fri
In reply to oldie:

Indeed, they were certified as motorcycle helmets.

Brown - on 19:20 Fri
In reply to oldie:

It's prehape a minor fault of stardards in that they come to be both minimum AND maximum.

You can't go wrong with meeting a standard. Make something better...... a world of difficulty justifying your claims, liabilities and selling it to the public.


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