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Belay machine failure at Westway

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I've been told that a auto-belay machine at the Westway has failed today and the climber fell to the ground. Does anyone have more info about it?

Thanks

Ramon
mattjames 15 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

christ ... sounds bad. hope he/she is okay.
is it a rare case of mechanical failure, or the much more common forgetting to clip in properly?
Wingman 15 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

as per the other poster.

you mean someone hurt themselves using it?!

or there was 'belay machine failure'

if the machine didn't fail you need to be careful posting that it did.
In reply to Wingman:
No, it was a machine failure, I was told. I wouldn't post an accident of someone not clipping the biner properly.
Wingman 15 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

ouch. I'll be there tomorrow morning so I'll try and ask around.

Bit worrying as I use them!
In reply to Wingman:

me too. Yesterday I must have done at least 10 routes on them. mmm...
roblo 15 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

Hey,

I was at the wall today when this happened, I did not see it but got a bit of a report. All I would say is please do not comment on this until the guy from Entreprises has inspected the machine (he will be coming tomorrow). It is still unknown if it was a problem with the machine or the climber (not clipping, harness failure etc.). Not sure how high he fell from but if an ambulance came (one did) I would guess it was more than a few feet.

The guy that fell was this guy

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=218331

Hope hes doing ok, but this is starting to get a little silly, must be the third time in 3 months.

Rob
 pwhiteside 15 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez: Best wishes to him. Hope he's ok.
mattjames 15 Jan 2007
> Hope hes doing ok, but this is starting to get a little silly, must be the third time in 3 months.
>


bit ambiguous that... are you saying this guy's fallen off three times in three months, or the autobelays have failed three times... ?
 Jim V 15 Jan 2007
In reply to matty james: I believe there have been three accidents in the last three months involving self-belay machines (at the Westway). All have been a product of pilot error, and as yet there have been no confirmed cases of mechanical failure (so far!!!). Mechanical failure would be a litigators dream come true.
 Jim V 15 Jan 2007
In reply to myself: Equipment is usually only as safe as the person using it, but I have seen this guy using the belay machine a lot...
Regis Von Goatlips 15 Jan 2007
In reply to mattjames:
> [...]
>
>
> bit ambiguous that... are you saying this guy's fallen off three times in three months, or the autobelays have failed three times... ?

I was wondering the same thing though I've never used a machine and never will. Hope he's ok all the same.
In reply to Jim V:

I really hope is not a machine failure, as I use it a lot.
 t0mb0 16 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:
> (In reply to Jim V)
>
> I really hope is not a machine failure, as I use it a lot.

What?? You were the guy that posted that it definitely was a machine failure!

> No, it was a machine failure, I was told. I wouldn't post an accident of someone not clipping the biner properly.

Do you know or do you not?
 CurlyStevo 16 Jan 2007
In reply to roblo:
Oh comeon you must know whether he waas tied on correctly and also had a harness on done up correctly
mattjames 16 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

to nick a quote from The Life of Brian...

"You're making this up as you go along....."
In reply to t0mb0:

Read this again dude:
"I've been told that a auto-belay machine at the Westway has failed today and the climber fell to the ground. Does anyone have more info about it?"

I was asking for more info on the issue
 Morgan Woods 16 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

i've often got to the top and wondered what's holding that very heavy unit on....the gaff tape doesn't inspire confidence....anyway i hope they're ok.
mattjames 16 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:


read this again dude...

"No, it was a machine failure, I was told. I wouldn't post an accident of someone not clipping the biner properly."

your response to my question a the top...
Bingly Bong 16 Jan 2007
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to ramon marin martinez)
>
> i've often got to the top and wondered what's holding that very heavy unit on....the gaff tape doesn't inspire confidence....anyway i hope they're ok.

Im confused now...

The link that roblo posted suggests it is you who fell :oS
 Morgan Woods 16 Jan 2007
In reply to Bingly Bong:

err no...i was just posting that i thought it unusual somebody was climbing with a full rack on indoors....like i said i hope it's nothing serious.
 CurlyStevo 16 Jan 2007
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to Bingly Bong)
>
> err no...i was just posting that i thought it unusual somebody was climbing with a full rack on indoors....like i said i hope it's nothing serious.


see this post above
"
Hey,

I was at the wall today when this happened, I did not see it but got a bit of a report. All I would say is please do not comment on this until the guy from Entreprises has inspected the machine (he will be coming tomorrow). It is still unknown if it was a problem with the machine or the climber (not clipping, harness failure etc.). Not sure how high he fell from but if an ambulance came (one did) I would guess it was more than a few feet.

The guy that fell was this guy

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=218331

Hope hes doing ok, but this is starting to get a little silly, must be the third time in 3 months.

Rob"
roblo 16 Jan 2007
In reply to CurlyStevo:

I ment the guy who wears all his kit...
Wingman 16 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

Having been there today, I can confirm that it was a machine failure.

Although I know no more details and am not going to speculate.
 Wibble Wibble 16 Jan 2007
In reply to roblo:

These things scare me as the best of times, but now! Glad the guy's ok.
 doz generale 16 Jan 2007
In reply to Wingman:
> (In reply to ramon marin martinez)
>
> Having been there today, I can confirm that it was a machine failure.
>
> Although I know no more details and am not going to speculate.

That's bad!
 gingerdave13 16 Jan 2007
In reply to roblo: eek - glad the guy is OK,

i might just be staying clear of them for a while until the root cause is found tho,,
 james wardle 16 Jan 2007
In reply to gingerdave13:
was at the west way at lunchtime, and all the autobelay machines have been taken down.
 gingerdave13 16 Jan 2007
In reply to james wardle: that'll put paid to that idea anyway then!
SJD 16 Jan 2007
In reply to roblo:

hmm doesnt inspire confidence in the machines though does it??!

it failed but its working normally. Great.
 Wilbur 16 Jan 2007
In reply to SJD:

Last time i use one...

shouldn't they have 2 independent machines at the top in case one of them fails...

maybe they'll have to in future...
mattjames 16 Jan 2007
In reply to Wilbur:


shit - really bad news if confirmed.
big trouble for the climbing wall at the Reebok in Canary Wharf were day to day climbing in exclusively on these machines...
wonder if entreprise will be asking them to shut down while they investigate.. or would that be too joined-up?
SJD 16 Jan 2007
In reply to mattjames:

thing is so far 1 failure in probably a huge number of machines (world wide?)

although worrying, not sure i would discount them all together..
mattjames 16 Jan 2007
In reply to SJD:

very true ...
 lowersharpnose 16 Jan 2007
In reply to mattjames:

Hope the guy is OK.

If not get a claim in. In fact, get a claim in anyway.

These devices are supposed to be safe.

Entreprises - Has anyone looked behind their walls?

regards
lowerSharpnose
mattjames 16 Jan 2007
In reply to lowersharpnose:

> Entreprises - Has anyone looked behind their walls?



why? what's there?
 doz generale 16 Jan 2007
In reply to mattjames:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose)
>
> [...]
>
>
>
> why? what's there?

Narnia
 Wilbur 17 Jan 2007
In reply to SJD:
> (In reply to mattjames)
>
> thing is so far 1 failure in probably a huge number of machines (world wide?)

yes but why don't they have redundancy in the system so that in the event one fails there is a back up to save your life...


1
SJD 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Wilbur:

well i think they would have?

Seems a sensible back up to put in place. But as we dont know exactly what went wrong its impossible to know if this caused the backup (if there is one) to fail.

Wingman 17 Jan 2007
In reply to SJD:

There isn't a back up. - it's one machine - one tape and one krab
 Andy Say 17 Jan 2007
In reply to lowersharpnose:
'Get a claim in'.
Why? He went climbing. Climbing is not 'safe'.
John, AYC London & South Eas 17 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

In view of the speculation that this thread has generated I feel that it is right on this occassion to post a reply directly onto the forum. (something which I am generally loath to do).

I would like to point out that although there have been several postings on this thread from individuals who either appear to represent the Westway, or be in a position of knowledge concerning the events of the 15th of January, this is in fact not the case.

Those of you who have followed this thread from the outset will know that at least one reply has been removed from the thread, as it was inappropriate and misrepresentative.

The investigation into the events of that afternoon is ongoing, and will not be completed for some time. Once they are complete I will give a report through the proper chanels.

Until that time there will understandably be speculation and opinion flying around, which must not be stifled. However I would say to those of you posting, please bear in mind that the need to "appear to know" more than you actually do know can be harmful. As the saying goes, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". When we know more, that will be the time to give information.

Speculate away, but to those of you who say "I was there, and I know this and that, and I can confirm, etc..." I would simply say that nobody knows at this stage what happened, or how, or why, and it will be some time yet before we do know.

Best regards,

John Gibbons
Climbing Wall manager, Westway Climbing Centre
mattjames 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Andy Say:

> 'Get a claim in'.
> Why? He went climbing. Climbing is not 'safe'.

that's true .. those signs everywhere keep reminding us, but still .. you never expect the "improbable" to happen, never mind the "impossible".

 phil webber 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Wingman:
> (In reply to SJD)
>
> There isn't a back up. - it's one machine - one tape and one krab

For those of us who have never climbed on or seen an auto belay - how do they work?

I imagine its some kind of cable reel, you clip into the cable/rope, climb to the top as the cable retracts itself, then the cable has some kind of brake which slowly lowers you to the ground when you load the cable - is that about right?

mattjames 17 Jan 2007
In reply to John, AYC London & South Eas:


Thanks John - presumably you can put one piece of speculation straight to rest.
Had he clipped in or not?

mattjames 17 Jan 2007
In reply to phil webber:
> (In reply to Wingman)
> [...]
>
> For those of us who have never climbed on or seen an auto belay - how do they work?
>
> I imagine its some kind of cable reel, you clip into the cable/rope, climb to the top as the cable retracts itself, then the cable has some kind of brake which slowly lowers you to the ground when you load the cable - is that about right?

that's precisely right. it's an extraordinarily sinmple piece of kit, wehiuch is what makes a mechanical failure rare - until now, i've never heard of one even being mentioned as a possibility.
am i mistaken there? is there any record of these bits of gear somehow failing?
 lowersharpnose 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Andy Say:
> 'Get a claim in'.
> Why? He went climbing. Climbing is not 'safe'.

I would claim if there was equipment failure.

Wouldn't you?

regards
lowerSharpnose

 Grover 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Wilbur:
> (In reply to SJD)
> [...]
>
> yes but why don't they have redundancy in the system so that in the event one fails there is a back up to save your life...



Exactly! I always climb with two ropes, tied into two independant belay plates attached to two independant harnesses worn by two independant belay partners. Not to mention the redundancy of wearing that second harness all the time. I'm working on doubling up on arms, but the technology just isn't there yet ... maybe we should stop climbing until it catches up to remove all the risk?
Wingman 17 Jan 2007
In reply to lowersharpnose:
> (In reply to Andy Say)
> [...]
>
> I would claim if there was equipment failure.
>
> Wouldn't you?
>
> regards
> lowerSharpnose

stop banging on about claiming - we don't even know what happened.

 ChrisJD 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Grover:

We need to get cloning quickly....this body is broke, pass me another.
 Andy Say 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Grover:
And seven points of contact at all times. Unless dynoing for those three good jugs.........
 lowersharpnose 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Wingman:

I did highlight the word if.

And, it was you who confirmed to this thread it was equipment failure.

regards
lowerSharpnose
mike swann 17 Jan 2007
In reply to lowersharpnose:
> (In reply to Andy Say)
> [...]
>
> I would claim if there was equipment failure.
>
> Wouldn't you?
>
> regards
> lowerSharpnose

Why? It's only engineering and stuff breaks. You have a right to expect the facility to take reasonably practicable steps in keeping equipment in good working order, but nobody can forsee the unforseeable.

Find out what happened and why, then consider whether somebody was at fault.

Wingman 17 Jan 2007
In reply to lowersharpnose:

I know - but my point was that it didn't even really need to be brought up.
 supafly 17 Jan 2007
interestingly all the auto-belays at the leeds wall have been unhooked and are not in use - i presume the same will happen at all climbing walls around the country using the same device.
 lowersharpnose 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Wingman:

It is probably my morbid dislike of Entreprises that led my thinking of 'get them'.

regards
lowerSharpnose
In reply to ramon marin martinez: I have information on this Westway belay machine failure incident from a climber who said he was there at the time:

"I spoke to a guy who was using the machine just before the accident (ie the previous climb...). According to him there was a clunk and then the guy fell to the floor from I think around 3/4 height, the belay machine tape was still attached to him so it sounds almost definite machine failure as opposed to human error. I don't know how bad the guy was injured but there was a lot of screaming."


"The self belay machines are now disabled so don't plan on using them in the near future..."

Chris.

 Wilbur 17 Jan 2007
In reply to John, AYC London & South Eas:

Hi John,

Thanks for the response.

Can i raise one valid point regardless of the cause of accident.

Do you not think it would be prudent to introduce redundancy into the system on these auto-belays? 2 points of contact would surely eliminate any doubt in the mind about their safety?
 Wilbur 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Andy Say:

hahahaha - seriously though. What is more likely to fail?

a single machine with a single rope/pulley and single krab.

some kind of doubled up effort. i.e. one machine but with 2 pulleys. hardly a ridiculous suggestion.
 Andy Say 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Wilbur:
I presume what you mean is 'duplicated systems' rather than '2 points of contact'? I would suggest that John is really not in a position to make that, or any, sort of statement on a public forum, now is he? Especially given the advice proffered above in the thread.



 Wilbur 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Andy Say:

fair enough

i do think it's a valid point that should be made and hopefully some people will be considering it.

SJD 17 Jan 2007
In reply to Grover:
hmm not quite what i was saying monkey boy but ok.

I dont unlike you climb with 2 harnesses, it puts too much pressure on my bladder and i inevitably need to pee half way up a route, (something that pisses my belayer off when i release!)

However, my point rather simply in most devices like this it would make sense to have a fail safe should something go wrong. Obvious prehaps, perhaps not.

Perhaps these bits of kits are pretty much failsafe?

In response to how thery work, no idea, but think it would be an inertia type device similar to a car seatbelt?
Keith Morgan 17 Jan 2007
In reply to phil webber:
If you want any definitive information on these devices then try www.redpointdescender.com/redpointmanual.pdf
Incidentally these types of devices are nothing particularly new or unusual. They have been around for years in various similar guises (i.e. not necessarily incorporating an automatic retraction device) as self-rescue equipment for people working at height, including use as an emergency escape device for workers trapped in gondolas used for working on the outside of buildings. In fact I can remember seeing similar such devices in use at British Airways technical centre at Heathrow way back in 1980. Here they were were fitted as devices to allow the emergency escape of personnel from the gondolas used to carry the people who spray painted the tail sections of Jumbo Jets.
 Dringo 18 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

I real terms how many people have been dropped at a climbing wall by there belayer or for that matter forgot to tie onto a rope correctly or otherwise. I would figure that, that number far outweighs the number of possible 'failures' of auto belay devices, that at this time is one 'possible' failure.

More people forget to tie in correctly than have been affected by what is an 'alleged' failure, seeing as nothing has been proven one way or the other yet.

Many people have talk about redundancy in the system, but I personally climb on one rope with one belayer at a climbing and have to this moment survived unscathed.

If you want to talk about sueing and litigation I would appauled you to leave climbing and mountaineering alone. Take up something safer like pool. I climb because there is a residual risk to my life that no one can remove. That is one of my reasons for climbing, i do everything in my ability and judgement to avoid that of course. And at present statistically you are more likely to have incorrectly tied into your harness, than an auto-belay failed.

I am sorry if this offends the person and their family involved in this incident, but sadly more people are dropped and injured by either pilot error (not clipping or tieing in correctly) or by bad belaying (being dropped) than is caused by 'equipment failure'.

 adam carless 18 Jan 2007
In reply to SJD:

> Perhaps these bits of kits are pretty much failsafe?
>
> In response to how thery work, no idea, but think it would be an inertia type device similar to a car seatbelt?

I don't know the details of these exact devices, but I do know that at least some fall arrest devices work a bit like a seat belt without the ratchets (or like a centrifugal clutch if you prefer).

Imagine a pair of weights on rods attached to opposite sides of a disk by hinges. As you spin the disk the weights move outwards. The faster you spin the disk, the further out the weights move. Now stick the whole thing inside a cylinder. When the disk spins the weights will hit the cylinder and start to slow down due to friction. The harder you try to spin the disk, the harder the weights will push against the cylinder and the more friction you'll get. At some point the increase in friction will stop the disk spinning any faster, that's your maximum speed.

Now fatten the disk so you can wind a tape round it, stick it on an axle, hang the cylinder from the roof and you've got an auto belay device ready for lots and lots of testing.

I'm sure there are lots of ways of arranging the disk, weights, tape, etc which are better than I've described, but hopefully you get the idea. They're a fairly basic device and most of the things that could go wrong would cause it to jam up rather than freewheel, so you could say that they are usually failsafe (although in this instance it seems that's not true).
 Lawman 18 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

For those speculating about the clipping or failure - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=222440.

Rich
Wingman 18 Jan 2007
In reply to adam carless:

an engineer on here (I know no more about his/her credibility) said that a car seat belt has 1 and a belay machine has 3.

(I think, or it may have been 2 and 3 but the point is the same)
Keith Morgan 18 Jan 2007
In reply to adam carless:
As I mentioned in an earlier response to another reply, have a look at http://www.redpointdescender.com/redpointmanual.pdf for more information about these devices.
As an aside, this link also contains some interesting information about the possible harmful misuse of these devices, particularly with regard to the line becoming slack, which can occur quite easily if it gets caught around a large rounded smooth hold so that the line is actually paid out rather than taken is as the climber ascends (i.e. the climber starts to pull the line out as they pass the hold around which the line is caught; see section 7 on pages 8 and 9 of the pdf article).
Now I am not suggesting that this is what has actually happened here (although given the number of incidents of people climbing up alongside auto belayers without even clipping in I would say that virtually anything is plausible regarding their use!!!). However it is also interesting that the news article on UKC says that the device was found to be functioning correctly after the incident, which does at least suggest the possibility of something along these lines being a plausible explanation. Mind you having said that I guess it's probably best(and fairest to those involved) not to speculate too much on what happened and wait to see what the outcome is regarding the inspection of the device and also wait to see what other evidence may be un-covered, particularly if there were any eye witnesses who saw what actually occurred.
IbexJim 18 Jan 2007
In reply to John, AYC London & South Eas:
Thanks John - I was there last night & use the devices a lot...hope they get the all clear after thorough study. Hope also the chap involved is OK, UKC report sounds as if he will be - you must be gratified that the matting did it's job so well : after a long fall the result could have been very bad. Let's hope it is engineers & not lawyers who decide on their reintroduction! One final thought - the self belayers are popular (only three of them, up from one and then two for quite sopme time) I suspect in part at least because the soloing potential at Westway is so poor - one dull traverse & a lot of very overhanging short walls. Any prospect of a couple of merely steep, crimpy walls?
 lowersharpnose 18 Jan 2007
In reply to IbexJim:

> you must be gratified that the matting did it's job so well

The role of the matting is crucial in reducing the severity of a fall.

IIRC there has been only one fatality at an indoor wall and that was at the Rock Face, where there was no matting, the fall being directly on to concrete.

regards
lowerSharpnose
 Offwidth 18 Jan 2007
In reply to John, AYC London & South Eas:

Thanks for posting and reminding climbers that gossip aside these investigations need to be done properly.

A nasty accident, 60+ posts and barely a handful worth reading and far too few hoping the guy is OK. For goodness sake people get a grip.
Wingman 18 Jan 2007
In reply to Offwidth

The guy is okay (thankfully)
 adam carless 18 Jan 2007
In reply to Offwidth:

> A nasty accident, 60+ posts and barely a handful worth reading and far too few hoping the guy is OK. For goodness sake people get a grip.

To quote from the original news article on the front page of this site...

There is no detailed information of the condition of the climber but we do know that he was discharged from hospital without any visible injuries the next day.

...so grip has already been well and truely got. But yes, I hope he's ok too, and that he'll be eager to help work out what went wrong.
 Max factor 18 Jan 2007
Isn't this fairly simple? If he hit the deck AND was was still clipped in- then there was some fault in the way the autobelay functioned. Can't anybody answer that?
 CurlyStevo 18 Jan 2007
In reply to Max_01:
I'd agree with that. The machine should be able to cope with up to a factor 1 fall for the maximum weight a climber is likley to be (or the machine is rated to be safe for). If the climber was tied in correctly and the amount of rope in the system meant the climbed shouldn't have hit the floor in a staticaly held fall, then the machine failed in some way.
 Matt Rees 18 Jan 2007
In reply to CurlyStevo:

What this guy said about ten posts earlier.....

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=221994&v=1#3269010
 Nigel Modern 18 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez: Just a general comment and an open one not really directed to you Ramon:
Can anybody make a reasonably authoritative comment on the relative frequency of machine vs human belay failure? Perhaps this will help bring perspective if this does turn out to be machine failure. Sorry if this point has been made already, NM
 Nigel Modern 18 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez: PS I don't mean people not tying into to auto-belays...I mean the relative frequency of a machine genuinely failing and a mistake by a belayer causing someone to deck
 thomasadixon 18 Jan 2007
In reply to Nigel Modern:

Isn't that fairly irrelevant? What do you think the frequency ratio is of cars failing to people causing crashes? I would expect the vast majority to be by people causing them, but if a car is failing it will be recalled.

People are expected to make mistakes, machines are supposed to work.
In reply to thomasadixon:

And the machines are made by who? Used by who?

 thomasadixon 18 Jan 2007
In reply to brt:

People obviously - but there have been several threads on here where people have forgotten to clip in with the response being it's their fault (essentially). Where machines are at fault - where the user hasn't made an error - the issue is entirely different. If the error is in design and build the company is at fault, that's why the car is recalled.

The point was you can't say machines work better than people so that's alright. You have to say there's a problem with the machine, recall and fix (if there is a problem of course).
 Nigel Modern 18 Jan 2007
In reply to thomasadixon: That's not the point I'm making...People will be considering whether they will use these devices in future based on whether they trust them. Of course we need to look at why this machine (may have) failed and of course anything which can be done to make them safer is to be welcomed but from the little I know of the statistics it's likely they are already safer or as safe as a buddy (perhaps I'm mistaken) and it is good to bear this in mind. The number of incidents when people fail to tie into autobelays seems to be an issue (and there's no buddy to remind you) but that's a different issue from machine failure
 jkarran 18 Jan 2007
In reply to Max_01:

> Isn't this fairly simple? If he hit the deck AND was was still clipped in- then there was some fault in the way the autobelay functioned. Can't anybody answer that?

IF he was still securel fastened to the belay device AND that was still anchored to the top of the wall/ceiling/whatever AND he did hit the floor hard enough to hurt himself then the only thing you can say for sure is that in this instance the belay device does not appear to have slowed his descent sufficiently to prevent injury.

Anything more than that would be pure speculation, personally I can think of several ways in which this might happen but I'd be at best making an educated guess.

jk
 jkarran 18 Jan 2007
In reply to brt:
> (In reply to thomasadixon)
>
> And the machines are made by who? Used by who?

People. That doesn't invalidate his point.

Machines are expected to work, if they don't then they should be repaired/modified or retired as appropriate. If the failing is through human error then the user training can also be reviewed modified.

jk

 thomasadixon 18 Jan 2007
In reply to Nigel Modern:

I got that, I just don't see what human failure rate has to do with machines.
 Nigel Modern 18 Jan 2007
In reply to thomasadixon: The machines seem to be getting a bad name...people may question whether they should be reinstated if this turns out to be a genuine machine failure. Keeping in mind the alternative is a good idea...it's common in my experience for people to forget there isn't a risk-free option.


In reply to jkarran:

"Machines are supposed to work" - was his statement. But we all know they don't all the time. So no more or less valid.

Anyway I wanted to stay away from this topic. Too much heat, not enough light.
Cristina Zentilin 18 Jan 2007
In reply to SJD: As a designer and engineer, have you not thought about that this is one of the first types of self belaying devise. im quite impressed with what the design world has invented. surely you should give enterprise some leeway, they would have to have very high safety factors to actually have them allowed to be used in the first place. just think what their next and newer batch will be. enterprise will now have even greater knowledge and will add extra safety features. dont dis it till you know the true facts. and doesnt it say on any climbing form that climbing as at your own risk, and death or injury is at your own fault. just an observation not an insult.

C
Cristina Zentilin 18 Jan 2007
In reply to mike swann:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose)
> [...]
>
> Why? It's only engineering and stuff breaks.

...its not only engineering stuff that breaks everything breaks, despends on how the things are designed sustainably. think of all the little silly product recalls lots of fashion shops docompaired to enterprise. now a days everything has a very small life span unless its something that involves peoples lives like climbing equipment
 bpmclimb 20 Jan 2007
In reply to Cristina Zentilin: Not just about design, but also regular servicing. The next service by the manufacturer of the Westway machine was apparently due in Aug 07, which probably means annual checks. I'm not an engineer, but that doesn't sound very often to me.
marklar 26 Jan 2007
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to John, AYC London & South Eas)
>
> Thanks for posting and reminding climbers that gossip aside these investigations need to be done properly.
>
> A nasty accident, 60+ posts and barely a handful worth reading and far too few hoping the guy is OK. For goodness sake people get a grip.


Very well said. I hope the person injured recovers quickly.

Can I also add in response to those arguments that climbing is dangerous and carries risk so we should accept this accident has happened. When I climb with a partner I take full responsibility for my safety however, If a climbing wall introduces a self-belay device it has to work perfectly every time and I cannot understand for the life of me how some people can find it almost 'acceptable' that this has happened. When we use a self-belay we place our trust, life and health in someone else, if the equipment cannot work 100% of the time then destroy it and I never want to see it again.
Just to clarify then, if I use something that I am trusting my life to it has to work 100% of the time as anything less is simply not good enough.
 cfer 26 Jan 2007
> Just to clarify then, if I use something that I am trusting my life to it has to work 100% of the time as anything less is simply not good enough.

Really do you live inside a cave with no contact with the modern world, there are numerous things that are not 100% accurate in their operation, cars,trains,planes, any computer controlled operation ie:traffic lights,rail crossings.

I think that anything that involves personal safety needs back-ups but don't personally think anything will be 100% safe
marklar 26 Jan 2007
In reply to caseyfather:
> [...]
>
> Really do you live inside a cave with no contact with the modern world, there are numerous things that are not 100% accurate in their operation, cars,trains,planes, any computer controlled operation ie:traffic lights,rail crossings.
>
> I think that anything that involves personal safety needs back-ups but don't personally think anything will be 100% safe


Partner and climber belaying one another can be 100% safe if checked over properly each time, the only mistakes arise through human error. If a device is introduced to replace the partner it should serve their role.
Sorry but you don't use these self-belay devices wondering if they will work or not - they just should do.
It failed, someone could potentially have lost their life and there was no back-up!
 gingerkate 26 Jan 2007
In reply to marklar:
> If a device is introduced to replace the partner it should serve their role.


But belaying accidents are very common. I've seen many near misses, and one guy deck out through belayer error. It happens all the time. My initial thoughts on hearing about this accident were exactly as yours: I'll never get on an autobelay again. But someone has pointed out on this thread that there is no 100% safe option ... human belayers do cock up.

Do autobelays drop climbers more often (per climb) than human belayers? I think the stats would show otherwise.

Still, I'd be wary of using one until they've figured out exactly what went wrong.
 Phil Anderson 26 Jan 2007
In reply to marklar:
> (In reply to caseyfather)
> [...
> Partner and climber belaying one another can be 100% safe if checked over properly each time,

Absurd! Even indoors.

Climber falls before clipping. Climber falls trying to make second or third clip and lands on some idiot's head who's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Macho idiot students mucking around beneath line next to you knock belayer over just as leader falls.

NOTHING is 100% safe, least of all in climbing. If you think it is, you're less safe than someone who's realistic about risk.


 Matt Rees 26 Jan 2007
In reply to Clinger:

I disagree.

Both of the situations you cite are examples of human error. human error is an acceptable risk in climbing.

Belay machine failure is not a human error, it is equipment failure and when compunded with human error, presents an unacceptable risk.

What would you think if a belay device you had just purchased had some kind of critical failure, or a harness that was new, ripped on first fall. Would you just shrug and say "shit happens"? Why do you think companies like Black diamond spend so much time and effort researching accidents in which their equipment has played a part.

It is entirely unclear what happened at Westway, but in the hypothetical circumstance that a human injury is caused by mechanical error from a correctly used, correctly serviced piece of equipment, I would be very surprised if the manufacturer, or if the equipment was incorrectly serviced, the party responsible for such, were not found culpable
 whispering nic 26 Jan 2007
In reply to Clinger:
2nd that. Amazing to think that folk think they're risk proof because they've tied the right knot and they've signed a disclaimer!
marklar 26 Jan 2007
In reply to Matt Rees:
> (In reply to Clinger)

> Belay machine failure is not a human error, it is equipment failure and when compunded with human error, presents an unacceptable risk.
> What would you think if a belay device you had just purchased had some kind of critical failure, or a harness that was new, ripped on first fall. Would you just shrug and say "shit happens"? Why do you think companies like Black diamond spend so much time and effort researching accidents in which their equipment has played a part.



I could not agree more. Thank you. This sums up my feelings very well and I agree with you 100%.
 Howard J 27 Jan 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez:

Nothing can be 100% safe. But it should be reasonable to expect that a piece of safety equipment can be trusted.

I use a lift every day to get to my office (yes, I know I should use the stairs). I do it in the knowledge that it is vey unlikely to fail, but if it does there are safety backups to stop it plunging to the bottom. I'm also aware that very very occasionally these don't work. But that's one of the many risks we take in life.

I've never used an autobelay, but if I did I would expect to be able to rely on it. This expectation shouldn't be reduced because climbing is inherently risky - that is all the more reason to need to trust the safety equipment.
 Jim V 02 Feb 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez: i just wanted to be the 99th person to post to this thread. who will be number 100?
 Jim V 02 Feb 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez: oh, i think i was...
kluz 02 Feb 2007
In reply to ramon marin martinez: I've heard there is a new device called a body air bag. If you hit a certain velocity while heading earthwards it deploys and you bounce off. I am definately not getting one for my rack.
In reply to Howard J:
>
>
>
>
> I use a lift every day to get to my office (yes, I know I should use the stairs). I do it in the knowledge that it is vey unlikely to fail, but if it does there are safety backups to stop it plunging to the bottom. I'm also aware that very very occasionally these don't work.
dear howard.
lift plunging down the bottom are only fictional.
brixton climber.
>
 Enty 04 Feb 2007
In reply to Peter Bradwell:

Not the same thing.

The Ent
In reply to Peter Bradwell:

dear peter.
my point was that a lift cannot just drop all the way to the bottom [due to the way lift are conceived].
brixton climber.
 Niall 06 Feb 2007
In reply to brixton climber:

One definitely did in 'Omen II'
AcidEric 07 Feb 2007
So..... Do we have any news on what happened / how the investigation is going? Are Autobelay's ever going to come back into service?

AE
Mike Garben 13 Feb 2007
In reply to marklar:
> Just to clarify then, if I use something that I am trusting my life to it has to work 100% of the time as anything less is simply not good enough.


So you should not accept the risk of being belayed by another person, because human belayers do not work 100% of the time either. Find another sport, sport.
In reply to AcidEric:

The one they took down at Craggy is back... not sure how related it's removal was tho...
marklar 04 Mar 2007
In reply to Mike Garben:
> (In reply to marklar)
> [...]
>
>
> So you should not accept the risk of being belayed by another person, because human belayers do not work 100% of the time either. Find another sport, sport.

Since when has a Human been defined as a piece of hardware (ie. manufactured equipment)? As far as I am aware we are discussing a piece of equipment here and when I use equipment I don't expect it to fail.

Also I might like to clarify that I am not called 'sport' - I don't know anyone who is.

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