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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

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Topic Date User
St Peters Gym accident 20-Sep-2016 At 3:17:51 PM Dj Biggs
Hoping a speedy recovery to the climber who had a ground fall from near full height of the St Peter's Gym on 14/09/2016.

I thought I would share my thought's and make a couple of points to help others whether new or old to the sport.

The accident happened after the climber fell clipping the last draw. The climbers fall wasn't arrested by the belayer using an ATC. It was correctly set up, in my opinion a couple of factors probably exacerbated the poor belay technique and inability to arrest the fall.

The two factors that reduced friction were the use of a new rope and the draws of the gym having no offset to add additional friction that belayers may be more accustomed to from climbing outdoors with off set quick draws.

I think, these two factors reduce the friction in the system substantially, (an ATC is a friction braking device) and the forces generated may catch belayers off guard and in this case unable to arrest a fall. Also with the rise of skinnier ropes, be careful when using them in situations such as gyms, personally I have had my belayer knee someone on route to the first draw due to a surprising lack of friction using a skinnier rope (9.4m).

(Also from a brief google it appears the aluminium friction coefficient is around twice that of steel which is the difference between most climbers quick draws and the biners used in gyms. Maybe Mikl would know details?)

To sum up I think it was operator error, though I hope something can be learned from it all the same and that is catching falls in a gym can be harder than outdoors as the forces generated may be greater due to less friction.

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