I was at the Castle Climbing Centre on Monday night on our club meet and some of us witnessed a nasty ground fall from the 5th clip. The room fell absolutely silent as the victim was attended to. It was clearly a poor practice incident but I’m not going to speculate here on how it happened. Hopefully the chap is okay: the rubber matting does not prevent injury but it does make a difference.
The incident reminded me of the duty of care that we have to ourselves and each other. It also triggered a bit of introspection and sharpened that feeling that we should always be looking to improve our rope work skills as well as our technical climbing skills. Have a look at Climbing’s 25+ Ways To Be A Better Belayer or Petzl’s Best Practices for Belaying a Lead Climber. It doesn’t matter how experienced your are (or think you are), it’s always worth refreshing your belaying skills.
We have an amazing looking trip this weekend to Devon but there’s quite a mix of experience and ability. Do not be afraid to ask, “Am I doing this right?” Do not be afraid to say, “I’m not happy with that.” The bottoms of the crags are rarely tiled with thick rubber!
p.s. Who can spot the mistake on the Petzl page?