Woman Dies After Auto-Belay Fall – The Dangers of Complacency

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The longer you climb, the easier it becomes to let the little things slip. The problem is, it’s often the little things that become the big things. Counting the strands on your figure eight, glancing down to ensure you’re double-backed, asking your buddy to check your knots before you start climbing – all these niggly, seemingly ‘inconvenient’  tasks are so soon forgotten in the excitement of the adventure ahead… and that’s where things go wrong.

Tragedy struck on Saturday 12 June when a woman passed away from her injuries after falling over 12 metres on an auto-belay wall at Ascent Studio Climbing and Fitness in Fort Collins, Colorado. The exact details of the incident are unknown, but it seems that it was not a result of equipment malfunction. This is not the first time that auto-belays have been at the centre of safety scandals, and it won’t be the last. The clip-and-climb auto-belay system is simple and convenient, making it all-too-easy to grow complacent and forget even the most basic safety procedures. 

Climbing is supposed to be fun – it’s a time to be enjoyed with friends, to get a bit silly, and to have a good laugh. But all of that is secondary to safety. We need to look out for each other and stay cognisant of the fact that climbing – no matter the discipline, location or our personal experience – remains a dangerous (even deadly) sport. Check your knots, check your friends and take your time to ensure that you are following all necessary procedures. Nothing is worth sacrificing a long, happy life – stay safe out there.


Click here to read the full article on the Ascent Studio incident.

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