Sunday, June 21, 2009

Human Folly

The folly of the human mind is never more in evidence then with a person who has superficial knowledge of sport climbing. Due to arrogance some people think they know all there is to know about climbing safety – and worse are “teaching” their friend, spouse, or child how to climb


I have been accused of being a crass surly individual at times. And when adults are doing stupid things at the crags or in the climbing gym my attitude is more or less live and let die. When I am climbing privately, many times I just move away to avoid the risk of being splattered by blood.

But what do you do when an adult is climbing with children? I mean you can kill yourself, but an 11 or 12 year old?

Scene: A rainy Saturday afternoon in the climbing gym. Dad is belaying his 10 year old son on top rope. He has a tuber but is using it as if he is belaying with a HMS knot. The son is climbing barefoot. The rope is through one screw-gate karabiner 17 meters up the wall. It is not screwed closed. The son is attached to the rope with a single HMS locking karabiner. Is it screwed closed? What do you think?

There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin.

I have jokingly said that the most dangerous places in Salzburg are the climbing tower at the University Sport Center in Rif and at the climbing gym. It is really not that much of a joke. One or two people seem to die every year at the climbing tower, and it is just a matter of time before there is a very serious accident in the climbing gym.

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