Saturday, August 25, 2012

Causes Of Accidents

A study of climbing rescues in Boulder County, CO from 1998 to 2011 has these conclusions:

  • Anchors rarely fail (2.5% of total), and when they do it is because of inexperience in setup.
  • 20% of all accidents could have been prevented by better belay practices such as tying a knot in the end of the rope, or wearing belay gloves.
  • Rock fall causes a small number of accidents (4.5% of total), and may be correlated to the freeze thaw cycles of spring and climber use patterns. In early spring climbing checking the rock you're about to climb on for security is a prudent preventative measure.
  • Prior knowledge of climb rappel anchors and walk offs, and taking a headlamp, will prevent a lot of rescues (up to 45% of total).
  • The common injuries sustained are to the legs/ankles (30%) and to the head and spine (30%). Knowledge of how to improvise splinting and how to assess spinal injuries might be a great addition to a climbers toolkit.

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