Rockclimbing Safety

As I realize I will be taking more time away from climbing due to an angry toe joint, my inbox filled with information about Craig Luebben's tragic and untimely death and an article from SportsOneSource about climbing injuries on the rise. According to the 8/11/09 article:

9 million Americans climb each year
63% = the increase in rockclimbing injuries from 1990-2007
70% of injuries requiring hospitalization were from falls higher than 20 feet

I point these out not to scare you, but to remind you to make certain that safety is ALWAYS the top of your list when climbing. Here are a few safety tips to keep you safe and minimize your chances of being one of these statistics:

- Always check your partner's harness, tie in point, and belay method before leaving the ground. Climbing is truly a team sport because your life is in your partner's hands!

- Pay close attention to the weather! Rain, nightime, lightning, and cold temperatures can quickly affect your chances of getting home safe and sound. Pack for changing weather conditions and be prepared to bail because of the conditions.

- Know your escape route on multi-pitch climbs! Western NC's Whitesides Mountain is a perfect example of long routes that can be difficult to escape when your climbing day goes south. A headlamp can be a godsend!

- Wear a helmet. We all hate wearing helmets, but your brain is worth it. Ice, rocks, gear, and more come down from well-traveled crags every day. Today's climbing helmets are so light and comfortable, there is no good excuse to climb without them!

- Tie a knot at the end of your rope. This simple precaution can prevent injury when lowering or rappelling off a route. Guidebooks are a great reference, but they are not always accurate when it comes to route lengths and descent routes.

- Alert a friend or family member to where you are climbing. It is hard to help someone if you don't know where they went!

- Spot each other diligently! How many times do you see a boulderer fall with people sitting idly nearby, not spotting? Put your hands to use!

- Learn from other's mistakes! Join the American Alpine Club, and you will receive Accidents in North American Mountaineering each year. It is an interesting account of recorded accidents, and there is much to learn from it.

Safe Climbing!!

1 comment:

Jenna said...

Ummm...I am going to borrow this picture of Thad and will trade it for a LGO Rainier summit photo AND Phil's Tecate All the Way (aka Edge of a Dream) ascent shots. :)