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Date of Incident





Climbing Wall




The event took place at an indoor climbing center, during a University-organised (although unsupervised) trip.

One climber fell while lead climbing. The belayer failed to catch him appropriately, resulting in a fall of 9m onto the ground. The injured climber was conscious after the fall, and was immediately taken to hospital for treatment. The emergency contact of the injured climber was called, in accordance with the accident procedure of the club.

Both the climbers involved had signed a document, stating that they could competently lead climb and belay when signing up to the trip. Both had also passed the climbing center assessment, and signed the waivers there. The belayer had previously attended other, similarly organised indoor climbing trips, where he was assessed to belay safely.


- despite having stated that they were capable of belaying safely, an independent assessment of the ability of the belayer (in addition to the gym assessment, which was completed as usual) could have prevented this incident.
- in the future, a rolling list of capable belayers will be kept on-hand by the club committee, following an assessment by a committee member. Hopefully, this will reduce the probability of this kind of event being able to happen.


Indoor climbing



Serious injury requiring medical treatment


Belaying failure or error



Reported By

President of Cambridge University Mountaineering Club, which organised the event

Wearing Helmets?

Rescue Services Involved?

Emergency services called- NHS ambulance took the injured climber to a specialist hospital nearby.


3 February 2024 at 18:08:12

For more advice and guidance on good practices visit BMC skills

All reports are self-submitted and have not been edited by the BMC in any way, so please keep an open mind regarding the lessons and causes of each incident or near-miss. 

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