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Date of Incident





Climbing Wall



A member at the adult climbing club had decided that they wished to lead a 6a+. They had previously been shown how to lead correctly and communicate with their belayer, the belayer had also been shown how to lead belay correctly. This person has some issues with his movement (undiagnosed cerebal palsy). Due to these issues while he was belaying I had the tail of the dead rope so that he could concentrate fully on the belay.

The leader came to a point where he decided that he would make a jump (that wasn't needed) for the next move while above his last clip, he didn't let his belayer know that this was going to happen and missed the move which resulted in him falling.

As the leader took his jump for the next move his belayer was giving out slack because he knew the leader needed this to move up, however due to the lack of communication too much rope was given out resulting in the leader falling approx. 5m stopping around 1m from the floor. the more important part of all this was that due to his lessened mobility/dexterity and possibly his lack of experience he let go of the dead rope and grasped the live rope with both hands. The fact that I was backing up the dead rope meant that the climber while falling further than he should have didn't hit the floor.


A greater emphasis needs to be put on communication when teaching lead belaying. From y point of view I need to understand the issues around certain mobility problems. One thing I don't want to do is to stop the young man from lead belaying but we need to explore the issues further.


Indoor climbing



No injury


Belaying failure or error



Reported By


Wearing Helmets?

Rescue Services Involved?


29 January 2020 at 14:58:55

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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