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Date of Incident

25/05/2018

Country

England

Route

Incident

I was working on a session at an indoor wall. Whilst instructing a group of children I saw a person set off leading. The belayer had a lot of slack out and I recall thinking they would struggle to take in the slakc quickly once the first bolt was clipped.
The belayer did struggle but much more than expected. After a few seconds they hadn't taken in any slack and seemed to be fiddling with something. I couldn't see but expected they had put a grigri on the rope upside down and were taking it off to sort it out. The climber was still going.
I was backing up a child and had the climber lowered off as quickly and safely as possible. I rushed over to the struggling belayer who was just doing up the screw gate again. The climber had been at least at 4th not attached to the rope at all. They had no idea they had been off belay.

Lessons

Buddy check every time. If something goes wrong tell the climber. It would have been far better for the climber to return to the ground and sort the problem out there.
I expect the belayer was too embarrassed to admit the mistake (they later said they shouted to the climber, they hadn't). The belayer would have looked a lot more stupid had the climber decked from 4th.

Activity

Indoor climbing

When

Injury

No injury

Causes

Belaying failure or error

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Observer

Wearing Helmets?

Rescue Services Involved?

Author

25 May 2021, 07:45:42

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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.