Indoor Climbing Facility Safety Failure Leads to Severe Ankle Injury

This case study explores a severe ankle injury incident at an indoor climbing facility, focusing on the alleged failure of the facility to provide necessary safety instruction and competency testing.

ByExpert Institute

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Published on February 6, 2024

Young man rock climbing on indoor wall

Case Overview

The case study describes the injuries suffered by an inexperienced climber who fell from a boulder during an indoor climbing session. The injury led to multiple surgeries, permanent disability, and disfigurement.

Allegedly, the facility failed to provide the necessary safety instruction or competency testing before allowing the individual to climb without a harness. This was contrary to their protocol. The purpose of this case study is to explore the potential liability associated with the indoor climbing facility.

Questions to the expert and their responses

Q1

Can you describe your experience in rock climbing instruction and safety, specifically in the management of an indoor climbing facility?

I have been involved in rock climbing for over 55 years and currently own two indoor rock climbing gyms with a strong emphasis on bouldering.

My facilities are recognized as two of the safest gyms in the USA. We ensure that every climber passes through a safety orientation before climbing, whether it’s rope or bouldering.

Q2

What safety protocols exist at indoor climbing facilities with a boulder wall to prevent incidents like this from occurring?

Every bouldering fall is essentially a ground fall. Therefore, proper training and orientation are crucial before climbing. My gyms strictly adhere to these protocols.

Q3

Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, I have handled approximately ten cases involving bouldering injuries. One key aspect I bring to such cases is the ability to reconstruct what occurred wrong that caused a person to fall.

This case study underscores the importance of adhering to safety protocols and providing adequate instruction in indoor climbing facilities.

About the expert

This expert has over 25 years of experience in rock climbing and climbing instruction, with certifications as a climbing wall instructor, personal trainer, and alpine guide. They have held leadership roles in various climbing organizations, including serving as the chairman of a Climbing Wall Association's instructors' certification committee. Currently, they own and operate two rock climbing facilities and an emergency care training service, demonstrating their comprehensive knowledge of safety protocols and procedures relevant to this case study.

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