Climbers have largely heeded the call to curb their outdoor pursuits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move encourages social distancing and prevents accidents which could further stress our medical system. Unfortunately, according to Search and Rescue (SAR) groups, climbers haven’t stopped climbing. They’ve merely taken the sport home: to their kitchens, fireplaces, and brick exteriors. Now those SAR teams are responding to an alarming number of home climbing accidents.
“The most common are floorfalls, for sure,” said Krista Layton, a Denver SAR volunteer. “People overestimate the holding power of a quickdraw clipped to a toaster-oven handle, or a cam slotted between a washer and dryer, and they get overconfident. They try a move that’s at their limit—maybe they dyno for the kitchen island and come up short—then all their pieces pull and they hit the tiles. That’s when we get the call.”
The trend has become so popular that SAR teams are overwhelmed.