Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

What your instructor never taught you. Continuing your education and learning from others. Climbing safety topics and accident/incident discussions.
nosmo
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by nosmo »

Mark wrote:2) If a bolter bolts in terms of this paper it is near impossible to argue negligence (safety for the bolters)
Would a nice printout in hand have prevented the Croatian dudes from doing what they did? After they al-ledge-at-ly were told not to use expansion bolts, not to use 8mm bolts, blah blah... People who don't think, don't really stop to think "Hey I'm being a dumbass", you know?

Good ideas come cheap - implementing it is harder.


mokganjetsi
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

he james, i'm not a legal eagle but methinks that bolters could keep in mind that the deterioration of materials is natural over time i.e. there is not an expectation that bolts would be okay forever. bolters have no control over abuse of their bolts and therefore no accountability if that occurs. it would be very hard to argue that a bolter was negligent in any fashion if a bolt worked fine for a few years. i can only think that a bolter would be at risk in the case of gross negligence and deliberate bad practice as in the Aus case. the grey area would be where a bolter thought a bolt was good and it then fails - but my gut feel is that if due care was exercised and best practice followed the responsibility for taking on the risk lies with the climber; not the bolter.

any lawyers out there with an opinion on this?
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Mark
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Mark »

I agree implementing it is harder but that doesnt mean its not worth doing. At the moment their is a gray area about what is acceptable (be it an accidental or deliberately incorrect interpretation), making a good practice removes the grey area. Thus you know that if you do not follow it you can very likely be held responsible. I think if it was widely known that there was a standard people would less likely do a cr%ppy bolting job (maybe they would have removed their bolts after they had climbed because they would more clearly know that what they did was far from accepted / safe practice ?). I agree that just like requiring people to follow the rules of the road it is not fool proof but a lot more people comply because of it.

As far as legal liability is concerned I think that as long as you did it in terms of a standard and the user is made aware of when it was bolted (eg by guidebook) then the bolter should be fairly safe. The user has, IMHO, enough information to make his decision. Just as if you had to use a mountain pass that was built 20 years ago the user can not claim that it is reasonable to expect it is as solid as the day it was built.

Now unfortunately I expect that my attempt at being contructive and positive will be picked apart
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XMod
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Mark there is already a standard in place for bolting in the Western Cape, this has been fairly well circulated. It is a very high standard and should be adopted coutrywide. However I think it needs to be put in writing somewhere accessible to all. Again if anyone has a url for the documents pertaining to this standard and the regulations as regards bolting in TMNP and Cape Nature areas please post it up here thanks.

Liability, if the climb is bolted to a high standard and there can be no negligence proven, then yes the bolter has no worries. However this does not mean you will be immune from investigation (quite the contrary) and if negligence is found you will be liable.

Obviously the definition of what is a reasonable standard of bolting needs to be laid out in black and white or we will still be at risk of lawyers finding fault with a particular bolting job. There may be faults that the bolter is unaware of, but these faults may very well be used as evidence of negligent practice or public endangerment. Take for example the use of the original UPat bolts on the peninsula, some very simple research revealed that they were not adequate for the job. Now no-one knew this at the time but ignorance does not excuse you from responsibility. Even after I and other climbers recommended using a higher standard of bolt people simply ignored this and continued using them. This by the way changes mere negligence (lack of reasearch) into gross negligence (knowingly doing something wrong), as in the Ozzy case the Croatians knew that the bolts were inadequate but proceeded anyway. If there is any ensuing legal action they will almost certainly be found culpable.

To bang my drum again: think really hard before equipping new lines, consult more than one experinced bolter about your project before picking up the drill. Use the standard equipment HILTI hsar 10X90mm or Fischer equivalent, pay close attention to redundancy and runouts, fall lines etc. If you do all this there is little chance of the lawyers picking you apart in the case of a liability suit.
nosmo
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by nosmo »

Mark, your points about having a formal standard are entirely valid - I play devil's advocate. I pointed out that in this particular case, a well-respected (and plenty experienced) local actually did tell them not to use the expansion bolts they ended up using - BUT THEY IGNORED HIS ADVICE, then later denied having received any advice at all.

What I'm getting at, is that these idiots would probably have ignored a bigass yellow sign next to the rock as well.

In SA we are pretty lucky, in that the climbing community is tiny compared to the US or Europe or Oz for that matter and the number of routes are small (as expected), with the result being that there are very few bolted routes around without a known bolter. The VAST majority of bolts in SA are installed safely, by this rather small population of bolters and continue to be so even 15+ years after (climbed at the Restaurant on the bolts that Clive Curzon's post refers to?). Bolt failures (locally) have been caused by SCC, aggravated by sea spray and the use of inferior materials (maybe when nothing else was available?).

While the effects of SCC and maritime environments (and how to minimize these risks) will be well documented in a bolting handbook, I believe that something as blatantly stupid as using the wrong size bit for the particular bolts is not something corrected by reading a guide. For that, you'll need a brain transplant.

Should this particular feat of idiocy be prosecuted? I sure as hell hope not. It will create precedent and a shitstorm when the next person gets injured in a bolt failure. Lawyers will find another once-living thing they can legislate to hell, everyone will need to get 'climbing-insurance', with insurers charging bolters for insuring them against 3rd party claims when someone bails and stubs their toe. This whole situation makes me angry like you won't believe.

To get back to the original points - my opinion is that 99.9% of bolters are already very aware of do's and dont's. One rather unique screwup like this would have happened policy doc or not.

As an aside, how many people are actively bolting? I'll bet there is less than 30 in the whole of SA.

In the UK, with its very well known nanny culture and health and safety nazis, how the hell is all that gritstone still boltless?
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XMod
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Nosmo said: 'perhaps when nothing else was available' this was not the case, the HILTI rolled bolts have always been available. Climbers, being a bunch of cheapskates, opted to use the cheaper U-Pat lathe turned bolts. These are now failing miserably, whether this makes all the bolters who used the cheaper bolts culpable I dont know.

Anyway ARF have made great strides to clean up the mess. I still feel the standard needs to be advertised better. But as you point out it doesnt stop euro-idiots from botching up.
JamesL
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by JamesL »

Some interesting perspectives here. Thanks for the input everyone.
I think the problem will be proving negligence. It would be easy to prove if a 10.5mm drill was used to place 10mm bolts. It will be very hard to prove a bad bolt placement caused an injury. It becomes very subjective. My fear is that even though the Cape guys have got their guidelines, who will verify these guidelines and 'sign them off' so to speak? Will the bolting fund/MCSA take the liability onto themselves once they have verified a route safe to climb? If someone does get hurt, and a third party decides to take legal action, then who will end up being blamed?
It will be terrible if it gets to that point.
I will refer to my attorney on this matter and try to post some info on here. I used to climb and bolt routes many years back and have not been back to them in years. I might have to consider chopping them all for my own peace of mind.
SNORT
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

JamesL; I think I have placed my last bolt! And am seriously considering chopping the bolts that I have placed in the past on the one sport route that I have done. And not for liability reasons but because I don't want anyone to be a victim of them failing even when I am long gone...
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XMod
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

JamesL: From what I gather from my correspondences surrounding the Kirika case three parties are involved; the climbers climbing the route and involved in the accident, the landowner and the bolter.

As far as the bolter is concerned they would look at: whether the rock was suitable for a bolt placement, whether the correct bolts for that rock type were used, whether the other equipment was of a satisfactory standard (this is why I have been on at people to please avoid homemade and hardware store solutions - stick to stuff manufactured by climbing equipment companies), whether all reasonable steps were taken to ensure the climb was reasonably safe, whether any pertinent warnings had been properly posted if there are dangers eg: loose rock etc.

Note the many 'reasonables'. As there is very little precedent for this type of action, only a couple that I know of in the States, hence the extent of what is reasonable is highly debatable. Also take note of the loose rock warning, how many trad routes are there with loose rock? Hundreds, no thousands! but how many rd's mention this? As you see this problem is not isolated to sport climbing, so Snort you arent safe by not placing bolts. One of the examples in the states was an action after an accident on an ice climb! This lead to closure of the climb by the landowners, only after many years of negotiations was the climb opened again and then only if you sign a waiver. In fact in the case of your TATWOC placement if you hadnt judiciously advertised the placement here and it failed injuring someone you could be held liable as the placement is so clearly outside of the manufacturer recommended specifications!

As Snort so rightly points out this entire issue is fraught with so many pitfalls and implications its frightening. If you like this sport then dont sue, simple as that.
mokganjetsi
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

yeah, i hope this discussion doesn't put people off bolting or result in routes being chopped without good reason. it would be a really sad day if a bolter gets sued whilst trying to do everybody else a service.

on the flip side, i hope people realise that one cannot just go out and bolt presumptuously or carelessly.

climbing gear is sold with all sorts of warnings and a clear indication that climbing is inherently dangerous - we all know of biners failing but that does not stop them being produced. certain standards are simply adhered to and then climbers can take a calculated risk.
Adrian20971
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Adrian20971 »

Ban the Bolt

Ok Just kidding :jocolor:

Seriously I think that in general (In SA that is) the small group of bolters out there know what they are doing. But as with anything in life there is always one idiot.

I have seen routes bolted in SA that are so unpleasant to climb that you can see the individual in question was looking to get his name in a guidebook somewhere for the FA and BB

In general I think bolts are as safe as any part of the safty chain.

I have seen reports of severed ropes, as in the case in Australia, snapped carabiners, and cases where climbers were killed through stupidity.

Statistically I think the likelyhood of a single bolt failure being enough to kill you is remote. In most cases of death there is more than one contributing factor.

Climbing is dangerous - Know the risks and take care.
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justin
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by justin »

On Saturday (1st February) Mike Law, Andy Richardson and Simon Carter, acting with the support of National Parks and Wildlife Service Rangers, fixed rope down the entire 270m route and removed ALL of the bolts from this climb.

justin@CapeTownClimbing.com
Warren G
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Warren G »

found the youtube video of the route inspection/ cleaning- more scary then "I know what you did last summer"



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