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Climber Dies After Fall at Climbing Gym in Colorado

They fell after something went wrong with their auto-belay

A woman fell about 12 meters to her death at an indoor climbing gym in northern Colorado called Ascent Studio Climbing & Fitness. The coroner’s office has not released the climber’s name.

Brandon Barnes of the Fort Collins police told The Coloradoan that the woman fell on Saturday, and it appears she became unattached from the auto-belay system. Investigators did not find any faulty equipment.

The climbing gym in Fort Collins released a statement Tuesday, and said the auto-belay systems that keep climbers from falling will not be used at least until a full investigation is completed.

Their statement reads: We are sad to say that on Saturday there was a tragic event at the gym. The climber died as a result of the injuries received following a fall from a height. Our hearts go out to this person’s friends and family. Many of our staff are also quite shaken by this event, and we are all still trying to cope. We closed the gym on Sunday to help with this, but did reopen on Monday to help get back to some normalcy. – Please know that the safety of our patrons is always top of mind. There was no apparent equipment failure, but out of an abundance of caution we decided to take our auto belays out of service at least until a full investigation is completed. We do not know how long that will take, but will update with new information as it becomes available. – Thank you all for your expressions of concern and care, and for bearing with us in this time. It helps to know that the climbing community is there for each other.

Fatal accidents at climbing gyms are rare, with only a few in North America in the last decade. In 2014, a man died while climbing indoors at the Boulder Rock Club in Colorado.

In 2018, a 57-year-old climber has died after falling at the Quay Climbing Centre, the largest gym in South West England. The centre released a statement and said the experienced climber suffered a “tragic accident” while “independently using climbing facilities at the centre”.