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Climber Dies After Falling in an Australian Climbing Gym

The details of the death aren't known, but this isn't the first climbing gym death this year

A climber has died after falling 13 metres while climbing at an indoor facility in Australia. Emergency services were called to Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym in St. Peters this week after reports a man had fallen.

Paramedics treated the man for serious injuries, but he could not be saved. Police established a crime scene and are investigating the circumstances around the fall. A spokesperson said a report would be prepared for the state’s coroner.

“SafeWork NSW is investigating an incident where a man suffered fatal injuries after falling about 13 metres while indoor rock climbing at St Peters,” a spokesperson said. “Inquiries are ongoing.”

The man’s death comes just two days after the gym was allowed to reopen after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. They posted on Oct. 10 that they were reopening and to “bring proof of vax and a mask.”

The gym, which has been open for 28 year, posted on social media that it would be closed for the next few days.

Not the first climbing gym death this year

At least one other climber has died in a gym this year. A woman fell about 12 meters to her death at an indoor climbing gym in northern Colorado called Ascent Studio Climbing & Fitness. The Larimer County Coroner’s Office identified the decedent as Steffani A. Argyle, 57, of Fort Collins.

Brandon Barnes of the Fort Collins police said it appeared 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 read: 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.

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”.

Experienced climber dies after knot error

Donald Wiseman, 56, had been climbing for 28 years when he fell 10 metres on a wall at an adventure centre in Exeter, Colorado, in 2018. He and his partner Liam Hockey had already climbed eight routes with the accident happened.

“This was a tragic accident due to human error,” said Martin Westcott, an environmental health officer for Exeter City Council.