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Climber Forgets to Clip In, Breaks Leg in Gym

An experienced climber reached the top of a route but hand't fixed the auto-belay to his harness

A climber forgot to clip into an auto-belay, climbed to the top of the route and then sat back, thinking that he was clipped in. Hector Diffut then fell to the ground and suffered serious leg injuries.

He couldn’t hear the other climbers around him yelling at him because he had headphones on. The accident took place at Vertical Rock (above) in Virginia, where he works as a climbing coach. Diffut, 26, fell around 10 metres from the top of a 5.11 dihedral.

“I literally forgot my rope,” he told the Daily Voice. “It was no one’s fault, I just should’ve known better. I made the landing but when I tried to get back up, I couldn’t. When I looked down, my fibula and fibula were out of my skin. My foot was pretty much at my calf, behind my leg, and fragments of bone were on the floor.” He was then airlifted to Inova Fairfax for an emergency operation.

Diffut broke several bones in one of his legs and has a long recovery ahead. A fundraiser has raised over $12,000 for Diffut, visit here to help if you have the means. While this type of accident is rare, or at least not reported about often, climbers have forgotten to clip into auto-belays in the past. For three dangers of gym climbing and how to avoid them see here.