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Fall on Indoor Climbing Wall—No Protection, Minnesota, Duluth, Vertical Endeavors Climbing Gym


Minnesota, Duluth, Vertical Endeavors Climbing Gym

Tom Upham (27) was climbing the wall with friends about 9:00 p.m. when the accident occurred in the Bananaz Family Entertainment Complex.

Upham said, during a phone call from the hospital Friday afternoon, that he was more than 20 feet up the wall when he pushed off to come down. “There was no tension in the rope to bring me down,” he said. He crashed to the floor. He said he landed on his left side and slammed his head on the floor. Upham said he sustained injuries to his head, neck and lower back and an abrasion to his right arm from the rope.

Michael Skoglund, manager of Vertical Endeavors in Duluth, referred questions regarding the incident to Steve Boynton, general counsel for the chain of climbing gyms, who said that an internal investigation is being conducted.

“We’re looking into the causes,” he said. “What we do know is that the climber was climbing a route that was closed and he shouldn’t have been on that route.”

Upham, a sales manager for a Duluth business, said “Nothing was fenced off” and he didn’t see a sign. He said a “handwritten note wrapped around the rope” was pointed out to his fiancee after he fell. (Source: Duluth News Tribune, no date) (Editor’s Note: There have been very few reports of indoor—or outdoor—climbing wall incidents. This one poses the interesting problem as to how information is communicated to paying participants.)