12 Year Old Tito Traversa Killed

8:12 p.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Of course, this begs the question of why a 12 year old was encouraged to climb the most difficult routes without someone else along to check his equipment.

8:30 p.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Considering that I and many of my partners over the years were climbing the hardest routes around at that same age, I cannot condemn or criticize the idea of a 12 yo climbing hard routes. We didn't have adults inspecting our every placement. However, I do have to question the supervision. Apparently the error was in how the draws were set up, with the biners through the retainer instead of the draw itself. This is a flaw in the teaching of the proper use and checking of the gear, not the climbing of hard routes per se. Then again I was not there, so I do not know what was and was not done. There is always a question of when do you let a novice climber of any age loose on his or her own. I have the same question to answer in the Climbing Instructor courses I teach - when is the novice instructor ready to be trusted to instruct novice climbers (particularly novice youth climbers) without a supervising climbing director? There is no simple answer, only a matter of judgment.

10:31 a.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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My condolences to the boy's family. Gear with more features, both for ease of use and multiple use can often result in overly complex gear. While a quick draw is relatively simple, adding to it obviously made it confusing to someone. Know your gear and never assume that the protection you or your trusted partner, have not placed, is placed correctly.

7:28 p.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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A more complete discussion of the incident is on Rock and Ice's eTNB. I pulled out all my draws to see what the problem was. As it turns out, the only draws I have with the rubber thingy are from Petzl (not the company that allegedly made the draws in question) and are not likely to be clipped in the way illustrated in the videos (the rubber piece is intended to prevent the biner from rotating and becoming cross-loaded). The way that is supposed to have caused the problem is far enough from being safe that I wonder who did the assembly and who handed Tito the full set of incorrectly assembled draws. Whoever taught him to use draws apparently did not know the basics of draws. Again, though, I have not seen the specific draws in question, nor even photos of them. Something was very wrong if a whole set of 7 that failed (or the whole set of 12) were clipped through the keepers rather than the draws themselves.

Again, there is not enough information available to comment knowledgably on exactly what went wrong and who was ignorant/negligent in the causal chain of events.

8:14 p.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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I agree that it seems unlikely that someone wouldn't notice an improperly assembled draw but evidently some very experienced climbers all missed it so its a good reminder for me to be wary of borrowed gear.  If it can happen to a 5.14 climber it can happen to a punter like me  too.

We might discuss the practice of creating little super climbers but that might get ugly and draw a lot of comparisons to 10 year old Olympic gymnasts and parents with unrealistic priorities.  Of course my best climbing partner started belaying me at age 11 or 12 and all my kids climb so I may not have any moral high ground in the argument. 

3:08 p.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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When I watch kids in the gym, they always seem like little spiders to me. All nimbleness and dexterity and no fear. I also know that belaying them won't take as much strength. Maybe that all leads to a false assumption of security.

April 5, 2020
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