Graz, Austria. Georg Richter was declared dead on November 14th, four days after an accident in his local gym. The 21-year-old was an experienced climber and had just finished leading a 6+ route. According to local news outlets his less experienced partner lost control of the rope as Richter weighted it. In front of seventy other climbers Richter fell 12 meters (30 feet) striking his head on the gym floor. Richter was rushed to a local hospital but did not regain consciousness. Today, November 16th, would have been his 22nd birthday.
We at Alpinist.com debated whether to report on this story. We take no pleasure in reporting such news and would much prefer to write about climbing successes. However, we want to remind our readers to be careful.
Check your partner’s knot just in case. If you have never climbed with someone before, watch them belay you. Decide before the climb if you are going to lower or rappel. Wait for the verbal reply when you say “Take” or “Off Belay”. We see too many reports of climbers injured or killed through preventable accidents. It is one thing for us to write an obituary for a man like Ricardo Cassin who died at the age of 100 with numerous routes bearing his name. It is another thing to write about a twenty-one year old killed in a gym.
Please climb safely. -Ed