GRAPEVINE, Texas –– Police say the death of an experienced climber at a Grapevine climbing gym was an unfortunate accident.
According to Grapevine police, 52-year old Susan Mailloux likely forgot to clip herself into the safety rope system provided by the gym. If Mailloux’s Facebook page is any indication, she loved rock climbing. It is covered with pictures of her on the wall.
Yesterday, police say, she was climbing with her boyfriend and his son, at Summit Climbing. At the top, 25 to 30 feet up, police say Mailloux let go, as if she thought she was tied in. She was not.
“Once she got to the top of that road ladder she simply released as if she was attached to it and then she fell to the ground,” said Sgt. Robert Eberling with the Grapevine Police Department.
The gym requires climbers to sign a waiver warning against all types of possible injury or death, including “freakish accidents which cannot be forseen.” Police say Mailloux failed to clip into, what’s called an auto-belay, an automatic harness system that lowers a falling climber, slowly, to the ground.
Ben Mann is also a climber at Summit, he did not know Mailloux.
“All of the rock walls are lined with ropes and about every five to ten feet there’s a sign that says don’t forget to clip in, or make sure you’re clipped in,” Mann said.
The manager of the Budget Suites in Irving, confirmed Mailloux had lived here for several years Former neighbors say she also has a son in the Navy. The owner of Summit said Mailloux came in once every week or ten days to climb and police confirm had experience climbing.
The gym was closed today and will also be closed tomorrow, the owner says, out of respect for Mailloux and her family.