C3 Settlement Release

Vertical World response to plaintiff’s claims and PR release dated 08/31/2023

For immediate release: September 15, 2023
Re: Vandivere v. Vertical World and C3 Manufacturing
Contact: info@verticalworld.com

On August 31, 2023 a Washington State law firm issued a statement about the resolution of a lawsuit it
was handling. Their client was injured on August 1, 2019 while climbing at a Vertical World facility. As it
related to Vertical World (VW), the statement is incomplete, misleading, and incorrect in several
fundamental respects. Its corresponding social media regarding this issue, is also grossly misleading.

Here are the facts:
As America’s first climbing gym, Vertical World is highly experienced in risk management tactics in the
climbing gym industry and has an outstanding track record for safety. VW has always adhered to the
Climbing Wall Association (CWA) Industry Practices. Rich Johnston, founder and owner of VW, was a
founding board member of the CWA and was chairman for 17 years. He was intimately involved in the
drafting of those industry practices. VW’s staff is thoroughly trained according to CWA Industry
Practices. VW has numerous layers of notification to outline the dangers of climbing and has abundant
policies for correct facility use. Through the process of the lawsuit, no evidence was presented that
proved any negligence in operations.

The theory of this law firm was that an auto belay device produced by C3 Manufacturing, called “Perfect
Descent”, failed to arrest the climber’s fall as intended resulting in serious injuries. Vertical World fully
cooperated over many years of investigation. After extensive testing, neither VW nor investigators hired
by either side’s law firm was able to gather any evidence of a malfunction or device failure. There were
recalls on C3’s devices over the years, and every notice VW received was promptly handled

Vertical World’s insurer made the decision to pay $1 million to the injured climber, something VW
opposed. VW also secured an unprecedented award of sanctions against C3 and the law firm that had
been representing C3 in an amount in excess of $200,000.

Vertical World is a leader in the indoor climbing industry. It serves thousands of satisfied members and
has done so since 1987. Safety is and will continue to be a paramount value of the business. It is
unfortunate that a small family business that operates in good faith has become entangled with a device
manufacturer that kept information from its clients. Because of the bad faith of C3 manufacturing VW
has removed all C3 brand auto belays from their facilities. They will be replacing them promptly with a
trusted brand.