Expert Witness Services

Artificial climbing wall operation is complex and involves walking a fine line between risk management and accessibility. Dan Hague possesses the skills, background, and specialized certifications making him uniquely qualified to serve as your expert in litigation. You can expect valuable, unbiased support and expert testimony in all areas of artificial climbing wall operation. He can assist you with the following services: 

Preliminary Forensics and Analysis

Climbing wall accident causation is typically not cut and dried. Many factors can contribute to creating an environment whereby an accident is more likely to occur. For example, belay failure is a common immediate cause, but the proximate cause might be the training and testing the belayer received, supervision by the climbing wall staff, or less than optimal equipment supplied by the facility. A thorough understanding of common uses and prescribed practices is necessary in order to determine the underlying cause of any particular accident.

We'll help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case based on climbing wall industry practices, common use, and past operational and expert witness experience.

Strategic Pretrial Assistance

If you're not intimately familiar with climbing wall operations and risk management you may leave critical questions unasked either in interrogatories or depositions. Likewise preparing your witnesses for the lines of questions they are likely to be asked can help them avoid common pitfalls or omissions.

The answers to those interrogatories, interviews, and deposition testimonies are many times the key to fully understanding the finer points of an accident. Dan Hague has worked on dozens of accident cases, many times reading multiple documents per case before making recommendations or writing an expert report. In addition, understanding the strengths and weaknesses in an opposing expert's position can allow you more effective counter arguments.

The critical analysis is often a comparison between a climbing facility's stated policies, the industry practices or common use, and what actually happened at the time of the accident.  Having an expert on board who understands and can spot crucial discrepancies between how a gym should operate versus how it actually operates can help strengthen your case.

Additionally we have helped many attorneys create their case strategy based on the research and analysis as described above.

Credible and Composed Deposition and Trial Testimony

Mr. Hague has provided a number of deposition and trial testimonies. He is professional, articulate, cool and calm, and credible. He can prepare easily understood exhibits for use at trial, and can readily rebut the opposition's experts and analysis.


Dan Hague founded Sportrock Climbing Centers in the Washington D.C. area in 1993 and led the firm for its first 11 years. In that time, Sportrock grew to become the East Coast’s largest climbing company with three indoor facilities, extensive indoor and outdoor instructional offerings, and a reputation for excellence within the climbing industry. In 2008 Dan opened Rise Up Climbing, his fourth gym, in Lynchburg, Virginia where he currently resides.

Dan has been climbing since 1972 and began teaching the sport in 1994. He developed and continually improved the operational standards by which his facilities ran. He has vast experience evaluating and managing risk in the climbing wall industry. In addition, his coaching clients have included many climbers in the junior divisions who have gone on to impressive finishes in local, regional, and national competitions.

During his tenure at Sportrock Dan developed the successful Fast Forward Progression, a series of classes that has helped thousands of climbers acquire movement skills quickly and effectively. Dan, along with co-author Doug Hunter, wrote The Self-Coached Climber (2006) in which he reveals the many principles, tips, and tricks which make his instructional method so successful. Dan and Douglas followed with a second book called Redpoint in 2011. Dan continues to climb at a high level remaining active in the sport and advising clients in his areas of expertise.

Dan is a past Chairmen of the Climbing Wall Association's Operational Standards Committee which oversees and revises the operational standards for the climbing wall industry. He was instrumental in helping produce the current set of Industry Practices distributed by the CWA. In addition he chaired the CWA's Climbing Wall Instructor certification committee helping to put the program in place. Dan has been classified as a "provider" giving him authority to certify instructors to the CWI standards. In addition, Dan is a past board member at the CWA.

Dan has provided expert witness services in climbing accident cases since 2006. He has broad experience as an expert and can assist you in all the areas outlined above.

Dan's 2019 book entitled Artificial Climbing Wall Operation and Risk Management is the only book on the market specifying operational standards for artificial climbing walls. The book documents his long experience in minimizing risk in these facilities.

Dan's CV, case history, and references are available upon request.


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