/ NEWS: Worn Fixed Gear Can Cut Your Rope

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UKC News - on 14 Nov 2012
Carabiner - Mammut, 3 kbIn a recent study by Mammut, tests have show that some fixed carabiners (often found on steep sport crags) can be worn in to such a shape as to cut through your climbing rope in a fall as short as 2.7 metres.

Whilst it may come as no surprise to many experienced climbers that old fixed equipment might not be very strong, a cut rope is such a potentially dangerous occurrence that we thought it worth highlighting this report.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67607

Speeddemonsi - on 14 Nov 2012
CurlyStevo - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:
"Whilst it may come as no surprise to many experienced climbers that old fixed equipment might not be very strong"

I was under the impression tests showed worn biners with rope groves were a lot stronger than expected.
CurlyStevo - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Speeddemonsi:
yeah I'd seen this news item before somewhere else myself.
Michael Ryan - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Not only dangerous to climbers but also can cause access problems.

Good to see last year many insitu or perma-draws removed from Raven Tor....what is the current situation at Kilnsey?

What is the BMCs position on this?

And still other crags, like Roadside Crag in Kentucky, were closed due in part to the landowners’ growing concern over the presence of permadraws.

http://www.opengate.org/access-fund-blog/2012/04/permadraws-access-issue-or-not.html

The debate on fixed/perma gear at sport-climbing areas is coming to a head now that dozens of crags across the country have high concentrations—sometimes hundereds—of “fixed” or “perma” draws—terms that are used to describe everything from chains and steel-cabled quickdraws with steel carabiners, to regular quickdraws with aluminum carabiners—that have been left on a route, simply donated or abandoned.

http://www.rockandice.com/news/1902-featured-debate-permadraws

22 September, Mario Luginbühl and a friend went climbing at Magletsch, in the St.Gallen canton, Switzerland. Mario was trying to work out a sequence and took a controlled fall. This proved fatal as the fixed quickdraw had been worn sharp through extensive use and cut the rope right off, resulting in Mario falling 25 meters to his death.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67521
biscuit - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> "Whilst it may come as no surprise to many experienced climbers that old fixed equipment might not be very strong"
>
> I was under the impression tests showed worn biners with rope groves were a lot stronger than expected.

It can be but in this case the old fixed equipment doesn't break the rope does.
Michael Ryan - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> [...]
>
> It can be but in this case the old fixed equipment doesn't break the rope does.

Wise words.
irishdave - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: to be quite honest i'm outraged by this discovery...old worn out stuff isn't as strong as when it was new?...for christs sake aluminium, what's your problem?...it's political correctness gone mad!...
CurlyStevo - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH: i wasnt disagreeing with the main point of the news item (which isnt exactly news anyway is it, as pointed out bd already made statements regarding this months back).
CurlyStevo - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to irishdave: actually i think it was bd several years back that showed often rope worn biners are actually nearly as strong as new ones as the rope groove keeps the rope captive and keeps the load away from the gate. The discoveries this year are the sharp edge on rope worn biners can cut the rope.
In reply to irishdave:
> (In reply to UKC News) to be quite honest i'm outraged by this discovery...old worn out stuff isn't as strong as when it was new?...for christs sake aluminium, what's your problem?...it's political correctness gone mad!...

The report isn't saying anything of the kind. The old fixed gear was fine, it is the new shiny ropes that are breaking!



Chris
mikekeswick - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to irishdave: Dude read the arcticle - it isn't talking about the STRENGTH of worn fixed gear....if you aren't worried about a situation where your rope can be cut....fine but i'd rather know.
psaunders - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: I wouldn't like to fall onto this: http://imgur.com/u5PRw
CurlyStevo - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Ahhh yes here we go here's the older news item on the same subject.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67521
eggburt1952 - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News: we should not be leaving our litter all over the crags just because it makes it easier/possible for some people to climb a certain route. take it home with you and get on routes you can do. what ever happened to the leave no trace/minimal impact ethic?
sarahjharrison - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC News:
A rope being cut by a worn biner isn't as unlikely as some poeple seem to think. I saw it a couple of years ago in the Red (not the incident in the BD article): A fall of just one metre on to the second bolt of a route, and the rope's sheath and one of the core strands were cut through. People were on-sighting and red-pointing that route day in day out (a very popular 13a), and no one had thought the biner was suspect. If your rope is slightly fatter than the sharp groove that's been worn, I think it's particularly likely to all go wrong.
SteveSBlake - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

I sense no irony in your question - are you serious?

Steve
lithos on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to psaunders:
> (In reply to UKC News) I wouldn't like to fall onto this: http://imgur.com/u5PRw

wow that put jon's photo to shame

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=119615
CurlyStevo - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to lithos:
Can you actually believe the last person to ab/top rope off that thought it was safe! Mental!
lithos on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

of course we can't know what they did (maybe no tools to remove it) but tis crazy huh
would scare the bejesus out of me.
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Ander on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:
> (In reply to UKC News) we should not be leaving our litter all over the crags just because it makes it easier/possible for some people to climb a certain route. take it home with you and get on routes you can do. what ever happened to the leave no trace/minimal impact ethic?

Well said!
jon on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to lithos:
> (In reply to psaunders)
> [...]
>
> wow that put jon's photo to shame
>
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=119615

It does rather, doesn't it. I'd like to think that's a hoax - I can't imagine anyone ACTUALLY lowering off it in that state - but who knows. Incidentally, this photo shows more wear than the one you linked: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=115364

Hans Lindqvist - on 15 Nov 2012
I might be considered too old school but why don't you just clip them in and work out the route. Then clip them to your harness as we used to do ages and ages ago.
Michael Gordon - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

Well of course in the case of sport routes the 'leave no trace / minimal impact ethic' has already been thrown out, hasn't it?
eggburt1952 - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Michael Gordon:
exactly,
so my question is;- what gives us the right to vandalise the environment in this way just to make us think we are better climbers than we really are? Henry Barber had the right idea in the seventies, after a fall/failure he would descend to the start and pull the rope down through the runners if he was going to give it another go, now there was a man who could climb without littering the crags or diluting his achievements, this hang dogging technique was started by Ray Jardine and others in order to climb routes they personally were incapable of getting up otherwise, of course most if not all of these routes have now been climbed in good ethical style by more talented people , perhaps we should give less credit to big numbers achieved by unsporting means and at the same time stop littering the country side with fixed metallic crap.
spidermonkey09 - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:
I sense a distinct anti- sport climbing mentality here...'fixed metallic crap.'- would that include bolts then.
That sort of prejudiced 'sport is shit, british (no better- english) trad is the only way to climb anything' went out with the ark. style is a personal thing. if you dont like it you dont have to climb it or even read about it if you dont want to.
biscuit - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

Whether you ground up or dog a route to get to the top has nothing to do with whether you leave fixed gear behind afterwards. That's the issue here not whether someone has what some consider to be better ethics than others.

Why didn't good old Henry Barber take the gear out when he fell and re place it on lead again ? He was making his subsequent attempts easier - the start of redpointing possibly ?

Was it impractical to take the gear out ? My guess would be yes, it'd be a bit silly to expect him to find another way to the top, ab down to collect his gear ( with his eyes closed so he couldn't see the ground he had yet to cover ) and then go again.

It's the same with perma draws. They tend to be on very overhanging routes and are a total battle to re claim on the way down from a lower off that is high up and in front of them.

That's why people tend to put/leave them in, same reason as good old Henry, just now they get left - which i agree can make things look unsightly at certain locations.

Michael Gordon - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

As far as sport climbing in general goes I can see your point though as others have said I can't see the relevance of discussing dogging versus yo-yoing versus ground-up etc.
eggburt1952 - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to spidermonkey09: You might not have to climb it or read about it but if you happen to be at a crag where this is practised. climber or non climber you are forced look at and be aware of the debris left to facilitate selfish ego boosting by a minority of the population , do we own these natural outcrops? what right do we have to convert them to gymnasiums? my contention is that we collectively have no right to despoil areas that are of value to many various factions of society. as for it being a matter of personal style! how me! me! me! eg;- it could be my personal style to paint the cliffs of Bosigran pink but that wouldn't justify me doing it and I suspect there would be a lot objections if I did.
biscuit - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

We don't have any right - except perhaps at privately owned crags - but when people complain about the actions of cimbers ( whatever they may be doing ) they tend to listen and reach a compromise. It's what makes the world go round.

I find places like Malham a great example of compromise. Trad/sport/geography groups/walkers/birdwatcers all existing together. Not perfect and sometimes they rub against each other but in general it works.

It's not all as black and white as you are trying to suggest. Making silly comparisons between permadraws ( which can be removed in a matter of hours if needed ) to painting Bosigran doesn't help either.

As for the bolts. Well i agree they are permanent and they are there for our recreation only. As such they are a frivolous, un necessary, addition to the rock. However they are accepted the world over in suitable places ( acording to local ethics ) and are just oneof the many ways we all damage the environment for our own selfish pleasure. It doesn't make it right i guess but we all do it.

It all stared with Henry Barber and Yo Yo ing in my opinion. It was the thin end of the wedge and led, inevitably, to a reduction in ethics and morals leading directly to sport climbing, bolting, red pointing and therefore permadraws. If he had just held onto some proper standards and a strict onsight ethic we wouldn't be where we are today ;0)
jon on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

Blue, Egg, not pink. Do it, you know you want to.

For what it's worth I tend to agree in principle with what you're saying. When I drive down our valley I see the clean white streaks of routes that I've put up, sticking out like a sore thumb. Depending on the time of day, there'll be bolts glistening too. The routes are fantastic but I increasingly think that they are rather intrusive. That is until I glance up leftwards and see the towering Emosson dam...
Ian Parsons - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:

<That is until I glance up leftwards and see the towering Emosson dam...>

Now that really is intrusive - an unsightly line of coloured blobs up previously pristine concrete...!
In reply to biscuit:
>
> It all stared with Henry Barber and Yo Yo ing in my opinion. It was the thin end of the wedge and led, inevitably, to a reduction in ethics and morals leading directly to sport climbing, bolting, red pointing and therefore permadraws. If he had just held onto some proper standards and a strict onsight ethic we wouldn't be where we are today ;0)

Plenty of us were yo-yoing long before Hot Henry came along!


Chris
biscuit - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I am sure you were ;0) It was aimed at Egg holding him up as a bastion of ethics when he was actually yo yo ing for the same reasons as climbers leave draws in.
eggburt1952 - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to biscuit: Henry didn't "yo yo" if he fell or failed on a climb he pulled the rope down through what ever runners he had placed on lead (hex's and stoppers in those days)and as far as I have heard rarely took more than a couple of attempts to either succeed or back off, taking his kit with him, leaving the crag clean and the route for a better man or day.
"yo yoing" is to lower off on the rope after a fall, leave the rope in place and then use it to regain the high point before continuing on,in an up and down fashion like you guessed it a "yo yo"!
"yoing" and "hang dogging"(where one simply hangs on the rope at the failure point before continuing) are so similar as to be only marginally distinguishable from each other, both diminish the achievement of the ascent as they use the protection equipment for aid to achieve the ascent even if it is only to gain beta, as do abseil inspection and top rope practice.
On any route, any grade, sport or trad (Other than unroped soloing) ground up, on sight, first go is the style that offers the most challenging scenario for any would be ascentionist ,anything else uses the equipment to make up for lack of ability or stamina, it seems strange to make climbing a route easier in order to achieve a higher numerical grades in ever decreasing increments.
There are thousands of climbing challenges in the uk alone, enough to satisfy the number of outdoor climbers operating at all levels in the Uk , it's just that some of them require a level of commitment some people do not wish to take on board this doesn't give them the right to leave their equipment strewn all over at what are often places of outstanding scenic or cultural value.
If we all do damage the environment for our own selfish pleasure (or self promotion) perhaps it's time this sector of society (climbers) that in general likes to think of itself as being conservationist and protective to wild places, had a rethink about the effects of it's actual activities and started to tread more gently on the earth.
biscuit - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

Whilst i concede i may be wrong in my terminology ( i try not to get bogged down by things like that so i got that one wrong ) it doesn't change the fact that from what you said he left his gear in place between attempts. On trad that can make subsequent attempts MUCH easier, much easier than the equivalent in sport. I am guessing he did this as it was impractical to get his gear back between attempts. Are you sure that if he couldn't do a move he immediately shouted: " Lower ! " and closed his eyes, never looked at a blind hold or even touched one ? Splitting hairs i know but as you say yo yo ing and dogging are practically one and the same but ground up and yo yoing are not so far apart either.

These tactics are used in both sport and trad and have little to do with permanent gear. It is left for the same reason that Henry left his, it's impractical to get your gear back. It's nothing to do with the perceived lack of morals that sport climbers have.

Don't be taken in by the name of perma draws. As i said earlier if people are bothered by them they can be removed very quickly. Certainly in the UK they're fairly rare. People leave draws in whilst working a route quite often, and that may be for a few weeks at a time, but then they take them with them.

Why do you think they have not been removed in the places where they exist now ? If other users of these places were so upset by them do you not think they would kick up a fuss ?

I couldn't agree more with your last statement. I've never kidded myself about it. I know i have a negative impact on the environment just by existing: shopping, owning a car, having a house etc. I probably make it worse by being in the outdoors all the time working and playing in the 'nice' places this planet affords us: eroding footpaths, polishing rock, wearing out placements, covering things in chalk, kicking rock with crampons and whacking grass with axes.
biscuit - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to biscuit:

It's a long drawn out thread but have a look here ( the first page pretty much sums it up) to see what people think of leaving draws in in the UK.

http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,18154.0.html

Obviously there are differing views but the vast majority support doing what the landowner/other users would like.

This is from people who are actually doing these routes and leaving the draws. Not that there aren't those on UKC i just couldn't find a thread about it like this one.
eggburt1952 - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to biscuit: I looked hard but found little evidence of people thinking at all. perhaps they would also find it easier if they drove their 4x4's to the cornice it would save that pain in the arse walk and i think some of them even have winches on them, now that would really bring the routes down to the level where all can excercise their right enjoy them as they want ??
biscuit - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

The thread shows the discussion that is already going on within the community about permadraws and how most people are actually against them.Just to make you aware that people don't just bang them in wherever without thinking.

I guess i am not going to change your blinkered attitude about sport climbing though am i as it appears that is what your problem is rather than the perma draw issue.

Never mind, its a shame as you are missing out on a whole aspect of this sport you may enjoy but it's not for everyone.

Happy climbing !
eggburt1952 - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to biscuit: shame that unlike me you havn't seen smith rocks in oregon(home and birth place of american sport climbing) recently now there's a once beautiful place trashed with perma draws and perma hanging climbers, you might find it an aspect of the sport you don't enjoy but it's there for everyone to see.
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biscuit - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to eggburt1952:

That was my point with drawing your attention to the UKB thread. It's un likely ( but not impossible ) to happen in the UK.

I go to crags here in Spain that have perma draws, places like the Chilam Balam cave. They are not near the road so they're not visible as you go past and i've never seen anyone other than climbers there and the landowner doesn't care.

Is Smiths Rocks a 'shared' location like Malham for example ? If so that's a poor show if it detracts from hikers and other outdoor users experience of the place.

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