/ Keepers on open slings
Is there a considerable benefit to having a keeper on an open slingdraw? Trad Climbing+ recommends it as far as I can recall and some people on these forums don't seem to have a problem with it. But now the BMC and various others are strongly advising against using them for fear of serious consequences. I had recently equipped my slingdraws with Petzl Strings and doing a bit of playing about I'm sure I would notice if the captive carabiner had clipped through the open sling. Is it just not worth the risk? Are there any problems that might arise from having an open sling without a keeper?
I have rubber bands on the ends of most of my slingdraws to hold the rope krab in place, my thinking was that the rubber band is flimsy enough to break if I grab the krab to clip the rope. However, I'm honestly considering alternatives after what has happened recently.
Originally I put them on there as my risk/benefit ratio then weighed towards having the krab captive which often reduces faff on clipping significantly.
I've never bothered with them, not for safety reasons, I just don't like them.
Main risks in not having them are accidentally unclipping and dropping a krab while extending a sling and snapping a misaligned krab in a hard fall. Neither preys on my mind.
Assuming they've been set up correctly in the first place (ie the krab actually passes through the sling), then personally I'm not too concerned about it as part of my personal gear.
Having had a play around, think the issue with the krab clipping the open loop, and leading to it all inverting and hanging off the rubber keeper, is visually pretty obvious, particularly if you're aware it's a possibility. I'd be rather edgy about having them on group kit, or on stuff I lend out, etc.
I tend to check them when i get them out (i only have 2) so its quick to check, however i will defo check everytime now!
There isn't a considerable benefit to having them, its pretty marginal really. It reduces fumble clipping a bit, and something I found without them was that every once in a while I would extend one and find a knot around the upper krab like this:
http://www.deepsoup.f2s.com/UKC/slingdraw1.JPG (Which, contrary to popular belief that larksfoot = doom, is extremely unlikely to do any harm in the real world if you leave it that way and climb above it, other than requiring a bit of faff to sort it out later.)
I used to use little rubber bands (like castration rings), but after the accident a few years back decided they weren't worth having. I too am sure I would notice - *if* I were calm, alert and relaxed. But I know that when I'm gripped, tired or pumped (or all three) it's much easier to make silly mistakes.
I found a compromise with mine - currently I'm using little rubber sleeves as 'keepers' on a couple of slingdraws. Here's another blur-o-vision phone snapshot: http://www.deepsoup.f2s.com/UKC/slingdraw2.JPG The sleeve is the grippy bit off a cheap plastic mechanical pencil, and if it's incorrectly clipped its much more obvious than it is with a rubber band: http://www.deepsoup.f2s.com/UKC/slingdraw3.JPG
My climbing partner hates them though, so I'm thinking of just sacking them off altogether.
I have personally had to do first aid on a women who decked out because of using open slings with a rubber retainer and one became unclipped so if I was you I would only use them on stitched quick draws.
I use a couple of open sling draws, and personally like rubber keepers as it makes them easier to handle.
I check them before climbing and am aware of the failure mode, it doesnt solve the problem though if someone else uses my rack.
In the past I made sure that the stitching is close to the krab with the rubber band and wraped some finger tape around the sling so that the draw can not clip itself wrong without creating a very visible and tactile bulk.
Seeing that the problem seems to be occuring at a scary amount of incidents I now started using a lenght of turbular webbing (roughly 7cm) which is threaded onto the sling, keeping both parts of it together.
This seems to work but I haven't had much of a chance to try it out.
(Any feeback regarding this idea welcome)
That sounds like a good idea. Pehaps some heat shink tubing would work just as well but it'd be able to be torn off should you require the use of the sling as a sling rather than an extender
> This seems to work but I haven't had much of a chance to try it out.
> (Any feeback regarding this idea welcome)
I've started using insulating tape to tape the first couple of inches of the sling together at the krab. It should make it pretty blindingly obvious when this problem occurs.
Firstly, by "slingdraw" I assume you mean a quickdraw constructed from a tripled 60cm sling (preferably a skinny 6mm or 8mm sling) which can be used as a 20cm quickdraw, or opened out to make a full length 60cm extender. IMO one of the nice things about these is that, having clipped the gear, all you have to do to extend it to the full length is to unclip the rope krab from the draw and then re-clip it to any one of the loops hanging from the gear krab. Whichever loop you clip back in to, it will always pull out to create a 60cm extender. If you put a keeper on the rope krab (as per a normal quickdraw) then you can't do this - it makes extending the draw much more fiddly, in fact.
I do have o-ring keepers on the rope krabs of my normal 'draws. I assembled them myself, I know they're correct, and they're easy to check visually and by touch both as you rack them up and as you deploy them on route. (Seating gear by tugging on the rope krab before you clip gives you another chance to notice if the QD sling has become flipped the wrong way.)
We've updated our news piece with a simple video:
Is there any reason why you should not just get the wife to put a few stitches in?
> IMO one of the nice things about these is that, having clipped the gear, all you have to do to extend it to the full length is to unclip the rope krab from the draw and then re-clip it to any one of the loops hanging from the gear krab. Whichever loop you clip back in to, it will always pull out to create a 60cm extender. If you put a keeper on the rope krab (as per a normal quickdraw) then you can't do this - it makes extending the draw much more fiddly, in fact.
I am the same. The retainer is a ball-ache as it doesn't allow you to un-clip the rope-end biner completely to extend before re clipping and popping the rope in.
The other annoying thing about the retainers is that whey you want to back to back biners (in stead of using the screw gates I never carry) you have the stupid rubber thing in the way.
The thing is; what the retainers are protecting you from? I can't even simulate a cross-loading on most of the biners on my rack.
If you want to mark which biner goes on the rock/rope then there are lots of other methods, like marking one of the biners with tape, by using different colours for each end of the 'draw or climbing a few bolted routes and mashing the corner of the rock biner....
> Is there any reason why you should not just get the wife to put a few stitches in?
Yeah, I haven't got a wife....
Anyones wife will do :-)
Whats your wife's address - I'll get the slings in the post...
Wot he said!
(I've been using slingdraws for over a decade, winter and summer and they're way to fiddly with a captive krab at one end. To me a captive krab negates their usefulness, plus of course there is this very real safety issue which I don't think I had considered 10 years ago when I started making them up. Most of my QDs are the traditional dogbone type of varying lengths, I normally only have 3 sling draws at the most so can live with the odd rotating rope-end crab.)
> Pehaps some heat shink tubing
I do hope the heat shrink on slings is somewhat tongue in cheek :)
Safe to say you'd probably not want to be wafting the heat gun around your slings to shrink it. ;o)
I think perhaps Wilkie might be thinking of neoprene sleeving - that could work really well.
> I do hope the heat shrink on slings is somewhat tongue in cheek :)
not at all, it can be shurnk with steam from a kettle. Perhaps I should have pointed that out though before folks start attempting holding slings over the cooker! :-)
Oh, my mistake. Didn't expect that.
I had visions of folk having a go at their slings with one of these: http://www.screwfix.com/p/dewalt-dw340k-2000w-heatgun-240v/14303
Don't think I fancy the idea of heat-shrink much personally, but do quite like the idea of the neoprene sleeving I thought you meant. More stretchy, more take-on-and-off-able, easier to slide up out of the way when using the sling for other things like spikes, threads etc (When it can be reassuring to use both krabs together with gates opposed.)
For now though, I think I'm going to take the sleeves off my slingdraws and see if I can get used to using them with both carabiners loose.
Better than neoprene perhaps is a length of tubigrip bandage, the thinnest type, for fingers. Stretchy and rip-off-able
Rather like deepsoup's sleeve it's obvious if the sling passes through the wrong way.
To me the main reason not to use them is that sling draws tend to be the source of any spare krabs I need. So using keepers means you have to cannibalise more draws.
It acts somehow as if it was stiched at the end, of course not as strong, but still, if clipped incorrectly, it looks so wrong you just cannot miss it.
It also makes it even easier to clip because it adds a bit of rigidity above the krab.
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