/ NEWS: Dan Middleton, BMC Tech Officer, on UKC
Dan is going live on the UKC Forums on Monday the 15th October to answer your questions on anything gear related.
I asked Dan what are the big issues at the moment and his reply...
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67512
Thanks for coming on the UKC and UKH Forums today.
Yesterday you we at Raven Tor running a bolting workshop. Can you let us know how that went? Was it a good attendance and what things did you work through on the day?
Morning everybody! I'm suitably juiced up on caffiene and ready for your questions about anything climbing gear related.
Thanks for the invite Alan.
I'm a little bleary eyed today after the workshop - it was very cold to begin with at the Tor, and a whole day out there tends to zap you a little bit!
The day went really well. We had ten people for the workshop, including Kristian and Jon from the Peak Bolt Fund.
I kicked things off with the theory of bolting and an overview of the different systems available.
Kristian then provided a masterclass of how to bolt in practice - a true craftsman!
We then replaced a few bolts and belays, with the PBF guys directing operations.
All in all, a really nice way to spend the day at work.
I'm just going over my notes for the day, it looks like we replaced the belayers bolt for Revelations, a new belay and most of the bolts for P2 of Rooster Booster, and some new belays and bolts where needed for some of the routes at the R-hand side. I may need correcting here, but I think Hot Flushes got a new crux bolt, Hooligan got fully re-equipped as did Out of My Tree. A great atmosphere at the crag, we managed to work around people climbing without causing too much interuption.
Not long after I started work for the BMC around 6 years ago, I mentioned that I was surprised that there weren't any standards for bouldering mats. I got some strange looks!
With the subsequent explosion in the popularity of bouldering, it looks as though the standard making bodies are now seriously looking into this.
It makes sense - a test would be fairly easy to produce I think, and mats are similar in a way to helmets in that they can help mitigate some injuries.
That's interesting. What sort of tests are being talked about? It would be nice to have a measure of foam longevity as well as impact cushioning (or whatever you call it?).
I think the UIAA Safety Commission are looking into it, but I'd have to check with our rep at the standards groups about where they have got to and what kind of tests they are looking at. I agree though it would be useful to have a minimum standard for both impact absorbtion and longevity.
Saw this on the other channel - Climber dies, rope cut by in-situ gear - http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,20930.0.html
Do you have any thoughts on this issue? Have there been any similar incidents in the UK?
Very sad news, and completely avoidable. I'm not aware of any recent incidents over here, but the problem of nicks in karabiners has been known about for a long time and most climbers know to be careful to always keep the rope end of a 'draw at the rope end.
The problem with in-situ draws forming sharp edges is probably more of a problem in climbing walls in the UK because we tend to be against the use of in-situ draws outside. This is much easier to manage because of course walls emply staff to check and monitor their equipment regularly. Using a steel body krab for the first clip seems like one option, as this clip often gets worn by belayers standing too far back.
I work in the tree industry where there are many stakeholder groups often kept busy devising new standards for the work we do.
It seems however that these "developments" are largely un-noticed by the field operative who will only take notice of things which directly effect his/her day to day activity.
Is this the case here?
Are the proposed developments of bouldering mat/belay device standards specifically in relation to noticed trends in injuries or significant near misses? or is this just about keeping busy?
That's a very interesting question Pete. One major difference is that accidents and injuries in the tree industry (and others) will be recorded and stats produced which can pick up trends and significant issues which may need addressing. We don't have that mechanism in climbing. Things tend to be triggered either by stand-out tragedies, or by a slow filtering of anecdote and experience leading to the idea that something should be done about a particular issue.
I'm from a university hiking club, and we have around 25 CAMP Rockstar helmets from circa 2005/6. They are stored in the club's gear store, which is dark, dry and relatively warm. the helmets are used on average around 10-15 times a year, for scrambling and winter hillwalking, and are regularly inspected - before we take them on trips and after. What we'd like to know is when should the helmets be retired? CAMP do not mention a lifetime on their website. We have some new Ptezl helmets as well, should the lifetime of the CAMP helmets be 10 years a la Petzl or does this not apply because of infrequency of use?
To follow that up Pete, it has long been felt that not having a standard for belay devices was a major anomaly. The problem here is that although the devices are often simple (anyone remember the old "Bat Brake?) their use is complex. Performance depends not only on the device, but the type and condition of the rope, the position of the user, their grip strength and hand size and so on. That's without even considering the assisted devices like GriGri's and Eddies.
So a standard becomes very hard to produce and be meaningful, and yet without one anyone can in theory cut out a piece of metal and call it a belay device, whether it works or not.
Yeah that is true I guess
Maybe that's a role for the BMC... gathering stats on climbing injuries and then providing an evidential lead on safety standard development.
All wrapped up in the whole "I go climbing to take and manage risk" argument
Which is the same for the tree industry
The problem is that without the "evidence" eventually the cynic eventually discounts the one critical bit of safety info that could have saved their life.
I've pulled out a copy of the user manual for the Camp Rockstar: http://www.camp.it/img/0B66169C-5F44-45C1-8462-EB2E34E7246E.pdf
The relevant bit is this:
The product lifetime is 10 years from the date of manufacturing. The lifetime after the first use is limited to 5 years, with the exception of the following.........
From memory, the Rock Star is a great budget helmet, but the polypropylene shell material has a short lifespan. Ideally suited to folks who need a lot a helmets and expect to use them intensively - they are very popular with centres, walls and adventure parks.
Sorry, not the answer you're after - those helmets should probably be retired.
We already do this in a way by keeping our nose to the ground so to speak. Gathering stats is difficult because of the dispersed nature of our activities. It's a bizarre twist really that in the U.S. the fact that wilderness is so strictly controlled and managed means that they can easily correlate accidents to user numbers. Our open system makes intel gathering much more difficult if not impossible. If someone self rescues for example, we'll likely never hear about it.
Can you recommend a good rucksack for winter, but not to pricey. Struggled to find a good middle ground between value and quality.
or tested to gather stats on how weak they are after 10 years ?
I agree and probably don't want to change it...
However the "lack of reporting" is purely behavioural
If the sector wants it, the leaders of the sector have to demonstrate the need for the reports through personal commitment.
Same dilemma in Arboriculture really roll with standard changes as required or resist unnecessary non-sensible change at the cost of "restrictions" in freedom.
Since most climbing is "leisure" & voluntary no compulsion
However those in the Industry? Can they afford the luxury of not knowing?
I'd hesitate to specify an exact model or brand (and new stuff arrives on the market from time to time anyway) but consider the following points:
- A longer lifespan is useful if use is low/intermittent. Look for a 10 year lifespan if so.
- Hybrid (hardshell with foam liner) helmets give a good balance of lightness and durability.
- Size coverage is important, you'll either need 2 sizes or a one size helmet with a wide range of adjustment.
We could do, but we already know about plasticiser migration in this kind of shell material, hence the reduced lifespan.
Sorry, that came across as rather abrupt (I think it may be lunchtime!)
What I mean is, this work has already been done and is reflected in the varied lifespans dependent on the the material used.
I know this may be hard to swallow for those in the "lifespan is only there to boost manufacturers profits camp" but a modern trend has been to extend lifespans as more data and info about materials and lifespan has been collated.
I'm taking a quick time out to grab some lunch and stretch my legs, back shortly. Keep 'em coming and I'll reply when I get back!
Dan, dont worry about abruptness :-)
i know that data is often available but often from simulated sources, always intersting to get data from real world sources ie helmets used in this fashion - but you may already have that (as you say) (like the project in leeds breaking slings for example)
maybe i just like the idea of breaking stuff :-)
What future do you see for the hundreds if not thousands of good routes around the UK's coast that are heavily or totally reliant upon neglected and rotting ironwork?
Hopefully this is the right place to post this.
I have just put a question to you about boots, which I'm now thinking went to the wrong forum! :-)
basically, can you recommend a suitable boot for wet sloppy conditions, such as the decent from Tryfan? I've been active in the mountains for over 20 yrs, had no problems, yet now with my new solomon boots, I'm sliding about all over the place? only yesterday for the first time. Ive lost 3.5 stones in weight, had a good weight in my pack, incl two climbing ropes, but felt fine, yet i was slipping on every rock, tumbled twice and finally ended up damaging my back, ribs and stomach, knee and chin on the last slip!! I've walked this area many times and totally confident in all conditions, so I'm thinking its the boots. can you suggest the best choices for our british conditions?
I'm not going to recommend specific brands or models - you'll need to do your own research on that.
When you say winter, do you mean mixed climbing, mountaineering or hillwalking, or all of the above?
Personal fit and preferences make a big difference, personally I like a no frills pack with a slim profile and a floating lid which I can stuff inside the pack when climbing. With the sack mostly emptied out this keeps a low height at the back but enables oveloading for walk in. That way you can use a smaller pack which is stillversatile enough for summer cragging and the odd alpine adventure.
Thanks for dropping that bomb on me!
This is a major issue, and the answer isn't just about technology and practicality, but tradition, ethics and opinion. I think the future will evolve possibly differently depending where you are - some places will consign these routes to history, others will prefer a move to cleaner, purer but exceptionally bold routes (probably leading to more headpointing, mind) and others will try to replace pegs until it becomes impossible. Others might switch bolts for the pegs. Who knows?
If Horse still haunts these forums, I'd love to hear his opinion on whether there are any stainless steel alloys available which could still offer good corrosion resistance after being smashed into a placement, and still give the required mechanical properties needed for a peg, whilst not costing a small fortune. Until such a thing was ever found, I suspect such discussions will be remain purely theoretical.
I want to get into winter mountaineering and have some B1 boots (Scarpa SL Activs) but I am struggling to find info on exactly what a b1/c1 combo is suitable for.
Initially I would like to start doing some routes of a similar to that of the 'mountaineer' group in the winter skills dvd. Will my boots combined with a C1 crampon be enough to get me going or do I need to look for something of a higher rating?
Only if it belongs to Streaky Desroy, is being worn by Andy Scott, and contains a cucumber. Ask the big man about it when he gets back from the Verdon :-)
The tragic story of Mario Luginbühl has come to the fore today.
UKC News item - http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67521
This appears to be another case of a fixed quick-draw being at fault although this time through cutting as rope over a worn edge on a krab, rather than the sling corroding over time as has been the case in the past.
It is probably more of a problem outside the UK but do the BMC have a stated policy on fixed quick-draws on sport routes?
Again, not going to act as a personal shopper for you.
Sometimes it can be slippery no matter what, the wet summer may have encouuraged the growth of some green slimey stuff that wasn't around last time you visited!
If the boots are brand new, it sometimes takes a few miles to clean off any residue of mould release agent from the sole and get the rubber working properly.
If you still have problems, take it up with the retailer.
not asking you to be my shopper! I'm also very aware of the change in conditions relating to weather and the conditions are very similar to the last time i was in this area, as i frequent the Ogwen valley every month and previously had no problem with the same boots! To be honest i don't really appreciate your sarcastic tone!
I was under the impression you were supposed to be a Technical advisor? so asking you if you could recommend a more specific boot suited to our climate, which in a world of many climates varying dramatically and many manufacturers who cater for these deferent climates, i thought in your role for the BMC, you may be able to offer some technical guidance.
Unfortunately I'm not in a position to go out and buy every single boot on the market labelled 2/3 season!!
forgive me for thinking you would be a good person to ask for a some useful TECHNICAL ADVISE!!
A B1 boot is perfectly good for winter hillwalking but for easy climbing you should really be looking at something a little bit stiffer (B2). The sort of challenge undertaken by the team in the DVD would probably be suitable for you in your B1 boots in conjunction with a well fitted C1 crampon, as it is winter hillwalking with no graded climbing. If in time your ambitions expand to easy climbs you'll need to look at some other boots.
Apologies Jonik, not my intention to offend. I can give general advice, but I'm neither qualified or able to give consumer advice or specify what you should buy. That's what you appear to be after, sorry but I can't help you there.
I tried to explain why your boots may have behaved as they did, but other than that, if they aren't working for you you need to consult with your retailer. Conditions have been very strange this year, I've found many places are much wetter than usual, with slippery licheny goo underfoot. That's just an observation.
Regarding suitable boots, that depends on many things. Fit, your intended activity range, budget and I could go on. My personal experience of Salomon boots has only been positive, but I've also enjoyed boots from several other manufacturers over the years. By far the best source of advice is a good retailer with a specialist boot fitting service.
A real tragedy Alan. I've mentioned my views on this earlier, as for a policy? Decided at local level, in the Peak the view seems to be to get rid of fixed draws, mainly for aesthetic and access reasons, but this seems to add weight to the idea that they are not a good idea.
I'm planning on doing a piece on lessons learned from this and other recent events, to try and pull out some useful stuff for climbers. I do mention this as an issue in the gear chapter of the forthcoming Rock Essentials DVD.
What a tool you are.
Related to that tragic accident, is it time for the BMC to start collating a database of all UK climbing/hill walking accidents, their circumstances and possible causes?
There seems to be an attitude that you 'can't ask' if some one has been badly injured of worse, but I feel lessons could well be learned.
I believe this is the standard approach in the US and France.
Jetboots for free soloing!
In the short/medium term, small steady increases in the gear we already have with the odd interesting innovation, which may or may not be commercially successful. Recent examples of innovation: the Alpine Shield modular helmet, and the Magnetron locking krab. If I knew any likley "killer apps" for climbing I'd be getting rich (yeah, right!) off the back of it.
I've thought of something I'd like - a bouldering mat with a base that could be formed to hold a shape to pad out tricky landings. At the moment its a case of stuffing in whatever fits and then stacking a pad on top.
Chris, lessons can definitely be learned, how we get good data is another matter. Unless we managed to insert some kind of reporting system into the NHS, then we'd rely on getting info from MR teams. The nature of our climbing means many near miss/walking wounded incidents won't get dealt with by MR, and I can't see an obvious way of getting info out of a hard pressed Health Service. I'm all ears for ideas though!
Actually, you have given me an idea for a webform for people to fill in on the BMC website.
I am presently looking at a new waterproof top specifically a paramo volaz adventure smock, how ever I am split abit with regards going for the normal or the light.
What is actually making me wonder is the relative warmth of the 2 options, as sense says the heavier will be more duable, I am intending to operate it with a rab generator in cold conditions and milder with just a shirt underneth leaving my fleece at home, but I do have a voice in my head worrying that I am going to end up to warm in summer rain evan with the light
I'm not sure how it would cope with a Marshall stack Graeme.
Thanks for that comment, i am intact a rather large motorbike fanatic long haired tattoo artist type tool actually!!!
It's been a while since I was up to date on Paramo stuff. Back in the day I had some of the first garments they made, and for what I was doing (multi-activity instructing in the Lakes, generally foul conditions!) the smock was brilliant. If it absolutely tips it down, the system can get overpowered and you'll get wet, but the rest of the time it's comfort all the way. Overheating could be an issue for sure though, not sure how the light versions stack up on that score, sorry!
I appreciate your comment, it does read that way to me. But as you imply we all interpret things differently.
> Chris, lessons can definitely be learned, how we get good data is another matter. Unless we managed to insert some kind of reporting system into the NHS, then we'd rely on getting info from MR teams. The nature of our climbing means many near miss/walking wounded incidents won't get dealt with by MR, and I can't see an obvious way of getting info out of a hard pressed Health Service. I'm all ears for ideas though!
> Actually, you have given me an idea for a webform for people to fill in on the BMC website.
Sounds like an eminently sensible starting point. Not sure who would (or would be allowed) to submit but it could grow into a useful database. I don't consider myself a rubbernecker but like the accident mentioned earlier, I really want to know what happened when something goes wrong.
thank you for replying Dan, if i read your message wrong i apologise but it did seem this way to me. I do however appreciate your last reply and i will follow this by having a chat with the guys from Cotswolds.
Having bought outdoor gear for close on 35 yrs now, i too have always found Solomon very good, this is why i was so surprised with my latest pair performing so poorly!
I have considered all possible factors before contacting you, agreed the weather has been strange this year, but even a month ago on top of Foel Goch camping overnight and coming down in a storm, wasn't a problem. The reference to a residue on the sole is interesting and again i will investigate this further. This is why i asked as even a small amount of info like that, can be very useful.
Can you imagine the advert ?
"Boot X. Recommended by the BMC Technical Advisor."
You have slightly misunderstood his title and job role. He is not a gear reviewer he is an expert who advises on aspect of safety.
I would recommend buying trail magazine or e mailing them for info on reviews of hiking boots.
While you're on the PC you could also type an apology to Dan i suppose ;0)
A little observation for you; my reply to Dan was not personal but to the point as i felt necessary, your comment in contrast was personal! you don't know me so i suggest you refrain from empty pathetic totally un related comments such as your last one!!
Still off topic on your post my Salomon approach shoes/trail shoes were slippy as heck to start with and soon bedded in to be fine. They appeared to be wearing out very rapidly at first and after a couple of months i thought i was going to have to get some more but they seem to have stopped wearing out. Sounds weird i know.
I remember a thread on here about a guy who worked in a gear shop. A guy wanted to replace his quickly worn out Salomon trainers. he did so and asked the shop worker to dispose of his old ones. they were his size and he was skint. He kept them and owre them all over the world for another 18 mths.
So don't give up on them yet.
Anyway back on topic now.
This is a fare comment and i have already responded to Dan.
Also, maybe i have mis understood his role as i took the technical bit as in relation to most gear. perhaps reading that he has handled most gear of all types, lead me to believe this.
valid point noted, thank you.
i live in Spain and come across fixed draws quite a lot. In fact i am working 2 routes at the moment that use them. I was well aware of issues regarding corrosion ( UV and elements ) to slings and also damage to krabs from hangers but this is new to me. I know that krabs wear with repeated use but why has this cut the rope ( or why does this kind of thing happen as i guess you're in no position to comment on today's sad news)? Whenever i've seen worn krabs they are very smooth.
I know you've already said a bit about it above but i want to spread the word down this neck of the woods and want to know what i am looking for.
Thanks for that last comment Biscuit, this is very useful and interesting. Maybe a phone call to Solomon may help.
A very worthwhile response and one that is appreciated.
my last pair have been all over the UK and North Africa with no problems, but the soles are 15 yrs old!
As a common rubbernecker critic on UKC I'd support that form/database idea. We need something to produce reports similar to the incredibly useful Yosemite fatalitity and serious accident anaylsis, to benefit UK climbers in the slightly different scenarios faced here.
...and in relation to UV damage i normally look for fading of colour but how long do you reckon an exposed draw will last for ? Assuming it was brand new to start with of course. I know you won't be able to give exact info but your educated guess will be better than mine.
Climbers down here have started making their own with mallions and tape tied with tape knots and then covered with lengths of hose pipe over the tape. This protects most of the tape from UV and keeps them stiff for clipping. However the tape round the krabs is still just as exposed as ever.
I guess i was thinking that Dan would be able to offer a preference of the type of boot suitable for the conditions i described, based on his knowledge, from a safety aspect, I E you wouldn't go up Tryfan in trainers because:....
Its ok as I've already got a few ideas to follow up now thanks to you both.
It looks to me that the rope cut danger is worst where the wear occurs as a result of a near straight rope running through the krab, this cuts a semicircular flat into the krab developing two sharp edges. Not a problem while the rope remains straight but they come into play when the rope is folded over the krab as it would be in a fall.
With lower-offs and frequently fallen on krabs the sharp edges don't really develop, the rope cuts a nicely radiused groove rather than a flat, the main danger then being the eventual loss of strength due to material loss.
There's two seperate issues here, biscuit.
Fading of quickdraw sling- this is an unreliable indicator for damage caused by UV rays or bleaching from chemicals. Some slings can be totally faded and still strong, others are weak as sin. If in doubt....
Wear of the quickdraw sling is another matter - in the UK at least probably much more likley to be the cause of dangerous weakening than UV.
Essentially, a tape sling is the wrong tool for the job to be left outside. A rope with two eyes and sewn terminations would be better (could fit a plastic sleeve as well) or maybe a wire swaged sling with a moulded rubber grip/cover for dogging. I'm getting carried away here, best move on....
Upper = man
Comfort = woman
Lower = man
Extreme = woman
ie Do men not die from hypothermia?
So in a situation where the fixed draw is too short then ?
That's what i am imagining you mean, so the rope is always running over the bottom bar of the krab but in a straight line as you describe. Instead of wearing as with lower offs it then just files it down straight across causing the flattening and sharp edges. Makes a bit more sense now.
Back on my project tomorrow so going to check the draws out.
In an ideal world :0)
I know how old the tapes/draws are on one project as they only appeared 3 mths ago but i'll have to ask around about the other.
I'm not sure, let me do some digging to try and find out.
The reasoning is probably to be conservative: a "standard woman" feels the cold more than a man and therefore the extreme temperature (“…point of danger which can lead to death”) is quoted for a more vulnerable individual. More users are men, so the comfort lower limit (the only real value of any use in my opinion) is quoted for a man. The upper limit is an optional part of the test.
The standard has greatly improved correlation between sleeping bags but there are still numerous issues with this sort of testing.
Thanks, that makes sense. We don't have a copy of that standard so my next plan was to pester Mark Taylor at Leeds for an answer, thanks for saving me the job!
Were you all aware that the standard is (from wiki)
The standard measures four temperature ratings:
Upper Limit — the temperature at which a standard man can sleep without excessive perspiration. It is established with the hood and zippers open and with the arms outside of the bag.
Comfort — the temperature at which a standard woman can expect to sleep comfortably in a relaxed position.
Lower Limit — the temperature at which a standard man can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without waking.
Extreme — the minimum temperature at which a standard woman can remain for six hours without risk of death from hypothermia (though frostbite is still possible).
For the purpose of these measurements, a "standard man" is assumed to be 25 years old, with a height of 1.73 m and a weight of 73 kg; a "standard woman" is assumed to be 25 years old, with a height of 1.60 m and a weight of 60 kg.
This might make people select a more appropriate bag.
My meekly mooted suggestion is to read this as a primer on the subject:
OK, well thanks for all the questions everyone. I'll keep an eye on this thread and if you have any other stuff to throw at me, I'll do my best to answer in due course.
Thanks a lot Dan, that was really good.
Reading later comments around management of incident data
and noting my earlier comments
"However the "lack of reporting" is purely behavioural
If the sector wants it, the leaders of the sector have to demonstrate the need for the reports through personal commitment."
Looks like there is a real interest out there.
I have found by experience that the usual inhibitor to initiatives like this is the "managers" opinion of what the troops want rather than what they actually want.
And some DMM testing: http://dmmclimbing.com/news/2011/07/mecca-quickdraw-test/
Can some one find the link to the testing done, by the Swiss about 5 years ago i think, that took actual abb tat from abb points off routes in the alps and did laboratory testing on it?
I have a vague memory that the results were quite strange, something about some samples appeared very strong still. I also cant remember if the strong results were from rope (core gets no UV) or tape.
> 10-15 times a year, for scrambling and winter hillwalking,
Would the use of the helmets not affect whether they need replaced or not? I would have thought the risk is much lower due to the suggested use.
To the club: These helmets are still better than nothing (and I have a higher opinion of their worth for what you use them for than Dan,) so don't just pull them off the shelf if there is no replacement available.
I thought the problem is that the plastic degrades regardless of the amount of use?
Do you have some technical background from which you make that suggestion?
It doesn't work like that, unfortunately! Gear has to be retired for one of two reasons:
- It is either worn out from use, or has suffered catastrophic damage.
- It has exceeded its stated maximum lifespan, which is the maximum possible lifespan assuming no wear or damage (i.e it is effectively unused).
In this case, the manufacturer has said that they don't believe that this helmet will offer sufficient protection after 5 years from first use, that's a maximum assuming no wear or damage.
Now,as an individual, you are completely free to ignore this advice, take risks with your life and save a few quid. Would it be morally acceptable to take this decision on behalf of all the members of your club, by giving them out of date helmets to use? Of course not. You'd have to explain what I've just gone through and let them decide if that's a risk they themselves wish to accept.
After all that palaver, you still might end up being found liable in court if there was an accident and a helmet didn't save someones life when it could have done. I'd suggest that's a risk that isn't worth taking.
Also, if you are able to secure funding from companies, charity or individuals, you may be able to double it with Sportmatch funding for grassroots sport. I don't know if the AU count as one of these, but it may be worth investigating if you do any fundraising for new kit.
Or, you may end up in court (and be morally wrong,) if you binned all these helmets, then had nothing to give out and someone died when not wearing a helmet. As I said, something is better than nothing.
Then giving them cardboard boxes and saying cheerily: "better than nothing!" would be a sensible policy, which, of course, it isn't.
No one is forcing some fresher to do something helmetless where most climbers would wear one. But giving out gear that you know the manufacturers say could be unsafe is nuts. Would you tell the people you are lending the potentially dangerous gear to that it is potentially dangerous?
> But giving out gear that you know the manufacturers say could be unsafe is nuts.
The key words here are "could be unsafe," for helmets used for scrambling and winter hill walking. And they ARE safer than no helmet at all, which may be the other option.
Using your cardboard box example to illustrate; you have two helmets, one is a year older than the other, to all visible means the are identical, are either better than a cardboard box for head protection?
They're going mountaineering! Everything is potentially dangerous, part of taking people out is telling them about all the dangerous stuff so they can start to learn! Gear care and choice would be very early on.
But they WILL do it themselves! They don't know what most climbers will do and do not have the money to pay for gear.
At least if the helmets are available, you have the choice to wear it or not. If your advice caused them to bin the helmets, then they have no choice.
A friend wears his fathers/grandfathers Joe Brown helmet. It is still better than a cardboard box or no helmet at all.
No, the other option is don't go climbing. No one has to go climbing, nor does anyone have some sort of inalienable right to mountaineering with a club.
They don't have to. In our uni club it was simple, if you didn't have the right gear you didn't go, not on club trips at least.
Would you expect a uni to let a club use a minibus with brakes or tyres that had been the cause of an MOT failure!? I mean some tread or some brake pad is better than none...
BTW, I thought it was pretty well known that glass fibre helmets don't degrade much with time - whilst the problems with plastics weakening is well known. So maybe clubs should buy JBs (if you can still get them), but that's totally irrelevant to this situation as they CAMP Highstar helmets not JBs.
> No, the other option is don't go climbing.
Well isn't that useful!
MOT is a function test. Give me a ten year old helmet, a cardboard box and a hammer and you pick whether it is the helmet or the cardboard box you want to wear on your head while I carry out the function test.
Funnily enough, looking at your pics it would seem to be the same club you are or were in. You should ask around as when I started the club had just had to fight off a legal case that was said by the barristers "could have ended all adventure sports clubs at British universities" so maybe people were having to be more sensitive to the results of their decisions.
But all we're discussing is whether people should be given gear to use that is older than its manufacturers say is safe or not. So, again, would you tell them "this helmet is five years older than the manufacturers recommended safe life for it"?
A nice cliche but all the experience in the world won't help if a rock goes through your helmet.
Fine - but why should they be lent potentially unsafe kit either? We're not talking about helmets or no helmets here - we're talking about whether club needs to buy some new ones or not.
My "attitude" is clubs shouldn't lend gear out that they know to be potentially unsafe, particularly to beginners, because it f------ stupid from a moral or legal point of view. They should raise some funds and buy some new ones.
You are out of touch. The idea that a student club can be as well equipped as an outdoor centre and run in the same fashion is crazy. Trying to ensure clubs are run like that would probably ensure the end of adventure sports at British Universities.
Out of touch with what exactly? The idea that you're opening yourself up to all sorts of potential liability by lending equipment that you know its manufacturers consider potentially unsafe?
You still haven't answered the question: will you tell these hypothetical freshers that the helmets you are lending them are older than the manufacturer's recommended safe life span? And you never answered my original question either, do you know something about polypropylene that makes you think Dan and CAMP are being needlessly cautious over the lifespan of Rockstar helmets? When would you say its no longer safe to let people use those helmets?
> Out of touch with what exactly?
How student clubs are run and what resources they have available.
> You still haven't answered the question: will you tell these hypothetical freshers that the helmets you are lending them are older than the manufacturer's recommended safe life span?
I thought that was pretty obvious of my comment about telling them about as many of the dangers in mountaineering, especially with gear, that yes, I would tell them (who wouldn't.) All students should sign a participation statement to the effect that they take responsibility for their own actions. Therefore you tell them the risks and let them make their own mind up.
Dan has no choice, he has to go with manufacturers guidelines. As far as Camp are concerned, they have to have a minimum time after which their helmets may have lost some performance. As they are liable that time will be conservative. (I don't know why I am explaining this to you, you obviously understand, I personally think you are one of the health and safety brigade that are trying to tie everyone down with red tape.)
Whenever people choose not to use them. I don't make the decision, they make it. The helmets are there for them to choose if they want to. I think I understand your confusion; you think people wander around saying "take this," which is not the case. People cannot choose to use them if they have been thrown out by some pedantic do-gooder. As I described earlier; choose the ten year old helmet, or the cardboard box.
Well, I've been active in three different one over a period of more than a decade so I have some inkling.
Perhaps we should just ask him, but my sense is that he knows that the particular material Rockstars are made off has a known limited safe working life because of brittleness.
You paint yourself whatever little mental pictures make you warm and squidgy inside mate.
Earlier you were talking people going climbing for the first time; or walking up the the Buchaille in trainers because they don't have boots. What kind of informed consent can a beginner give? If they borrow safety equipment from a club, do they not have every reason to expect that it's fit for purpose? I guess if you've got time to give them a quick run down on how plastics go brittle with age and the different types of impacts helmets are there to protect you against before lending them out, then they would be giving informed consent, but if you worried about legal liability, you would want to be pretty careful with the terminology you use for that spiel.
Uni clubs are very unlikely to have instructors so "non-instructors," are going to have to take people climbing for the first time. The person should already have given written consent that they are responsible for their own actions and the club should be affiliated to BMC/MCoS to give third party liability insurance. As the climbing gear is the "non-instructors," own do you expect the "non-instructor," who is a student who is only building up their first rack to have perfect kit (i.e. H&S accounted for to outdoor centre/ instructor level?) Again, it isn't going to happen. While your comment that "they don't need to go climbing," fits in this situation, they want to go climbing and are prepared to go with the "non-instructor," (Who is prepared to take people out as that is how they got out for the first time.)
Again, who chooses the right gear? I don't wear summer boots, I wear trainers for pretty much everything I do in dryish conditions. Does that mean I cannot climb the Buachaille? If it's raining and the person has jeans, a rubbish jacket and trainers, are they allowed to come out? Of course they are, but they are told that they will get wet and cold, and the person choosing the route has figured out how long the wet and cold person will last for and has a plan to get them into a pub for the rest of the day (along with the other wet and cold people,) Uni clubs should encourage getting out, not discourage it because of gear (winter crampons + axe for snow, obviously. Essentials, not nice to have.)
The mega question here is the intended use of the gear, which is scrambling and winter hillwalking, both activities that I would not take a helmet on. You may, guides may, it doesn't mean you have to. This Uni club wants to take helmets on scrambles and winter hillwalks. As the risk is low, then what is the point of having brand new helmets for it, when the money could be spent on fuel, hall hire or other types of kit (I wonder how many club bothy bags they have to take winter hillwalking with them?) You are right to point out that the club accepts liability if they have a rule where all scramblers and winter hillwalkers must have a helmet and then say "here are some you can use." If the club doesn't have such a rule but it is wise that you have a helmet then the individual takes the responsibility on themselves to get one, borrowing one that is over the manufacturers use by date but taking responsibility for its use onto themselves is still better than nothing.
I wouldn't expect someone to take someone out with perfect kit but kit that is fit for purpose would be a good start. Kit that the manufacturer says is not fit for purpose anymore is not fit for purpose. I also don't like the thought of someone new to climbing who has a limited rack taking people out for the first time. Whichever way you phrase it the club is in a position of responsibility in this situation.
Which pub do you get these people to once on the summit and they start to become hyperthermic and what is your formula for figuring out how long they will last ?
Low risk of head injuries on scrambles ?
Ice axes and crampons are not essentials in snow, they are nice to have. They are however essentials in icy conditions.
Away and bile yer heid. Students don't have the cash to pay for instructors! This is where the climbing instructor sham falls down, people that need an instructor can't afford one so make do. Do you care or are you just pondering from an armchair? If you care, get in touch with your local club and offer to help them out, then you may understand what I am writing about and be in a position to do something about it instead of make pedantic assumptions about a hypothetical situation on the internet. I'm sure there are some Spanish Uni clubs near you that would be very interested in you sharing some of your winter experience if they ever head for snow and ice.
Yes i am genuinely interested. It is not about the job title it's about the role. If you are taking someone out for the first time in this situation you are responsible for them and may have to make decisions on their behalf they are not able to make, even as an adult. That is why the 3rd party insurance exists through the BMC. That's why it's important people recognise their responsibilities and not try to shy away from them with an attitude like yours.It's nothing to do with if it's paid or not. If you're a volunteer with a Uni club you are still responsible for that persons safety.Thankfully it appears the vast majority of Uni clubs take their roles seriously.
I was not making any pedantic points just pointing out that your assumptions about hypothetical situations on the net were a load of shite and dangerous.
You are a waste of time. Put your money where your mouth is and help out, or restrict yourself to posting on the internet. Your call, I know which attitude gets more people out.
You are trying to bury the lead, which is about the specific known safe life span of these helmets. These helmet may well not work, so what is the point of lending them to anyone to wear?
You seem to think that I don't understand how uni clubs work - I do, I've been a member of three in the UK and climbed with a fourth in Finland. Over the years I've also taken many total beginners, or people pretty new to climbing, out rock-, ice-climbing and mountaineering - although I've never done any type of qualification, or indeed had any formal training myself. For what's it worth, I also normally use trail shoes in summer mountain conditions these days. But that's all by the by.
This summer when I was in the UK I used a 15 year old helmet of mine when I got the chance to go climbing, as it was the only one available. I asked the guy I was climbing with if he had a spare but he didn't. So I made the decision knowing it's age and what's it has been through, deciding that it was better than nothing. But that was my decision, I wouldn't lend it to anyone else now, particularly not someone I was 'instructing'. A club has to take that responsibility even more seriously.
But think about the types of impacts that a helmet can take, there are situations where the helmet will be worse than when it was new, there are situations where the age of the helmet won't matter. An old helmet is still better than no helmet.
New they may not 'work' either given the variables involved. A helmet adds protection to your brain, whether it passes a standard test or not isn't exactly what you're interested in on the day you get hit. They certainly won't work if they're in a bin.
My helmet is old, beat up and cracked, I'm under no illusions it's as good as it was new in the box. I still wear it as it's still doubtless better at keeping stones out of my brain than my skull alone. I'd also lend it to someone that wanted something better than their bare head with no qualms whatsoever, it's the best helmet I have.
The more interesting issue I suppose is whether wearing the knackered helmet persuades me to get into situations I wouldn't otherwise. My suspicion is not having climbed a lot of loose sh** with and without a lid but it's not easy to know.
knowingly use kit past its 'use by date'.
Im pretty sure you student union (or whatever they are called in Glasgow) will have a firm
view on this matter, and it wont be the same as yours.
(ps before you decide to slag me i work at a Uni, have been in the mountaineering club
and help with the current DofE and Mountaineering clubs - and speak with the SU here,
not that any of that matters)
It would seem that is the case here - otherwise why are they wanting a helmet? Anyway, maybe we can make those risk decisions, but the type of people likely to be borrowing a helmet aren't likely to be in as good position to do so. I remember buying my first helmet during freshers week - the people who are really committed will most likely do the same.
This discussion made me go and dig out an old Perrin article in Climber from May 1994, looking at the death of Colette Fleetwood in Cwm Glas in January of that year. She was on a club meet, Perrin doesn't say which but IIRC it was Bournemouth University. I remembered the accident clearly because it was much discussed at the time, coming not so long after the Glasgow club's accident (and following legal issues); so it was again seen as a threat to uni adventure sports clubs. Most people know that Perrin is very far from a 'healthy and safety' zealot, but his indictment of the club is very harsh in the article. He suggests that they totally failed in their duty of care. From my recollection it was after these events that the BMC stepped in to try and get uni clubs to be better organised and to understand their responsibilities, both legally and morally, better. It would seem that the original question to Dan about these specific helmets suggests that to some degree at least, that's been a success.
my understanding is that is the case for cycling helmets ie increased risk (external factors such as drivers and other issues)
> You are a waste of time. Put your money where your mouth is and help out, or restrict yourself to posting on the internet. Your call, I know which attitude gets more people out.
And you are a fine example of a keyboard warrior. Flinging insults about all over the show in reaction to someone disagreeing with you.
I put my money where my mouth is whenever i go to work with inexperienced, and sometimes experienced, clients and i tell them things they were unaware of regarding kit or procedures that add to their safety.
I have been an active member of clubs previously, and volunteered on outdoor based community activities many times in West Cumbria prior to moving, but find now that my time is limited due to working and being the primary carer for 2 children with special needs. When/if they are more independent i will go back to volunteering as i enjoy it.
As you appear unable/unwilling to listen to other peoples opinions without acting like a petulant teenager i shall leave you with it. You appear capable of looking after yourself but please take more care than it appears you do if you ever find your self in a position with a duty of care.
I challenge you to come out climbing with me for one day and I will have changed your opinion by the end of it.
In what way will you change my opinion ?
The point of issue i have with you ( other than you being insulting for no reason ) is that you don't believe the club will be in the wrong by dishing out helmets that the manufacturer says are not fit for purpose.
You won't change my mind about that i am afraid.
When i climb by myself i take all sorts of risks and often don't wear a helmet for all sorts of things. I even wore salomon trail shoes for most of the year when walking in the Lakes. I even solo climb sometimes. Wow ! That's all personal choice as i am in a position to make an informed choice. When you have a duty of care for someone it is just that. It's not something you can abandon to save money. I agree a helmet is better than none but you may have to take the coroner out with you for a day to change their opinion if someone in your care dies due to a decision you made.
> In what way will you change my opinion ?
You will then know me, which is very different to making assumptions about what someone has written on a forum.
The only assumption i have made about you is that you think it's OK as an organisation, affiliated to the BMC and insured through them, to give kit to inexperienced people that the manufacturer says is not fit for purpose. I guess that's not an assumption really as you have said you would.
Other than that i am able to differentiate between people posting one opinion on one thread on one website and what they may be like in real life. Sometimes i disagree with my family, friends, colleagues etc. I find it's not a problem as long as you don't insult them.
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