Via Ferrata Death Prompts Emergency UIAA Meeting

by Dan Middleton, BMC Sep/2012
This news story has been read 6,318 times

The BMC has issued this safety warning:

Concern over the safety of via ferrata sets from several manufacturers has prompted an emergency meeting of the UIAA Safety Commission. Several manufacturers have initiated safety recalls in the last few weeks, and the latest evidence suggests more may have to follow their example.

+Edelrid VF set, 115 kb

After a fatal accident in Austria, manufacturer Edelrid found that several models of via ferrata sets performed below the required standard after intensive use, and initiated a recall notice.

Salewa followed suit after discovering a similar problem with some of their sets, and it now appears that there may be a generic safety issue with certain types of set as other manufacturers including Singing Rock and AustriaAlpin follow suit. Wild Country have also now issued a recall.

Initial research suggest grit in elasticated lanyards abrades the nylon so that it fails under a falling climber.

An emergency meeting of the UIAA Safety Commission and the European Committee for Standardisation has been called to address this issue later this week, but in the meantime the BMC issues the following advice:

  • Check that any via ferrata sets you own are not covered under a recall notice.
  • Other sets that are not subject to recall as of yet, may be affected.
  • The concern relates to intensively used sets with an elasticated lanyard construction: use caution if using either personal or hired sets meeting these criteria.
  • If in doubt contact the manufacturer to check for the latest information.

More info will follow when available.

Edelrid recall details

Singing Rock recall details

Wild Country recall details

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