Chapter 1- Sunny Uplands.
After spending a glorious summer traddng on the coast of Pembroke we decide a final hurrah in the Lakes and had the most fantastic day up on Gimmer before heading back down into valley for tasty pub grub, refreshing pints and most importantly (for the teenager) internet access. After updating his "status" and the other internet essentials he came across the lakeland revival website and found that one of the routes was on the scorecard and he could pick up a prize for it. We made plans to climb in Borrowdale the next day so we could swing into Keswick and hopefully pick up a goody.
Chapter 2- Three Days of Rain and a Lockdown.
It was a Friday and we woke to typical Lakeland weather but headed up to Keswick anyway in the vain hope that the weather would clear- it didn't. The weather couldn't dampen our spirits as we skipped along Keswick high street chomping on the finest Greggs pasties, window shopping and finally made our way to that superb climbing equipment emporium at the end of the high street. The teenager was right (not for the first time) and we were able to claim a prize for climbing. (Unlucky for him/lucky for me- the t-shirt was too big!) Whilst in there, dodging a heavy shower, I asked about a pair of half ropes (as Id spent all summer lugging our 2 sports ropes around). The popular choice was to get 50m length, to which I said I hadn't bought a rope that length for years and jokingly said something about, the last time I had owned one, I was still using solid stemmed friends and cowbells. Her reply surprised me somewhat as solid stemmed friends were still popular with winter climbers and it was suggested to bung them on eBay as someone may want them.
It was a Saturday, it was raining and a few weeks after the wash out at the Lakes, and we found ourselves, yet again, dodging showers but this time at an event in a quarry. Armed with the info I received from Keswick I resurrected the old rack from the pits of the wardrobe and had some of it test pulled at one of the stands at the event and to my surprised it failed at the labelled rate and not below. We had a conversation about metal fatigue etc, but the upshot was; even though old, after the test pull and a brief visual inspection, there was no real need to scrap it but ultimately it was up to the climbers desecration to continue using them.
It was a Sunday, it was raining and plans to get out were scrapped and a walk on the moor after lunch was arranged instead. I thought Id use the morning to advertise some gear I sorted during the lockdown. Instead of selling it as individual lots I, mistakingly in hind sight, thought Id build a rack for someone who may be starting out. Id never attempted to sell gear - gear (or even gear-gear) before -sold shoes that didn't fit and bouldering mats but never hardware. I didn't want to put it on eBay as I wanted to be transparent about who I was, the gear wasn't stolen and also, about the age of the gear etc. So i decided to put it on here, however I was concerned that there were no photos. So I took photos and put it on my social media. I had no idea of its worth so an investigation on eBay for lots and quickly noted a very similar rack (age and size) advertised for £400. I also looked back through UKC sales and saw a solid stem cam had recently sold for £15 (I have 5) so plumped for £200 the lot...
....I got absolutely battered.
Chapter 3, The Rack of Doom
Most of the comments were fair and just (I think we all have a duty to question secondhand gear - whether it's still safe to use or whether it's stolen) and I tried to justify my rationality having had it tested before advertising and knowing of its history. The comments were first for trying to sell a rack of this age, and also why I priced it as I did. Among it all, I did receive some very unkind, cruel, and, in my honest opinion, unfair accusations that I was deliberately trying to pass off unsafe equipment to folk starting out on their climbing adventure.
As you can probably tell from this essay I do overthink things. We are in a middle of a global pandemic, in a country that's in financial ruin, led by incompetent leaders but Im losing sleep because I keep rerunning conversation about the Rack of Doom. so to hopefully clear these demons I decided to write this and also to offer anyone how wants old friends, hex's and wires (although I think that I have given the wires away already) you are welcome to them - Just send an appropriate sized stamped self addressed Jiffy bag with a note with what you want and ill send it to you. PM me for my address. All I ask in return is you make a donation to CAC and/or The Andys Man Club.
Thank you, Jim
I've some 30 year old metalware - used for fair weather climbing, that is in better condition / probably safer than some of the less than 2 year old modern various used for caving.....
Age isn't the big issue with metal gear - condition and use is
I see you’ve fallen for the old ‘ it’s worth nothing, I’ll take it off your hands for free’ routine.
Stick it back up for sale and double the price!
If you're honest about the age/use/condition, it's the buyers responsibility as to whether they want to buy it. I doubt anyone would shell out £200 without doing a bit of research first.
Rigid Friends are easy to re-sling with cord or backup through the Gunks tie-off. I've met people who prefer them (because you can stand on them in horizontal breaks....).
Nuts on wire are fine, cams and hexes can be re-slung with a bit of ingenuity, quickdraws can be re-slung. I wouldn't generally trust older second-hand soft stuff but there are solutions, and if the metal has never been subject to big forces then it should still meet the advertised breaking strength.
If you're set on giving it away for free, I would find someone in need who could use them rather than offering them up to someone who will probably just stick it back up for sale! Is there a university club or something in your area who could benefit from it?
Edit: having looked at the kit on instagram, I don't think there is anything wrong with advertising that lot for sale, and it's a very fair price for what is essentially an entire starter rack. I'd hold on to the slings (I doubt anyone would use second-hand old slings like that, but they can always be useful for stuff). If anyone is worried about the strength of those hexes re-strung with what looks like 10mm rope, they need to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror!
Thanks Paul, good idea about the uni club didn't think of that.
Uni clubs won't be able to accept them unfortunately as they are required to have an idea of the history of their gear and do an annual gear audit.
I found one a while ago and gave it to an old chap who stated he didn't trust flexible stemmed cams (it was a double of a size I already had and I find them a pain to use).
thankyou. for that info- back to the original plan then.
donations to CAC/Andy Mans Club for old stuff.
Great write up btw (thought of writing short stories?) thanks for taking the time.
Oh and I’d just give two fingers to the weasel faced miseries on here! I’m at the point now that it’s gloves off as far as I’m concerned with that particular demographic ; )
Bang it on eBay and crack on. When I started working for an outdoor shop I decided it was time to replace my gathered single cams (all of which I bought second hand) with some newies because I could get them at trade price. 14x Wild Country tech friends in size 00 to 3 with several doubles or triples. Most were probably between 8 and 10 years old in terms of manufacturing date and all had a good 5 yrs use on them from me.
I stuck them online here in Germany and within 30 minutes had a fella offer me €400 plus postage for the lot, with shipping on top. He knew he was going to resling them where necessary and knew the age etc.
With this in mind I'd recommend putting them on ebay and letting people make their own judgements away from the armchair misery that it seems you got exposed too.
Regarding offering to uni clubs, the club themselves might not be able to accept it, but there are loads of climbers there short on cash who would definitely not say no to a free/cheap donation rack!
I've got Chouinard No 3 and no 4 stopper - from 1979 and 1980 - still on the rack, used often but never fallen on. A set of RPs from 1982 - used but never fallen on. Some rocks are probably that age too - they'll be the ones with no markings left at all and just black heat shrink on the swage. All probably fallen on more than once.
Get it on ebay, be honest with the description and it'll go for the price it's worth.done.
Fools, all of you. Market it as some second hand "authentic industrial" haute couture. We're talking millions for this lot.
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