/ Gear in an attic

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iusedtoclimb - on 15 May 2017
So we have a lot of gear, ropes and hardward that hasn't been used for at least 11 years. Most of that time it has been in the attic. Gets hot and cold

Keen to start again and looking at the ropes etc there is no visible damage.

too much of a risk to use the ropes again? What about cams and slings?
Greasy Prusiks on 15 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I'd scrap anything that isn't metal. 11 years is a very long time.
5
iusedtoclimb - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

That's the expensive answer!
1
Greasy Prusiks on 15 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Only in terms of money!
BarrySW19 on 15 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

> That's the expensive answer!

Could always give it a go - I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
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iusedtoclimb - on 15 May 2017
In reply to BarrySW19:

Maybe I'll do the belaying first few times

1
brianjcooper on 15 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:
> So we have a lot of gear, ropes and hardward that hasn't been used for at least 11 years. Most of that time it has been in the attic. Gets hot and coldKeen to start again and looking at the ropes etc there is no visible damage.too much of a risk to use the ropes again? What about cams and slings?

As others have commented, 11 years is a long time. How much do you cherish yours, and your partners' lives?
Start afresh with new ropes and slings. Psychologically would you still trust the old gear?

Sorry the 'editor' deleted my last comments?
>Could always give it a go - I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
You could die!
Post edited at 17:18
muppetfilter - on 15 May 2017
In reply to brianjcooper:

There are some brilliant deals about on new ropes if you have a bit of a hunt .
Wayne S - on 15 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:
Most rope manufacturers would recommend retiring an unused rope at 10 years. If you are hell bent on saving money, replace rope and slings and back up/all the slings on your cams with dynema cord if still functional. All the metal stuff (Krabs and nuts) should be OK, though maybe in need of a lube.
Post edited at 16:58
deepsoup - on 15 May 2017
In reply to brianjcooper:

> You could die!

On the other hand if you replace *everything* and go climbing with brand new gear instead - you could die! ;-)
3
brianjcooper on 15 May 2017
In reply to deepsoup:
> On the other hand if you replace *everything* and go climbing with brand new gear instead - you could die! ;-)

Like buying a new car then?
Post edited at 17:23
DerwentDiluted - on 15 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:
Ditch ropes, slings and connectors on quickdraws/cams etc. I sat the fall protection equipment inspectors course earlier this year and on the back of that ditched a load of my gear that was affectionately held onto. The potential (and iften invisible) degradation of nylon fibres and loss of dynamic capacity over time means its just not worth the risk.
Post edited at 17:23
radar on 15 May 2017
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

I did the course about 18 months ago. I went shopping too. Think it is de rigeur for attendees to ditch their kit and replace (usually after a few weeks prevarication)
oldie - on 15 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:
There is a well-known short pdf on the internet...its quite old and I do not have the knowledge to critically evaluate it. Does anyone know of evidence to refute it and should it still be out there?

About ageing of climbing ropes (Schubert, 2000?). UIAA article

"Ageing during storage can almost be neglected compared with ageing during use."
It goes on to say that a climbing rope will not break at a knot, runner or when varying belay methods are used " for 10 or even 15 year old ropes", and that tests showed 25 year old ropes and even one 30 year old rope would not break in practice.
It emphasizes the dangers of cutting over a rock edge and acids for ropes of any age.
Anxious climbers are advised just to use old ropes where there are low loads eg abseiling.

Obviously history of use including falls and condition on inspection are of prime importance. In almost all cases these would have lead us to retire our ropes well before 10 years anyway.
Rob Parsons on 15 May 2017
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> Ditch ropes, slings and connectors on quickdraws/cams etc. I sat the fall protection equipment inspectors course earlier this year and on the back of that ditched a load of my gear that was affectionately held onto. The potential (and iften invisible) degradation of nylon fibres and loss of dynamic capacity over time means its just not worth the risk.

What science/testing is that recommendation based on? That's to say: what environmental factors have been proven to cause degradation to nylon fibres?
Crewey-Rob on 15 May 2017
In reply to oldie:

A slight derailment of the thread but I have a question about sunlight and damage to climbing fabrics. Some of my gear has been inadvertently left out on a shelf that gets the sun in the morning (although through a pane of glass) I was sort of hoping that the glass might filter out the damaging UV? Or will I have to retire said gear?
Ta.
DerwentDiluted - on 15 May 2017
In reply to oldie:

>"It goes on to say that a climbing rope will not break at a knot, runner or when varying belay methods are used " for 10 or even 15 year old ropes", and that tests showed 25 year old ropes and even one 30 year old rope would not break in practice.

The question I'd have on the back of my mind wouldn't be 'will the rope break?', it almost certainly wont. The question that would prey on my mind would be 'does it still have enough stretch to not snap my spine?'. I'm not an expert, but for the sake of a few quid I'd not take the chance.
DerwentDiluted - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
Apparently 300hrs of UK (direct) sunlight will weaken it by 4% but can progress to >50%.
But I will again say that I am no expert, I just spent a day fondling fluffy gear listening to an expert!
Post edited at 20:26
Crewey-Rob on 15 May 2017
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

>50% that's quite a shocker (its been there for over 6 months)
Stefan Jacobsen - on 15 May 2017
In reply to oldie:

The UIAA study didn't take into account that the elasticity of ropes deteriorate with time. They might be strong enough after 10-20 years but the impact force on the gear and climber will be higher. UKC user rgold brought this up a while ago.
DerwentDiluted - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Rob Parsons:
> What science/testing is that recommendation based on? That's to say: what environmental factors have been proven to cause degradation to nylon fibres?

I'm just refreshing myself from the course notes, UV and acid are the big killers for nylon, with heat over 50°c doing it no favours either, storage in the conditions described in the OP will probably cause minimal degradation, but thats assuming it was new and uncontaminated going into the attic. I'm way out of my depth on the science but this chart is useful Nylon Chemical Compatibility Chart
https://www.calpaclab.com/nylon-chemical-compatibility-chart/

If i recall corrctly there was something about nylon fibres becoming brittle with age, which is where the deterioration in stretch comes from.
Post edited at 21:00
oldie - on 15 May 2017
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

The 2000 UIAA article I mentioned earlier said that for many years climbing ropes had had to be manufactured to be resistant to UV(presumably only partly). I seem to remember glass does filter out a considerable amount of UV. I must say I'd still be worried about it myself, though I'd imagine that there might be some fading of the sheath if damage was severe?
Rob Parsons on 15 May 2017
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

Ok thanks.

The OP might also care to read the BMC's recommendations at http://www.bmcshop.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=347_498&products_id=5512
Rob Parsons on 15 May 2017
In reply to oldie:

> ... I'd imagine that there might be some fading of the sheath if damage was severe?

The implication of the BMC's recommendations which I have just referenced seems to be that damage to slings will generally make itself evident by things like discolouration, stiffness, fluffiness, etc. etc. That is: if it looks or feels shitty, it probably is. That just makes common sense of course. However the converse question - i.e. if an old sling looks and feels good, can it be hiding invisible damage? - isn't really addressed.
Post edited at 21:04
C Witter on 16 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Obvious and safest answer: ditch everything fabric and assess metal stuff too, e.g. carabiner gates getting sticky, cams needing lubrication, corroded wires.

But, if it were my judgement call (which it isn't: it's up to you to make the call, and you know it's safer to ditch gear that's dubious) it would depend a little on what you want to climb and whether you're really going to get into it again. Because, if you plan to just potter up a couple of VDiffs and then put your rack back in the attic, then it's a big expense for an unlikely fall which will probably be on slabby ground where forces are lower because you're bouncing down it and because you've regular gear. But, if you likely to go taking whippers on sports routes or climbing Es, then... why are you even debating the point? And, if you're getting into it again seriously, you'll probably be after good, reliable, lightweight gear soon, so you might as well fork out a bit upfront rather than risk something failing on you.

Anyway, you're asking for confirmation that its A-ok to use dubious gear that you think should probably be retired... so... maybe just be honest with yourself?
jkarran - on 16 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

If it looked fine I'd use it. Regularly used gear in and out of rucksacks and crags has a much harder life and I bet many contributing if they're honest still have a few bits at least that old on their racks.
jk
jimtitt - on 16 May 2017
In reply to oldie:

> There is a well-known short pdf on the internet...its quite old and I do not have the knowledge to critically evaluate it. Does anyone know of evidence to refute it and should it still be out there?

It´´ s only 17 years old, do pdf´ s deteriorate when they are stored on the internet? Maybe they should all be on the DarkNet where the sun can´ t effect them.
wercat on 16 May 2017
In reply to jkarran:

I've happily led on a 20 year old rope that had been little used and carefully stored

springfall2008 - on 16 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Personally I'd ditch it all - the fabric isn't safe and the metal stuff will be well out of date compared to the latest quality gear on the market. Enjoy buying new modern gear and getting back into climbing
2
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Lusk - on 16 May 2017
In reply to springfall2008:

> the metal stuff will be well out of date

gethin_allen on 16 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

There's an Austrian chap who wrote a Masters thesis on this very subject, I can't find the link to his work at the moment but, he did many tests ranging from repeat loading, shock testing, ultimate strength testing on ropes and harnesses and his results were that if it's old but in reasonable looking condition it was fine.
I've got a 12 year old 10.5mm single that I've not used a huge amount and I'd happily take a lead fall on still. I did buy a new one recently but that was because the handling of the old rope was never that nice and Gooutdoors had some super cheap ropes on sale.
Jim 1003 - on 18 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I had a 15 year old rope till earlier this season when it finally wore out, but I do have 4 ropes so it was not used that much. I've got lots of gear over 10 years old, one cam is 25 years old. Wouldn't use old slings though.
wercat on 18 May 2017
In reply to Jim 1003:
to clarify my comment about a 20 year old rope, agree entirely - I might use slings beyond 5 years if little used (after all they are sometimes datecoded 2 years or more before the date of purchase) - they get demoted to winter use before being discarded totally.

I think the traditional wide woven nylon slings have a bit more reserve life than some of the modern narrow ones
Post edited at 08:41
jkarran - on 18 May 2017
In reply to wercat:

> I might use slings beyond 5 years if little used (after all they are sometimes datecoded 2 years or more before the date of purchase) - they get demoted to winter use before being discarded totally.I think the traditional wide woven nylon slings have a bit more reserve life than some of the modern narrow ones

I had some old (~10yo ) very well used and abused (grit abrasion) 12mm dyneema-mix slings pulled a few years back. I've long since lost the actual figures but I remember both failed significantly below the 22kN label rating but above the max14kN rating of anything else in my rack I might connect them too. Take from that what you will.
jk
Toerag - on 18 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:
UV and glass - does anyone replace their seatbelts in their vehicle? They're in the sun all the time, and have to deal with a potentially much higher impact force than climbing gear does.
Post edited at 11:01
jimtitt - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Toerag:

Well except most seatbelts are made of polyester, they are specially treated to increase the already good UV resistance and go through an arc UV test before approval. Apart from that they are the same!
oldie - on 18 May 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

FWIW in about 1970 while climbing alone I took a short fall (can't remember exact details) from the top of a sandstone climb onto a hawser laid nylon rope attached to a tree and clipped directly to my waistband using fig8 on bight . Certainly no shock or injury was involved.
The rope was thinner than No3 half rope and at least 20 years old and possibly over 25 (I'd been told it was war army surplus). It had been stored in an attic and rarely used.
I trust the BMC or other august body is busy storing ropes at five year intervals in a BS/UIAA certified standard attic with a view to definitively answering the ageing question . However I suspect most institutions would be very uncomfortable recommending use of old ropes even if the results showed little deterioration.
La benya - on 18 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I'll have the gear if you do decide you're truly that risk averse.

I've had my current rope for 10 years of constant sport climbing (as well as other stuff), and other than being considerably shorter where I've cut frayed ends off, it will probably get a couple more seasons out.

The look on peoples faces at the crag when you get your knife out, cut a couple of metres off, melt the ends on your primus stove and then tie in, is priceless.
wbo - on 18 May 2017
In reply to springfall2008:

I must have been dozing the last 10,11 years as the massive advancements? in nuts and other metal seem to have passed me by.

Ok, some things have developed a bit but a lot of stuff is near identical and it's all absolutely usable

springfall2008 - on 18 May 2017
In reply to wbo:

The stuff I like include flexible stem cams with extending slings (DMM demon/dragon) and the ultra-light carabiners.
2
wbo - on 18 May 2017
In reply to springfall2008: I've got some 25 year old flexible friends and camalots.

And... https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=606
springfall2008 - on 18 May 2017
In reply to wbo:

You mean like these?

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=flexible+friends+cam&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa...

Still usable but I'd much prefer a DMM demon, esp the adjustable sling
springfall2008 - on 18 May 2017
In reply to wbo:

Oh yeh, aren't you also going to have to re-sling the old cam which isn't recommended?
Lusk - on 18 May 2017
In reply to springfall2008:

> Oh yeh, aren't you also going to have to re-sling the old cam which isn't recommended?

Says who?
People have been re-slinging nuts since the dawn of climbing.
Can't say I've noticed the Grim Reaper loitering around much over the years.
gethin_allen on 19 May 2017
In reply to springfall2008:
Lightweight carabiners!
My 12 year old dmm pro wire carabiners weigh a mighty 36g compared to say a dmm spectre 2 weighing 33g. Yes there are carabiners like the camp nano but these are tiny and often impractical.
As far as flexible stem cams go, I have loads of tech friends that are circa 12 y/o and a load of dmm c4 cams with extendable slings of a similar vintage
Post edited at 00:24
Wayne S - on 19 May 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:
The pro wire were cutting edge, and still are respectable. But I think that's more credit to DMM than any case for hanging onto older crabs. Again a big pat on the back for DMM is the Phantom at 25/26g it saves weight and remains usable. IMHO all the crabs lighter than this are unusable, at least with my hands. The Edelred 19G lasted 2 weeks on my cams before I got fed up with them and reverted back to phantoms.

4CU are (were) great cams and very robust, and I still have the 1.25 and 1.75 sizes just because! But for lots of grit and limestone you can't beat Totem cams in my view, and you definitely couldn't buy them 10 years ago.

Yes I have a gear problem........I admit it!

But to maybe get the thread back on track, if the OP needs to ask if his Rope is ok, is it really worth using it to lead with. It's always going to be nagging when using it. Down grade it to rigging, top rope, abseil, scrambling, and pick up a bargain rope. 50-60 Quid for a cheap untreated single removes doubt, assures safety, and offers a good few years enjoyment......bargain!

All the metal stuff will be fine.
Post edited at 08:05
Lord of Starkness - on 19 May 2017
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Most of my gear is now over 15 years old, and has only been used - and never fallen on - a handful of times in the past 10 years. It's been carefully stored in the loft for most of the time and I reckon it's still OK for my standard of geriatric bimbling and the odd bit of top roping.
springfall2008 - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Lusk:

> Says who?People have been re-slinging nuts since the dawn of climbing.Can't say I've noticed the Grim Reaper loitering around much over the years.

Slinging nuts is fine, but cams on the other hand isn't recommended unless done in the same way as the manufacturer (which means sewn for the most part) - have a read of the articles out there if you don't agree.

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