Easter Accident Prompts Safety Video Video

An accident over the Easter weekend has prompted discussion as to the safety of open slings fixed with rubber bands. It is not known if this gear set-up caused the accident, but it has brought a potentially dangerous scenario in to the public eye.

In this UKC Forum Thread, professional instructor Mark Reeves pointed out the dangers of open slings on quickdraws.

At the same time, climbing gear designer Streaky Desroy was giving a demonstration of the potential dangers of open slings and rubber bands. This demonstration is shown in the short video below.

Having climbed myself for over 15 years, I was surprised by this demonstration and I was shocked at how easy this mistake is to make.

It is worth noting that this error can happen with any type of rubber fixing on an open sling. This includes the home-made rubber band, and the professional rubber carabiner holders.

An open sling is a sling that is circular in shape, a sewn sling holds the carabiner still by being sewn through the middle (see photo below). It is worth noting that you can get long sewn slings and you can get short open slings - both designs come in many sizes.

Open slings are not necessarily 'dangerous', but this possible open-sling scenario is worth noting.

Sewn slings and Open slings  © Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC
Sewn slings and Open slings

Watch This Video - It Might Save Your Life

Streaky Desroy works for DMM.

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14 Apr, 2009
Thought I'd cut and paste my reply on this topic in the other thread re recent accident: Many years ago someone I was climbing with had exactly the same accident with fortunately much less severe consequences. Since then, I have still used quickdraws and slingdraws with rubber retainers for the bottom krab, but I keep the stitching of the two ends of the draw (ie the stitching that makes it a loop at all as opposed to second set of stitching that creates a keeper loop for the bottom krab) right down at the rubber retainer. I have found that this would make it really obvious that the bottom krab had somehow become reclipped dangerously. John Arran's suggestion of some sticky tape around the whole thing a few inches above the rubber retainer is a good idea and I'm going to add that to make it even more obvious.
14 Apr, 2009
We were about 6 pitches up, and attaching ourselves to the double bolt belays - I always used 2 slings with screwgates, and my partner always used 2 long quickdraws. She leant back, unattached to the rope, and one quickdraw just went 'ping' !! If she'd only attached with one quickdraw, or if they had both had a problem, she would certainly have fallen to her death. We were both freaked out, and couldn't understand how it had happened. Many thanks
14 Apr, 2009
Is there anything wrong with not securing an open sling with anything? I often use slings in this way. Ali
14 Apr, 2009
Already had a semi-argument about this today. If you have the rubber band directly next to the thick sewn bit of the sling then it makes it easier to use the quickdraw and change it between 1/3, 1/2 and full length and it won't fold over anywhere near as easily (it won't do it on the stiff side and unloaded it'll hang funny on the soft side, try it). If you're still paranoid you can entirely avoid the problem by taping the sewn portion of sling to the single strand where you have the bar tacks in a normal krab, then you'd have a whole three inches looking completely wrong.
14 Apr, 2009
Your rope krab can spin all the way around and could maybe somehow unclip itself. People have known about the danger of rubber bands for years, this isn't new, yet shops still sell little rubber rings for long extenders.
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