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#25227 - 10/26/06 01:28 PM Harness Safety
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
An interesting article about Todd Skinner's death reports

"As Skinner lowered himself down the rock wall, a nylon loop attaching his harness to the rope broke, and he fell, hitting the side of the mountain, said his close friend Paul Piana, who received an emotional call from Skinner's climbing partner, Jim Hewitt, on Monday afternoon.

"Jim told me it was some equipment that was too worn, which makes it really tragic," Piana said. "Todd and I have contributed to the design and tested a lot of equipment, so we have a lot of faith in its durability. Sometimes maybe because of that, you become a little too complacent."


There is a related excellent discussion of worn gear and possible belay loop failure over on supertaco.

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#25228 - 10/26/06 02:18 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Kent]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
I noticed increased wear on my belay loop from rapping.

When I rap, I "walk" down the wall, which causes the leg loop to saw back and forth across the belay loop. If you rap with the device on the belay loop, that probably isn't an issue, since the belay loop is free to rotate around and distribute the wear.

But I kept a sling girth hitched to the belay loop and used it to extend the belay. That kept the belay loop stationary and the leg loop wore on the same spot every rap. I suspect that after some time it would have seriously damaged the belay loop.

Once I noticed it, I started removing the girth hitched sling and girth hitching it each time, which should distribute the wear. I think I'll start putting a backup sling through the leg and waist loops as well.
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#25229 - 10/26/06 03:10 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Aya Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 754
Loc: Climbing somewhere
Well, your belay loop isn't really designed for the wear of a sling girth hitched to it, the same way it's not really designed for the wear of having a rope tied in to it. It's for belaying....
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#25230 - 10/26/06 03:33 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Aya]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
The girth hitched sling isn't putting excessive wear on the belay loop itself. Even if you have a daisy or PAS girth hitched and just use it to anchor but not rap, it's doing the same thing, immobilizing the belay loop.

Which can happen without a girth hitched sling. If you keep the stitching in the back, between the leg and waist loops, then the stiffness of the stitching will keep it there on every rap, and the leg loop will wear across the belay loop in the same spot.
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#25231 - 10/26/06 03:44 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Kent]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
It is interesting to note that a prussik attached to the leg loop, or another backup, would have helped immensely in this case

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#25232 - 10/26/06 04:54 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Kent]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Ironically, he had ordered new harnesses, they just hadn't arrived according to one account. Life is a prime maniacal risibility.

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#25233 - 10/26/06 06:23 PM Re: Harness Safety *DELETED* [Re: alicex4]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Post deleted by Mike Rawdon

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#25234 - 10/26/06 08:48 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Mike Rawdon]
tls Offline
journeyman

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 54
Mike,

Todd and Amy owned a gear store. I guess just Amy owns it now. It's all so sad...

I assume he ordered the harnesses directly from the manufacturers and was waiting for them to get there. It's just rotten any way you look at it.

Thor

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#25235 - 10/26/06 09:42 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: tls]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
For that matter he could have grabbed a sling and tossed it on his harness as a backup prior to starting the first rap. Yeah, it's rotten all right. Alas, he won't be the last to be the victim of a single lapse in judgement.
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#25236 - 10/27/06 01:32 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: MarcC]
caver Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 260
Loc: High Falls
Quanto, you're right about the leg loop 'sawing' effect...I noticed it on my petzl jump from 5 years ago....I always put my ATC through both waist and leg loops rather than the belay loop. I only really use it for a tie in point at belays. Maybe it's time to retire that puppy....in light of Todd's unfortunate example....

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