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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
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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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#25237 - 10/27/06 11:14 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: caver]
Aya Offline
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Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 754
Loc: Climbing somewhere
I think I'm going to go buy a new harness just because this makes me worry a little bit. My harness is in fine shape visually, but it's older...
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#25238 - 10/27/06 12:26 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Aya]
rime Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/24/06
Posts: 14
For gym climbing, I have found that the floor anchors tend to keep the locking biner in the exact same location all the time while belaying, and always make sure the biner gate is facing out so it won't wear down the belay loop. I didn't even use my belay loop until forced to in the gyms - harnesses didn't have them when I started climbing, and I have had a few "discussions" about it with other climbers and even guides. Their point was always that the harness is designed so the belay loop is the strongest attachment point, but I was more comfortable relying on both leg loops and waist belt. I mean, what good is a strong belay loop if the waist belt may fail???? Part of their argument was that the belay loop is centered, but I never had any problems with my ropes or rappel biners sliding side to side - I use double ropes and two locking rappel biners through both leg loop and waist belt, so they simply can't slide too far either way.

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#25239 - 10/27/06 08:41 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Quote:

It is interesting to note that a prussik attached to the leg loop, or another backup, would have helped immensely in this case




Maybe, but probably not. Once the belay loop breaks, there's nothing holding the leg loops up. You'd flip over and probably just fall right out of the leg loops. If you had a good hold with one hand, maybe you could catch yourself and hold yourself upright. But since you're sliding the prussik, and you have to let the prussik go for it to engage, I don't think there's a big chance in catching yourself.

Maybe once you got flipped over, if you were quick you could spread your legs and not slip out right away, enough time to grab the rope below you.

It's better than nothing, but I don't think it would have helped much in this case.
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#25240 - 10/27/06 08:55 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: quanto_the_mad]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Well, who knows, the little elastic (or in some cases thin nylon) strap thingy that holds the legs up *might* be able to hold bodyweight. "Might" being the operative word.

GO

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#25241 - 10/28/06 03:16 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Kent]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
I've never had any doubts about the integrity and strength of properly cared for belay loops. I still don't.

Interesting info from Kolin Powick, BD Quality Assurance Manager.

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#25242 - 10/28/06 03:37 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Kent]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Posting a reply to Mr Malloc from the RIP thread......

Quote:

However, the report that the accident was caused by the harness breaking is highly unlikely.
That a harness in reasonable repair would fail under body weight alone is barely worth considering.



It wasn't in "reasonable repair." Quoting from the SF Gate article earlier in this thread:

The part that broke, called the belay loop, is designed to be the strongest part of the climbing harness, but Hewett, 34, said Skinner's harness was old.

"It was actually very worn," Hewett said. "I'd noted it a few days before, and he was aware it was something to be concerned about." Friends of Skinner said he had ordered several new harnesses but they hadn't yet arrived in the mail.

On Monday's climb, Hewett said the belay loop snapped while Skinner was hanging in midair underneath an overhanging ledge.

"I knew exactly what had happened right when it happened," he said. "It was just disbelief. It was too surreal."

Stunned and in shock after watching his friend fall, he checked his equipment.

"I wanted to make sure that what had caused the accident wasn't going to happen to me," he said. "I then went down as quick as I could."

Hewett said he knew there was no hope. A search-and-rescue team found Skinner's body, wearing the harness with the broken belay loop, about 4 p.m. Monday on the rocks near Bridalveil Fall. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Of course the issue that still remains is exactly how the loop broke. Kolin Powick, QA Manager for Black Diamond, has some thoughts and test results worth reading at the BD site: http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/scene/beta/qc_kp.php


Edited by MarcC (10/28/06 03:39 PM)
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#25243 - 10/29/06 12:28 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: quanto_the_mad]
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

Maybe, but probably not. Once the belay loop breaks, there's nothing holding the leg loops up. You'd flip over and probably just fall right out of the leg loops. If you had a good hold with one hand, maybe you could catch yourself and hold yourself upright. But since you're sliding the prussik, and you have to let the prussik go for it to engage, I don't think there's a big chance in catching yourself.

Maybe once you got flipped over, if you were quick you could spread your legs and not slip out right away, enough time to grab the rope below you.


My guess is that even with the leg and waist separated, there would either be enough friction of leg loops on legs, or the leg loops would catch at a bent knee (I think you'd reflexively contract into a ball), to give you time to grab the rope. At any rate, I think it would at least prevent the immediate acceleration. This is definitely a case where a backup above the device would be more ideal - but either is better than none at all.

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#25244 - 10/29/06 01:58 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Tests by caving groups have shown that prussik backups that aren't released will not stop a falling climber, and that even climbers with a belay who know they are will be tested cannot, in general, let go of the prussik at the moment of failure of their rappel device.)

If something knocks you out or at least knocks your hand off the rope, the prussik backup should work, but if you're holding on the chances are poor that you'll be stopped.

In view of these results, it is unlikely, in my opinion, that this sad and terrible tragedy would have been prevented by a prussik backup either above or below the rappel device. (Unless...the rappel ropes were anchored at the bottom. I recall a case years ago in which someone fell the length of a fixed rope and was stopped, by a prussik knot that had failed to grab but was still on the rope.)

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#25245 - 10/29/06 02:14 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: quanto_the_mad]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
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.


I think a better idea is to either girth or loop a sling through the tie-in points when extending the rappel device. Same for a daisy---girth it to the harness tie-in points. Leave the belay loop for belaying and direct attachment of a rappel device.

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#25246 - 10/29/06 03:07 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: rg@ofmc]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Tests by caving groups have shown that prussik backups that aren't released will not stop a falling climber, and that even climbers with a belay who know they are will be tested cannot, in general, let go of the prussik at the moment of failure of their rappel device.)

I am interested: were the test subjects ones who habitually used a prussik backup?

I use mine often, to stop for various reasons on rappel. I'm very used to letting it stop me. I like to think that in a failure situation, I'd do the same, but the tests you cite indicate otherwise. If the test subjects were climbers who were already used to using (not just tying them on, but actually using) prussiks, I will reverse my thoughts on that ...

edit: Thanks for that link, Kent.


Edited by Julie (10/29/06 03:21 AM)

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#25247 - 10/29/06 05:29 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Julie, read through this article on prusik rappel safety and see what you think. The failures described happened to experienced cavers.

Please, I'm not trying to start up the arguments about whether to use rappel back-ups or not, just observing that the chance they would have prevented the recent tragedy is minimal.

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#25248 - 10/29/06 02:33 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: rg@ofmc]
fallenglass Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/01/03
Posts: 276
Loc: cornwall
i wonder if skinner was rapelling from a static line and whether that added any extra force to the belay loop, if the rappel was at all bouncy?

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#25249 - 10/30/06 02:43 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Aya]
Steven Cherry Offline

veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1300
Loc: New York, N.Y.
I think I'm going to go buy a new harness just because this makes me worry a little bit. My harness is in fine shape visually, but it's older...

There's a dozen things we can all think of that would have seen Todd alive today, though I don't think a prussik backup would have been one of them. (Extending the device, with or without a prussik, would have, because then the primary attachment would have been the harness, not the belay loop.)

With two extra seconds, he could have put a biner around the harness, paralleling the belay loop, and then the rappel biner could have been through it and the belay loop. Or he could have taken a 18 inches of webbing and with a water knot made a second belay loop (or with 12 inches of cord and a double fisherman's). And that could have been done back at home, right after ordering that new harness.

If there's a lesson in this, it's not to get a new harness. It's this: when a little voice says, hey, this is 0.01% unsafe, in a way that can be made safe in a few seconds, take the few seconds.

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#25250 - 10/30/06 02:21 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Steven Cherry]
Chas Offline
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Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Static line or notrussik or not, he would still be dead, unless he extended the rappel as Steven suggested. Adding a nylon sling loop may have helped but a biner is too rigid. You will always get multi-axial loads with a biner placed parrallel to the belay loop and asx stated on the Petzl website, it severely compramises the biner, whereas a piece of webbing can adjust to those multi-axial loads.

As his friend Paul said, after designing harness h knew what the safety factor is in the harness and it probably made him a bit complacent. That piece (the belay loop) is by far the strongest place on the harness but as a few others have said, I have found the loop on some of my friends harness's to be partially worn/ burned/ what-have-you, through (I tend to change out my harnesses more often). Now its a different story.

There is a time you just say, f$&% it and dole out some money for a new piece of gear.

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#25251 - 10/30/06 04:33 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Chas]
Steven Cherry Offline

veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1300
Loc: New York, N.Y.
Adding a nylon sling loop may have helped but a biner is too rigid. You will always get multi-axial loads with a biner placed parrallel to the belay loop and asx stated on the Petzl website, it severely compramises the biner

Let's just remember we're talking about body weight here. Even with some crossloading, a locking biner should hold 200 or 300 lbs of force. By the way, Petzl has a specialty biner designed for multi-axial situations.

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#25252 - 10/30/06 08:56 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Steven Cherry]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Let's just remember we're talking about body weight here. Even with some crossloading, a locking biner should hold 200 or 300 lbs of force. By the way, Petzl has a specialty biner designed for multi-axial situations.

Rappel loads are typically quite a bit more than body weight. Any time you weight a rope, the maximum tension is twice body weight , therby achieving or exceeding the 200-300 lbf figure. Various things that happen during rappelling can raise the load considerably beyond double bodyweight, and certain rappel devices (figure eights) can pry open locking biners when loaded with just body weight.

The best you can say about replacing the belay loop with a locker through both tie-in points is, "out of the frying pan, into the fire."

Edit: But...Steve's 200-300 lbf for minor axis strength is way off. Typical minor axis strengths are 7 kN or more, which is a bit more than 1500 lbf. The fact that this is still 1/3 the strength of a properly maintained belay loop remains.


Edited by rg@ofmc (10/31/06 07:29 PM)

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#25253 - 10/31/06 12:29 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: rg@ofmc]
tls Offline
journeyman

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 54
Heh. Don't say that on rec.climbing, I just got torn a new one for calling carabiner-paralleling-belay-loop "notoriously unsafe". Well, that's as may be; you still won't find me using such a rig in preference to my belay loop, which presents no risk of multi-axial loading.

But you can bet I checked all the webbing on and around the belay loops on every harness in our gear room this past weekend. It's worth checking the corresponding webbing that the loop is threaded through on both parts of the harness, too; a failure of either the leg loop or waistband connection to the belay loop would not necessarily be fatal, but it sure could be highly uncomfortable and frightening.

When enough time has passed that people close to the action can talk about this more comfortably, I hope they will give a better account of just how Skinner's belay loop "looked scary". I too am remembering the BD tests of belay loops that were more than 3/4 cut and held 700 lbf; Skinner was not a big guy and generating loads higher than that on rappel seems unlikely, even as he swung under a roof, which was what evidently happened. Did that loop "look scary" in some way that would make us all wonder if our own harnesses were safe, or did it just "look scary" in a way we'd be unlikely to consider serious? Maybe next year's ANAM will let us know.

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#25254 - 10/31/06 03:45 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: tls]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Heh. Don't say that on rec.climbing, I just got torn a new one for calling carabiner-paralleling-belay-loop "notoriously unsafe". Well, that's as may be; you still won't find me using such a rig in preference to my belay loop, which presents no risk of multi-axial loading.

Heh indeed. Funny that you woke those old mummies up for yet another round of gratuitous insults---but you knew what you were doing. By the way, I didn't say the biner through the tie-in points was worse (or "notoriously dangerous"), I just suggested that as a "solution" it is no better. ( Why replace something that---when treated properly---is 25 kN in all directions with something that has only 1/3 the strength in some directions? A backup belay loop makes more sense then that...)

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#25255 - 10/31/06 06:13 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Kent]
fear Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 221
Loc: New England
I've just about always used a big 'ol Pear shaped locker through my leg and waist loops. Seems to keep everything oriented just right. Rated at ~28kn or somesuch closed and locked.

I'm still not clear how I can ever break that in a rap or belay with a tube-type device. I'm currently using the BD XP/Jaws-like thingy... What's the maximum clamping force I could ever hold?

Or rather, has that failure ever happened?

Please bear with me, I also have been know to run with scissors / exceed the speed limit / drink from streams / etc..

-Fear

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#25256 - 10/31/06 07:51 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: fear]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Good question---the fact that the rope will run through the ATC at lower forces than 7 kN does make it seem unlikely that minor axis loading could break the biner.

The things we know have caused failures in this situation are figure-8 type devices levering open the gate. The same problem seems possible with Gri-gris or any device whose connection to the carabiner is, for some reason, inflexible and whose hole is large enough to allow the device to slide over the screw lock and onto the gate.

Minor axis loading is known to have caused other problems. One is the screw gate being opened by rope and ATC wire motions, and the other is the stripping of the sheath when the rope runs under tension across the region near the gate and screw.

We do not know , however, that minor axis loading is more likely with the biner through the tie-in points than it is with the biner through the belay loop---such loading is possible with both methods, and although it does seem intuitively that fixing the biner in position by putting it through the tie-in points will greatly increase the possibility for a bad outcome, I don't think anyone has studied the two alternatives statistically.

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#25257 - 11/01/06 12:58 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: rg@ofmc]
fear Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 221
Loc: New England
I've often wondered how much a HOT biner compromises the strength of the nylon.

I've done some pretty long, screaming raps on a hot day and have burned my skin on the f'in biner or belay device. Most of us have.

I wonder if his loop was severely worn thin and the large amounts of heat coming off a climb like that had something to do with it. Sure, BD's test of a 90% cut belay loop still held 777 pounds. But what if that same biner was 220 degrees?

Sounds like I need some more time on my pull tester....

-Fear

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#25258 - 11/01/06 01:09 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: fear]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
I'm pretty sure nylon does not melt at 220 F. IThe table I found when I googled it lists temps in the 420 - 490 F range.

And the belay loop end of the biner is generally the COOLEST part of the whole assembly. So if you're flying down, you might glaze the rope on the ATC, but you're not going to burn through the BL.

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#25259 - 11/01/06 01:36 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Mike Rawdon]
fear Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 221
Loc: New England
I wouldn't think it would melt through. But I guess the question is what sort of strength reduction does Nylon 6,6 suffer under high heat? What about old, worn, nylon?

I'm going to try and get one of those super-accurate laser thermometers and take some readings on a hot carabiner after some screaming raps.

I've got no idea how hot they get, but I do know I've got a little scar from a biner burn of several years ago. (second-degree blistered skin from a brief contact).

Aluminum transfers heat very well so I'd imagine the whole biner could become uniformly very hot with enough time.

I always have tried to keep Spectra bits away from my rap rigs. I know Spectra melts at much lower temps.

Scary stuff
-Fear

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#25260 - 11/01/06 03:19 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Kent]
timh Offline
member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 194
Loc: Delaware
Probably not since Cliffhanger has any event prompted so many people to double, triple and quadruple check their harnesses. It might also be interesting to know if harness sales have suddenly spiked.
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#25261 - 11/01/06 04:06 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: timh]
socialist1 Offline
member

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 147
Loc: New Brunswick, NJ

Out of curiousity, what are people's opinion about making a little loop of cord as a backup to the belay loop?

The only problems I see are that it will make things a little bulkier and that it might cause the belay loop and tie-ins to wear a little faster. Im not sure that the faster wear would out-weigh redundancy IMO.

Ross

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#25262 - 11/01/06 04:27 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: fear]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Quote:

I'm going to try and get one of those super-accurate laser thermometers and take some readings on a hot carabiner after some screaming raps.

I've got no idea how hot they get, but I do know I've got a little scar from a biner burn of several years ago. (second-degree blistered skin from a brief contact).




Ya know, you could just rap a bit SLOWER!
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#25263 - 11/01/06 05:04 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: socialist1]
Steven Cherry Offline

veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1300
Loc: New York, N.Y.
Out of curiousity, what are people's opinion about making a little loop of cord as a backup to the belay loop?

It was one of my suggestions, in the post where I suggested that a biner would be better than nothing if you were already concerned about your belay loop, a suggestion that rg ran all the way into outer space with. (200-300 lbs was intended to be much more than the weight of the climber already, by the way).

Anyway, my first harness didn't have a strap and a buckle, instead there were two loops that came nearly together and you used webbing or supertape with a waterknot. So other than needing to make sure you have some tails to the knot and watch for any significant slippage, it's fine.

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#25264 - 11/01/06 11:06 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: socialist1]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Quote:


Out of curiousity, what are people's opinion about making a little loop of cord as a backup to the belay loop?





I agree with SC; this is a reasonable soultion. BUT... it should be construed as a temporary fix. If your harnes is so worn that you need to add a second BL, then you'd better replace it ASAP.

Either that or you're uber-paranoid, backing up a visibly-fine loop. I'm sure there are some folks who are doing this already with new-ish harnesses, as a result of Todd's accident. (These climbers can be identified away from the crag by their belt AND suspenders attire)

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#25265 - 11/01/06 02:59 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Mike Rawdon]
Timbo Online   content
addict

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 696
Loc: Delaware
With regard to the heat issue, according to eyewitness accounts, the rap device used was a gri-gri. I've never really rapped a long route with a gri-gri, so I wonder does it dissipate heat better or worse than an ATC. My intuition says better (more metal+larger area of contact with the rope), but that opinion is lacking any scientific data.

TS
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#25266 - 11/01/06 05:09 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Timbo]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Quote:

With regard to the heat issue, according to eyewitness accounts, the rap device used was a gri-gri. I've never really rapped a long route with a gri-gri, so I wonder does it dissipate heat better or worse than an ATC. My intuition says better (more metal+larger area of contact with the rope), but that opinion is lacking any scientific data.

TS




In my experience rapping on a gri-gri, it gets extraordinarily hot. More so than an ATC, at least on fat ropes.

GO

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#25267 - 11/01/06 05:11 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: GOclimb]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Nothing like a white hot ATC/GriGri up against the belly to wake you up.

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#25268 - 11/01/06 05:23 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: GOclimb]
socialist1 Offline
member

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 147
Loc: New Brunswick, NJ
Hey all, check this out:

Belay loop strength

I found it to be worthwhile.

Ross

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#25269 - 11/01/06 05:43 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: GOclimb]
ShakesALot Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 257
Loc: NJ
Quote:

Quote:

With regard to the heat issue, according to eyewitness accounts, the rap device used was a gri-gri. I've never really rapped a long route with a gri-gri, so I wonder does it dissipate heat better or worse than an ATC. My intuition says better (more metal+larger area of contact with the rope), but that opinion is lacking any scientific data.

TS




In my experience rapping on a gri-gri, it gets extraordinarily hot. More so than an ATC, at least on fat ropes.

GO




fwiw - Petzl recommends not doing grigri rap's longer than 50m citing a risk of the device overheating as the reason.

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#25270 - 11/01/06 07:04 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: socialist1]
irisharehere Offline
Site Supporter

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 1658
Loc: Danbury CT
Fish (Russ Walling) has also been doing some pull tests of lightly/partially worn gear that people have sent him, including harnesses, Mammut skinny slings, Spectra cord etc etc

It's being discussed on Supertopo, here

Supertopo discussion

Sound effects on the video are cool!

Irish
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#25271 - 11/01/06 07:50 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Timbo]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
according to eyewitness accounts, the rap device used was a gri-gri

... also, he was rapping on a static line.

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#25272 - 11/01/06 09:49 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Quote:

according to eyewitness accounts, the rap device used was a gri-gri





In my experience, THE CAM on the Grigri gets hot. But it doesn't efficiently transfer that heat elsewhere. The Grigri body stays cool, and I've never noticed any heating whatsoever of the biner. IMO it's this lack of heat dissipation that is behind Petzl's warning.

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#25273 - 11/01/06 10:46 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: irisharehere]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
That's a great discussion on st.com that the irish rabbit posted. What I found particularly interesting, esp. in view of the comments here about using a prussik backup clipped to the leg loops, was Walling's findings when pull testing a harness:

As for the leg loop as a backup for your prussik or whatever while rappeling..... If you just clip your prussik onto the top of the leg loop (like I have seen many people do) the numbers ain't that good. Stitches started to blow at 340lbs and there was a total failure where you are out of the system completely at 800lbs. Survey says, at least use the main leg loop clip in point if you are going to use this method.
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#25274 - 11/02/06 07:06 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: MarcC]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
For several reasons, I am unconvinced by the tests linked above on backup devices. First, those were done on backups above the device only, so it's unclear at best whether the results apply to backups below the device. Second, it's unclear whether the subjects were experienced or naive users of rap backups, or even experienced rappelers (cavers rappel, but not nearly as often as climbers) - and people who are inexperienced with belaying or rapping *do* death-grip the rope above the device, while experienced folk leave it alone. Third, one of the dangers they cite is that a backup below the device might get jammed open by the device - which is easily prevented by length adjustments, and a red herring of an argument (of course it will fail if you set it up to fail).

I still think that a backup might have saved Skinner (though if he was going to back anything up, it should have been the belay loop first).

Because of Fish's tests (though they depend on how your leg loops themselves are constructed), I think I'm going to move towards rapping on an extended device, with a backup below and clipped to the main leg loop tie-in point.

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#25275 - 11/02/06 08:47 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Quote:

with a backup below and clipped to the main leg loop tie-in point.




if you are really that worried about your belay loop breaking and need the extra back-up... it was stated previously that: "backing up off of the leg loop tie-in, the leg loops (if belay loop fails) will just slip off"
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#25276 - 11/02/06 09:05 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
Quote:

(cavers rappel, but not nearly as often as climbers)



Walk off.
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#25277 - 11/02/06 09:20 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Dillbag]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Dillbag, that was not stated earlier, but hypothesized. I hypothesize differently, in fact, that an unattached leg loop might catch either by friction or on a bent knee.

I use a backup not out of fear for my belay loop, but mainly to back my brake hand up, should something (rockfall, whatever) happen to me. I also use it to stop on rappel, to un-knot the rope or to clean gear. And because I use it often, I make myself use it *all* the time, so that I won't mistakenly think it's there some day when I didn't bother to use it.

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#25278 - 11/02/06 09:55 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Quote:

Dillbag, that was not stated earlier, but hypothesized. I hypothesize differently, in fact, that an unattached leg loop might catch either by friction or on a bent knee.



People have fallen out of their harnesses when they failed to properly fasten the waist belt. So there's evidence that people just fall out and the leg loops don't stop them. Maybe some of them were slowed down by the leg loops, but in the end they all slipped completely out.

If the waist belt unties, or the belay loop breaks, you're taking a FALL onto the prusik. Depending on where you're holding it, it might be a FF1 fall or greater; that's a lot to hold with just a bent knee. Especially if you're rotating backwards, the bent knee quickly becomes less positive. Also, when you start to fall, you've got to relax and let go of the prusik. But at the same time tense up the legs. That's really counter-intuitive.

Maybe it's possible, but I think it's highly unlikely.


Edited by quanto_the_mad (11/02/06 09:58 PM)
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#25279 - 11/02/06 11:56 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: quanto_the_mad]
fear Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 221
Loc: New England
Quote:

......Also, when you start to fall, you've got to relax and let go of the prusik. But at the same time tense up the legs. That's really counter-intuitive....Maybe it's possible, but I think it's highly unlikely.




Good point. You'd have to train hard to get that to ever happen in an emergency....

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#25280 - 11/03/06 12:46 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: fear]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Quote:

Dillbag, that was not stated earlier, but hypothesized. I hypothesize differently, in fact, that an unattached leg loop might catch either by friction or on a bent knee.




yup... might just like I might win the lottery or might become the president...

I'm gonna stick to clipping my prusik to the main loop of my waist belt... cause I'm not really a might kinda guy
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#25281 - 11/05/06 02:24 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Dillbag]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
How many years have belay loops been in use? How many have failed? I'm not changing anything about anything. You can hardly think of something that's less worth worrying about than this. It's very sad for his family but please, people, lay down friction strips in your bathtub or change the batteries in your smoke detector or eat more oatmeal. Forget about this.

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#25282 - 11/05/06 03:10 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: dalguard]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
The most sensible comment posted on the four forums I read.

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#25283 - 11/05/06 07:00 AM Re: Harness Safety [Re: rg@ofmc]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
I agree with MOST of what Dalguard said except Its not that I am not going to change ANYTHING. As usual, occasionally check your gear and if its getting excessively warn, heed that little voice that says replace it, be it cam slings, ropes, harness what have you.

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#25284 - 11/05/06 11:33 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Chas]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Bingo. I had been climbing in a harness in which one of the leg loops was worn approx 3/4 of the way through, and the belay loop was worn approx 1/4 of the way through. It was time to toss it, as my partner reminded me every time she saw it. Finally, after this sad accident, I heeded her good advice.

GO

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#25285 - 11/06/06 05:05 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: pitfall]
Mim Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/27/00
Posts: 999
Loc: Gunks
I have always cut the belay loop of my harness... instead I put two lockers to rap off threaded where the belay loop would go.
I was told this was a weaker system than a belay loop. I never quite understood why... (if someone does, please explain).

I always use a prossik attached to my leg loop as well.

Everyone has their own system...
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Mim

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#25286 - 11/06/06 06:43 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Mim]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
Quote:

I have always cut the belay loop of my harness... instead I put two lockers to rap off threaded where the belay loop would go.
I was told this was a weaker system than a belay loop. I never quite understood why... (if someone does, please explain).






it has the potential to tri-axially load the carabiners.
which is bad.
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#25287 - 11/06/06 06:51 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: empicard]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Quote:

which is bad




Is that like "crossing the streams"?
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#25288 - 11/06/06 07:29 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Dillbag]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard

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#25289 - 11/06/06 07:43 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Smike]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
Doesn't really add much.

Supposedly the story from Supertopo is that he used to girth hitch the slings his aiders were attached to directly to his belay loop instead of through his tie-in points. A girth hitch is the sharpest knot we use. Jugging is the hardest, most regular bouncing we do. It's not hard to see how that would wear through your belay loop over time.

I'm willing to accept that as an answer to "how does something infalliable fail?"

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#25290 - 11/07/06 04:56 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: dalguard]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Forget about this.

Burying your head in the sand is about the saddest reaction I've seen so far. What's the point of discussing the causes of an accident, if at the end you arrive at "won't happen to me, don't think about it, la la la" denial? Sometimes it seems that's almost the goal - to find a reason to dismiss an accident as "couldn't happen to me!"

There are several worthwhile take-home messages from this thread:

Belay loops rarely fail, but do require a second glance every now and then.

Most cavers will hold backups above the device open, but it is an unresolved issue for backups below the device and for whether this depends on users' experience level with the backup.

Backups clipped to a leg loop may rip that loop apart (I suspect this depends on the type of leg loop - buckle vs. stitched, one-piece vs. independent loops).

Girth hitches can break Dyneema. Girth hitched daisies can fix your belay loop in place, possibly causing accelerated wear in a less noticable place.

Replace slings when they need it. Soft goods wear out, period end.

Just because the accident investigation didn't arrive at "abandon your belay loops!" doesn't translate into "forget aobut it" for me.

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#25291 - 11/07/06 08:25 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
Did you change the batteries in your smoke detector last week?

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#25292 - 11/10/06 06:43 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: dalguard]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Recent tests on joining two slings together, from Kolin Powick at BD:

http://www.bdel.com/scene/beta/qc_kp.php

Because local code requires it, my smoke detectors are hard-wired. But thanks for your concern.

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#25293 - 11/10/06 08:00 PM Re: Harness Safety [Re: Julie]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
I thought even the hard-wired ones had battery backup. What happens if the electricity is out?

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