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Todd Skinner Killed
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8flood8


Oct 27, 2006, 6:31 AM
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The other common practice is to attach a friction knot to one leg loop. Hanging from this might be rather startling & uncomfortable, but it might work.
It is incredibly uncomfortable, and I've only tried it while upright and switching rappels. If we are operating undere the assumption that your belay loop has failed, then there is nothing keeping you from falling-out of your leg loops except your thigh straps (mine are dinky little elastic bands).
If this whole scenario is truly a concern for you, might I suggest a klemheist placed above your rappel device and tied-in to your rodeo bar. The klemheist is easier to loosen once weighted, and it is highly unlikely that you will be able to extrude your upper body (or lower, in the case you become inverted) through your swami belt. Placing the stopper-knot above your rappel device will also decrease the extension in the system in the event of failure, and will prevent whip-lash.

the reason that most people give for placing your backup BELOW the belay device is because you can shockload your backup and depending on the device, damage your rope.

what i do is extend my belay device (shorter than my weighted, upward reach) and place my backup (a petzl shunt - which is a mechanical prussik) on a biner on my belay loop.

more details -- I have a 7mm cord that is girth hitched through my tie-in points extending my rap device about 2 feet off of my harness, once again my backup is on my belay loop. This system is redundant and i can still reach above my belay device to unweight it, should i need to.

Another way to eliminate your fear of the belay loop breaking is to get a metolius safe-tech harness. Almost every piece on that harness is rated to withstand a fall (except for the leg bungees in the back, i believe)

or you can go all out and get a metolius safe-tech waldo - which has 2 belay loops.

hope that helps


boredwolf


Oct 27, 2006, 6:47 AM
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If this whole scenario is truly a concern for you, might I suggest a klemheist placed above your rappel device and tied-in to your rodeo bar

As bill413 had said, if you put the back up onto your rap loop, and it fails the prussic or klemhiest isnt going to do much. Every class I had taken in the last 5 years had taught the back up goes BELOW the rap device and that the other end goes into your leg loop. It is easier to release if you loose control of your back up, there is less force on the back up cord or webbing and yes it will be uncomfortable if the rap loop breaks, but you arent going to deck.
My mistake, I shall detail the parts of a harness for those too unedjumicated to figure it out. I submit that tying the klemheist into the upper tie-in point on the harness is more safe because it prevents falling out of your harness during inversion. Tying your stopper knot to the (failing) belay loop would not be redundant, making the whole venture pointless. Whereas it is easier to release the knot when placed below, it is going to hurt like hell in the event of failure. In the interest of conserving both time and energy, I propose that anyone who is actually concerned about the possibility of their belay loop breaking should immediately purchase a new harness.


gimmeslack


Oct 27, 2006, 6:48 AM
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I see my initial post digressing into a discussion re diff methods of backing up a rap. That's ok. But really, I was just thinking out loud, and wondering how far one should go in providing redundancy? Some links are stronger than others (both due to their material properties as well as to their configuration), but is it ever reasonable to rely on one single link if with modicum of effort a backup can be provided?

I realize that I'll sometimes have to rely on a single link, and I'm a firm believer in the KISS principle, but where alternatives exist am I foolish for ignoring them...?

I'd love to see a flowchart showing the many links in a typ climbing scenario, the strengths of the individual components, and the statistical chance (maybe based on real-world data?) of each one failing.


fmd


Oct 27, 2006, 6:51 AM
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The other common practice is to attach a friction knot to one leg loop. Hanging from this might be rather startling & uncomfortable, but it might work.
It is incredibly uncomfortable, and I've only tried it while upright and switching rappels. If we are operating undere the assumption that your belay loop has failed, then there is nothing keeping you from falling-out of your leg loops except your thigh straps (mine are dinky little elastic bands).
If this whole scenario is truly a concern for you, might I suggest a klemheist placed above your rappel device and tied-in to your rodeo bar. The klemheist is easier to loosen once weighted, and it is highly unlikely that you will be able to extrude your upper body (or lower, in the case you become inverted) through your swami belt. Placing the stopper-knot above your rappel device will also decrease the extension in the system in the event of failure, and will prevent whip-lash.

the reason that most people give for placing your backup BELOW the belay device is because you can shockload your backup and depending on the device, damage your rope.

what i do is extend my belay device (shorter than my weighted, upward reach) and place my backup (a petzl shunt - which is a mechanical prussik) on a biner on my belay loop.

more details -- I have a 7mm cord that is girth hitched through my tie-in points extending my rap device about 2 feet off of my harness, once again my backup is on my belay loop. This system is redundant and i can still reach above my belay device to unweight it, should i need to.

Another way to eliminate your fear of the belay loop breaking is to get a metolius safe-tech harness. Almost every piece on that harness is rated to withstand a fall (except for the leg bungees in the back, i believe)

or you can go all out and get a metolius safe-tech waldo - which has 2 belay loops.

hope that helps


There are several reasons. If you loose control of the back up, (if you are using a prussic) it is difficlut to release (step loops are needed most of the times). If you are speeding out of control on a rap, most peoples first incline is to grab the rope above the rap device, hence releasing the prussic or klemhiest.


boredwolf


Oct 27, 2006, 7:06 AM
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While I agree completely with gimmeslack's view of safety and redundancy, it is my belief that it is not the heart of any belay loop failure. There have been numerous studies and comments as to the redundancy and safety-overkill inherent in the belay loop. The purpose of a belay loop is to keep 'biners off your nuts and bits while you're belaying or rappeling. Feel free to put your rappel/belay biner through your tie-in points, as it makes no real difference in the overall safety of the climber. The true point of failure in a belay loop is the climber who, out of neglect or ignorance, failed to retire a deteriorating harness. While not as obvious as a deeply-scored 'biner or a cam with hairline fractures, an aged harness is just as dangerous (if not more).


fmd


Oct 27, 2006, 7:08 AM
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In reply to:
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In reply to:
If this whole scenario is truly a concern for you, might I suggest a klemheist placed above your rappel device and tied-in to your rodeo bar

As bill413 had said, if you put the back up onto your rap loop, and it fails the prussic or klemhiest isnt going to do much. Every class I had taken in the last 5 years had taught the back up goes BELOW the rap device and that the other end goes into your leg loop. It is easier to release if you loose control of your back up, there is less force on the back up cord or webbing and yes it will be uncomfortable if the rap loop breaks, but you arent going to deck.
My mistake, I shall detail the parts of a harness for those too unedjumicated to figure it out. I submit that tying the klemheist into the upper tie-in point on the harness is more safe because it prevents falling out of your harness during inversion. Tying your stopper knot to the (failing) belay loop would not be redundant, making the whole venture pointless. Whereas it is easier to release the knot when placed below, it is going to hurt like hell in the event of failure. In the interest of conserving both time and energy, I propose that anyone who is actually concerned about the possibility of their belay loop breaking should immediately purchase a new harness.

Or for those too uneducated to state what they really want to say..


fitzontherocks


Oct 27, 2006, 7:20 AM
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Isn't a belay loop called a belay loop because its real purpose is to hold your ATC while you're belaying? I've used mine to rap from, but it makes me a little nervous, even though I've seen many, many MANY times that "It's the strongest point on your harness." 99% of the time, I'll put my locking biner around the waistband AND leg-connecting-web-thingy (did someone call that a "rodeo bar"?). And when I do that, it FEELS more secure, because there's more strong webbing under the biner. So, tell me why it's known as a "belay loop" and not a "rappel loop." (This thread is the very first time I've seen it called a "rap loop.")


boredwolf


Oct 27, 2006, 7:37 AM
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The rodeo bar is the lower tie-in point of your harness; My mistake.


8flood8


Oct 27, 2006, 7:37 AM
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Isn't a belay loop called a belay loop because its real purpose is to hold your ATC while you're belaying? I've used mine to rap from, but it makes me a little nervous, even though I've seen many, many MANY times that "It's the strongest point on your harness." 99% of the time, I'll put my locking biner around the waistband AND leg-connecting-web-thingy (did someone call that a "rodeo bar"?). And when I do that, it FEELS more secure, because there's more strong webbing under the biner. So, tell me why it's known as a "belay loop" and not a "rappel loop." (This thread is the very first time I've seen it called a "rap loop.")

from what you wrote it sounds, to me, like you are cross-loading your biners.

In reply to:
I see my initial post digressing into a discussion re diff methods of backing up a rap. That's ok. But really, I was just thinking out loud, and wondering how far one should go in providing redundancy? Some links are stronger than others (both due to their material properties as well as to their configuration), but is it ever reasonable to rely on one single link if with modicum of effort a backup can be provided?

do you climb with double ropes? a single rope is not redundant.

What are you using your belay loop for, that necessitates that it be redundant? I suppose you could wrap another piece of tape through your tie in points and tie it off with a water knot if you need redundancy in your belay loop. Or you can buy a harness that has two.

if you are talking about rapelling with your device attached to your belay loop, i outlined a redundant system in my earlier post.
the only other thing i can add is that i'm not quite sure what question you are asking :) (no flame intended)


camhead


Oct 27, 2006, 7:46 AM
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Rant.

First off, I'm glad that there is now a separate thread for all the worry-warts to nitpickover stupid points in, rather than in the thread about the Skinner tragedy. I've always really hated seeing memorial threads move into accident analysis.

NOW... none of us yet know the details of why or how Skinner's belay loop failed, but all this talk of a prussik backup, rapelling off of your tie-in loops, or whatever, is redundant, no pun intended.

There are always going to be single points of failure in climbing. There is a point at which we just accept this fact. I suppose that, next time a climber dies from a rope breaking on rappel, someone will suggest that now is the time to start rappeling attached to a second backup rope!

Bottom line is that belay loops are pretty goddamned bomber. They are easy to inspect, they are tack-stitched to hell, and many harnesses nowdays actually sew TWO belay loops into one for added redundancy. This is way more solid than any rope.

There is nothing wrong with belaying or rapping off of your tie-in points, other than perhaps an increased chance of cross-loaing or fucking up on locking the biner due to harder visual inspection, but it is unnecessary.

it is always good to learn from accidents, but I think that the only thing we can learn from this is to INSPECT old belay loops, retire old gear, rather than start adding redundant and superfluous backups.



(p.s... if any of the safety freaks in here do start using their tie-off point or using clunky backups to their belay loop for rappeling, then they should also do so for belaying. That's just common courtesy, and to so otherwise would imply that you value your life more than your partner's.)


gimmeslack


Oct 27, 2006, 7:54 AM
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...and wondering how far one should go in providing redundancy? ...but is it ever reasonable to rely on one single link if with modicum of effort a backup can be provided?


As boredwolf sez:
"do you climb with double ropes? a single rope is not redundant.

What are you using your belay loop for, that necessitates that it be redundant? I suppose you could wrap another piece of tape through your tie in points and tie it off with a water knot if you need redundancy in your belay loop. Or you can buy a harness that has two.

if you are talking about rapelling with your device attached to your belay loop, i outlined a redundant system in my earlier post.
the only other thing i can add is that i'm not quite sure what question you are asking :) (no flame intended)"


I do climb with a single rope. I often attach to a single locker. I'm often belayed by a single individual (non-autoblock), and I've been known to anchor to a single block or subsantial tree. Oh, and I can't stand the clutter of a rap backup, regardless of how it's configured.

I also regularily review my actions and ponder whether there are better systems, new things to learn, or smarter ways to skin the proverbial cat.
:wink:


cchildre


Oct 27, 2006, 7:58 AM
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I am thinking, if your rapping, I hardly think that this would be the point where a belay loop would fail. The loads are static and far lower than during fall. The belay loops will hold like 50kn without even being sewn, just taped the friction generated holds plenty. I am going to read up on this skinner business, and new info is appreciated. I just think it is funny when your worried about the belay loop failing during a rap, when that fear should be just as obvious when you belaying your partner on lead where the forces are much higher.


boredwolf


Oct 27, 2006, 8:00 AM
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~THE END~


cchildre


Oct 27, 2006, 8:01 AM
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I am thinking, if your rapping, I hardly think that this would be the point where a belay loop would fail. The loads are static and far lower than during fall. The belay loops will hold like 50kn without even being sewn, just taped the friction generated holds plenty. I am going to read up on this skinner business, and new info is appreciated. I just think it is funny when your worried about the belay loop failing during a rap, when that fear should be just as obvious when you belaying your partner on lead where the forces are much higher.


cchildre


Oct 27, 2006, 8:01 AM
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I am thinking, if your rapping, I hardly think that this would be the point where a belay loop would fail. The loads are static and far lower than during fall. The belay loops will hold like 50kn without even being sewn, just taped the friction generated holds plenty. I am going to read up on this skinner business, and new info is appreciated. I just think it is funny when your worried about the belay loop failing during a rap, when that fear should be just as obvious when you belaying your partner on lead where the forces are much higher.


the_climber


Oct 27, 2006, 8:11 AM
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There have been a few requests to leave this thread as a memorial thread to Todd where we can express our condolences and memories of this hero/friend/legend.

Out of respect for Todd, which I think everyone here has, lets leave this thread one about the Man, and not clutter it with discusion about the accident.
There is another thread disscusing belay loop failure here.

Thank you


tradmanclimbs


Oct 27, 2006, 8:20 AM
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Not useing your belay loop and belaying/rapping through your waist and leg loops can cause other problems. The real Issue is inspecting and retireing old gear. I just bought a dozen new biners and retired as many from my system. The belay loop could have been frayed in the back where it is not as obvious. It has been established that the harness was ratty enough that Tods partner pointed it out to him and suggested that he replace it. when was the last time you looked at your partner and said "dude that harness is totaly spent, you better get a new one"? Pushing top end climbs all the time who knows how many big falls that harness caught? how many thousands of hours abrading away on the rock soaking up UV rays? It sucks and its a bummer but now we know that we can't just abuse this stuff forever and expect it to still do it's job.


ericbeyeler


Oct 27, 2006, 8:34 AM
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http://sfgate.com/...06/10/26/CLIMBER.TMP

In reply to:
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.

Eric


fmd


Oct 27, 2006, 8:46 AM
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Rant.

First off, I'm glad that there is now a separate thread for all the worry-warts to nitpickover stupid points in, rather than in the thread about the Skinner tragedy. I've always really hated seeing memorial threads move into accident analysis.

NOW... none of us yet know the details of why or how Skinner's belay loop failed, but all this talk of a prussik backup, rapelling off of your tie-in loops, or whatever, is redundant, no pun intended.

There are always going to be single points of failure in climbing. There is a point at which we just accept this fact. I suppose that, next time a climber dies from a rope breaking on rappel, someone will suggest that now is the time to start rappeling attached to a second backup rope!

Bottom line is that belay loops are pretty goddamned bomber. They are easy to inspect, they are tack-stitched to hell, and many harnesses nowdays actually sew TWO belay loops into one for added redundancy. This is way more solid than any rope.

There is nothing wrong with belaying or rapping off of your tie-in points, other than perhaps an increased chance of cross-loaing or f---ing up on locking the biner due to harder visual inspection, but it is unnecessary.

it is always good to learn from accidents, but I think that the only thing we can learn from this is to INSPECT old belay loops, retire old gear, rather than start adding redundant and superfluous backups.



(p.s... if any of the safety freaks in here do start using their tie-off point or using clunky backups to their belay loop for rappeling, then they should also do so for belaying. That's just common courtesy, and to so otherwise would imply that you value your life more than your partner's.)

Paul. I agree with ya that the belay loops are pretty bomber, but there are different levels of climbing. And with the different level of climbing comes the different level of hard skills and knowledge from climbers. There are some organizations out there that do suggest you double rope rappell (youth groups). I had been to quite a few classes where they stress (mandates) to back up your rappell, even if you have a belay while you are in the class. It really shouldnt be a "safety freak" label for asking the "what if's". If someone is in doubt, they should back it.


ericbeyeler


Oct 27, 2006, 8:47 AM
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I do an autoblock off the leg loop. It's fast, simple, and provides big safety benefits. When I read that Todd's belay loop broke, my first reaction was holy sh*t, my next thought was he didn't use a rappel backup.

Eric


justthemaid


Oct 27, 2006, 8:56 AM
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Got news for ya folks...belay loops can fail.

A friend of mine had one fail. Fortunately in a spot where nothing bad happened. No fault to the harness company...this was also an old, ratty, worn out harness that should have been replaced. .

For the last few years since that happened, I have tied a permanent piece of accessory cord to back up my belay loop. I've endured some quizzical looks, but it's cheap and easy and gives me piece of mind.

...and I back up all my rappels.


Partner cracklover


Oct 27, 2006, 9:12 AM
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In reply to:
Got news for ya folks...belay loops can fail.

A friend of mine had one fail. Fortunately in a spot where nothing bad happened. No fault to the harness company...this was also an old, ratty, worn out harness that should have been replaced. .

For the last few years since that happened, I have tied a permanent piece of accessory cord to back up my belay loop. I've endured some quizzical looks, but it's cheap and easy and gives me piece of mind.

...and I back up all my rappels.

The double belay loop may be adding extra wear to the points it goes through. Which is fine, but just something to keep an eye on. This from Kate (holdplease2) over on ST.

Personally, I think the real lesson to be learned here is not that we need to back up the rappel (unless that floats your boat) or add a second belay loop, but that we need to throw out our harnesses when they wear out. At least that's the lesson I took. Threw out my harness last night. My partner had been giving me shit for the last few months, ever since I'd been able to tear chunks off the side of the belay loop. Seemed like it was still 95%, but better safe than sorry.

GO


kachoong


Oct 27, 2006, 9:36 AM
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You'd actually be surprised how much your belay loop, and the joining part of the leg loops that run through the belay loop, can wear from just the action of walking. We all walk long distances (if you add it up) with our harnesses on. Next time you are walking, watch what happens to the leg loop part of your harness that runs through the belay loop. It rubs.... with each step. Just watch it and wonder what this does over time. I disposed of my last harness because of this.

Personally I never rap off my belay loop. I put the biner through waist and leg loops. I will always use an auto-block on the leg loop when rapping on multipitch.... I know it's just as important when rapping single pitch, but it's faster to just rappel without it..... therein lies my own dilemma. I should re-evaluate my methods and motivations to rap with or without a backup. Why not use a few extra minutes to have a back up on EVERY rappel? Those moments surely add up if you're rapping off a big wall and could have you rapping in the dark... but for piece of mind, it's worth it.

...btw... good job seperating the threads.


8flood8


Oct 27, 2006, 10:17 AM
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yah -- i back up every rappell, and i trained my wife to do so as well.

i have probably answered this question 50 times : "What is that speckled thing hanging off your harness?"

why... its a petzl shunt... a mechanical prussik... used for backing up a rappell or as an ascender in an emergency... bla blah blah!


yah it takes a few minutes, but i don't EVER notice that it takes me longer because it is part of my routine. It makes me double check my rap device before i can load the shunt properly. All in all i get teased for my safety-ness, but so what, i'd not rather be one of those statistics, or one of those "accident reports" on the front page.


majid_sabet


Oct 27, 2006, 10:19 AM
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Registered: Dec 12, 2002
Posts: 8358

Re: Belay loop failure [In reply to]
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backup belay loop with prussic
backup prussic to harness
backup harness to chest harness
back both to a two rope system
back up one rope to ATC
backup ATC to GriGri
Back anchor to your car
Back up belayer to a large stone
Backup fears with helmet
Backup Knowledge with Skills

BACKUP YOUR LIFE WITH EVERY THING YOU GOT, WHEN YOUR TIME IS UP
ALL BACKUPS ON EARTH WILL FAIL.

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Forums : Climbing Information : Injury Treatment and Prevention

 


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