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Todd Skinner Killed
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Partner cracklover


Nov 2, 2006, 11:40 AM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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Good post, Karl. Another issue that Dingus raised on that other forum may be worthy of adding as a point:

7: possible battery fumes from placing all those bolts over the years.

Hard to know for sure whether this was a contribting issue unless/until they do chemical analysis on the recovered belay loop. Until then, I think it's worth keeping in mind as a possibility.

GO


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Nov 2, 2006, 6:42 PM
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And yet another possibility to add to the growing list.

8. Sharp granular dust that migrates into the core of the webbing that when subject to cyclic loading can cut the fibres thus weakening the whole sling material.

There was a huge industrial accident in Brisbane many years ago that brought this issue to light. Nylon slings were used to hoist large precast slabs of concrete up on a high rise building. Unknow at the time was that the sharp crystals created during the process of creating these concrete slabs would migrate into the nylon slings. Eventually the slings were so weakened by the cyclic loading and the cutting of the fibres within the sling that one of these slabs dropped down onto the busy pedestrian footpath killing several pedestrians.

So the mechanism was sharp powder migrating into the matrix of the woven sling material. The sharp powder would work away at the nylon fibres and eventually weaken the fibres and the fibres would be broken. Upon a simple visual inspection it did not appear that the sling was particularly damaged however the results were catastrophic failure.

This could well be the mechanism for the belay loop failure. Given that a reasonable new piece of belay loop tested by a reputable manufacturer and cut 90 percent through broke at quite high loads then it may follow that another mechanism for failure may be what was at work on this current failure under discussion.

Rock dust was clearly present inasmuch as all climbers me included are constantly around rock. If a harness is used constantly for long enough then that harnesses belay loop may pick up an amount of rock dust which may well be able to work into the matrix of the belay loops nylon webbing.

If a climber is developing sport routes and is constantly drilling holes then that may be cause for early retirement of that persons harness whether it has suffered visual damage or not. Hand drilling may in fact be even more cause for concern as the climber is present and in a position where rock dust is constantly falling out of the hole and onto their nylon soft goods.

I would like to see some testing and inspection of route developers soft goods as well as general climbers to see whether rock dust infiltration is as big a problem as I suspect it may be. This is not something that I have seen talked about much as of yet. Perhaps it should be. We all know about not stepping on a rope because of grinding powder into it but we really have not considered what effect rock dust has on our other nylon gear.

Perhaps Todds accident may well help us focus on this area.


reno


Nov 2, 2006, 8:24 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I'm for the "perfect storm" theory since belay loops are so bomber. Here's my list of factors.

1. Chemcial corrosion. The belay loop is right near where the piss hits the sky. God knows how many leaks a guy like Todd took without removing his harness.

Karl:

Good post overall, and I think you may have some strong arguments to be made. I'm not sure about the one above, though:

Human urine is mostly water, salts, urea, uric acid, and creatinine. Urea, Uric Acid, and Creatinine are nitrogenous waste products. On rare occasion, you can find blood, bacteria, etc. in the urine, but that's typically only if there's underlying illness (i.e. bladder infection, trauma, etc.)

I'm going to forward this idea to a urologist and an organic chemist (two different people) to see if they think Uric acid could degrade nylon enough to cause structural weakness. At first blush, I wouldn't think so, but I'm not an organic chemist.

It might help if anyone knows the chemical structure of the nylon used in climbing harnesses.

JT512 is a biochem wizard, if I recall.... JT, can you shed light on this?

Anyway, I'll bring it up, see if I get a response, and will post such responses here.


jimdavis


Nov 2, 2006, 9:17 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I'm for the "perfect storm" theory since belay loops are so bomber. Here's my list of factors.

1. Chemcial corrosion. The belay loop is right near where the piss hits the sky. God knows how many leaks a guy like Todd took without removing his harness.

Karl:

Good post overall, and I think you may have some strong arguments to be made. I'm not sure about the one above, though:

Human urine is mostly water, salts, urea, uric acid, and creatinine. Urea, Uric Acid, and Creatinine are nitrogenous waste products. On rare occasion, you can find blood, bacteria, etc. in the urine, but that's typically only if there's underlying illness (i.e. bladder infection, trauma, etc.)

I'm going to forward this idea to a urologist and an organic chemist (two different people) to see if they think Uric acid could degrade nylon enough to cause structural weakness. At first blush, I wouldn't think so, but I'm not an organic chemist.

It might help if anyone knows the chemical structure of the nylon used in climbing harnesses.

JT512 is a biochem wizard, if I recall.... JT, can you shed light on this?

Anyway, I'll bring it up, see if I get a response, and will post such responses here.

I thought BlueWater tested this before, or maybe Steling....I could have sworn it didn't have an effect...but until I can find that info...I'm holding back on judgement. SterlingJim...you watching this thread? Care to step in on this one?

Jim


fuzzbait


Nov 2, 2006, 10:20 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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After reading through all 8 pages it seems like this thread has broken down into 2 main issues:

The first being the importance of retiring equipment before it causes problems.

The second issue is about what to use for belaying and rappelling, tie in points or belay loop.

The first issue has not received much debate because I think all can see and understand the importance and significance of retiring equipment before it is too late.

The second issue has been one hounding this and all other forums for a very long time and will continue for a very long time to come.

I myself use the belay loop for belay and rappelling. I know others who use the tie in points for belaying and rappelling. I have shown them the stats that Jim has posted for us in this forum and shown them their own harness instruction manuals that points out the error they are making. They continue to do it their way and you and I are not going to change them.

People say they do not trust the 'single' point of the belay loop and that is why they use the '2 points' of the tie ins. Well what about adding a short sling and another locking biner to your inventory. Place the sling through the tie in points with the biner on the other end. Use one biner through the belay loop and this backup biner as well. That way if something happens to the first biner or the belay loop you have this back up. No worries about triaxial loading, belay loop failures, ect.....

Obviously I am not the first to come up with this but I do use this when belaying, rappelling and being lowered. (After leading a climb I do not untie first but pull the rope through the rings make a fig 8 attach it to my belay loop with locking biner. Here is where I add a backup biner attached to a sling looped through my leg and waist tie in points).

Is there some stats out there saying this method is no good? I haven't seen any.

What do you think?

Joe

PS still retiring my harness though.


g
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Nov 2, 2006, 11:24 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I myself use the belay loop for belay and rappelling. I know others who use the tie in points for belaying and rappelling. I have shown them the stats that Jim has posted for us in this forum and shown them their own harness instruction manuals that points out the error they are making.
But has that error been demonstrated out on the rock? I've heard of "numerous," "plenty," and "multiple" deaths caused by belaying through the tie-ins in this thread and others. I've even seen the same report on figure 8s posted twice in this thread as evidence (though it is talking about something different), but no one has pointed me towards one report of an accident of this nature. I searched through 6 years of accident reports for North America and never came across one example. Google, nope, and I don't know of one. Where are the reports? I want something better than posting a quote from another thread where someone insists that deaths have occurred, or "My friend Mike's cousin's sister knows a guy whose partner died because of this!"

In reply to:
When a student is in statu pupillari with respect to any subject whatever, he has to believe that things are settled because the text-books and his teacher regard them as settled. When he emerges from that state and goes on studying the subject for himself he finds that nothing is settled. The dogmatism which is an invariable mark of immaturity drops away from him. He looks at so-called facts with a new eye. He says to himself: ĎMy teacher and text-books told me that such and such was true; but is it true? What reasons had they for thinking it true, and were these reasons adequate?í On the other hand, if he emerges from the status of pupil without continuing to pursue the subject he never rids himself of this dogmatic attitude


reno


Nov 3, 2006, 6:56 AM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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One reply from a physician (urologist) who doesn't think that it would make much difference (that whole urine spray thing):

In reply to:
In reply to:
Is it possible or likely that urine will degrade nylon over repeated exposure/time? (Think: Uric Acid.)

Short answer..... No, unless any liquid (like water) could deteriorate the
material.
Urine is minimally acidic, pH ~ 5-6, not really strong enough to make a
difference, unless just the repeated exposure to the "wet" aspect can
degrade the material, which I doubt. More likely it was years of repeated
rubbing & use that frayed or wore out the material. According to this guy's
good friend & fellow climber, he used his equipment until it broke, rather
than just replacing it after a period of time/use/abuse.

This is similar to the debate many years ago over LR causing more acidosis than NS due to the Lactic Acid content. Turned out that NS is more acidic than LR.

Just cause there's "acid" in there, doesn't mean that its way acidic.

Just FYI, nothing more.


quiteatingmysteak


Nov 3, 2006, 6:02 PM
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Re: Belay loop failure [In reply to]
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:

Excellent. Twice as many people care about our posts than yours.

Curt

Good for you Curt, you might win Prom King now!

Jim

That would make you the Queen, b----.

Curt

Hooray for internet... find a room E-junkies.


What i have HEARD from a freind of his that was at the funeral (i wont disavow a name) was that the belay loop was tattered and in need of replacement when found.


Regardless of WHERE you tie in, or how, or how many hail-marys you say when you DO tie in... you need to replace old gear. Remember that "double back" boom back in the 90's and all those (petzl? i think?) adds in Climbing mag about pilot error? The best thing to come out of this is an awareness of when to retire your gear. For the same reason we have leaver-biners, i could agree that this incident is a wake up call.

these are of course all just opinions... i dont have 5% the experience of many others who have opposing views of this so do please take that into account.

[edit] that was in love curt! pure love!
<3x10


fuzzbait


Nov 3, 2006, 8:23 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I myself use the belay loop for belay and rappelling. I know others who use the tie in points for belaying and rappelling. I have shown them the stats that Jim has posted for us in this forum and shown them their own harness instruction manuals that points out the error they are making.
But has that error been demonstrated out on the rock? I've heard of "numerous," "plenty," and "multiple" deaths caused by belaying through the tie-ins in this thread and others. I've even seen the same report on figure 8s posted twice in this thread as evidence (though it is talking about something different), but no one has pointed me towards one report of an accident of this nature. I searched through 6 years of accident reports for North America and never came across one example. Google, nope, and I don't know of one. Where are the reports? I want something better than posting a quote from another thread where someone insists that deaths have occurred, or "My friend Mike's cousin's sister knows a guy whose partner died because of this!"


I knew the moment I used the word 'error' that somebody would pick up on that and run with it. I decided to keep it in there though. You are correct in what you are saying. Yes it would simplify issues to have in the hand stats on all you mentioned. However, in my mind one incident is too many! I think it better to not hear of any problems at all then this means things are working and climbers are safe.

Why not continue in this fashion?

Why do we need bad things to happen in order to prove a point?

Yes, the chances of something going wrong using the tie in points is very small. But when we have another option that makes the risk even that much smaller why wouldn't we use it? It seems to me like people are waiting for something tragic to happen. I really don't understand this mentality.

Another thing I don't understand is why people are so quick to dispel and disapprove of what manufacturers, scientists and engineers have to tell us. They say that using the belay loop is the best and safest method over tie in points. These are climbers to who want to make our sport as safe as it possibly can be. So why are we so quick to discount what they tell us?

I have looked at both sides of the argument and to me it is obvious which is better. It is clear to me to that people who use tie in points also know that this is not the best solution but continue to disagree with the experts and do it their way. (You can see evidence of this in this thread).

Anyways climb safe everybody.
This has been very depressing. I don't want to hear of anymore deaths or serious injuries.

Joe


fitzontherocks


Nov 5, 2006, 3:37 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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Any chance an rc.com-er who happens to work with a manufacturer could arrange a test of-- I don't know-- say a Trango harness? The possible setups might include: * Tieing in aound the waist belt and rodeo bar with a rope * Tieing into a locking carabiner which is clipped to the waist belt and rodeo bar *Carabiner + belay or rappel device through the belay loop-- and-- *Tieing in to the belay loop directly with the rope (no-- I've never seen this done before, but it should be an apples to apples comparison).


g
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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Yes, the chances of something going wrong using the tie in points is very small. But when we have another option that makes the risk even that much smaller why wouldn't we use it? It seems to me like people are waiting for something tragic to happen. I really don't understand this mentality.

Another thing I don't understand is why people are so quick to dispel and disapprove of what manufacturers, scientists and engineers have to tell us. They say that using the belay loop is the best and safest method over tie in points. These are climbers to who want to make our sport as safe as it possibly can be. So why are we so quick to discount what they tell us?

I have looked at both sides of the argument and to me it is obvious which is better. It is clear to me to that people who use tie in points also know that this is not the best solution but continue to disagree with the experts and do it their way. (You can see evidence of this in this thread).

If someone is giving me a rule and saying never to do something, they better have a good reason. Many people don't use the belay loop, and apparently (since no one has found an example) no one has ever had any problem, thus "things are working and climbers are safe." It is a choice, and you do that all the time in climbing when you decide to run something out, or cut some corner for a gain elsewhere, not use a back-up, etc. Of all the dangerous choices we make, this seems incredibly minor, and is less of a rule than a preference (and some people have given reasons in this thread for that preference).

In reply to:
I don't want to hear of anymore deaths or serious injuries.
You better stop climbing and crawl into a hole, because climbing is dangerous, and you can die or be seriously injured. Hell life is dangerous, and we're all gonna die.


billl7


Nov 5, 2006, 6:00 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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Everything I read sez to not take a Q-tip and stick it in my ear. But I do. ... just not when I'm chasing my kids around my house.

On the other hand I rap from my belay loop. Am I messed up or what?

Climb on! (with a healthy software of course)

Bill L


nopro


Nov 5, 2006, 6:50 PM
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Re: Belay loop failure [In reply to]
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I think it's really great that so many people are taking a lesson from the accident that caused Todd's death. I just wanted to point out that it's not enough to check your harness today and either replace it or not. (Oversimplification, I know.) It's really important to check out all of your gear now and regularly. The bottom line is that Jim and Todd saw that his belay loop was worn a few days before the accident and they were waiting for a replacement. Had they checked it the morning of the accident or while they had lunch on Ahwahnee before the last raps, Todd never would have rapped on it. So the point is check your gear now, check it tomorrow and the next day. There's no simple solution like "avoid battery acid"; whatever use wears out your gear will continue to do so as you use it, so you really need to have a handle on the condition of your gear on a regular basis.
Of course, the redundancy that has been discussed is important, as is being more careful/less complacent overall while climbing.
Be safe and have fun, everyone!


nopro


Nov 5, 2006, 6:52 PM
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Oops. [In reply to]
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ETGet rid of double posting.


boombewm


Nov 5, 2006, 7:06 PM
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Re: Belay loop failure [In reply to]
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Here's a question. How worn would a belay loop have to be for it to break. I mean, Strongest point on your harness right? How much damage do you have to do it to make it break? And on that, If you're belay loop looks that bad, What about the rest of your harness? If the strongest point on your harness, Which is rated to like a million lbs, Far more force than your rope/gear/spine will fail at, What about the rest of it?

My old harness has a didn't have a belay loop (BD's alipine bod?) and i retired it when there was an abrasion in one of the leg loops.

Todd Skinner is one of my climbing hero's, that guy will live forever with me. maybe I just don't accept it, but I find it hard to imagine that if a belay loop was in notable disrepair, the rest of the harness would have been terrible, and there was nothing done/commented about it.


jimdavis


Nov 5, 2006, 8:14 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Yes, the chances of something going wrong using the tie in points is very small. But when we have another option that makes the risk even that much smaller why wouldn't we use it? It seems to me like people are waiting for something tragic to happen. I really don't understand this mentality.

Another thing I don't understand is why people are so quick to dispel and disapprove of what manufacturers, scientists and engineers have to tell us. They say that using the belay loop is the best and safest method over tie in points. These are climbers to who want to make our sport as safe as it possibly can be. So why are we so quick to discount what they tell us?

I have looked at both sides of the argument and to me it is obvious which is better. It is clear to me to that people who use tie in points also know that this is not the best solution but continue to disagree with the experts and do it their way. (You can see evidence of this in this thread).

If someone is giving me a rule and saying never to do something, they better have a good reason. Many people don't use the belay loop, and apparently (since no one has found an example) no one has ever had any problem, thus "things are working and climbers are safe." It is a choice, and you do that all the time in climbing when you decide to run something out, or cut some corner for a gain elsewhere, not use a back-up, etc. Of all the dangerous choices we make, this seems incredibly minor, and is less of a rule than a preference (and some people have given reasons in this thread for that preference).

In reply to:
I don't want to hear of anymore deaths or serious injuries.
You better stop climbing and crawl into a hole, because climbing is dangerous, and you can die or be seriously injured. Hell life is dangerous, and we're all gonna die.

When you lock a biner in a rigid possition...then it doesn't take much force (out of line with its spine) to break it...also, when you pin a biner...you can easilly wrap the rope around its gate....move the rope across the gate...and you can open the gate. Fall on it at that time...and you loading the gate.

Using your belay loop minimizes the occurance of all of this. Again...what the hell else do you need to know?

Your taking the rise out of your harness...bad!
Your tri loading a biner... Worse than not doing it!
Your making is extreemly easy for the rope to unlock/ weight the gate..BAD!
Your bringing your rap device closer to your body...thus more likely to get caught on your shirt or something.....bad!


All in the sake of what? Turning the friggin' thing 90 degrees? Are you serious?!

Cause you don't trust a belay loop? It's more or less 2 seperate loops stitched together...redundant! Misty tested a new one to over 9k lbs!!! All belay loops exceed 15kn at the factory...that's more than your hips can take! Every single manufacturer recognizes it as the safest thing to use. Everyone states it the strongest part of the harness.

And you wanna risk all of the above mentioned issues with this technique, of clipping your tie in points, for this 90 degree of rotation, or cause you have some emotional fear of only clipping around 1* thing?!? (really 2)

Harness makers are in the business of doing things as safe as possible. You really think they're recommend techniques that they couldn't justify? And win arguments in court over, should something happen?

Talk about leading the horse to water....

Jim


boombewm


Nov 5, 2006, 9:05 PM
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In reply to:

When you lock a biner in a rigid possition...then it doesn't take much force (out of line with its spine) to break it...also, when you pin a biner...you can easilly wrap the rope around its gate....move the rope across the gate...and you can open the gate. Fall on it at that time...and you loading the gate.

Using your belay loop minimizes the occurance of all of this. Again...what the hell else do you need to know?

Jim

I belay with in it the tie in points with an atc (with the exception of an grigri every once in a while, which i hate to use and when forced to i'm now considering a different way, lets not go there). I find that in 5 years i've never wrapped the rope around, had the biner "locked in a riged posistion" (due to my harness not being made of metal? or something harder than fabric) nor seen me ever cross load, load the spine, tri load the biner. Am I doing something wrong?


Partner robdotcalm


Nov 6, 2006, 9:19 AM
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Several comments in this and related threads discussed the risk inherent in clipping into a belay loop, mostly that it provides no backup. Belay loop fails and all is lost. Suggestions to improve safety were: (i) clip thru the leg loops and waist belt; (ii) use a second belay loop or use supertape for a backup loop.

Valid criticisms were made of both suggestions. For (i), it could lead to dangerous cross-loading. The articles referenced on these dangers convinced me that this is not the way to go. Also, I like using the belay loop as itís more convenient to clip into and out of and easier to check visually that the attachment was done correctly. Criticisms of (ii) also referred to cross-loading and that the backup loop (or second belay) loop would get worn along with the original belay loop.

I decided to go with the idea of using supertape and making the loop of tape about 3 cm (~ 1 inch) longer than the belay loop. This way force would come on the backup loop only if the belay loop broke and not during regular usage. I went climbing yesterday. Since I didnít have supertape at home, I made the backup loop from 6 mm. perlon cord and tied it off with a double fishermanís knot. It did not interfere with either belaying or rappelling. At the end of the day, I decided I liked the cord better than webbing because itís difficult to tie a knot in webbing that will remain secure.

I canít think of any unwanted or dangerous side effects from the backup loop.

I realize that the probability of a belay loop breaking is very small but certainly not zero. The backup loop was re-assuring to me.

Cheers,
Rob.calm


quiteatingmysteak


Nov 6, 2006, 10:48 AM
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I realize that the probability of a belay loop breaking is very small but certainly not zero. The backup loop was re-assuring to me.


this is good dogma to live by. im going to have to try it out, thanks :D.


-Greg


jimdavis


Nov 6, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Several comments in this and related threads discussed the risk inherent in clipping into a belay loop, mostly that it provides no backup. Belay loop fails and all is lost. Suggestions to improve safety were: (i) clip thru the leg loops and waist belt; (ii) use a second belay loop or use supertape for a backup loop.

Valid criticisms were made of both suggestions. For (i), it could lead to dangerous cross-loading. The articles referenced on these dangers convinced me that this is not the way to go. Also, I like using the belay loop as itís more convenient to clip into and out of and easier to check visually that the attachment was done correctly. Criticisms of (ii) also referred to cross-loading and that the backup loop (or second belay) loop would get worn along with the original belay loop.

I decided to go with the idea of using supertape and making the loop of tape about 3 cm (~ 1 inch) longer than the belay loop. This way force would come on the backup loop only if the belay loop broke and not during regular usage. I went climbing yesterday. Since I didnít have supertape at home, I made the backup loop from 6 mm. perlon cord and tied it off with a double fishermanís knot. It did not interfere with either belaying or rappelling. At the end of the day, I decided I liked the cord better than webbing because itís difficult to tie a knot in webbing that will remain secure.

I canít think of any unwanted or dangerous side effects from the backup loop.

I realize that the probability of a belay loop breaking is very small but certainly not zero. The backup loop was re-assuring to me.

Cheers,
Rob.calm

I really hope you used 2 biners then...cause biners fail a hell of a lot more often than belay loops.

Cheers,
Jim


jimdavis


Nov 6, 2006, 11:01 AM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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In reply to:

When you lock a biner in a rigid possition...then it doesn't take much force (out of line with its spine) to break it...also, when you pin a biner...you can easilly wrap the rope around its gate....move the rope across the gate...and you can open the gate. Fall on it at that time...and you loading the gate.

Using your belay loop minimizes the occurance of all of this. Again...what the hell else do you need to know?

Jim

I belay with in it the tie in points with an atc (with the exception of an grigri every once in a while, which i hate to use and when forced to i'm now considering a different way, lets not go there). I find that in 5 years i've never wrapped the rope around, had the biner "locked in a riged posistion" (due to my harness not being made of metal? or something harder than fabric) nor seen me ever cross load, load the spine, tri load the biner. Am I doing something wrong?

If you haven't loaded the spine in 5 years, then I'd say yes your doing something very wrong.
If you've clipped into your tie in points, you've triloaded the biner every time.

Also, your harness tie in points don't allow the biner to float and allign itself as it needs to. Just because your harnees isn't metal, doesn't mean you can't break a biner with it, in a climbing application.

About not loading the gate in 5 years. If that's true, I'd say congrats. Not to call you a liar, but I would be very supprised if that was true. I'd be pretty willing to be that the rope hung up on the gate pretty often...we just don't always notice it. This will happen with both methods from time to time. The trouble is....when the biner can't move (clipped through tie-in points) then the rope can stay there on the gate in a fall. When the biner floats on a belay loop...then it can much more readily shift under a load, and allign itself properly.

Again, what benefit do you really have?

Paranoia about belay loops failing? You all better be using 2 carabiners to belay with then.

Jim


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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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Just to go back...

In reply to:
Multiple deaths have been attributed to your method of connecting biners to ones harness.

Do you have any proof, or are you pulling this from your ass?

In reply to:
Paranoia about belay loops failing?
You seem to be paranoid, inventing deaths where none exist.


pendereki


Nov 6, 2006, 2:22 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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Not to drift too far towards the topic, but----does anyone know of any accidents where the belay loop was cut by friction from the rope running across it?

CM


saxfiend


Nov 6, 2006, 8:27 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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This thread, like so many before it, has gone down the toilet. :boring:

As you guys continue your pointless pissing match, you're ignoring the only undeniable fact: Todd Skinner would still be alive if he hadn't bet his life on worn-out gear.

Nothing else matters.

JL


jimdavis


Nov 6, 2006, 8:43 PM
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Re: *Merged topic* What went wrong? Skinner accident thread [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Just to go back...

In reply to:
Multiple deaths have been attributed to your method of connecting biners to ones harness.

Do you have any proof, or are you pulling this from your ass?

In reply to:
Paranoia about belay loops failing?
You seem to be paranoid, inventing deaths where none exist.
For now, the only death I can find was the one posted in the UIAA report...in the mean time...here are EVEN MORE professional opinions on what you should be doing.

In reply to:
It is very possible to break biners (good
ones) well below their rating. Ratings are generated by testing between
two 12 mm steel pins seated against the spine of the biner. The closer
the loading is to the nose of the biner (closer to the gate) then the
weaker it will be and it can easily fail below the rating. Loading a
biner with its nose hook on a bolt hanger can break it under body weight
even though it has an open gate rating of 7 kN. In closed gate, biners
break below their ratings when tested with slings because the sling
applies more load to the nose than to the spine (in comparison to steel
pins). 1" slings will cause biners to break weaker than 1/2" slings
(assuming the biner breaks first--which usually happens by the way). Much
of this type of information is also supplied with carabiner instruction
tags.

Chris Harmston (chrish@bdel.com).
Quality Assurance Manager. Materials Engineer BS, ME.
Black Diamond Equipment Ltd.
2084 East 3900 South, SLC, UT 84124 phone: 801-278-5552

In reply to:
q: My friends I climb with, belay (Lead and somtimes top rope belay) from their belay devices that are attached to their [harness] by a locking carabiner attached through their leg loop and belt loop (the two loops used to tie in with).

I read an artivle in "Rock and Ice Magazine" explaining that this method is dangerous because of the unnecessary strain by means of a triaxial load on the biner. My friends work in a climbing wall on campus and they require this method for lead belaying in on their wall.

They say it is unsafe to use my belay loop for belaying with. I say, if the loop was unsafe why the hell do they manufacturers put it there

Anyway this has become a heated controversy I wish to put an end to this. Can you please shed some light on our argument?

A: The question of where one should attach the belay device to a climbing harness is one that comes up quite often. Many climbers attach the belay carabiner around both the waist loop and the leg loop parts of their harnesses and avoid using their belay loop. This is probably a throwback to the days when belay loops were not available on harnesses and because it would intuitively seem that there would be some added measure of safety by clipping the carabiner around two points rather than just the one point of the belay loop. However, this is not correct and can be unsafe for several reasons.

If a harness is designed with a belay loop then that belay loop should be used when belaying or rappelling. It is sometimes difficult to convince climbers that using the belay loop is safer than clipping the two tie-in points of the harness. This is especially true if a climber has been belaying improperly for a long time. Climbers who are used to clipping the belay carabiner around the harnesses tie-in points usually state that they are doing so in order to achieve redundancy in the system. While redundancy is a good thing in climbing systems, trying to achieve it in this case is misguided. We don't want to try to achieve redundancy in this situation because we lose more in terms of safety than we gain by doing so. The lack of redundancy here will not hurt us and in fact it is impossible to climb with a totally redundant system. We usually climb with one harness, one rope, one belay carabiner, one belay device, etc. So, not having redundancy is how we attach out belay carabiner to our harness is probably not going to hurt us any more than belaying with one carabiner and one belay device. The belay loop is not any more likely to break than the rope, the carabiner, or the belay device. It is designed to belay off of. It is designed to withstand massive forces, well beyond anything we should see in catching a leader fall. When we have difficulty convincing people of the importance of using the belay loop while belaying, we usually ask climbers just to refer to the instructions and warnings that come with a new harness that has a belay loop. The manufacturers all tell us to belay with the belay loop. They should know, they designed and made these things.

There are several reasons we should use the belay loop if the harness is equiped with one. The first is that belaying off of a belay loop makes it much less likely that a locking carabiner will be loaded improperly. Because there are only two points of cantact on the carabiner (the bealy loop and the rope going through the belay device) it is less likely that the carabiner can be cross loaded or loaded triaxially. When loaded in this fashion a carabiner is typically only about one-thrid as strong as it would be when loaded properly along its length or spine. When a climber clips his or her belay carabiner through the two tie-in points of the harness and then adds the belay rope through a belay device, it is much more likely that the carabiner could be cross loaded. The greater the rise in the harness (distance from leg loop to waist loop) the greater the chance of this happening. Women's harnesses, in particular, are susceptible to this problem because of the greater rise built into their design. Basically, you can have a situation where the carabiner is pinned tight between the leg loop at the bottom and the waist loop at the top, with the belay device and climbing rope pulling outward so that the carabiner ends up being cross loaded. Three points of contact makes cross loading more likely to occus, two points of contact make it less likely to happen.

The second reason not to clp the belay carabiner through the tie-in points of the harness is because it is more likely that the carabiner can be opened up accidentally while belaying in this fashion. Certain types of screw gate carabiners can be very susceptible to this problem and at least a couple leaders in thie area have been dropped to the ground while being lowered because their belay had clipped the belay carabiner through the tie-in points of the harness rathern than the belay loop. What can happen in this scenario is that the bealy carabiner once again becomes pinned between the leg loop at the bottom and the waist loop at the top. If the carabiner gets loaded triaxially again, the rope can wind up running around the screw gate of the carabiner and this can unlock it.

We tie our climbing rope around both the leg loop and the waist loop when we tie in because there is no reason not to and we achieve redundancy by doing so. We can't cross load a rope. Tying in directly to the belay loop would not make any sense as it is merely putting another link into the safety chain and we loose a bit of redundancy while we gain nothing. But, while belaying we have serious safety problems if we use those same two tie-in points for the carabiner. So it makes sense to give up a little redundancy and add another link in the safety chain because we gain much more than we loose in terms of safety by doing so. Yes, we lose a little bit in the way of resundancy but we gain a lot more in terms of total safety by ensuring that the carabiner is loaded properly and by reducing the chances of it opening accidentally. Basically the chances of a belay carabiner breaking when cross loaded or opening when loaded improperly are much greater than the chances of a belay loop breaking. The real and greater danger in this whole situation is not equipment failure (the belay loop) but equipment or system failure due to improper use and loading (belay carabiner through tie-in points). Again, anyone doubting this should read the instructions that come with their harness or should call the manufacturer.

Some alpine style harnesses do not have belay loops and are designed such that it is okay to put the belay carabiner around both the leg and waist loops. If designed and fitted properly, such a harness will have a long leg loop that comes right up to or even a little above the waist loop so that both parts of the harness are at the same point in the carabiner. This means that while belaying there are only two points of contact, not three.

That was taken from the old USMGA website 2 years ago. I typed it out so it could be quoted again...as of today I haven't seen it hosted online anywhere. If you doubt the documents authenticity....I can take pictures of the print out, or you can call Marc Chauvin who used to be the president of the USMGA, and probably wrote that.

Here's Tom Jones's opinion, from BD
In reply to:
From: Tom Jones at Black Diamond

There has been a lot of chat recently about the use and limitations of harness belay loops. I would like to lay out the thoughts behind and uses for belay loops as we have found through use and testing.

History

Belay loops were invented about 10 years ago to solve the problem of having no obvious place to clip into a harness for belaying and rappelling. Some bright guy thought of making a stout webbing runner, that the structural parts of the harness would pass through, that would then stick out in front and be easy to use. The idea caught on because many people found it convenient. Some harnesses do not allow for the use of a belay loop due to geometric constraints.

Design Constraints

A harness is designed to catch falls either as the faller or as the belayer. The maximum loads felt by a faller are suspected to be at most 15 kN ( 3372 lbs ). This is the load at which other parts of the system start breaking, such as the rope at the tie in knot, the top biner through the protection, and the faller's body being broken by the forces of de-acceleration. Thankfully, very few falls reach forces anywhere near this high, but we can view it as an upper limit.

Can this force be felt by a belayer too ? You bet. The worst case fall is where the leader does not get any pieces in, then pitches off and falls directly on the belay. Climbers are usually smart enough to clip the lead rope into a draw on the anchors, so that the belayer experiences an upward force, but this is not always the case. The leader could fall directly on the belayer with no intervening pieces so the belay loop system must be able to hold that 3372 lbs of force.

This brings up why it is important to clip your belay device into both your belay loop and the loop of the rope on multi pitch climbs. The lead rope should be your primary anchor - your primary link from your harness to the anchor - because it is dynamic and flexible. Your belay biner should connect directly to the rope tie in loop so that the forces of the belay can link directly to the anchor. Otherwise, the forces from a severe fall would run from your belay biner to the belay loop, to the harness, to the rope loop to the anchor. This would tend to rip the harness apart and the results are very unpredictable. It is much better to have the forces transfer as directly as possible to the strong point in the system - your fully equalized, three bomber pieces anchor. Wear and Tear

So if the belay loop is so strong, why don't I tie into it? Because you would wear it out very fast. The established tie in points on harnesses are usually covered with a durable cloth or webbing to take the brunt of the abrasion from the rope being tied in. Falls, hanging and hangdogging tend to move the rope slightly, under load, against the harness, and this results in a lot of abrasive wear. If you subjected the belay loop to this wear, it's unprotected webbing would wear out pretty quickly.

In belaying, the situation is a little different. The belay biner has a lot less friction so it slides to the top of the loop right away. There is very little webbing on webbing sliding. Belay loops do fuzz up a little from the forces of the biner, but not very fast. It helps that belay forces are usually much less than falling forces.

No Belay Loop Harnesses

Many harnesses do not have a belay loop, usually because of geometric constraints. Is it safe to belay off a carabiner clipped through both the waistbelt and leg loop?

On first look, you might think this is a classic case of triaxial loading of a carabiner - a definite no-no. At some modest load, however, the belayer's body will change position and the harness webbing will stretch so that the bottom of the belay carabiner gets loaded correctly. The load required to do this is pretty low, probably lower than the 6 kN side loading strength of a weak 'biner.

The greater danger is that the carabiner will get stuck on something or that the gate will get stuck open by webbing or a piece of clothing. We have all experienced the locking sleeve getting stuck on something while belaying, and this could be dangerous. I got my finger pinched once when I was straightening out my belay biner at the point of impact. Ouch!

I have seen returns from where the locking belay biner was not fully closed when loaded. I think they got stuck in the climber's clothing, but the climber insists that the gate was closed and locked. Maybe the first instance of a gate pin tunneling out the end of the biner.

Without a belay loop, it is VERY IMPORTANT to have the belay forces transfer directly to the anchor, on a multi-pitch climb. I usually belay off my tie in loop, essentially using that as a belay loop.

Summary

The belay loop is designed for rappelling and belaying only. Use it if you find it convenient. If you tie the rope directly into it, you will wear it out very quickly. On multi-pitch climbs, it is important to have the forces of the belay link directly through to the anchor, usually by clipping the belay biner into both the belay loop and the tie in loop of the webbing.

Understanding the forces involved in climbing is helpful in climbing safely. Understanding the limitations of your gear is essential.
that is from here: http://www.tradgirl.com/...ing_faq/safety_3.htm

To think that people still don't trust belay loops is just funny at this point.

Cheers,
Jim

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