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deltav


Oct 2, 2006, 7:58 AM
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Flying with Gear
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I am flying with my gear for the first time. Is there anything that I should know?


Partner heiko


Oct 2, 2006, 8:05 AM
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Don't put it in your carry-on lugagge. ;)


blankslate


Oct 2, 2006, 8:26 AM
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ice axes don't cut it


qtm


Oct 2, 2006, 8:27 AM
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Two weeks ago, I flew with harness, shoes, and belay device in my carryon bag on an international Delta flight from JFK. My GF had a big locking biner, but no belay device. Her bag went through first, the TSA agent spotted the biner and opened her bag to take a look. While that agent was looking at my GFs bag, another agent saw my BD ATC Guide and said (and I'm not kidding) "Holy SH*T! What's that!" The other agent gave my GF her bag, went to take a look, and said something I couldn't hear. My bag came out and they didn't bother opening it up. The first TSA agent was *not* a climber, but smart enough to realize we weren't a threat.

I packed the rest of the hardware in a small duffel. Rope in a rope bag. Both of those packed with soft gear in a big duffel for double protection. Used plastic zip ties on the gear duffel and the big duffel just to make it harder for random hands to poke through the bag, but the TSA can snip them off if they need to do a search. On a previous trip, one of the zip ties had been cut, and the TSA were kind enough to put one of their own zip ties.


themadmilkman


Oct 2, 2006, 8:31 AM
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Great advice on the zip ties, I'll remember that next time I fly. If the zip tie does get cut, I'll know that it's a good idea to check my luggage before leaving the airport.


joshy8200


Oct 2, 2006, 8:32 AM
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Despite what an article in climbing magazine says (that all climbing gear except for ice axes are ok for carry-on) I have checked my packs of gear the whole two times I have flown.

I think that trying to carry-on a rack of gear would just be asking for unnecessary hassle.

I flew to Las Vegas and to France (via London Heathrow) both times I just packed my gear in regular style and tried to minimize hanging compression straps.


deltav


Oct 2, 2006, 8:43 AM
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thanks for the tips guys


qtm


Oct 2, 2006, 8:59 AM
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In reply to:
Great advice on the zip ties, I'll remember that next time I fly. If the zip tie does get cut, I'll know that it's a good idea to check my luggage before leaving the airport.

Oh yeah, also don't cinch the zip tie down all the way, only cinch it about halfway. To get it off, stick a pen through the loop and twist and it'll eventually break. Or keep a nail clipper in an external pocket of the checked bag; I usually forget that part but most of the time I have a pen on me. If the zip tie gets completely cinched, you'll have to cut it off.

And remember to pack some for the trip home.


gimmeslack


Oct 2, 2006, 9:22 AM
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I travelled DC to Seattle and back (Squamish bound) during the first week of September. I checked the rope and nut tool, but stuck rack, shoes, harness in carry-on daypack. Going and coming, I had security folks comment something like "what the heck!?" but then let it through w/out problem once I explained what the stuff was. Did NOT have to show-and tell.

ymmv...


markc


Oct 2, 2006, 11:46 AM
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In reply to:
Despite what an article in climbing magazine says (that all climbing gear except for ice axes are ok for carry-on) I have checked my packs of gear the whole two times I have flown.

I think that trying to carry-on a rack of gear would just be asking for unnecessary hassle.

I flew to Las Vegas and to France (via London Heathrow) both times I just packed my gear in regular style and tried to minimize hanging compression straps.

I've successfully checked my gear, as well. In the past, I've removed the waist belt from my pack tightened and tied up straps, etc. Now I just carry a large duffel to check-in and throw my whole pack inside. I wrap gear in a towel and pack in the middle of the bag, keep the rope in a ropebag, etc. I also throw in a climbing book or my latest gear catalog. If an agent isn't familiar with climbing, it might help.

If you're going to carry climbing gear on, my only suggestion would be to leave ample time in case they make you check anything.


hugin


Oct 2, 2006, 11:57 AM
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Is noone concerned that a checked rope in particular might get exposed to stresses that you would not otherwise want to expose it to? I, personally, would generally feel better carrying on those things and dealing with the security hassle rather than the uncertainty of where my rope has been.

I've carried on harness, shoes, and chalk before without incident (and we're talking unlabeled white powder here!). I've never tried to fly with other gear.


bill413


Oct 2, 2006, 12:09 PM
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In reply to:
Is noone concerned that a checked rope in particular might get exposed to stresses that you would not otherwise want to expose it to? I, personally, would generally feel better carrying on those things and dealing with the security hassle rather than the uncertainty of where my rope has been.
I'm not sure I appreciate what stresses you're concerned with. My understanding is that the cargo hold will be exposed to lowered air pressure, and colder temperatures. Also, it will receive slightly more cosmic radiation than it would at the earth's surface. But I don't think that these will much affect the rope.
Being tossed around, along with it's containing bag, by baggage handlers, & general rough handling?
Handling by inspectors that don't appreciate it's lifesaving qualities?
I'd think that checking the rope is not a real risk, unless, of course, your luggage goes astray.


qtm


Oct 2, 2006, 12:10 PM
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That's why I carry the rope in the rope bag inside a large duffel. The rope tarp gives two or three layers of protection, the rope bag itself another layer, and then the duffel a final layer. That should be enough to protect the rope from just about anything the airlines can throw at it.


ninja_climber


Oct 2, 2006, 12:14 PM
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I flew to Rome about 2 weeks ago and go stopped when I got thereand they had to search through my carry on. In the carry on I had a harness,shoes,biner & belay device, and chalk. They freaked out at the chalk, so they put me aside and then brought out this shiny swab and swabbed it and stuck it into a handheld machine thingy...was pretty cool. It checked out as chalk and let me go through. They were pretty nice about it.


hugin


Oct 2, 2006, 12:24 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Is noone concerned that a checked rope in particular might get exposed to stresses that you would not otherwise want to expose it to? I, personally, would generally feel better carrying on those things and dealing with the security hassle rather than the uncertainty of where my rope has been.
I'm not sure I appreciate what stresses you're concerned with. My understanding is that the cargo hold will be exposed to lowered air pressure, and colder temperatures. Also, it will receive slightly more cosmic radiation than it would at the earth's surface. But I don't think that these will much affect the rope.
Being tossed around, along with it's containing bag, by baggage handlers, & general rough handling?
Handling by inspectors that don't appreciate it's lifesaving qualities?
I'd think that checking the rope is not a real risk, unless, of course, your luggage goes astray.

For instance, I'd be more concerned that an agent checking your luggage might drop it on the floor in an area that cars operate (gotta move those bags somehow!), getting chemicals on it. Or that (s)he may have been handling some other luggage containing something that might harm a rope, and transferred that chemical onto yours by not changing gloves or washing hands in between.

When it comes down to it, you're trusting life-saving gear to be handled by people that don't appreciate what it is they are handling (as you said), and you have no control or auditability over what they do with that gear (that's the crux of my point).

I dunno ... maybe I'm paranoid. It is my job to worry about how things could go wrong, so it's likely that I am. But, I'd rather maintain control over where my gear goes and how it's handled instead of trusting it to an over-harassed, under-paid bagage screener with no immediate accountability for how they handle your things. I know I wouldn't be more careful than I percieved was absolutely necessary were I in that position.


bill413


Oct 2, 2006, 12:41 PM
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In reply to:
For instance, I'd be more concerned that an agent checking your luggage might drop it on the floor in an area that cars operate (gotta move those bags somehow!), getting chemicals on it. Or that (s)he may have been handling some other luggage containing something that might harm a rope, and transferred that chemical onto yours by not changing gloves or washing hands in between.
I don't know that I'm too concerned about this specifically...
In reply to:
When it comes down to it, you're trusting life-saving gear to be handled by people that don't appreciate what it is they are handling (as you said), and you have no control or auditability over what they do with that gear (that's the crux of my point).
Ah - this I understand. And, even agree with. This feels like a more concrete point than you were originally conveying.
In reply to:
I dunno ... maybe I'm paranoid. It is my job to worry about how things could go wrong, so it's likely that I am. But, I'd rather maintain control over where my gear goes and how it's handled instead of trusting it to an over-harassed, under-paid bagage screener with no immediate accountability for how they handle your things. I know I wouldn't be more careful than I percieved was absolutely necessary were I in that position.
I guess that my perception is that the screeners & baggage handlers are not necessarily any more of a hazard than the shippers & clueless store clerks that handle the gear in the shop before I buy it. I don't think that they have the time nor inclination to damage the rope, provided I wrap it in my bag.
To a large extent, I think that this is a question of risk assessment, and a weighing of which factors each of us considers more important in that assessment.


hugin


Oct 2, 2006, 2:15 PM
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In my couple of years working with part failures and reliability, I've come around to the attitude that you need to be careful not just about the rational ways that things can go wrong, but about the totally non-intuitive. What I've found is that when something is dismissed as a non-credible risk, it's usually for emotional reasons more than rational or deductive reasons.

It doesn't seem particularly likely that your stuff would be so egregiously mishandled that it's exposed to chemicals or environments that might damage it. But, in part that's coming from a hope that your belongings wouldn't be treated in such an inhumane manner. But it happens. I've had clothes that started out clean come out the other end with gunk on them on a couple of occasions (I fly frequently, though, so a couple of occasions is not very often). When you consider that very few of us know what environment and people our gear might be exposed to when checked, the fear that it might be exposed to damaging chemicals, or handled roughly enough (in ways not consistent with normal use, to boot) to cause damage doesn't seem too outlandish.

Moreover, it tends to be the middle-ground things that don't go wrong ery often because they're the things we're thinking about and protecting against - things like rope cutting on an edge, or a draw being pushed open by a back-clipped rope. But on the one end of the spectrum, there are the simple failures that kill people - not tying a knot while you dig in your bag for tuna sandwiches. On the other end, there are the things discounted as so outlandish that they're pretty much not possible, so you don't protect against them, however easy that may be. This is one of the latter category. And that's the idea I'm trying to get across with my examples ... there are any number of bizarre and unimaginable things that may happen to your gear while it's out of your control. Rationally, then, unless you can characterize and control for all of those, it's just *safer* to keep your gear under your control, even if it means answering questions from a grumpy TSA employee about why you need a rope and rack on the plane. Maybe you can just tell them you want to practice setting anchors in the fat rolls of the massive man that invariably ends up next to those with questionable karma - and you've been bad lately.

Then again, you should take me with a grain of salt too. Like I said, I get paid to be paranoid about such things.


hugin


Oct 2, 2006, 2:24 PM
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In reply to:
I guess that my perception is that the screeners & baggage handlers are not necessarily any more of a hazard than the shippers & clueless store clerks that handle the gear in the shop before I buy it. I don't think that they have the time nor inclination to damage the rope, provided I wrap it in my bag.

What you attibute to malice (time and inclination), I generally find easier to attribute to incompetence or ignorance.

What makes the difference to me is that my gear was packed at the manufacuter, and that noone has a reason to handle it outside of that packing until it reaches the store. It's easy to see that the manufacturer and store both have a specific interest in maintaining the integrity of the gear they sell, and can take specific measures to protect against the stresses of shipping.

Checked bags, however, are likely to be opened and rummaged through, are much more likely to hav etheir contents exposed to the harsh realities of the air travel world, and those handling them don't have the knowledge or inclination to protect it from subtle damage.

That's also why I buy gear from knowledgable gear shops rather than Big 5 sports.


thedejongs


Oct 2, 2006, 3:42 PM
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Plenty of threads out there on this topic already if you do a search. Bottom Line-- I carry on my pro (other than, say #4 Camalots or bigger), slings, and biners every time I fly somewhere to climb. Plan on them pulling your bag off the X-ray, asking if it's yours and whether it's OK for them to search, and then getting weird faces when they pull out your rack. They flip through it, ogle a couple of pieces, and then let you through, telling you you're the first person they've ever seen carry on that kind of stuff. Just be the typical nice kind of person a climber always is, and you'll have no worries. I always check the soft stuff (rope, harness, shoes, etc.) plus my helmet. Goes without saying not to attempt ice axes or crampons in your carryon. I did forget to pull my pocket knife off my rack last time but did not discover that until I sorted my gear at my destination and saw it hanging off a biner. Your call, of course, but I always like to know first-hand how my pro is treated. Cheers.


marc801


Oct 2, 2006, 3:42 PM
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In reply to:
I'm not sure I appreciate what stresses you're concerned with. My understanding is that the cargo hold will be exposed to lowered air pressure, and colder temperatures.
Yes, but not by much. After all, airlines ship pets in the hold.

In reply to:
Also, it will receive slightly more cosmic radiation than it would at the earth's surface.
Same (slightly increased) amount that is received in the cabin - iow, everywhere on the plane gets very slightly more radiation (which doesn't affect ropes anyway).


Partner epoch
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Oct 2, 2006, 4:03 PM
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=76186


I love this pic.... This is what I throw my rack and slings into pretty much for everything. TSA can poke around inside without making a huge mess. I check the rope, it's cheaper to replace than hardware, and carry my bag o` tricks onboard.


maestro8


Oct 2, 2006, 4:35 PM
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In reply to:
Also, it will receive slightly more cosmic radiation than it would at the earth's surface.
What is this "cosmic radiation" you're blabbing about? Is this the next urban legend used to scare n00b climbers? The "microfracture" of the 21st century? I think your brain's been irradiated by too many cosmic rays...


lhwang


Oct 2, 2006, 5:05 PM
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Just wanted to mention that twice now (once in Canada, once in the US) I've had security refuse to allow me to carry on climbing ropes or slings/webbing.

The excuse given to me was that I could potentially use these to tie someone up. Perhaps someone's worried about me lassoing and hog-tying the flight attendant. :roll:


deltav


Oct 2, 2006, 7:38 PM
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Those of you who have flown with a rack in your carry-on, has it been since all the new rules. I don't need them confiscating my gear, I'll end up in jail if they do! :twisted:


Partner epoch
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Oct 3, 2006, 5:43 AM
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I havent had any issues, other than the inquisitive TSA employee. I always throw a ragazene into the bag so that there is visual proof as to what the funny things are. I haven't heard about the sling issue that was mentioned above. I think that if I were presented with that question or stipulation, I'd tell them that I needed them for work as I was a bondage expert flying to see a "client."

Just be prepared to be pulled aside for a secondary screening. Be the sociable climber and you should not have any problems.

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