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Aliens Testing results by Mountain Gear
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mgear_pres


Jan 11, 2006, 2:07 PM
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Aliens Testing results by Mountain Gear
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In my reply to an earlier post I stated that Mountain Gear would test a sample of our in-stock Aliens and post results on this forum. Following are our findings. Please realize that Mountain Gear’s tests results are not “official,” they were not independent, nor did they represent a random sampling of all Aliens.

We took nine units of various sizes and date stamps dating back to the earliest we had in stock which is 0605 for pull testing. Of the nine Aliens tested, three brazes failed and the cable pulled out at below the CCH-stated max strength for that size. The failures were from different sizes and date stamps, and included both Hybrid and regular Aliens.

Since we reported these findings to Dave at CCH, he has been working diligently to identify the source and scope of the problem. I expect that we will see information from him soon. According to Dave, CCH is also reporting the issue to the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission), and will work in concert with them to remove the potentially affected Aliens from the Market. You will have to rely on this process to get the final results of the investigation of these products.

We have also informed REI of our findings and they reacted quickly to work with CCH and Mountain Gear so that there can be a coordinated effort to get the potentially affected Aliens off the market and off climbers racks.

If you bought potentially affected Aliens from Mountain Gear:
We will contact you with instructions on getting them returned, inspected, repaired and/or replaced. We will also post information by Friday 12 p.m. PST on returning potentially affected CCH product at:
http://www.mountaingear.com/Aliens (cut and paste into your browser)


Mountain Gear wants the best results for the climbing community. I wish I could tell you more but this is the best information we have at this time. We will continue to encourage CCH to act quickly to thoroughly complete their investigation, and will post more information on our website as we receive it from CCH or the CPSC.

Paul Fish
President
Mountain Gear, Inchttp://


trenchdigger


Jan 11, 2006, 2:12 PM
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Re: Aliens Testing results by Mountain Gear [In reply to]
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:shock:

Thank you for your effort in this.

Actual failure loads would be appreciated if you can/are willing to share.

I think my TCUs and Zeroes will be getting a bit more of a workout 'til this is all sorted out.

~Adam~


sbaclimber


Jan 11, 2006, 2:13 PM
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Re: Aliens Testing results by Mountain Gear [In reply to]
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:shock: :shock: :shock:
kinda glad I don't own any aliens....


t-dog
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Jan 11, 2006, 2:14 PM
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In reply to:
Of the nine Aliens tested, three brazes failed and the cable pulled out at below the CCH-stated max strength for that size.

Were you guys by any chance able to get actual figures of what strength they pulled out at (i.e. are we talking 200 lbs, or something slightly below the stated max?), as in one case climbers could do preliminary testing at home, whereas in the other they would not.

Thanks for the info and head-up.


crotch


Jan 11, 2006, 2:15 PM
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In reply to:
We took nine units of various sizes and date stamps dating back to the earliest we had in stock which is 0605 for pull testing. Of the nine Aliens tested, three brazes failed and the cable pulled out at below the CCH-stated max strength for that size. The failures were from different sizes and date stamps, and included both Hybrid and regular Aliens.

Holy shit!!! Did they fail at just a few pounds below rated strength, or are we talking about catastrophic failure at alarmingly low loads?


roy_hinkley_jr


Jan 11, 2006, 2:18 PM
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Also describe the testing procedure. So far, this info is pretty meaningless.


Partner wideguy


Jan 11, 2006, 2:30 PM
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In reply to:
Were you guys by any chance able to get actual figures of what strength they pulled out at (i.e. are we talking 200 lbs, or something slightly below the stated max?), as in one case climbers could do preliminary testing at home, whereas in the other they would not.

I know what you're saying, but even slightly below is worth consideration.
I agree, more infor on exact failure modes and testing would be good, but no way does this HELP the perception.

Plus, if CCH is notifying the CPSC then it's safe to assume they see some level of validity in the test data they recieved from mgear


clayman


Jan 11, 2006, 2:30 PM
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Jesus! I can't beleive this is happening to CCH! Now I have to tell my friend who bought 300$ worth of Aliens last fall, on my suggestion, that they may be unclimbable.

cl


skinner


Jan 11, 2006, 2:34 PM
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As disconcerting as it is that none of this information has come directly from CCH, I sincerely appreciate Paul and mgears efforts and ongoing communications.

Thank You!


Partner kimgraves


Jan 11, 2006, 2:37 PM
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Kudos to Paul and Mountain Gear. It's reassuring that the retailer is looking out after their customers.


paganmonkeyboy


Jan 11, 2006, 2:41 PM
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In reply to:
As disconcerting as it is that none of this information has come directly from CCH, I sincerely appreciate Paul and mgears efforts and ongoing communications.

Thank You!

what he said....damn...33% failure rate from such a small sample size...dunno what to make of that...


trenchdigger


Jan 11, 2006, 2:52 PM
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In reply to:
Also describe the testing procedure. So far, this info is pretty meaningless.

I wouldn't say it's totally meaningless. This is serious, and is good reason to prompt further investigation.

Despite the lack of information about the test, I think it's safe to assume that MGear wouldn't pull test a cam in such a way that would make the results totally bogus. I find it alarming that 33% of the cams failed below their nominal stregth and with the same, unusual failure mode. I look forward to more information from CCH and testing by a third party.


fear


Jan 11, 2006, 2:55 PM
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Thanks Paul, you guys rock!

Could you please post some details of the testing, approx. failure loads, and maybe some pics of the carnage?

Thanks again...

-Fear


mtnjunkie


Jan 11, 2006, 2:55 PM
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Sweet. I have 4 aliens, still with tags, bought within the last couple of months. So one of those units has a chance of failing? I've been trying to be fairly optimistic about the original failure, but things seem to be going the opposite of good.


g-funk
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Jan 11, 2006, 2:57 PM
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Dude, this is freaky. Does anybody know if there is yet a policy at REI for return or whatever of aliens that have been recently purchased?


trenchdigger


Jan 11, 2006, 3:06 PM
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In reply to:
Dude, this is freaky. Does anybody know if there is yet a policy at REI for return or whatever of aliens that have been recently purchased?

It's REI... you can return anything.

I'll be holding onto my Aliens until more information comes out.


roy_hinkley_jr


Jan 11, 2006, 3:09 PM
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In reply to:
Despite the lack of information about the test, I think it's safe to assume that MGear wouldn't pull test a cam in such a way that would make the results totally bogus.

I never said totally. But a different test protocol can easily yield very different results that are equally valid. The UIAA active cam test isn't the greatest (for technical reasons) but it is at least a standard. Until all the details are revealed, everyone is jumping the gun. No need to panic yet. And I'll be happy to take any Aliens you want to discard for "safety" reasons.


stymingersfink


Jan 11, 2006, 3:11 PM
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damn-it ^you^ beat me to it but perhaps I can one-up ya on the offer to take retired aliens... I'll cover shipping costs. Anyone?


josephgdawson


Jan 11, 2006, 3:13 PM
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This is not good at all. Over half my rack is Aliens.

I too would like to know at how many pounds of pressure the cams failed and how many pounds each of those was supposed to hold.

On a side note, 9 data points is way too small of a sample size to tell if the results are statistically significant. If you tested 9 cams and none of them failed at under their rated strength, you would just say that is good, but you need a larger sample size for the results to be meaningful. While there is not much to say from a statistical point of view about 3 out of 9 units failing, common sense deems it horrible.

Unless someone wants to spend the money to test more than 30 cams, the results of a test are not going to be statistically significant. I think only CCH is in position to do that.

Mountain Gear, thank you for taking the initiative in this. It probably will not win you much love from those at CCH, but you have earned my respect.


wjca


Jan 11, 2006, 3:18 PM
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this not good

Unless your Black Diamond, Metolius, Trango or Wild Country.


Partner tgreene


Jan 11, 2006, 3:23 PM
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WRONG -- This is not good for anyone!

At the very least, it creates the potential for an insurance premium nightmare, should a catastrophic failure create an injury or fatality.


crimpstrength


Jan 11, 2006, 3:26 PM
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I don't know what to say.

I just called my nearest rei, where i got my orange alien, dated 0105. They said they have an internal safety notice and have been told to remove aliens from their shelves and welcome returns and exchanges. They have not released an official recall, but internally, they have acknowledged there is a problem and have therein removed cch products from their shelves.


horseonwheels


Jan 11, 2006, 3:30 PM
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Thanks to Paul Fish and mgear.com for looking after the climbing community. I know where my next gear purchase is coming from.

What's shocking is that CCH was content to let climbers potentially die unless their retailers did their own product testing. They seem to not want to stand behind their product, until they might lose their major buyers.

I was always reassured knowing that BD was ISO 9001 certified. This gives me even more reason to trust those companies that have strict controls in place. Obviously, CCH has next to no controls over their company, be it management, manufacturing, etc.


kaylinr


Jan 11, 2006, 3:32 PM
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It doesn't really matter what percentage of the Mfr's rated strength the units held. Even if they held within 90% of what they were supposes to, the testing has revealed a major manufacturing deftect simply becuase the mode of failure has changed. The braze is suppose to out last the cable, clearly they have an issue even if the units still hold a considerable load.


davidji


Jan 11, 2006, 3:33 PM
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In reply to:
I never said totally. But a different test protocol can easily yield very different results that are equally valid.
Consider this: the 3 of 9 cams that Paul said failed at below rated load in his testing had the same failure mode as the two Alien-failed-in-a-fall reports we have on rockclimbing.com: the cable pulled out of the cap. The test-to-failure failure mode reported by cchaliens was cable breaking, which is much different.

If the poor results Paul reports are due entirely to testing procedure, and not to weak or defective cams, his procedure wouldn't seem equally valid to the one used by CCH, rather Pauls would seem more valid, since his failures matched what was observed in the field.

OTOH the chance that Paul's failures were due to non-standard testing procedure seems pretty remote. Unless the failures in the field were due to non-standard falling procedure.

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