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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 9:31 am 
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HI

Saw some guys the other night at the climbing gym having a heated debate about whether one can belay off a carabiner through the loop in the waist belt & the loop in the leg loops i.e. bypass the belay loop with a standard carabiner.

As I have recently been on a course where this was discussed & it was explained that the belay loop can take load equally in all directions & is actually stronger then the rest of the harness it was a bit of a pointless discussion. It is obviously safer then three point loading a a carabiner designed to take a load along it's spine. The guy from the gym was quite emphatic that we should use the gear in the way it was designed. :thumleft:

It was then that the guy who was doing this "unsafe practice" played his trump card of the fact that he has been doing this for years so how could anyone question his way of doing things :D ....besides which the carabiner is way overrated & would not REALLY see a 3 point load :!: :?: :wink: .

I am not really interested in anyone's opinion.

What I want to know is why some people always think that they know better then the guys who make the gear & test it? This is fairly common with all climbers out there who use "modified Gri gri's" & stuff like that :oops: . In my opinion they are no better then guys who try making their own hangers in their backyard out of angle iron....I mean after all Engineering isn't that hard is it...its not really that much of a science.... :eye:

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:03 am 
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There are many people out there that have not killed themselves yet. While one should not speak ill of the departed, Todd Skinner argued for months that his harness loop was fine, and if he didn't know right from wrong, then who did?

Safe practice is about reality, not opinion. Use gear the way it was intended. The free booklets issued by companies like Petzl are full of clever things you can do without testing the Darwinian edge. If you want a bit of metal running parallel to your harness loop, buy a hemi mallion, that's why they make them. They are available in alloy or steel, for the truly paranoid. Mallions are also cheaper to buy.


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:21 am 
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If you're belaying with a figure8 (someone still does, I don't know who, but there is someone somewhere), threading a locker through your leg and waist loops actually places the figure 8 in a horizontal position, lessening the chances of it twisting across the gate and unclipping itself.

However, if you're not living in the 1900's and you belay with something resembling an ATC or a grigri, not using the belay loop for what it was designed for puts a triaxial load on the biner as well as twisting your belay device 90degrees...but hey, if you don't see the reason in that, then, urgh.


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:27 am 
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I think there are two principles to consider:

First of all in attempt to gain market share many companies push the technological tick list and sometimes this is beyond real life necessity. E.g. Most road cars come standard with ventilated discs, while solid discs provide just as effective braking, longer disc life and less warping / other problems. I would guess the same thing goes for climbing equipment - you will probably find that the angle iron hanger is way stronger than the commerical answer, which is lighter, shinier etc etc.

That said, climbing companies spend millions on R and D and preventing mishap / liability. The home hanger maker doesnt know what happens when he bends his angle iron.. did that piece have an internal stress fracture, did he bend it to fast or to sharply etc.

So, I would agree that in the interest of trying to survive, it makes sense to use the part that was designed and tested for the job... Better "safe" than sorry


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:46 am 
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There is only one thing to consider, and that is that you are talking bs... :thumright

Re the tie-in: It is not unusual to see people tie in with the rope directly into the waistbelt & legloops, but it is (in my humble opinion) not correct to use a carabiner like that.

bye...


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 11:20 am 
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Which is a brilliant Comment! :alien:

& brings us to the next point. Of course tying in is the right solution for the climber, so this really only appies to the belayer & the belay device :bom:

Of course, as was mentioned you can get a D shaped Maillon. Petzl also make a thingie called an OMNI, which is an aluminium carabiner that can take the load in any direction up to 15KN -probably good enough for a belay :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 12:56 pm 
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Agreed- only use the gear the way it was designed to be used. The thing that scares me at the crag is not the way people misuse their gear (99% of the time the gear will still work) it's their style of belaying, especially with ATC's and Bugs. Lack of concentration, letting go of the bottom rope to feed the climber!!!- I try my best to 'suggest' a better/safer way to belay, which is easy to get through to new climbers, but the older ones generally won't hear any of it.They dig their own graves.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Dogleg wrote:
They dig their own graves.


This I wouldn't mind so much. Harsh reality is that they're actually digging somone else's grave.


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:48 pm 
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If the equipment will not fail 99% of the time as per "dogleg" and you climb every weekend, you will only have your climbing partner cratering once every two years. (assuming 1 arrested fall per weekend).

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:32 pm 
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Which is not all that often, so who cares anyway :wink:

Come on :jocolor: , where are all the gear abusers? Ummm I mean "modifiers"....

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 6:02 pm 
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There is an old story about how American hairdryers come with a warning not to use in the shower, but if you see some one trying it, don't stop them as the world is better off with less stupid people.

I think you can see where I am going with this...

So long as they are not climbing on your rope, one less stupid person!


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 6:50 pm 
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http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/scene/beta/qc_kp_archive.php#102706
Some scary stuff in here


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 7:05 pm 
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Showzer Wayne73! I'm not a Statistician- perhaps the gear will not fail 99.9999999999999999999'% of the time, to 0,000000000001% of the active population of regular climbers.... in the world! :D
Old Smelly- what exactly is a modified Gri-Gri? One that can take ropes less than 9mm or bigger than 12mm?

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 10:04 pm 
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Hi Guys!
I designed all Mammut harnesses for over two years! 1997-1999. I tested every harness on the market, in the Mammut laboratory. Todd and Dan died, new theories come out, new tools are invented and the discussion hasn't changed in the last 20 years. Tie in? Grigri? Belay?......?????? You fuck up YOU DIE !!!!

I believe the rules are simple and we should all stick to the basic rules and think for our selves, the basics make scenes and let's stick to those.

If something snaps, what's going to hold?? If your belay loop snaps, you should have trashed the harness long ago and the biner through the belay loop is just fine!!!!

Most accidents are because the belayer isn't paying attention...... Human error! We are quick to blame the knot, the harness, the belay device, the rope and on and on and on.....

If the system isn't perfect after soooooo many years of climbing then it can't be the system, but the person behind the system.

Tod died because he neglected the state of his harness, cheep skate or what, his harnesses were sponsored so I battle to grasp what the problem was.

Most climbers pay more towards life insurance and so on per month than it costs to pay for a new rope or harness????????

The discussion will never end......... we seek the perfect excuse but.... we will never find it.

Stick to the basics.

Stu


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:17 am 
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Hi guys.

I was the one defending the belay carabiner practise. I have since changed to using just the belay loop, though mainly because, as mentioned, it orients the belay device properly (always wondered why the thing was so awkward). Funnily enough I did start belaying on a figure8 (15 years back) and stopped for a while. Coming back I must have used my old methods. Sign that an old dog can learn new tricks..

However, I do have an issue with people worrying about a 3 way load on the carabiner from this practise. I'm not sure if other people use different harnesses to mine, but if one pulls on both the waist and leg loops at the same time they come together on mine (no, my harness isn't too loose :wink: ). I.e. when load is put on them they act as if they are one, effectively ruling out the possibility of a 3 way load. We're not talking about chains here, we're talking about a device of webbing etc attached to a soft squishy thing (one's body).

Still, I did get a little defensive, which I shouldn't have. It is always best to have people come over and point out an error.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:38 am 
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Sure :) but I think your point does need a little examining...the carabiner is designed to take a load along its spine between 2 points. In the manner you were employing it there is a chance that it could load differently (i.e. 3 ways).

As you pointed out to everyone at the time, it is more likely that your belay biner (or attachment biner in the case of attaching using a biner - standard practice in the gym) is likely to get crossloaded. There was someone who showed you a DMM Belay Master as a solution for that, but your point is well made- more people in the gym are likely to do that a remain blissfully ignorant of their unsafe practices.

Which brings us to Matts comment - you should make sure you are using the equipment correctly- but also begs the question of Matt & the gear manufacturers - WHY DON'T THEY DESIGN SOMETHING THAT WORKS BETTER?? So there is no chance of incorrect use- either by guys who have been climbing for years or the innocent sheeplike gumbies flocking to the gym. :roll:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:06 pm 
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Hey dogleg, just using your comment as an example for a bit of humour. But we go into a dangerous enviroment, participate in a dangerous activity and then accept probably for our safety. The gear will probably be OK if I use it like this, the bolt will probably hold, my partner probably won't fall while I use my break hand to pick my nose. Sorry got a bit heavy, long day. And why the hell isn't there a picking your nose smilie.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:03 am 
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Woah! Perhaps I need to use more smiley's Wayne73- I wasn't offended at all- just trying to hit this gloomy topic of dangerous practice that lurks above our heads, with a funny-stick. :wink:

One may not always be able to correct others mistakes/ignorance, but you can always check your own gear, and 99% of the time (that one okay Wayne73? :lol: ) choose a belayer that you trust- with your life essentially.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:16 am 
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Bah - ha ha :lol:

So what do I need to do to offend you :twisted: , need a belay

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:12 am 
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HAHAHAHA!
Yes please- as long as you're drunk,blindfolded, using a modified Gri-Gri and doing a hand stand. No knot at the end of the rope required. :jocolor:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:29 am 
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Cool you bring the booze :drunken: , don't worry about the gri-gri I'll just use a munter hitch around the nearest tree.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:03 pm 
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Hi Old Smelly,

I understand your frustration and I guess a lot has to do how and who thought you the basics. I unfortunately am also guilty of using the method you mentioned :oops: with the exception I turn my biner screw lock to the inside, as I was thought by my first instructor. I have done it as per instruction and belay of the loop but actually have the biner flopping around and often the belay device hooking behind the screw lock or having the biner not facing across the long side. And the argument of the belay loop being the strongest link sounds quite good but is a bit misleading in my humble opinion, I mean the chain is as strong as it weakest link.

And just to mention another topic, I was thought to climb with a helmet (sport or trad) and soon felt pretty dof as on sport climbs I actually never saw any helmets being worn. And now I'm also guilty of not wearing my helmet on sports climbs myself! :oops:


W :afro:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:48 am 
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Hey willemeulen, I'm the guy who walks in with his helmet on already on my head and take it off when I get back to the car. Had a beginner kick a half-brick sized rock down a gully getting into the bottom end of Cederberg two weeks ago - all three of us downstairs successfully dodged it, but if that hit someone's head, well... we would've had a full day's climbing before recovering a very dead body. If you feel dof, imagine how dof your mates will feel if they had to phone S&R before anyone even got on a route...very embarrassing. :roll:


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:53 pm 
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I am not sure I understand Willemeulen....Are you saying that the practice of putting the biner through your leg loops & waist belt is ok because you were taught that way? :pirat: OR because you turn the gate towards yourself? :D

I think Pierre's point is right. Sure others aren't wearing helmets doing sport, so when they are proven wrong by a big rock landing on their heads then it will be a bit late to say that its not what everyone else was doing....or that that is the way they were taught.

My point is not even that you are wrong. My point is that you are so stubborn that you argue you know better then the Engineers who designed the gear. :alien:

Not that I am picking on you. I am surprised that more fruitbats haven't come screaming to the fore about how the stuff is so overrated that you can use it incorrectly all the time for years & years before you get a surprise! :thumleft: :cheese:

I think the guy with the comment about Darwinism is going to be the one who wins the argument.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Ok, done some internet trawling (most reliable research method known to man), it appears this exact topic has been done numerous times and supposedly got a response from the Black Diamond Harness dude (a Tom Jones).

In his response (under tradgirl.com) he states the history behind the belay loop (convenience, not to prevent cross loading), his opinion on the cross loading problem (the first bit of load will remove the cross loading problem) and his opinion on the practise (use whatever you prefer).

Agreed this could be a fake, so take it as you wish. The presence of harnesses (current) out there that don't even have belay loops (and the thinking above about the reason for its "invention") suggests their presence is not safety critical.

Its all well and good to slavishly adhere to the instructions on our equipment, but by those same instructions we should probably all have retired our harnesses, biners, slings and ropes years ago. Other than the newly started climber or the pro I dare anyone to go through their equipment and find something that shouldn't have been thrown away based on the instructions. This suggests to me that the practise of selectively ignoring instructions is well established and, if done in a reasonable manner (its ok to climb in a 4 year old harness, but not a 40 year old one, despite both being older than the 3 yr lifespan quoted), accepted (justifiably).

As an aside, does anyone know how realistic harness tests etc are? Do they use weights, a rough dummy or a really close approximation of a human (a'la mythbusters?). I would suggest that most engineers would never be as hard and fast as suggested in most of these discussions and would acknowledge the real world application of their products a lot more than their own instruction manuals.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:20 pm 
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Well said Mediocre,

Exactly what I meant regarding wearing a helmet. People also ignore the instructions there, I mean there is quite obvious. The only reason for not wearing them is either discomfort but I think most don't do because their buddy's don't.
Mediocre wrote:
Its all well and good to slavishly adhere to the instructions on our equipment, but by those same instructions we should probably all have retired our harnesses, biners, slings and ropes years ago.
I'm quite shore the people raiding on this forum regarding how ignorant and stupid people are guilty of this themselves.

The reason I'm using this method is two ways as I said, I was thought to do it and I just prefer it over the loop and I don't seen any wrong. I mean during a fall the falling climber has the biggest forces applied to the harness not the belayer, why do you think the manuals ask the climber to tie in in both loops. Not to forget the the biggest force in the system will be on the top draw and bolt as both belayer and climber apply force on it.

As far as I know the original loop was designed to keep the harness together during wear, now they have made it a "belay" loop because to many beginners/climbers used it incorrect.

Anyways,

Happy climbing and stay safe.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:28 pm 
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OldSmelly,

I mentioned in a previous thread that, for your 'biner to three-way-load, your legs and torso need to be accelerating in different directions. Think about the implications of that.

Cross-loading the 'biner (i.e. loading across the minor axis) remains a problem under either method of attachment.

... that's just my $0.02

Stu's advice is spot-on. Stick to the basics, and think for ourselves.

Safe climbing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:16 pm 
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Yeah, what STu said.

Case closed.

:cyclops:


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:53 pm 
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Ola, time for my two cents...

Whether you agree with all the previous posts or not, I think it's great that it was at least brought to attention. Having someone stop and reassess their safety can never be a bad thing.

I must admit, I'm one of those who clips through my leg loops and waist band. I did it initially for comfort since on the loop the belay device just feels clumsy. Guess I'll fiddle around and maybe make a change.

As far as helmets. Remember, they're not only there in the event of falling rocks, but for so many reasons. The same as the reason for a helmet in skydiving. It's not in case you hit the deck, it's in case you hit something/one else. It may keep you conscious long enough to save your life....

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:22 pm 
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Oh I get it...Lowest Common Denominator wins :thumright :jocolor:

So you read that article from the tradgirl site & thought that the BD guy was saying that it's ok to use a biner to belay off! Interesting! He was actually raving on about how one must tie in with your rope through the leg loops & waist belt & not through the belay loop. He even states that the belay loop is stronger then the rest of the harness, as it takes the most wear. There are no decent climbing harnesses out there that do not have a belay loop (some lightweight alpine ones), because thats what progress is all about - anyone care to use a Whillans & argue that it is safer or better :wink: .

Its not that one cannot argue that everyone uses their gear for a bit longer then the warrantee states either -this is about using something for a purpose it was not designed for (NOT QUITE THE SAME THING :roll: )

Ok s0 someone here thinks that the biner wont load triaxially, even if not for a millisecond (not the BD guy as he said it would happen & then straighten itself out, with a concession that it might approach the forces that a cross loaded biner may not like). So if you are using a steel biner which does not deform easily & isn't affected by shock loads then I think you may be onto something - but aluminium...yes most climbing gear is made from a substance that hates shockloads & yields easily (it also has a wonderful memory & keeps score).

Back to my point about Darwinism & assuming you know more then the guy who designed it. Oh & I think the manufacturers call it a "Belay Loop" because they think you should Belay off it! :mrgreen:

My argument is probably supported by the fact that it's someone who argues against wearing a helmet that still thinks this is a good idea!

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