NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

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Justin
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NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Justin » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:10 am

Every now and then I see people using a carabiner as a belay loop (which is very bad practice). If you do not trust your belay loop, then it's time for a new harness.

The video below illustrates how easily things can go wrong when equipment is used incorrectly.

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Warren G
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Warren G » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:07 pm

Agreed Justin. I have never understood the idea of reinforcing the belay loop with a 'biner. I know some rescue guys put Demiround Mailons there, but surely that allows for the same result? as a few of them hang round this forum hopefully they can enlighten us.

I was always told hard against soft, but never hard against hard or soft against soft, as like cuts like.
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Marshall1
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Marshall1 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:17 pm

.
Last edited by Marshall1 on Mon May 11, 2015 7:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Justin
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Justin » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:22 pm

Marshall1 wrote:This is really stupid...


Yup, I think that many people assume that 'metal' beats 'thread' every time).
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Ghaznavid
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Ghaznavid » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:49 pm

Justin wrote:Yup, I think that many people assume that 'metal' beats 'thread' every time).


When I started climbing I couldn't see how a sling could be rated 23kN when a metal loop on a nut is only rated 10kN, but as we all know, the multiple threads that make up a sling/harness/rope etc have all fail for a full gear failure, and there are substantially more threads in a sling than there are in the lead on a nut, never mind the solid construction of a biner where 1 tiny crack while loaded soon becomes a full break...
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:14 pm

Hi

The rescue crowd usually use a steel demi-round (semi circular) or delta (triangular) maillion in their harness, next to the belay loop. The maillion is there to attach a cow's tail/lanyard to and not as a "back up" for the belay loop.
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Ghaznavid
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Ghaznavid » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:40 am

Warren G wrote:I was always told hard against soft, but never hard against hard or soft against soft, as like cuts like.


So then surely we should tie into a locking biner and connect the biner to our harness rather than tieing in directly to a harness? I guess that's the one exception to the rule...
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Warren G » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:56 am

Ghaznavid wrote:So then surely we should tie into a locking biner and connect the biner to our harness rather than tying in directly to a harness? I guess that's the one exception to the rule...


In practice yes, however those contact points are reinforced to reduce the damage, but even so you see heavy wear there. Often a harness is retired because of the damage caused by this like with like wearing situation.
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Justin
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Justin » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:18 pm

Ghaznavid wrote:So then surely we should tie into a locking biner and connect the biner to our harness rather than tieing in directly to a harness? I guess that's the one exception to the rule...


It's an exception because you risk cross loading the locking biner during a fall (a cross loaded carabiner holds considerably less than when the biner is positioned at its strongest axis).

Top Picture - Cross loaded carabiner at harness tie in point - this is why you do not want to use a carabiner to connect to the rope (other than top roping). *I am hanging in the harness.
Now imagine taking a big whipper knowing that your tie in technique will only hold 1/3 of what it could? (if you had just simply tied in directly) :shock:

Middle picture - Carabiner strength markings on a carabiner: Normal: 25KN Side load: 7KN and Open Gate: 7KN - notice the big strength differences.

Bottom picture - Normal wear at the tie in point of a harness: This is normal wear for a harness tie in point - the first layer of protection has been worn through (with what looks like one more to go) - I consider this harness to be 100% safe (although I can see how it might bother some)
Attachments
side_load_carabiner_tie_in.jpg
Carabiner cross loaded at the tie in point - this is BAD.
side_load_carabiner_tie_in.jpg (119.35 KiB) Viewed 1723 times
carabiner_strength_markings.jpg
Carabiner strength markings
carabiner_strength_markings.jpg (47.69 KiB) Viewed 1723 times
normal_harness_wear_tie_in.jpg
Normal harness wear at on the lower tie in point.
normal_harness_wear_tie_in.jpg (89.12 KiB) Viewed 1723 times
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Ghaznavid
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby Ghaznavid » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:43 pm

It may work on an unpadded harness, seeing as that has only 1 tie in point. I have no plan to tie in with a biner - but, seeing as the average trad rope is only rated for about 5.5kN, and a break is usually at the point of least strength, surely a cross loaded biner is still more than adequate?

You wonder why they don't put some form of rated metal loops on the tie in of a harness. Maybe keeping cost/weight down, and seeing as a harness and rope only lasts around 8 years before getting thrown away, it probably wouldn't help...
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Re: NEVER use a carabiner as a belay loop

Postby shorti » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:18 am

Ghaznavid wrote:but, seeing as the average trad rope is only rated for about 5.5kN
Ah, with that compelling research, combined with the rope failure stats, we now have conclusive proof that there must be a God that loves us. :scratch:

Ghaznavid, that's not what the impact force rating means, it's how much force there will be on you when you are caught by the rope. Obviously not always the case, sometimes you fall harder and further on less rope and heavy oaks fall harder than small lighties, but it gives an indication of which ropes are more forgiving. So basically you've been buying the wrong ropes, you want a lower rating, not a higher one :bom:


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