Retire your old soft gear. Dont sell it to some unsuspecting newbie!

Post here for all your gear questions, rants and raves. Ask about gear before you buy it and find out what others are using. NOTE: this forum is NOT for gear sales.

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Real Name: Wesley

Retire your old soft gear. Dont sell it to some unsuspecting newbie!

Post by Wes » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:17 am

Most soft gear (Ropes, harnesses, dog-bones, sling etc) are quoted a maximum lifetime of 10 years by manufacturers, even if it has been sitting in a cupboard and never been used, they recommend retiring it.

I have seen far to many posts recently selling old gear that should clearly be retired. This gear should be cut up and thrown away. It is irresponsible and is risking someones life. If you want to push the lifetime of your own gear, by all means do so, but don't sell it to some unsuspecting newbie who has no idea about these things.

Please be responsible, this is a sport that needs to be taken very seriously.

Here is one of the many articles show results of testing old gear. ... draws.html

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Re: Retire your old soft gear. Dont sell it to some unsuspecting newbie!

Post by Stu » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:52 am

Why don't the companies state this more clearly then! If 10 years is the limit, then it should be stated so in big wording on the packaging...
Are you telling me that my Roca 10mm that has been sitting in my cupboard all this time should be thrown away?

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Real Name: Peter Hedley-Smith
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Re: Retire your old soft gear. Dont sell it to some unsuspecting newbie!

Post by PeterHS » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:03 pm

Thanks again for this post and the similar one elsewhere.

It is in the climbing manufacturer's interests to encourage you to buy more ..... but safety is paramount. I am sure my MR colleagues will have some thoughts and comments. I note that some of the soft material mentioned in the BD test article is gear left outdoors on the mountain in the sun and elements. I do think it makes a huge difference where the soft gear has been - there's bound to be a large impact on useable life between gear that has been left in sun and rain and that kept clean and stored dirt-free and with a known fall history. I will rarely if ever use 'tat' and carry climbing tape and maillons if I need bail.

Remember too that hard gear is not always reliable too. You'll see my recent post in General Postings about a sport hanger breaking from a planned 2.5m fall. I hit the ground from some 15-16m as a result. Fortunately, I am alive to post here....

Take care,

Last edited by PeterHS on Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Retire your old soft gear. Dont sell it to some unsuspecting newbie!

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:30 pm

As far as I know the 10 year thing is as a result of an arbitrary decision taken by BlueWater Ropes when pressed on how long their ropes could survive in correct storage. It's mostly for insurance companies. It was subsequently adopted in the rope access industry and is now fairly ubiquitous.

In rescue we adhere to a 10 year max life span from purchase or 5 years in service, whichever comes first for all soft gear. In practice gear rarely makes it that long and we retire ropes, slings and cord much more frequently.

In a recreational context, it's up to you, the end user, to make the decision for yourself. Are you happy using the gear or not? If you get it from someone you trust then great, but that doesn't make them at fault for selling/lending/giving it to you, the final decision is yours. When I started climbing, everything I used was a hand-me-down from older friends. It all worked fine and I'm still here.

In short, look at it carefully, and make an informed decision and then be prepared to deal with the consequences if any.
Happy climbing

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