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3 C4 lobe severely bent
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Mar 16, 2013
BAIL OF THE DAY!!!!
This past weekend I was climbing in Joshua Tree and took a fall on a #3 C4. The fall occurred approximately 45 feet up Pope's Crack, a 5.9 right-leaning crack.

The cam was placed in a parallel section of the crack, oriented 45 degrees down from the horizontal for a downward force. The cam was set far back in the crack, with at least 2 inches from the surface of the wall. A quickdraw was placed through the sling on the cam to reduce rope drag. All 4 cam lobes were engaged, and the tips of the lobes were parallel and aligned; the cam was not offset. As I climbed approximately 3 feet above the piece (i.e.: my waist knot was 3 feet above the piece) my foot slipped and I fell. My belayer gave a dynamic catch and I stopped softly approximately 12 feet below the piece.

Climbing back past the piece I noticed one of the inner cam lobes was extremely bent inward. This was quite odd to me as the cam was not placed in a flare or anywhere with a piece of rock to catch part of the cam. I backed up the piece with a #2 and continued up the pitch. Upon reaching the ground after rappelling, I noticed that the trigger wires no longer had good action on that inner lobe and required more force and 'stuck' if given normal force on the trigger.

Attached are several images of the cam. I'm posting this to hear mp's thoughts on this-experiences, strength, safety,warranty, bd, etc.

  • *UPDATE** March 18

I have been in correspondence with BD. They have been polite, honest, and upfront, as I expected. I am sending the cam in and they will get back with analysis.

Under no circumstance in my post did I say that I "expected" black diamond to compensate me for the cam, that I wasn't lucky that it held, or that the cams should be more durable.

I agree with the posters who talked about the lobes being tipped out as evidenced by the nicks on the lobe. More to come from BD most likely..

Also, REI policy is really making the thread messy. Can't control the community, but I would love (and I'm sure others would too) to see some more discussion on similar past experiences.

bent c4 1
bent c4 1


bent c4 2
bent c4 2


bent c4 3
bent c4 3


bent c4 5
bent c4 5
kipp.fo
From Los Angeles, CA
Joined Jul 23, 2012
80 points
Mar 16, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Warranty? no. you fell. It held. You're alive. Your knot 3 feet above the piece? 8 foot fall? Not a dynamic catch! At least six feet is free fall. Plus slack. Plus stretch. Should be more than 8 for sure.

Edit
Plus the scars on the lobes tell part of the story. One pair of lobes was clearly much more retracted than the other pair when the can took the load.
Greg D
From Here
Joined Apr 5, 2006
960 points
Mar 16, 2013
BAIL OF THE DAY!!!!
Greg-talked to my belayer, he said I was at least 12 feet below the piece-corrected it in the post. kipp.fo
From Los Angeles, CA
Joined Jul 23, 2012
80 points
Mar 16, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
kipp.fo wrote:
Greg-talked to my belayer, he said I was at least 12 feet below the piece-corrected it in the post.


Sounds more like it. See my edit above.
Greg D
From Here
Joined Apr 5, 2006
960 points
Mar 16, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Some pics of the blue lobes may be helpful too. Greg D
From Here
Joined Apr 5, 2006
960 points
Mar 16, 2013
Greg D wrote:
Warranty? no. you fell. It held. You're alive.


exactly. BD doesn't owe you anything. piece did it's job and judging by where the bite mark is on the bent lobe I'm surprised it held. trigger has a funny action? well look at the lobe, it's completely f**ked. Hang it up somewhere, be thankful, buy a new piece, have a cool story to tell.
generationfourth
From Irvine, CA
Joined Mar 2, 2008
16 points
Mar 16, 2013
yep you fell, it caught. buy a new one. but it looks like it was place perpendicular to the crack and caught a crystal that bent the lobe as the cam rotated with the fall. Ian Cavanaugh
Joined Sep 6, 2010
406 points
Mar 16, 2013
Lost in Space, Linville Gorge
Has anyone actually ever seen this happen before on such a small fall? It seems like BD should make cams more durable than 1 fall pieces. Garrett Harmsen
From Park City, UT
Joined Apr 3, 2012
91 points
Garret that looks like a very unique case. I have whipped on that excact same piece several times and mine has never bent or broken. When things like that do happen you thank BD for making a cam that held up to freakish twist and you hang it up in your bathroom shower or wherever and go guy a new one to replace it.
Mar 16, 2013
Garrett Harmsen wrote:
Has anyone actually ever seen this happen before on such a small fall? It seems like BD should make cams more durable than 1 fall pieces.



In a perfect world the piece would've been reusable (actually in a perfect world he wouldn't have fell but w/e) but the world is not perfect, the gear is never perfect, and the rock is never perfect. If a climber doesn't realize that they walked away with their life and can only grumble about coughing up another $65 and feel someone owes them something then maybe climbing isn't for them. compare it to skiing ($100 lift ticket a day) or auto racing (try buying a set of tires every race).
generationfourth
From Irvine, CA
Joined Mar 2, 2008
16 points
Mar 16, 2013
Imaginate
It looks like it wasn't as perfect of a placement as you thought it was. First sign is how far down the lobes and how severe the rock marks are. The cam or at least that lob was pretty tipped out, remember tight is right.

Second sign is how shiny and new the cam is :). Just kidding. It held you, it must not have been as well placed as you thought, go buy a new one.
David Appelhans
From Medford, MA
Joined Nov 11, 2007
350 points
Mar 16, 2013
Second ascent.
Send it into BD! it's worth a shot, although technically they probably owe you nothing since it really did do its job. they have replaced wires and slings for my old cams free of charge... they are cool guys so dont just assume that your shit out of luck. Daniel S Parker
From Sandy Utah
Joined Dec 13, 2011
19 points
Mar 16, 2013
Cheaper than a trip to the hospital. Devin Krevetski
From West Woodstock, VT
Joined May 3, 2008
57 points
Mar 16, 2013
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "...
Highly unlikely that this sort of thing is "defective" and lead to that. Much (astronomically) more likely that the placement was odd in some way. Not a craftsmanship or design issue - just something that happened.
If BD wants to send you a new cam, I guess they will (good luck) but don't expect much.
Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
23,510 points
Mar 16, 2013
maple canyon climb, first ice climb
It's worth sending back to them, not for your own good, but theirs. They may have something to benefit from testing the hardness of the lobe in question, but chances are they've already broken some in a similar fashion in previous tests and already know why it warped. Give em' a call. Tyson Taylor
Joined Sep 3, 2010
100 points
Mar 16, 2013
buy yr gear from REI ... its that simple ;)

send it back to BD ... let them decide what to do ...

if you fall enough youll blow out cams and nuts eventually ... i blew apart 3 of em last year ...
bearbreeder
Joined Mar 1, 2009
1,931 points
Mar 16, 2013
bearbreeder wrote:
buy yr gear from REI ... its that simple ;) send it back to BD ... let them decide what to do ... if you fall enough youll blow out cams and nuts eventually ... i blew apart 3 of em last year ...


And what exactly is REI going to do?
johnthethird
Joined Jan 6, 2012
13 points
Mar 16, 2013
Although rare, its not completely unheard of. I have a friend who bent the lobes on a #4, not nearly as bent as your piece though. I think he still uses his. johnthethird
Joined Jan 6, 2012
13 points
Mar 16, 2013
johnthethird wrote:
And what exactly is REI going to do?


theyll replace it no questions asks ...

waiting for the coming rant ;)

dont like their policy dont shop at REI =P
bearbreeder
Joined Mar 1, 2009
1,931 points
Bearbreeder wether that is a troll or not that is a pretty stupid outlook. I use Rei's policy to return things that don't work. You are talking about abusing it because it is there. That is pretty stupid.
Mar 16, 2013
J Hazard wrote:
Bearbreeder wether that is a troll or not that is a pretty stupid outlook. I use Rei's policy to return things that don't work. You are talking about abusing it because it is there. That is pretty stupid.


no thats life ... REI knows people take things back regardless ...

if you dont like it tell REI to change their policy or dont shop there ...

but then chances are that youll just whine on the internet about it and not actually write em a letter about it ;)

rei.com/help/guarantee.html

The REI Guarantee
We stand behind everything we sell. If at any time your REI purchase doesn't meet your expectations, you can return it for a replacement or refund. What's more, if you're an REI member, you don’t even need a receipt—we'll have a record of your purchase.


We have been outfitting outdoor adventurers since 1938. And in that time, we've learned a lot about what makes great gear. Our employees continually use all the gear we have to do the same activities that you do—from weekend day hikes to ascents in the Himalayas.

Plus, we listen to your feedback. All of it. Bottom line? You can count on everything we offer to be highly functional and 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Which means you can't go wrong with gear from REI.

If you're ever dissatisfied with an item, you may return or exchange your rei.com or rei-outlet.com purchases at any REI store or through mail order.
bearbreeder
Joined Mar 1, 2009
1,931 points
Mar 16, 2013
Flakes of Wrath
BS. We are all aware of what the policy say, you are not returning it because you are dissatisfied, the product did what it was supposed to. You are returning it because you are cheap, the rest of us pay for that. Likely you return a product and the. Rebuy the same product. That's not being dissatisfied with the product, the product still has the same limitations as the last one, you just want someone else to pay for your hobby. Yes, REI is aware of what you are doing, and will not stop you, their policy gets them a lot of business, I really appreciate that policy. Buying expensive gear seems like much less of a risk when you can return it if you are truly dissatisfied. Blatantly taking advantage of this policy and then bragging about it on the Internet is lame. Paul-B
Joined Mar 26, 2011
115 points
Mar 16, 2013
well word on the trail is that REI posted losses last year and they are reconsidering their lifetime guarantee/return policy. so it looks like abusers won't have that much time left to abuse... generationfourth
From Irvine, CA
Joined Mar 2, 2008
16 points
Mar 16, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
bearbreeder wrote:
no thats life ... REI knows people take things back regardless ... if you dont like it tell REI to change their policy or dont shop there ... but then chances are that youll just whine on the internet about it and not actually write em a letter about it ;) rei.com/help/guarantee.html The REI Guarantee We stand behind everything we sell. If at any time your REI purchase doesn't meet your expectations, you can return it for a replacement or refund. What's more, if you're an REI member, you don’t even need a receipt—we'll have a record of your purchase. We have been outfitting outdoor adventurers since 1938. And in that time, we've learned a lot about what makes great gear. Our employees continually use all the gear we have to do the same activities that you do—from weekend day hikes to ascents in the Himalayas. Plus, we listen to your feedback. All of it. Bottom line? You can count on everything we offer to be highly functional and 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Which means you can't go wrong with gear from REI. If you're ever dissatisfied with an item, you may return or exchange your rei.com or rei-outlet.com purchases at any REI store or through mail order.


yep. sounds like they're beggin' to replace your cam for you, kipp.
Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Joined Aug 15, 2008
357 points
Mar 16, 2013
Paul-B wrote:
BS. We are all aware of what the policy say, you are not returning it because you are dissatisfied, the product did what it was supposed to. You are returning it because you are cheap, the rest of us pay for that. Likely you return a product and the. Rebuy the same product. That's not being dissatisfied with the product, the product still has the same limitations as the last one, you just want someone else to pay for your hobby. Yes, REI is aware of what you are doing, and will not stop you, their policy gets them a lot of business, I really appreciate that policy. Buying expensive gear seems like much less of a risk when you can return it if you are truly dissatisfied. Blatantly taking advantage of this policy and then bragging about it on the Internet is lame.


do you even shop at REI ??????

let me see that letter yr writing or have written to them to get them to change this "abusive" policy

or are ya just doing some internet whining here ;)

if you dont like it ... then shop from somewhere else ... vote with your feet ... its not like REI is jacking their prices higher because of it =P

let me see the "increased price" you are paying ... show me a receipt where the regular REI price is higher than the MRSP ...

they have that policy for a reason ... and it aint because they are kind hearted souls
bearbreeder
Joined Mar 1, 2009
1,931 points
Mar 16, 2013
generationfourth wrote:
well word on the trail is that REI posted losses last year and they are reconsidering their lifetime guarantee/return policy. so it looks like abusers won't have that much time left to abuse...


that rumour has been around for years ... and years ... and years

the "word" on the street is that when MEC went to an "REI style" policy, they actually saw more business ...

but thats just the "word" ... not provable fact ;)
bearbreeder
Joined Mar 1, 2009
1,931 points


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