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booty cams! free vs. aid vs. won't touch
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By alpinista83
From San Francisco, CA
Jun 20, 2011
Levitating
Over the years I have collected a ton of booty gear beach combing the base of El Cap and going on recon missions up gear sucking beginner routes.

I showed a buddy of mine my booty rack recently and he scoffed in horror when he heard that I climb with the pro that I've found hanging from trees or stuck in cracks.

I haven't accrued quite enough personally financed and complimentary gear to have my free and clean aid climbing racks separated. I most certainly use booty gear on routes where I'm just yarding on metal. On occasion, sure, I'm even using booty gear to free climb when I need an extra piece or two or three of a requisite size.

He looked at me like I was asking for a death wish. I ask him about the times he's spent in the creek using a massive consolidation of gear from friends and strangers and asked him if he knew the history behind every single cam he placed on Jolly Rancher. Right.

Questions I pose to you:

Are you hyper sensitive about the cams you use? For free climbing? Less so when aid climbing? What's the most mank non-passive pro you've found that you've kept on your rack and have been satisfied with its performance? Do you retire booty gear that visually looks okay? Have you ever taken pro to someone to have it tested beyond visual inspection? Why?

If you big wall clean aid and free climb, have you found yourself investing in a free climbing only rack to prolong the life of your gear? The C1 abuse my aliens have been taking this season is, I think, almost enough to warrant retiring them from big walls.

I searched around the forums. I don't think I'm resurrecting a deadbeat topic. Apologies if so. Send me reference links and I'll shut up.

Also, I buy a lot of gear from the MP community. "Never taken big falls". Sure, whatever. Pictures look all right. I'll take it!

Cheers,
Gear Curious

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jun 20, 2011
El Chorro
I"ve bought the following used from various places, usually didn't know much history:

Blue-Orange Aliens, 2000 stamp
Red Metolius 4CU
1-2 BD camalots
Full set BD stoppers
Full set RP nuts
Loads of biners

I've found or bootied the following:

Camp locking biner
Petzl Atache locker
3.8 HB Wales Quadcam
.5 BD Camalot
4,5,7 BD stoppers
7 WC Rock
10 DMM Walnut
Camp belay plate
Several nylon runners
Loads more biners

I use all of that stuff on a regular basis. Can't say that I've fallen on all of the gear but also can't say that I think about it at all. I think most gear can be visually inspected easily enough and I try to never trust my life to one piece of gear. Obviously you can't do that w/ the biners/belay plate but those things don't break because they are old... they only break if you misuse them.

Tell your friend... to each his own. If you like climbing on the gear then climb on it.

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By TomCaldwell
From Clemson, S.C.
Jun 20, 2011
Me on One Pitch Wonder at Whitesides.  Photo credi...
I will gladly use booty gear, used gear, or gear I don't know the complete history of, because its easy to visually inspect. I have bought a few cams from ebay from someone that said they did not take lead falls on, but after I got them I did not believe this anymore. There were definitely some notches in the lobes which are indicative of a lead fall, but gear is still good after lead falls! Micro-fractures are a myth also. So as long as the gear cables aren't frayed, rusted, or severely kinked, it is probably safe to say your ok. Like Ryan said, don't trust your life to just one piece.

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By colin tuck
From Fairbanks
Jun 20, 2011
I only use booty gear to protect routes I know I won't fall on.

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By Michael Ybarra
From on the road
Jun 20, 2011
 Trad gumby tries to go sport on the Lion King, Ja...
This whole post smacks of someone bored at work on a Monday, in which case you can afford to buy yourself whatever gear you want. So why not just leave the booty for the real dirtbags? : )

On the other hand, if you want more, just visit Tahquitz. In two days climbing there last week, I could have put together a new rack if I had had a nut tool to do a little cleaning with. Mostly mank, sure, but a couple of nice new C4s on some of the more popular trade routes.

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By alpinista83
From San Francisco, CA
Jun 20, 2011
Levitating
Touche.

Just trying to figure out whether I should sell all this unnecessary booty gear to get shiny new gear for just my yuppie, posh free climbing. :)

Not really one for making up stories, but it also feels a bit sketch writing, "FS cams. No idea if they've had falls. Look at the pics if you want 'em."

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By 1Eric Rhicard
Jun 20, 2011
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo
I would use them. If I sold them I would be up front and honest about them being bootied. Then the buyer can decide.

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By Tom Fralich
From Fort Collins, CO
Jun 20, 2011
Michael Ybarra wrote:
Mostly mank, sure, but a couple of nice new C4s on some of the more popular trade routes.


Those C4's are mine, so you can return them at your convenience. You can keep the mank.

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By BrianH
From Santa Fe NM
Jun 21, 2011
Bob's Been to Joshua Tree!
"This whole post smacks of someone bored at work on a Monday"

That describes about 85% of the content on the internet. Who can get enough cute kitties?

Why are micro-cracks a myth? I'm no materials engineer, but the concept seems sound. I've heard of materials labs that will examine gear with an electron microscope for suck cracks. Are they a rip-off?

Because I'm such a sissy climber, I've never taken a lead fall (there I've said it), but I might be concerned about using such gear in a high fall potential situation.

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By Dominion Rognstad
From Houston. From Boone, NC
Oct 6, 2011
In the Grand Tetons 2010.
BrianH wrote:
Why are micro-cracks a myth? I'm no materials engineer, but the concept seems sound. I've heard of materials labs that will examine gear with an electron microscope for suck cracks.


What I've heard is that microcracks are actually more relevant in high temperature applications for aluminum. Think jet turbines and such. This makes since if microfractures change the heat expansion characteristics enough to cause failure. You should still inspect biners for hairline fractures which are visible though.

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By wankel7
From Indiana
Oct 6, 2011
Dominion Rognstad wrote:
What I've heard is that microcracks are actually more relevant in high temperature applications for aluminum. Think jet turbines and such. This makes since if microfractures change the heat expansion characteristics enough to cause failure. You should still inspect biners for hairline fractures which are visible though.


If there was aluminum in the turbine section of a jet engine...I would recommend not flying in that jet.

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By Copperhead
Oct 6, 2011
I'd be most concerned about any of the slings on bootied cams or outright bootied slings, if you have any. You can inspect cables and most of the metal for damage, but the slings can be damaged, invisibly, by heat or chemicals.

I've used bootied nuts and carabiners as bail anchors, and despite what I said above, I used a brand new looking 7mm cordolette that I found at the top of a popular top roping area, which looked like it had been dropped since it was shortened up and clipped to a locker. I eventually used it as a bail anchor.

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By Rob Dillon
Oct 6, 2011
Stop the presses! this guy used a DROPPED CORDELETTE.

I wouldn't climb with him. What if it had microcracks? Maybe the previous owner bought it on sale? Had it been used in the daytime? Dirty? non-pretty colors...

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By JPVallone
Oct 6, 2011
Rob Dillon wrote:
Stop the presses! this guy used a DROPPED CORDELETTE. I wouldn't climb with him. What if it had microcracks? Maybe the previous owner bought it on sale? Had it been used in the daytime? Dirty? non-pretty colors...


I would get an x-ray of that cordelette ASAP, that's the only way you can truly see those microcracks.

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By Eric Fjellanger
Oct 6, 2011
Me on top of Chianti Spire
As far as I can tell, the concern is silly. Does anyone have any data on broken cams? Or even ANECDOTES? Besides aliens and link cams.

I think people who shy away from used gear generally just don't know what they're talking about. If I look at the cam and it looks okay, then it IS okay, it can go on the rack and I won't think about it ever again.

Pretty soon someone will bust out the "yeah but how much is your life worth?" line and the thread will have officially reached the lowest common denominator.

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By Brice Harris
Oct 6, 2011
I've whipped a few times on .75 that I spent over a year trying to remove from a line (I only climbed it a few times, just spread out). Its an old fat tri cam. I love that thing.

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Oct 6, 2011
Eric Fjellanger wrote:
Pretty soon someone will bust out the "yeah but how much is your life worth?" line and the thread will have officially reached the lowest common denominator.

I will rephrase my original thought, then. However, despite you're characterization of that argument, it's still the bottom line.

Anyways, the OP described two VERY different scenarios for finding gear: the base of the Captain--meaning who knows how far they fell--and gear stuck on beginner climbs. IMHO, you can't begin to compare the two. Stuck cam on Munginella. No problem. If the sling looks ratty, replace it. A cam or biner dropped from the Shield headwall? I'll pass. A rock dropped that distance would explode. I'm no metallurgist, but I have to assume it's going to have the potential to cause serious, if unseen, damage. Why risk it? After all...

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By SmithVentures
From Fayetteville, Arkansas
Oct 6, 2011
Bouldering at Flag Rock, Norton, VA
I've heard that you can take climbing gear to a hospital and they'll x-ray it for free to check for damage, at least Holston Valley Medical in Tn does. You could always try this route with used gear.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Oct 6, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
I will only climb on bootied Aliens. I have two on the rack, a blue and a grey. I bootied a purple years back and sold it. My thinking is if there is no body at the base of the route and the Alien is still stuck in the crack, then it must be OK to use.

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By Eric Fjellanger
Oct 7, 2011
Me on top of Chianti Spire
I would be very interested to hear a story from anybody about gear that fell a long way to the deck, and looked fine, but later failed because of the fall.

Maybe there are such stories! I don't know. I have never heard one. Data suggests aluminum gear does not work this way.

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By Brice Harris
Oct 7, 2011
Oh yeah, I use an ATC guide that got dropped of the first pitch of a climb(never let women borrow your gear). I'm not sure what terminal velocity is for gear, but my guess is it doesn't take much distance to reach it. Visual inspection showed no issues, infact I watched it hit the ground about 2 feet from me. It's been probably 3 years since that happened and its caught a lot of falls since then.

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By doligo
Oct 7, 2011
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
Brice Harris wrote:
never let women borrow your gear

that was unnecessary.
though to perpetuate your misogyny, I also have dropped my Reverso3 from 700 feet and am still using it. It had some sharp edges from bouncing off the rock, but I filed them out and it's been fine. The mechanism of action of belay is not a big deal, IMO, to worry about the mythical microfractures. Heck, if I were worried about them, I'd worry about rappels, but come think about it, I've done many lengthy rappels with my R3 and the heat has probably molded whatever microfractures had existed if any...

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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Oct 7, 2011
dolgio wrote:
that was unnecessary. though to perpetuate your misogyny, I also have dropped my Reverso3 from 700 feet and am still using it. It had some sharp edges from bouncing off the rock, but I filed them out and it's been fine.


Last weekend I was standing at the base of a climb and something red fell out of the sky, hit a rock, and shot like a bullet right between me and my partner. It was an ATC guide falling from the route next to us. It was dropped by a woman.

To clarify, I don't think women are more likely to be butter-fingers than men. I think it's just that there is a larger percentage of climber boyfriends bringing their girlfriend (or girl they want to be friends with) climbing outside for the first time in their life than the other way around.

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Oct 7, 2011
I've been really intrigued by the responses. I guess the more we know about gear, the more comfortable we are giving it the benefit of the doubt.

I'm curious though whether any of you using dropped gear have standards about what type of dropped gear they'll use. For example, lots of you are obviously comfortable using dropped cams or belay devices, but what about biners?

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By Brice Harris
Oct 7, 2011
dolgio wrote:
that was unnecessary.


Totally. But it was funny.

In reality I let women, men, vagrants, children, etc borrow gear all the time. I like seeing people climb, and if that costs me a few pieces of gear here and there then I'm ok with that. I'd rather get people into the sport, or at least outside doing things that are more involved with the world they live in.

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Oct 7, 2011
johnL wrote:
There is an oft cited Black Diamond test where they took a bunch of gear from the base of walls, stuff that had sustained 2 and 3 thousand foot falls and they pull tested it. All the gear that looked fine and worked fine held what it was rated to hold or more.

Never saw that one. Good to know. I guess it's also nice to have some tests to backup all the posters on this thread and their very unscientific 'looks fine to me' approach.

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