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Does webbing deteriorate?
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By Corey27
Mar 11, 2013
So I'm not exactly a new climber, but still pretty much a beginner. The last time I did any trad was about 15 years ago. I'm replacing all my slings (tricams & friends slings too) to be safe(r). My question is, does this stuff really go bad? It's been coiled, stored clean and dry in a bag indoors, and probably only ever had ~12 uses. Would it necessarily show any outward signs of decay? It all looks pretty good.

Thanks so much!
~C

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By Greg D
From Here
Mar 11, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Yes, all soft goods deteriorate over time. Usage and uv rays will speed up the process. But, your stuff is still fine... minimal usage, stored indoors. I wouldn't think twice about it.

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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Mar 11, 2013
Once you have Black, you will fear to go back...
supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2...

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By BCA
From michigan
Mar 11, 2013
from what i've read, it appears that ten years of stored life is the maximum recommendation from rope manufacturers. i would personally not use slings that haven't been used in 15 years, even from storage.
as far as outward decay, i don't think that it would necessarily show, but that doesn't mean its good. im no UIAA official, but i would bet that the nylon in question doesn't rate what it did when it was made.

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By Greg D
From Here
Mar 11, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
BCA wrote:
from what i've read, it appears that ten years of stored life is the maximum recommendation from rope manufacturers.


Beal ropes recommends 15 years of total usage and storage combined. I'm sure this is conservative as it should be from a manufacturer. But, the condition of the gear is a major factor. Sounds like your stuff is in like new condition.

But, webbing is cheap and reslinging cams costs only about 5 dollars each. So, do what helps you sleep at night.

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By BCA
From michigan
Mar 11, 2013
well, after looking around some more i stand corrected. it appears that there have been some drop tests performed on stored ropes that reveal little degradation in the ropes over time if they are not used. i was basing my ten year argument on the booklet that comes with edelweiss ropes and sterling ropes. i still wouldn't feel super comfy about it, but apparently i might be thinking too conservatively...though slings are fairly inexpensive, as greg stated. happy climbing.

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By john strand
From southern colo
Mar 11, 2013
If you question it.. replace it

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By ChaseLeoncini
From San Diego, California
May 20, 2013
El Cajon Mtn. Leonids. 5.9.
Whats webbing a buck for two feet? 7 or so for stitched. I'd buy it just so i wouldn't be worried about it 10 feet from my last pro.

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By Ryan Kempf
From Boulder, CO
May 20, 2013
Ryan on the Sharks Fin wishing he was on Mt. White...
Ur def gonna die!

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By Woodchuck ATC
May 20, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Yes, UV damage and running over sharp edges is the worst for it..Otherwise most web lasts for many many climbing seasons of use.

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By Daniel Winder
May 20, 2013
Caprinae monkey wrote:
testing it?

I doubt there's any way to do a meaningful test on the sling without destroying it.

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By teece303
From Highlands Ranch, CO
May 20, 2013
Aiding. Photo by Locker.
Let's revive the zombie thread.

All of the official recommendation are around 10 years max life, even if just stored.

The interesting thing is that this is not a thoroughly tested thing. The real answer is, no one knows how strong old slings are.

I have seen studies that show old ropes are WAY stronger than we give them credit for. I remember seeing the BD pull tests on old slings: more or less the same story.

These were all old, USED gear. I'd be really curious to see a real scientific study of stored slings and ropes. My hunch is that they are just fine.

But when people's lives are on the line, you have to be conservative.

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By BSheriden
May 20, 2013
Caprinae monkey wrote:
Either way sounds bad - being wasteful and spending money/creating trash on slings that don't need replacing, or to climb on slings that don't work. What about a third alternative - testing it? Maybe go to a home/apt gym or monkey bars... hammock holder... over the door pull up bar, and girth hitching the sling, and then cliping to your harness and putting weight on it, maybe even swinging. Sure it isn't a "fall" but will at least show if it can hold body weight. That way you can feel better about it. The supertopo failed sling failed on body weight, and sliced "like butter." I don't know if deteriorated slings lose strength incrementally, or all at once. Maybe get TWO people to weight that one sling. Would putting weight on the sling weaken it? We on the internet don't really know your slings, so it may be best to test it. In the supertopo story, that sling did not hold bodyweight even, and sliced "like butter." It was an outdoor sling, much like an outdoor cat. That guy had no way of testing it, except to provide a backup. I guess for me the moral of that story is, to take leaver slings. You'll have peace of mind when rapping, and ... you won't have any 15 y.o. slings lying around unused.


Hahaha wtf? Dumbest advice ever....

What is testing a sling with your body weight gonna tell you? That it can hold 160 lbs? I would NEVER fall on a piece of gear that could only hold 160 lbs so your advice doesnt really tell you anything meaningful.... Would you really take a lead fall on a piece of gear simply because it can hold your body weight hanging from the monkey bars? I hope you aren't serious and if you are I hope you have some mentors that can teach you a thing or two about climbing before you kill yourself.

But back on topic I would bet the slings are fine, we found an old Goldline rope from the 60 or 70s(whenever those things were made) that had been sitting outside since then(out of direct sun exposure) and it still broke at close to 3,000 lbs if I remember correctly. Like others have said climbing gear is stronger than you think but if it is really worrying you its cheap enough to replace. You would still trust a nylon seatbelt from the 70s right?

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By Greg D
From Here
May 21, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Caprinae monkey wrote:
Either way sounds bad - being wasteful and spending money/creating trash on slings that don't need replacing, or to climb on slings that don't work. What about a third alternative - testing it? Maybe go to a home/apt gym or monkey bars... hammock holder... over the door pull up bar, and girth hitching the sling, and then cliping to your harness and putting weight on it, maybe even swinging. Sure it isn't a "fall" but will at least show if it can hold body weight. That way you can feel better about it. The supertopo failed sling failed on body weight, and sliced "like butter." I don't know if deteriorated slings lose strength incrementally, or all at once. Maybe get TWO people to weight that one sling. Would putting weight on the sling weaken it? We on the internet don't really know your slingss, so it may be best to test it. In the supertopo story, that sling did not hold bodyweight even, and sliced "like butter." It was an outdoor sling, much like an outdoor cat. That guy had no way of testing it, except to provide a backup. I guess for me the moral of that story is, to take leaver slings. You'll have peace of mind when rapping, and ... you won't have any 15 y.o. slings lying around unused.



Terrible advice. You must not be good at math.

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By Alex Bury
From Ojai, CA
May 21, 2013
'Mystical Weapons'
Ryan Kempf wrote:
Ur def gonna die!

MP at its best.

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By Mike Rowley
From Boise, Idaho
May 21, 2013
Yes. Webbing deteriorates. Several weekends ago, a friend of mine who frequents The Creek was climbing some tower in the Bridger Jacks and when her 170lb male climbing partner weighted the rope to rap down, the webbing anchor snapped. He fell about 20 ft onto a ledge. I believe that he broke several ribs, and was a bit beat up but otherwise alright. Moral of this short story is: Dont trust old webbing. Its super cheap and easy to bring a little extra with you in case you need to replace some tat.

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By Corey27
May 21, 2013
Thanks for the advice all. I went ahead and replaced all the webbing. Like Chase said, it's 4 bucks a sling. And like Robert De Niro said, whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.

Interestingly enough it was my 5 year old, dry stored, toprope only rope that broke...

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By Woodchuck ATC
May 21, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
IF my slings are being used as lead climbing single runners, then I check for wear and use, replace more often. As lengthy sections of toprope anchors, I continue to use double identical length slings for each section of my set up,,,and with no edge wear I will use them endlessly since I've got double strength and double carabiners at each attachment for backup. Only UV and visible wear will get them replaced in less than 10 years, and this has worked well for nearly 40 years of climbing

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
May 21, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
Caprinae monkey wrote:
If the webbing is gonna break at 22kN, it's gonna break at 1kN


Huh?

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By BSheriden
May 21, 2013
Caprinae monkey wrote:
BSheridan, you have a really mean streak, probably related to a crappy life. I can't say it's the "dumbest advice ever"... you got a better idea? Also, Greg, not to make this a math-off, but I'm pretty darn good at math. I don't really see how your advice is more helpful. Ok so you concluded his stuff is fine from his description. But descriptions of an item is not as useful as the actual item's condition. So if it is fine as you concluded, how about he get some peace of mind while actually seeing it under at least some strain? I'd say anecdotal advice of other people's webbing and tests, and even the suggested "visual inspection" is less effective. Other advice here runs to "other webbing" - anecdotes of other webbing which has been exposed to UV or not. We're not talking about OTHER webbing. We're talking about this guy's specific pieces. Mfg specs and tests say one thing, but that is a general recommendation. My point is to go one step past a pure visual inspection. I actually think it's safer than the visual inspection recommended or suggested. While this test isn't ideal, a visual test does even less. Contemplating whether similarly aged webbing breaks or not, from the internet, is not helpful. At least when you put your weight on it you can see it stretching or small fibers breaking, if it has been exposed to corrosive substances, UV light, or is in the process of decay. The webbing is composed of many strands of nylon, it's the cohesive sum that makes it as strong as it is. If some of the nylon strands start to break, then you know it's bad; no, the whole thing is not going to rip with 1kN but a few strands will. If the webbing is gonna break at 22kN, it's gonna break at 1kN, at least show some signs of strain. So, if it breaks or strains at 1kN, it's better to find out when you are on the ground, than when you actually need it. If it does hold at 1kN, there's a better chance it will hold at whatever it is rated for, I'm using 22kN b/c that's what my runners are rated for. Usually when there is deterioration due to UV, chemicals, bugs or decay, it's not gonna hold one kN, not even close. If none of those are present, it's likely close to full mfg strength. The only way to truly test its strength, is by breaking it. But then it's broken. Sure, this 1kN test may provide some observer effect en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer... but it's much more minor than testing it at 22kN. How is he supposed to do that? So I kind of take offense to that this is "dumb advice" because I don't see you providing better advice other than to point to mfg specs. It really has to do w/ the environment, which none of us know except what he told us. And I know that 1kN is approx 225 lbs.. I don't know how much this guy weighs but I'm using this as a rough estimate, lest I get accused of being terrible at math again. Seriously, is this post nerdy sounding enough for you? EDIT: PLUS by holding bodyweight, at least he can rappel from the webbing, the supertopo story above, and the story below are all from rapping issues.


Sorry if I am "being mean" and hurt your feelings but you are giving advice that could potentially injure/kill someone. Not only are you giving HORRIBLE advice but you write a super long winded response acting like you have some idea that you know what you are talking about..... I will repeat what I said before and suggest you get some instruction from a knowledgeable source before you seriously injure yourself or a partner.

Caprinae monkey wrote:
Usually when there is deterioration due to UV, chemicals, bugs or decay, it's not gonna hold one kN, not even close. If none of those are present, it's likely close to full mfg strength.


Not true. At all. PLEASE stop giving people advice when you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Webbing does not "either break well below 1kn or is likely close to full mfg strength." You do not know what you are talking about so why do you continue to spout off information like you are knowledgeable on the subject?

My advice was; the slings are most likely fine but if you are at all concerned about them replace them because they are cheap and its worth the piece of mind. I am basing my recommendation off of the the several published tests of old slings(that have been stored properly) still breaking at close to full strength. I am NOT hanging my body weight off playground equipment and concluding the slings are "good enough" to rappel off of. *face palm*

Caprinae monkey wrote:
The only way to truly test its strength, is by breaking it. But then it's broken. How is he supposed to do that?


Pretty simple really.... Send ONE of your many slings to someone with a pull tester and see what strength it breaks at. Then it would be reasonably safe to assume all your other slings are also close to that same value.

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By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 21, 2013
Courtright Reservoir, September 2013
Webbing is cheap, disfigurement is expensive.

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By Daniel Winder
May 21, 2013
Caprinae monkey wrote:
I actually think it's safer than the visual inspection recommended or suggested. While this test isn't ideal, a visual test does even less.... At least when you put your weight on it you can see it stretching or small fibers breaking


Huh? Sorry to keep giving you a hard time Caprinae, but like others have said you are giving poor advice based on nothing but your opinion.

Mike Rowley wrote:
Moral of this short story is: Dont trust old webbing. Its super cheap and easy to bring a little extra with you in case you need to replace some tat.


Listen to Mike's advice

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By BSheriden
May 21, 2013
Daniel Winder wrote:
Huh? Sorry to keep giving you a hard time Caprinae, but like others have said you are giving poor advice based on nothing but your opinion. Listen to Mike's advice


Thank you! Not only is she giving poor advice but she is trying to say it with authority like she knows what she is talking about.

I really hope no one is listening to her and that she gets some proper instruction before she injures herself or a partner.

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By Rohan de Launey
From South Lake Tahoe
May 21, 2013
Luther Spires
10yr rule seems like the sell by date on packaged goods at the store... More quality control and liability issues than an actual representation of the safeness of the food for consumption. And they want you to buy more stuff after ten years... Send out the worst looking piece for testing If ur scared..

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By Ana Tine
May 21, 2013
Fine! You guys win.... I was only making a suggestion. You're right, in light of liability issues, I'm retracting all posts related to this matter. Please delete all quotes accordingly. Corey27, throw all your old webbing away. It's costing more in time and speculation than new webbing will cost.

BSheridan, you think there is "instruction" on webbing? I can read mfg 'recommendations' like everyone else. And it's not always the exact time. E.g. sometimes my milk expires before the due date, sometimes after the due date. Sometimes, I buy two half-gallons of milk but for some reason one goes sour before the other. How I find out my milk is sour is by smelling it.

Send 1 to a mfg for testing? How much do you think they will charge for this requested strength test? He might as well buy a whole new set of webbing. And with age and variables one is not like the other. As above, two of the "same thing" is not exactly the same. Sometimes one piece fails and not the other.

Before I kill "someone" ... well considering all my webbing was mfg'd in 2012 or 2011 it's not really my webbing problem. As above, Corey should just invest in some new slings. But he wanted to see if there were any alternatives.

I don't know why that is worse than "not thinking twice about it":

Greg D
Mar 11, 2013
Yes, all soft goods deteriorate over time. Usage and uv rays will speed up the process. But, your stuff is still fine... minimal usage, stored indoors. I wouldn't think twice about it.

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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
May 21, 2013
Bunny pancake
Daniel Winder wrote:
Huh? Sorry to keep giving you a hard time Caprinae, but like others have said you are giving poor advice based on nothing but your opinion. Listen to Mike's advice


Sorry Monkey, I would have to agree with everyone in this thread. The advice you are giving is way off base, dangerous and is flat out wrong.

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