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QC Lab—The Dangers Of Modifying Your Gear
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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 28, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

rgold wrote:
BITD, swami belts allowed you to spin the rope to the side so you got neither abrasion nor resistance from it. Sometimes, newer isn't always better.


EricSchmidt wrote:
Nope, harnesses are still better than swami belts. Always.

The emphasis is mine.

Matt Toensing wrote:
I have frayed harnesses and core shot ropes at the knot from heinous squeeze...


To add to the (really mild) comment that newer is not always better, we have here an example illustrating the fact that universal generalizations are often false---unless of course you think a set-up that frays your tie-in system and core-shots your rope is better than one that doesn't.


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By Pete Spri
Mar 28, 2013

Guy Keesee wrote:
but those crazy brits have been belaying off the rope loop for decades ... im not aware of people dying because of it ... perhaps there is a real life failure people talk about? I know of a fatility, at the Needles, cause of tying into the rope loop. I guess this poor fellow was in the habit of using the rope loop and belay loop sort of interchangebly. He was "anchored in" throgh the rope loop this time. A sudden storm started to hit... as is common... he tossed on his jacket and lowered his partner to him and they started to set up a Rap. When he untied the rope from his harness he was gone. His PAS was only clipped into the rope loop... Sad turn of events. RIP


This bears repeating. For Rgold supposedly always talking about safety and even theoretical safety, to me it's just irresponsible to talk about loading the inside of a knot. Sure, maybe there aren't any issues when used to tie into the harness, but if someone else sees you doing it, it's easy to see that it could be taken that "loading the inside of a knot with a capsizing force is not a problem."

Better to stick with general knot principles, and putting a knot in a capsizing position is foolish. There are more elegant solutions out there.


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By Ian Stewart
Mar 28, 2013

Spri wrote:
This bears repeating. For Rgold supposedly always talking about safety and even theoretical safety, to me it's just irresponsible to talk about loading the inside of a knot. Sure, maybe there aren't any issues when used to tie into the harness, but if someone else sees you doing it, it's easy to see that it could be taken that "loading the inside of a knot with a capsizing force is not a problem." Better to stick with general knot principles, and putting a knot in a capsizing position is foolish. There are more elegant solutions out there.


That incident had nothing to do with a knot capsizing. He was attached to the anchor via a PAS tied to his rope loop then he untied his rope.


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By Pete Spri
Mar 28, 2013

Right, that one did not capsize. It was used as an equavalent belay loop, which is EXACTLY what RGold and others are recommending. And mistakes happened with that system.

That is the point.

My point about capsizing is that it is bad to load a knot where the strands are being pulled apart. Most people know this. Will it lead to certain death when using this system as a second belay loop? Probably not. Is it a good practice to load a knot in such a way? I can think of no reason to do this when there are better solutions.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Mar 28, 2013

What's knot capsizing?


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By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Mar 28, 2013
CoR

Spri wrote:
Better to stick with general knot principles, and putting a knot in a capsizing position is foolish. There are more elegant solutions out there.


Math doesn't lie.


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By Aric Datesman
Mar 28, 2013

Just spitballing here, but have we become such a consumer-oriented society that even the thought of thinking for one's self is scary?

Yeah, some loop knots don't do well when ring loaded. But there are ways to mitigate this, as well as other knots that don't mind it one bit.

SMH.


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By Ian Stewart
Mar 28, 2013

Spri wrote:
Right, that one did not capsize. It was used as an equavalent belay loop, which is EXACTLY what RGold and others are recommending. And mistakes happened with that system. That is the point. My point about capsizing is that it is bad to load a knot where the strands are being pulled apart. Most people know this. Will it lead to certain death when using this system as a second belay loop? Probably not. Is it a good practice to load a knot in such a way? I can think of no reason to do this when there are better solutions.


RGold wasn't recommending using the rope loop as a belay loop, he just said that's what he's been doing for years (among other practices that many would frown upon). So far the only "recommendations" of using the rope loop that I've seen here have been from those UK climbing articles for situations where they don't load the inside of the knot (since the forces are parallel to the rope).

I am genuinely curious: with a properly tied and backed-up figure-8, how much force would be required for it to capsize? Could it even capsize?

I'm not disagreeing with you though: I've never once clipped into my rope loop, and I think it's silly to do so when there's a much better and safer solution available. I was just pointing out that your original response had nothing to do with the story you quoted.

I'm sure rgold understands the risk of what he's doing, and he accepts that. Taking responsibility for your own actions and possible consequences is one of the games of climbing. Just because you do something doesn't mean you're encouraging others to do the same.


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By Pete Spri
Mar 28, 2013

rging wrote:
Math doesn't lie.

That's my point. Why mess with something like this that adds more error to the system. Not worth it. KISS.


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By Aric Datesman
Mar 28, 2013

Spri, I don't have a dog in this fight, but just between us, now's the time you realize you're out of your depth.

And not to blow up RGold's skirt, but do you even know who he is? Sometimes it's best to listen, and he's one worth listening to.


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By bearbreeder
Mar 28, 2013

Guy Keesee wrote:
but those crazy brits have been belaying off the rope loop for decades ... im not aware of people dying because of it ... perhaps there is a real life failure people talk about? I know of a fatility, at the Needles, cause of tying into the rope loop. I guess this poor fellow was in the habit of using the rope loop and belay loop sort of interchangebly. He was "anchored in" throgh the rope loop this time. A sudden storm started to hit... as is common... he tossed on his jacket and lowered his partner to him and they started to set up a Rap. When he untied the rope from his harness he was gone. His PAS was only clipped into the rope loop... Sad turn of events. RIP Personally I like to keep everything simple... the belay loop is for belaying and rappelling only. Figure Eight tie in knott EKD to join ropes for the decent. If my belay loop is frayed... time for a new harness.


Thats not a failure of the rope loop, but improper technique

The person could simply have girth hitched the safety to the tie in points or belay loop like everyone else does

Obviously one shouldnt put ones safety on the rope loop if one is untying to set up a rap .... Any experienced climber will know this


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 28, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

Spri wrote:
For Rgold supposedly always talking about safety and even theoretical safety, to me it's just irresponsible to talk about loading the inside of a knot. Sure, maybe there aren't any issues when used to tie into the harness, but if someone else sees you doing it, it's easy to see that it could be taken that "loading the inside of a knot with a capsizing force is not a problem." Better to stick with general knot principles, and putting a knot in a capsizing position is foolish. There are more elegant solutions out there.


Here is a video of ring-loaded knots capsizing under slow pulling. The two knots that don't capsize when the machine reaches its limit of 700 kg are the figure-8 loop with no backup and a bowline backed up by an overhand knot. The knots that do capsize are figure-8's with various ill-advised "Yosemite" finishes.


So, there's nothing "irresponsible" about mentioning belaying off a figure-8 backed up with a barrel knot. the BMC, which is hardly in the business of irresponsibility, has recommended it for years, and Chris Harmston, the BD quality control engineer who I learned it from, knows more than most of the rest of the people on this thread put together.

Using the example of someone who ties a tether to the rope loop rather than to the belay loop or their harness tie-in points is completely irrelevant. There is hardly a practice in climbing that can't be turned into something fatal by doing it all wrong. Nothing will pass the safety test if such blunders are evidence of unsuitability.

Spri wrote:
My point about capsizing is that it is bad to load a knot where the strands are being pulled apart. Most people know this. Will it lead to certain death when using this system as a second belay loop? Probably not. Is it a good practice to load a knot in such a way? I can think of no reason to do this when there are better solutions.


It isn't bad to load a knot that way if it doesn't capsize under the loads in question, otherwise no one would be using the EDK, which is in constant international use.

The fact that Spri can't think of any reasons to belay off the rope loop doesn't mean there aren't reasons. And how can he be sure "there are better solutions" if he can't think of any problems being solved?

Just for the record: you don't belay off the rope loop because the harness loop might be suspect. The harness loop isn't suspect unless you push your harness multiple times beyond its normal lifetime, at which point every part of it is suspect. You belay off the rope loop because it transmits the load directly to the anchor without violently twisting the belayer while pulling the harness points in opposite directions under potentially high loads.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Mar 28, 2013

bearbreeder wrote:
Thats not a failure of the rope loop, but improper technique The person could simply have girth hitched the safety to the tie in points or belay loop like everyone else does Obviously one shouldnt put ones safety on the rope loop if one is untying to set up a rap .... Any experienced climber will know this

While you are technically correct, certain knots or techniques required more attention than others, and in my view, that's unnecessary and can be dangerous. For example, tie in with Bowline. John Long is certainly experience enough to know what to do, yet he messed up and paid dearly for it. Same for this guy "www.thebmc.co.uk/climbing-wall-death-due-to-knot-failure&quo>>>. There is no reason to use bowline when something (figure 8) is clearly a better way. Same goes for rope loop, there is no reason why you would clip into it.


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By bearbreeder
Mar 28, 2013

divnamite wrote:
While you are technically correct, certain knots or techniques required more attention than others, and in my view, that's unnecessary and can be dangerous. For example, tie in with Bowline. John Long is certainly experience enough to know what to do, yet he messed up and paid dearly for it. Same for this guy "www.thebmc.co.uk/climbing-wall-death-due-to-knot-failure&quo>>>. There is no reason to use bowline when something (figure 8) is clearly a better way. Same goes for rope loop, there is no reason why you would clip into it.


sure there is ... the BMC booklet gave it ... to prevent squishy ball syndrome when belaying off the harness ... which is generally the only time i belay off the rope loop ...

tie in with a normal fig 8 and there is nothing "dangerous" about it ...

3 point rope anchors can require more attention to set up that a KISS SERENE cord anchor ... doesnt mean people should stop anchoring in with the rope

hell ... ive caught 3 different people clip the girth hitch of their sling with their belay device, in brain fart rather than the belay loop .... if the climber fell it would have blown apart ... doesnt mean we should stop girth hitching stuff to our tie in points ... it means that one should have the proper skills and pay attention ...


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 28, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

divnamite wrote:
While you are technically correct, certain knots or techniques required more attention than others, and in my view, that's unnecessary and can be dangerous. For example, tie in with Bowline. John Long is certainly experience enough to know what to do, yet he messed up and paid dearly for it. Same for this guy "www.thebmc.co.uk/climbing-wall-death-due-to-knot-failure&quo>>>. There is no reason to use bowline when something (figure 8) is clearly a better way. Same goes for rope loop, there is no reason why you would clip into it.


Oh fer god's sake. So many people start with the conclusion and then fit the evidence to it. Largo's accident was because he didn't tie any knot and could have happened exactly the same way if he was using a figure eight. And the accident in Britain is an example of a clueless coroner jumping to conclusions. It is just as likely that David Rothman died because, like Largo, he tied no knot.

There are, as I mentioned above, perfectly sensible reasons to belay directly off the rope loop. The idea that it is some kind of lurking death trap because someone attaches, not their belay biner, but their tether, is, in my opinion, ridiculous.

People have been known to tie in to their gear loops. Does that mean harnesses with gear loops are unnecessarily dangerous? People have forgotten to double back harness buckles. Does that make harnesses unnecessarily dangerous?


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Mar 28, 2013

rgold wrote:
Oh fer god's sake. So many people start with the conclusion and then fit the evidence to it. Largo's accident was because he didn't tie any knot and could have happened exactly the same way if he was using a figure eight. And the accident in Britain is an example of a clueless coroner jumping to conclusions. It is just as likely that David Rothman died because, like Largo, he tied no knot. There are, as I mentioned above, perfectly sensible reasons to belay directly off the rope loop. The idea that it is some kind of lurking death trap because someone attaches, not their belay biner, but their tether, is, in my opinion, ridiculous. People have been known to tie in to their gear loops. Does that mean harnesses with gear loops are unnecessarily dangerous? People have forgotten to double back harness buckles. Does that make harnesses unnecessarily dangerous?

Wow, I apologize. You make perfect sense. I'll go back to tie in with bowline to my swami. You are absolutely right, sir!


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By Aric Datesman
Mar 28, 2013

Just let it go, Rich. Not worth the effort. Clearly he's taken whatever instructions he's found to heart, and no deviation from that (by anyone) is permissible.

Which means this is probably not the time to mention that I've been playing with a slipped bowline with a daisy chain backup as a tie-in.... Seems to me a more secure finish than the Yos finish...


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By Aric Datesman
Mar 28, 2013

divnamite wrote:
Wow, I apologize. You make perfect sense. I'll go back to tie in with bowline to my swami. You are absolutely right, sir!


Quit being an ass.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Mar 28, 2013

LOL! Whatever you say Aric. Don't get your feeling hurt now!


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