The following article is courtesy of Black Diamond Equipment.
Lets be clear: You should NOT be using a daisy chain to anchor yourself to a belay.
Daisy chains are designed for aid climbing and to support body weight only. When aid climbing properly, the rope is ALWAYS in the system, and in the event
of a fall, the energy absorbing capacity of the rope is used. If you use a daisy chain to anchor yourself to a belay, you've now taken the rope out
of the equation and are potentially subjecting yourself and the daisy chain to a possible shock-loading scenario.
You should NEVER impact-load a daisy chain. NEVER. Daisy chains and runners don't stretch much, which means they don't absorb much energy. This increases
the load on the anchor, and you. Worse-case scenario under a severe-impact load, a daisy can snap. Best-case scenario under a severe-impact load, you'll
snap your back.
Always Use a Second Carabiner to Shorten Your Daisy Chain
WHY NOT DO THIS?
Basically, it's possible that when you clip a second loop, or pocket of your daisy, to the main carabiner, attached to the end loop of
your daisy, that the end result MAY really be the biner just being clipped across the tack of the pocket, and therefore being really, REALLY weak—as
low as 500 pounds.
Below is a video that clearly shows the danger. You may have to watch it a few times, because it's pretty freaker crazy, and no, I'm not a magician.
Crazy eh? It's almost like you have a 50/50 shot of having the twist in the extra pocket as your shorten up your length. With the correct twist, and if
impact loaded, the pocket would blow and you'd be okay. BUT with the incorrect twist and even a very small impact load (say your foot skating off the
belay ledge and you falling onto your daisy), the pocket would blow and you'd be airborne. Those odds aren't good enough for me. Use a second carabiner
to clip up short.
Never Clip a Carabiner to More Than One Pocket at a Time
If the bar-tacks between the pockets were to
fail under load, you would no longer be clipped in! This scenario could occur when any two pockets are connected to a single carabiner.
Bottom line: Daisy chains are for aid climbing NOT for use as part of your personal anchor system. Don't know how to properly anchor yourself
using the rope? Don't know how to thread sport anchors without clipping in with a daisy chain? Then go get some instruction from a professional guide
IMMEDIATELY before you get yourself hurt. If you're aid climbing and going to clip your daisy in short, it's always best to use an ADDITIONAL carabiner
to clip to the main carabiner thus avoiding the potential loading scenario above.
Be safe out there,
Kolin Powick (KP) is a mechanical engineer hailing from Calgary, Canada. He has over 20 years of experience in the engineering field and served as Black Diamond’s Director of Quality for over 11 years. He is currently their Climbing Category Director. If you have a technical question for KP, please email him at email@example.com and he will TRY to respond.
To help make more climbers safer climbers, Rock and Ice has teamed up with Black Diamond Equipment to present the information here.