Ascender Safety 101

       Ascending Rappel Ropes 101

       Autoblock Misuse (ATC-Guide)

       Avalanche Safety

       Belay School - Why Dynamic Matters

       Can A Hot Belay Device Melt My Slings?

       Carabiner Off-Axis and Tri/Quad-Axial Loading

       Choosing the Right Carabiner

       Common Belay Screw-ups

       Connecting Two Slings Together

       Daisy Chain Dangers

       Dangers of Rope Worn Carabiners

       Dangers of Worn Lowering Anchors

       Do Ropes Need to Rest Between Falls

       Draws in a Gym

       Extending a Cam Sling

       Fall Factors Explained

       Full Strength Haul Loops

       Gear Doesn't Last Forever—Crampons

       Gear Doesn't Last Forever—Ice Tool Picks

       Gear Doesn't Last Forever—Slings & Draws

       Girth Hitching a Stopper

       How Sketchy Is a Sharp-Edged Carabiner?

       How Strong are Himalayan Fixed Lines?

       How Strong is the Spinner Leash?

       How To Belay, Part 1

       How To Extend a Rappel Device

       Knot Passing 101

       Rappelling - Climbing's Diciest Business

       Re-Slinging Cams

       Rethinking the Double-Loop Bowline

       Retiring Old Ropes

       Sharpie for Marking the Middle of a Rope?

       Sling Strength In Three Anchor Configurations

       Spectra versus Nylon

       Spotting for Bouldering

       Surviving Bad Weather on El Cap

       The Dangers of Modifying Your Gear

       The Dangers of Short Static Falls

       The Electric Harness Acid Test

       The Skinny on Super Light Ropes

       Top Roping is Not So Safe

       To Screamer Or Not To Screamer

       Via Ferrata

       Weakness of Nose-hooked Carabiners

       What is the Safest Rappel Knot?

       Worn Belay Loops and Retiring a Harness

Video Spotlight
Mt. Saint Elias - A Sea to Summit Expedition
Mt. Saint Elias - A Sea to Summit Expedition
Whipper of the Month
Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

Climb Safe: Draws in a Gym

By Kolin Powick

The following article is courtesy of Black Diamond Equipment.

Initial Thoughts
    Perma-draws in a gym.
  • Draws in a gym don't see the weather that an outdoor draw does, though it could get baked in the sun if exposed through a window.
  • Draws in the gym probably see more action than a draw fixed on an outdoor route.
  • From what I've seen at many gyms, the draws suffer from abrasion more than anything—usually over very textured surfaces.
  • Most draws I've seen in a gym are nylon and not Spectra or Dyneema.

So when should a gym owner replace draws at a gym? That really is a question with no definitive answer, other than the fact that scheduled inspection should be a regular part of any gym's maintenance program, and if it looks suspect then switch it out.

A gym owner sent me a few draws with descriptions of their locations—and I tested them. Below are the results:


Sample Description Load
#1 First draw on most popular route, very little exposure to sunlight, took load on every fall from both climber and belayer. 5636 lbf (25.1 kN)
#2 Last draw on popular route, constant exposure to sunlight, took many falls since climbers often didn't clip anchor. 5735 lbf (25.5 kN)
#3 This draw hasn't been replaced in probably ten years, maybe more. Obvious signs of wear. Similar condtions to #2. 3746 lbf (16.7 kN)


Remember the CE requirement for slings and draws is 22 kN (4946 lbf). So two of the three remained with passing values, while the third was at ~75% of its rated strength. And to put it in perspective, large-sized Stoppers are rated to 10 kN, and cams to 14 kN—so even the ten-year-old draw, though noticeably worn and weaker than it should be, is still pretty strong in the grand scheme of typical real-world loading.



So, like I've said many times before, even worn and old slings and draws are pretty darn strong and in most cases don't necessarily mean imminent death, however, it is in everyone's best interest to check your gear often, and replace it if you're sketched-out about it.

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 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.

Reader's Commentary:

Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

Add Your Comments to this article: