• Fitting Rock Shoes to Problematic Feet
  • Defining the Cheater Stick and Stick Clip
  • When Your Partner Steals Your Gear...
  • Can You Climb on a Wet Rope?
  • Can You Decrease Fall Factor?
  • Should You Be Allowed to Practice Lead Falls in the Gym?
  • Rope Certifications: Twins, Doubles, or Both?
  • Are Cam Placements Compromised in Wet Rock?
  • What's the Correct Way to Girth Hitch to Your Harness?
  • Choosing Ice Screw Length
  • The Holding Power of Nuts
  • Should You Clip the Belay As Your First Lead Pro?
  • Should I Worry About Spinning Bolt Hangers?
  • Belay-Loop Myth
  • Rock Cleaning Made Easy
  • Why Not Clip Directly to Cam-Stem Loops?
  • What's The Protocol For Naming a Route After Yourself?
  • Is Dropped Gear Still Safe?
  • Can Ropes and Slings Be Contaminated By Essential Oils?
  • Is It Okay to Wear Socks with Rock Climbing Shoes?
  • How Should You Test Gear Placements?
  • Can You Use Adhesive Tape on Ropes, Cords, Webbing?
  • A Better EDK?
  • What's the Difference Between a Double and a Single Rope?
  • Does It Count As a Free Ascent If You Grab the Anchor?
  • I Found a Rope - Is it Safe to Use?
  • Am I Using a Daisy Chain Wrong?
  • Should I Buy a Plastic or Foam Helmet?
  • Why Doesn't Anyone Climb in Knickers Anymore?
  • Is Weight or Range More Important in Cams?
  • The Mysterious Phenomenon of Rope Shrinkage
  • Worst-Case Scenario - A Factor 2 Fall
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Nuts and Bolts
  • Why Are Climbing Shoes So Expensive?
  • Flaws in the Yosemite Decimal System
  • How Durable is Trad Gear?
  • Using Super Glue on Your Fingers
  • The Worst Gear Ever Invented
  • Marking the Middle of a Rope
  • Why Do People Use Oval Biners?
  • Is it Ethical to Clean a New Route?
  • Aid Climbing = Moped Riding
  • Will Sweat Harm My Harness?
  • Should You Use Rope or Webbing to Connect to an Anchor?
  • Choosing Between C4s and Friends
  • Can You Lead On a Static Rope?
  • Can I Use Climbing Bolts For Anchors in a Gym?
  • Are Falls Held or Breaking Strength More Important In a Rope?
  • Does Poop Harm a Climbing Rope?
  • Are Homemade Draws Reliable?
  • Shopping for Economy Carabiners
  • When You Fly, Can You Carry On Climbing Gear?
  • Can I Trust Fixed Draws?
  • Which Helmet WIll Fit My Big Head?
  • Are Adjustable Leg Loops Useful?
  • Should I clip Ice Screws with Screamers?
  • How do I Make a Bomber Anchor?
  • Can I Modify my Crampon Without Compromising the Integrity?
  • Hot Versus Cold Forging
  • Caring For Your Fingertips
  • Are Sewn Slings Stronger Than Knotted Ones?
  • When to Replace Climbing Webbing
  • Using Grip Dip To Color Code Gear
  • The Benefits of Cotton
  • How to Pull a Rappel Rope
  • How to Properly Orient a Carabiner Gate
  • Are My Fuzzy Quickdraws Safe?
  • How to Stretch Climbing Shoes
  • Are 1/2-inch bolts really better than 3/8-inch?
  • Should I Resole My Rock Shoes?
  • How to Hand Drill
  • Lonely Climber Looking for Woman
  • Is My Invented Knot Safe?
  • Difference Between Double and Twin Ropes
  • Dealing With an Argumentative Partner
  • Will Antifreeze Ruin Rope?
  • Why Is a Rack Called a Rack?
  • Rock Shoes For a Big Guy
  • Do They Kill Geese To Get Down?
  • How to Wash a Rope
  • Do Cam Teeth Do Anything?
  • Can I Fix Delaminated Rock Shoes?
  • Can I Mix a Static With a Dynamic Rope for Rappelling?
  • Should You Lower Or Rap Through Anchors?
  • How Should The Middle Man Tie In?
  • How Do I Get a Good Climbing Man?
  • Do Falls Weaken Bolts?
  • Should I Rope Solo?
  • Should I Angle Ice Screws Down?
  • How Should Old Climbers Train?
  • Can I Make a Belay Loop?
  • Reusing Ice Screw Holes
  • Overcoming the Fear of Falling
  • Choosing a Stove Fuel
  • Will My Hiking Boots Work With Crampons?
  • Do Heavy People Shock Load the Rope?
  • Can Offset Cams Subsitute for Regular Cams?
  • Can I Resling My Cams Myself?
  • Are Older Alien Cams Safe?
  • Will sports drinks freeze more slowly than water?
  • The Truth About Climbing Supplements
  • Can I Make My Leashed Tools, Leashless?
  • Rope Stretch Facts
  • How To Cut a Rope Without a Knife
  • Secrets of the Toprope
  • How to Sharpen Crampons
  • Should I Become a Climbing Guide?
  • Preventing Climbing Rope Wear
  • How to Remove an Old Bolt
  • How to Customize Ice Tool Picks
  • Double Rope Facts
  • Do It Yourself Fruit Boots
  • Climbing Rope Sheath Slippage
  • Rockfall Safety
  • Do Screamers Work?
  • Climbing Skin Care
  • Selecting a Gym Rope
  • Quick Links for Climbing
  • Are Russian Cams Good?
  • When To Retire Climbing Gear and Ropes
  • Should I Get a Link Cam?
  • How to Get a Climbing Mate
  • Will Dog Urine Harm My Rope?
  • Using Steel Carabiners for Fixed Quickdraws
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  • Overcoming Anger
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    What's the Correct Way to Girth Hitch to Your Harness?


    I’ve heard that you should girth hitch daisy chains and personal anchor systems (PAS) to your harness leg loops and around the waist belt. Is this the correct way to do it? I don’t like it.

    —Julie Williamson


    Todd Skinner died on the Leaning Tower in Yosemite in 2006 when the belay loop on his harness broke. Ordinarily, this loop is unbreakable, but Todd had girth hitched his daisy chains directly to his loop. Because the loop wasn’t free to rotate, every time he moved up in his jumars, the loop chafed against his leg-loop strap in the exact same place. The many, many thousands of feet he jugged eventually sawed through his belay loop. This might seem impossible to do, but consider that droplets of water can over time wear down granite.

    Tests done on belay loops by Kolin Powick of Black Diamond showed an average breaking strength of 5,000 pounds. When Powick cut a loop 75 percent of the way through, it still held nearly 3,000 pounds. Even when a loop was cut 90 percent of the way through, it held 777 pounds. For Todd’s loop to break under body weight, it must have been worn almost completely through.

    The <strong>CORRECT</strong> way to rig a daisy chain or PAS to a harness. Girth hitching to the harness’s “hard points” lets the belay/rappel loop rotate, eliminating the hot spot caused by girth hitching to the belay loop, as shown in the photo to the right. The <strong>INCORRECT</strong> way to rig a daisy chain or PAS to a harness. Over time, a daisy chain girth hitched to the belay loop could cause it to wear through and fail because the loop can’t rotate, always abrading in the same place.















    Even though no other accidents have been attributed to broken belay loops, and even though only a few climbers in the world would ever subject a harness to the high level of wear as Todd, and though his harness should have been replaced, harness and daisy chain and PAS makers now recommend that you do not girth hitch directly to the belay loop. They instead recommend the method you noted (girth hitching around the harness’s two “hard points”), which lets the belay loop rotate, eliminating the abrasion hot-spot that led to Todd’s tragic death.

    I am with you. Girth hitching around the leg-loop strap and waist belt jams the two components together and can wad up your pants, like a load in your diaper.

    But, better safe than sorry.

    Regardless of how you attach your PAS or daisy chains, you can still screw up and hurt yourself. Neither the PAS nor a daisy chain is intended to catch a fall. They don’t stretch. Only use them to attach yourself to an anchor or your ascenders for situations where you can’t fall onto them, i.e., never climb above an anchor, not even a single move, while you are clipped to that anchor with a PAS or daisy chain.

    Also recognize that gear wears out. Inspect your soft goods—rope, harness, slings, PAS, daisy chains—every time you climb. If it seems as if your life depends on it, it does. Next!


    Also read Climb Safe: Worn Belay Loops and Retiring a Harness 


    This article originally appeared in Rock and Ice issue 240 (February 2017).


    Find More Climbing Gear Advice Here


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    Devin McKay commented on 31-Jan-2017 05:33 PM2 out of 5 stars
    Todd Skinner was well known for using gear well past the point of being worn out, particularly harness. Source: