• 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?
  • Choosing Ice Screw Length
  • 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?
  • Hand Drill Advice
  • 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?
  • Should You Clip the Belay As Your First Lead Pro?
  • 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?
  • Reusiing Ice Screw Holes
  • Overcoming 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?
  • Antifreeze
  • 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?
  • Defining the Cheater Stick and Stick Clip
  • 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
  • Petzl Tibloc and Climbing Rope Sheath Damage
  • Overcoming Anger
  • Fixing a Spinning Bolt
  •  
    Video Spotlight
    Connecticut Bouldering
    Connecticut Bouldering

    Can I Trust Fixed Draws?

    27-Feb-2012
    By Gear Guy

    After Todd Skinner’s death due to a broken belay loop, Black Diamond tested belay loops and slings that were 75-percent cut and they were still 90 percent of full strength. But I can’t find information on (intact) fixed gear. How strong are dogbones and biners that have hung in a cave for several years? 

    I'd rather trim my toenails with communal clippers than use some of the nasty tat I’ve seen dangling in caves of sicky sickness.

    Slings and harnesses were sawed three-quarters of the way through and still held 90 percent of their rated strength? Not so fast! This is all about data mining, and since we’re talking about lives rather than gold nuggets, let’s at least try and get things flowing in the right direction. 

    Kolin Powick, the quality-assurance guy for Black Diamond, did the testing. According to his results, the belay loop you are thinking of held 2,918 pounds, which is 87 percent of the rated strength, but the rated strength is well below the loop’s ultimate strength, which is around 6,000 pounds. In short, the belay loop actually saw a decrease in strength of roughly 50 percent. 

    At face value, it’s fair to say that webbing can sustain a lot of damage and remain remarkably strong. The problem is, unless you take the slings, dogbones, belay loop or whatever, and test them, you have no idea how strong they are. This is where, again, Powick comes in handy. Over the years he has tested fixed quickdraws, slings and carabiners he snagged from sport climbs. Powick found that carabiners, even badly worked, crusty ones that you’d think would be weak, retain most of their strength and that the true danger is the rope-fraying grooves worn in them.

    The sling test results were less black and white. Some tattered quickdraws broke around 8 kN while others held up to 23 kN (22 kN gets you passing marks on the CE test). Since the spread in strength is all over the map, you really can’t deduce much of anything. About all you can know is that slings do weaken over time from wear (abrasion) and UV exposure. If those mankey old draws and slings spook you, do the public-service thing and replace them. The karma you’ll accrue could come in handy next time you tie your bowline backwards or you’re benighted without a headlamp.

    One good option for replacing fixed draws is the ClimbTech PermaDraw. For $15.99 you get a stainless steel quickdraw with a steel quicklink for the bolt hanger, and a hearty steel, bent-gate carabiner.

    Reader's Commentary:

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

    Add Your Comments to this article:
    Hello