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Gear Guy

Are Homemade Draws Reliable?

I have rigged my homemade draws with rubber bands to prevent the carabiners from crossloading, but I'm not sure if I am compromising my safety. Help!

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More than once I have climbed above my gear only to look down and see that the carabiner on my runner had jostled around and was sideways, waiting to be cross-loaded. Because of that, I use two biners with gates opposed for critical placements, and added rubber bands to hold the rope-clip carabiner in place on my sewn slings. I know companies have been using rubber do-jiggers on quickdraws for years. What I want to know is, with my rigged rubber-band set-up, the runner gets all bunched up under the rubber band. Is this going to compromise the strength of the runner? —Pika via rockandice.com

I like your thinking and you are wise to be concerned. Cross-loaded carabiners can, and do, break. The steps you have taken to prevent this tell me that you are wise, with flowing gray hair and a beard to your crotch. Do you live under a bridge?

I don’t think that your rubber-band “do-jigger” should do any harm. While a knot or hitch in a sling or rope causes a load concentration that makes that spot the weak point where it will break, a rubber band, since it stretches, should not cause such a weakness. Just to be safe, though, slack off the rubber band a wind. Duh! Next!