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Gear Guy

Do Screamers Work?

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Suppose I’m aiding. I am daisy chained to a bomber bolt while I am bounce testing a marginal placement. If the top piece blows, will it be okay to take a daisy fall if I have a Screamer between the bolt and my daisy?

Listen up, Bagley, your entire system is jacked. You should never clip a daisy to a piece below you. A daisy chain is just a big pacifier. Sucking on it will give you a warm fuzzy feeling, but eventually it will make your teeth crooked and turn you into a chronic masturbator. Daisy chains are not intended to catch falls. Period. They are only intended to temporarily anchor you to overhead gear. There’s this thing called a rope that is designed to catch falls in climbing. Why are you afraid of the rope?

A daisy chain clipped to pro below you is nothing more than a false sense of security. Daisy chains don’t stretch. Every daisy fall is static, or very close to it, and can deliver a jolt that makes the electric chair feel like an Asian massage.

If the shock of a static fall doesn’t rip your innards loose, gear will very likely break. Both might even happen. About five years ago, Rock and Ice conducted a series of drop tests using a 165-pound weight and daisy chains. When the weight was clipped to the end of the daisy chains and dropped the full 54 inches (the length of the daisies), the daisy chains both broke. When the weight was clipped to the pockets instead of the end, the pockets zippered out, creating a bit of a dynamic catch, but still pegged 2,200 pounds on the load-o-meter, enough to rip placements and break gear.

Here is how you should use a daisy chain (think of this advice as coming straight from the burning bush, because it is):

1. Place a piece overhead.

2. Clip an aider to it.

3. Clip a daisy chain to the aider.

4. Clip the lead rope to the piece you are hanging on. This placement is probably around waist level.

5. Unclip your daisy chain from the piece you are hanging on.

6. Test the placement overhead. If that piece blows, the daisy chain will catch it, and if you fall the rope will give you a nice dynamic catch.

Your notion of making a daisy chain dynamic by clipping it to a Screamer is misguided. When you incorporate a Screamer as you suggest, you are jury-rigging a piece of gear to suit a purpose that it is not designed for. In essence you are screwing a prosthetic leg into an arm hole — it will work at some level, but, again, why not just use the rope to catch you? Next!

Feature image by Leopold Roessingh.