Silent Partner failure

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Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 28, 2015 - 12:02am PT
I want to warn every soloist out there that yes, the Silent Partner can fail.

Mine did, yesterday. I prepared my anchor as always, set up the clove hitch as always, checked the device to lock by pulling it fast, as always, and this time it didn't lock.

I just took a video where I spin the wheel with speed and it does not lock.



I just also wrote to rock exotica hoping for a refund. That unit is the most expensive piece of gear I ever bought and the only one to ever fail!

I wanted to warn everybody that this could happen. Before selecting the SP I really checked the internet and I was not able to find any failure reported (but for one user where the rope was new and slipped against the wheel, but the wheel did lock. Mine isn't locking)!
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
Dec 28, 2015 - 12:08am PT
you're....
Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2015 - 12:13am PT
gonna die, definitely. Fixed the link to the video.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Dec 28, 2015 - 03:54am PT
I was loaning mine to Yosomighty this week. Instead will be waiting for an analysis.
Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2015 - 06:19am PT
Rock Exotica has always been very slow to reply, so I don't expect an answer any soon, unfortunately.
Chugach

Trad climber
Vermont
Dec 28, 2015 - 06:19am PT
Any more details? Dropped device, how old, how much use, etc.

My $0.02, Rock Exotica has made fabulous product for years and although your SP is alarming - let's, as a community, treat Rock Exotica with as much respect as possible through this event. We need their products and company to remain viable to continue solving, fixing and addressing soloist safety issues.

overwatch

climber
Dec 28, 2015 - 06:33am PT
Interesting. When mine failed it wouldn't stop locking. I will be watching this thread for the outcome. That said, no one claimed it couldn't fail, that it's why a back up knot is mandatory.
Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2015 - 06:33am PT
I am not disrespecting them, just stating my experience: they always replied, and they always did so after several days. This is a matter of fact. I want to respect truth first, for the good sake of climbers, then any business.

Unit has never been dropped.
Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2015 - 06:39am PT
overwatch, can you please tell me more about your SP failure? Thank you very much.
overwatch

climber
Dec 28, 2015 - 06:44am PT
Not much to tell. It was one of the earlier ones that they anodized the drum inside which would break off over time and use. This made it constantly lock so that you couldn't use it. I sent it back and they rebuilt it for free. Paid for shipping both ways as I recall.

it sounds like yours actually has something broken inside
Burt

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Dec 28, 2015 - 06:59am PT
How old is the unit? How many times has it held a whipper?
Gunkie

climber
Dec 28, 2015 - 07:49am PT
The one in the video looks spanky new. Mine's all scraped up and still works well. I'm guessing manufacture defect that Rock Exotica will gladly replace and perform a thorough examination on this unit.

As climbers, we play in an arena where not double checking something or backing something up can be very costly. Good for you to check the functionality of the device before heading off. Heck, I belayed a guy on a 5.10 in the Gunks where he never finished tying his figure-8. He got to the ledge, looked at his harness, clipped in with a sling and began to cry; he just soloed the pitch. I felt terrible for *not* double checking his setup. Dodged a bullet that day.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 28, 2015 - 07:57am PT
That sounds all wrong when you spin it. Way too noisy inside. Was it noisy before failure as well?
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Dec 28, 2015 - 08:08am PT
Haven't watched the video you posted. Does spinning the unit by hand constitute a failure though? Not that you would now go out and test it with your life I suppose.

Ekat?


edit-just watched it now but I've never held one in my hands so I don't know how it's supposed to respond when you spin it. Still I wouldn't call this an event. Does it need a rope in it for friction?
Moof

Big Wall climber
Orygun
Dec 28, 2015 - 08:11am PT
About ten years ago mine acted up at the end of the day after aiding something in Jtree. In cold weather it would not lock up. I could rip an armful of rope through it with no locking. At home it was hard to replicate, but sticking it in the freezer for an hour in certain orientations would do it. I sent it back and they found a little grit past a rubber seal, and sent it back to me.

I was not terribly reassured and have never used one since.
Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2015 - 08:11am PT
It always locked when spun fast by hand. If you have one, just try it for yourself.
Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2015 - 08:22am PT
Moof - and everybody else - I gave it another try now and it is working as it always did, now. This is astonishing.

And, yeah, before yesterday's non-climb it was left in the trunk car out in the cold - this sounds similar to your experience.

The problem here is, the manual doesn't say anything against this. What it states is, not to use in sub-freezing conditions because water inside could freeze and impede the mechanism to lock.

BUT, when I used it it was way above sub-freezing temperatures. Weather forecast read 5 degrees Celsius. And it was not ice climbing, there was no water whatsoever, nor humidity. The air was very dry.
Also, this morning when I took the video I was indoor and temperature was of course WAAAY above freezing!

My partial conclusion is:

they should state in the manual that you never have to put it in the cold whatsoever. This really makes it unsuitable for alpine climbing. I don't want to imagine to sleep with it in my sleeping bag to keep it warm or otherwise it won't work.

they should really do some test to certify which temperature is actually acceptable and which is not.

And now I want to know if this is REALLY safe to use or exposure to the could could have damaged it permanently to any, even the smallest, extent.

I also want to know WHY that happened. Since they explain that water that freezes inside can harm it, I'd also want an explanation of the reason why cold above zero degrees impacted its function.

This, by the way, sucks very badly. I climb since eleven years and no device ever failed me. This feels so bad especially since I did read that manual like twenty times and respected its rules.

I emailed again Rock Exotica them to tell them that it is now working and to ask for clarifications (still haven't got any answer to the first email, though, just for the sake of clarity).

I am scared as f*#k and thinking to use a modified gri-gri, but I want my money back first.
WBraun

climber
Dec 28, 2015 - 08:29am PT
I climb since eleven years and no device ever failed me.

In the material world everything eventually fails .....
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 28, 2015 - 08:29am PT
Does spinning the unit by hand constitute a failure though?

If it won't lock when spun by hand..yes that is a major fail.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Dec 28, 2015 - 08:37am PT
Pls alert Rock Exotica to the existence of this thread and ask them to post a reply here too.
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