Todd Skinners failed harness - update


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Messages 61 - 80 of total 157 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jan 16, 2014 - 02:40pm PT
Toker Villian
Whenever I belay, self or otherwise, I attach directly to the swami and leg loops.
The only reason I do not cut off the loop is to use it for body weight aid.

Thanks for the validation.
I am so tired of being ridiculed/back talked for that one!

Good observation John ;)

Trad climber
Mohave County Arizona
Jan 16, 2014 - 04:29pm PT
I remember when the belay loops came out. I couldn't believe it.
Never use mine, except for one of the mini traxions when solo tr'ing.

Mountain climber
there and back again
Jan 16, 2014 - 06:04pm PT
Same here. I always tie into and clip my belay carabiner into the harness and leg loops. I use the belay ring to tie my dasie chain on with.

I just in JTree and someone had tied in with the rope and was clipping their belay device into the ring. And I mentioned if your going to clip into the loop you might as well clip into the rope as well.

Double up for safety, double up.

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
Feb 28, 2014 - 07:05am PT
As someone who used to make harnesses I can you that belay loops are very strong. Anyone who walks away from this accident and thinks that belay loops are dangerous per se have not done a good analysis of the accident.

Todd's loop was almost worn through and he was rappelling with a Grigri. This can easily add a lot force to a harness versus an ATC style device, especially if one bounces for any reason. Sadly, as Todd was such a well-liked and inspiring climber, this accident is not about equipment failure as much as it is pilot error.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 28, 2014 - 07:14am PT
Rankin- would you explain the atc vs. grigri thing?
Is it just that we're more likely to bounce with the grigri?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 28, 2014 - 07:22am PT
rankin speak the truth. It is the single strongest component. If you doubt your belay loop throw out the harness and get a new one.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Feb 28, 2014 - 07:31am PT
Just got a new harness. Been using a Misty Mountain I bought 2 or 3 years ago, used; off the internet. ;D Caught many a fall on that belay loop, rapped more times than I could count (or remember, anyway).

OMG Sometimes I feel like I'm fixin to die, rag.

What are we climbing for
don't ask me I don't give a damn
Next pitch is off width land...

Anyway, brand new Camp harness, its yummy. Nice new belay loop. Of course I don't hesitate to use the belay loop for its intended purpose. It works GREAT for that. I also use it for mini trax self belay etc too. I even girth a sling to it to be used as a belay daisy.

I used to be better about gear inspection. Now I usually inspect it on the lead.

Wanna climb?



Feb 28, 2014 - 07:55am PT
After the recovery of Todd's incident we took well worn very fuzzy belay loop from a popular manufactures harness to test it's strength.

We cranked up to thousands of lbs static pull load onto it and it still did not break.

We wanted to to a slack snap pull test but were concerned we would damage the frame of the truck and or the dynamometer.

The the belay loop was attached the the truck and anchor with steel shackles and steel chains for full static compliance.

Again the well worn belay loop did not fail at thousands of lbs test.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:05am PT
What a cruddy way to go, over equipment failure in the obvious category. Ill never understand how a loop got so worn..

edit: still climb on a metolious harness bought in 1990. ??? Is that bhhhad?
Joshua Johnson.

Boulder climber
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:13am PT
Friend of mine used to do many a sierra solo in his day, but has a cord (6MM? 7MM?) looped right next to his belay loop for a just-in-case scenario, clips both with the locking biner. I think I'll add one as well.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:19am PT
"...over equipment failure in the obvious category. "

Ron, it wasn't equipment failure so much as pilot error (as described above). Daisys that had been girthed onto the loop for years certainly weakened it in a way that a belay loop was not intended to be used. Belay loops are hella strong (though I also usually tie in/clip in directly to belt/leg loops), but like any other equipment, they can also be misused with tragic results.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:22am PT
Hence the obvious category i mention.. And yes it was obviously used and abused. But still, it was something that the loop had worn soo harshly and gone un noticed or disregarded.. Sad...

edit: Skinner was the very reason i learned that you could hang on a mono pocket!

Gym climber
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:49am PT
Once again, on all harnesses except Black Diamond the belay loop is the strongest part of the harness.

Arteryx, makes the strongest belay loop on the market.

Todd's harness failed for one reason and one reason alone, it was old and worn out and severally damaged. The fault is 100% Todd's.


Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 28, 2014 - 08:53am PT
H said...
And I mentioned if your going to clip into the loop you might as well clip into the rope as well.

Wrong..... A horrible accident went down at the Needles a few years back.

The poor fellow was in the habit of cliping into the rope and loop. Problem... he missed the belay loop while preparing to bail in a rain storm. He was wearing a jacket, could not see his tie in. He was using a dasy to clip the anchors.... untied the rope so they could rig the rap, when he sat back after pulling the cord free from his harness .... GONE!!!!!!!

I have heard the Todd liked to do freefall raps using the grigri.... just pull the lever back and drop!!!! Release to stop... bam (This was relayed to me by someone I trust...true??)

And Ron.... a 1990 model!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF????

That is just plain stupid, if you wish I'll give you a Yates "Shield" for free, its only 5 years old. PM me... serious offer.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Feb 28, 2014 - 10:20am PT
Thanks GUyman for that most generous offer! YOu should have seen my first "harness",, made from the bottom part of a parachute harness from WW2 vintage.!!! Of course that was the early 70s so it wasnt that old then lol!

Credit: Ron Anderson

Vintage babay! ^^^^ Parachute bottom harness, ball-peen hammer, and twisted nylon rope.

Trad climber
Feb 28, 2014 - 10:53am PT
Todd's passing was a very sad day for the world climbing community, since he traveled so much he infected so many of us with his great spirit.
His laugh, his generosity, his down-to-earth attitude was amazing.
I will forever cherish the memories of bouldering, laughing, and chatting with him the times we would cross paths.
My regular climbing partner died in a avalanche a month after Todd so it was a sad time indeed. I have a poster of Todd at my front door to remind myself wither i am off to work or off to climb or off to ski with my son, that the world produces some truly inspirational folk and today you may meet another when you walk out this door.

I will leave the arguments of harness failure up to the experts.

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
Feb 28, 2014 - 11:01am PT
Rankin- would you explain the atc vs. grigri thing?

Sure. Grigris brake more suddenly and therefore put more force on the equipment. Atc type devices gradually increase friction until stopping, and even upon stopping, there can still be some slipping of the rope through the device. This puts less force on the top anchor as well as the climber's harness.

Also, a rappel on a Grigri only uses half of the rope and, therefore, there is less rope to stretch and absorb force.

It's a common scenario for a rappeller to pass a bulge and kick out to clear a feature. When using a Grigri, the instinct is to let the device brake completely at the bottom of the bulge, because it's harder to adjust the amount of friction control. With an Atc type device, the rappeller can more easily compensate for other variables in friction and continue to lower comfortably at the bottom of a bulge without ever completely braking. So to answer your question, yes, you are more likely to bounce on a Grigri, but it's also that the bounces on a Grigri are more forceful.

All of these factors add up to an overall increase in the amount of force on a top anchor as well as the rappeller's harness when using a Grigri. I'm not saying that Grigris shouldn't be used for rappelling, but one should be aware of the increase in force on the equipment.

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Feb 28, 2014 - 11:08am PT
I suspect that the single greatest contributor to wearing out belay loops is friction between rope and loop during falls. Consider that no one raps directly off webbing for a very similar reason. We don't like to clip in to a harness for fear of adding an additional potential point of failure, but maybe a locking biner would add safety to a harness (over time).

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Feb 28, 2014 - 11:16am PT
I suspect that the single greatest contributor to wearing out belay loops is friction between rope and loop during falls

Disagree. Sawing at the leg loops connection much more likely. In a fall the rope would, at most, brush the side edge of my belay loop.

Gym climber
Feb 28, 2014 - 11:20am PT

As a certified guide you should know better than to belay the way you describe. Any guide or professional rigger should use equipment the way the manufacturer recommends.

Belaying clipped to your leg loops and overlay webbing is not recommended by the manufacture and voids all warranties and liability. Not only that it can lead to the fall being arrested on a cross loaded carabiner.

This whole debate is silly, it was a tragic accident that was 100% avoidable.

A brand new Belay loop, with the exception of BD, will hold to 10,000 plus pounds.

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