Todd Skinners failed harness - update


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Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 28, 2014 - 11:53am 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.

Trad climber
Feb 28, 2014 - 01:53pm 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 - 02:01pm 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
Joshua Tree
Feb 28, 2014 - 02:16pm 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.

Trad climber
colo south
Feb 28, 2014 - 02:23pm PT
Hey Ron- i wish i still had my FISH SKINBELT from around ' THAT was a harness

Feb 28, 2014 - 03:20pm PT
I know that the loss of Todd Skinner has taught me one thing and that is check your gear every time before you use it.

I think we can agree that the number one killer of climbers is complacency and just plain inexperience.

On another note it is nice to see Ron and Apogee up thread not call each other names and tell each other to f*#k off.

Thanks guys.


Feb 28, 2014 - 03:23pm PT
Seemed barely restrained to me but good nonetheless

Feb 28, 2014 - 03:24pm PT
Its a start and ya have to start somewhere.

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 03:25pm PT
I have bit of a detective streak in me, and it would have been interesting to sort through Todd Skinner's gear after his untimely and tragic death, just to see what else was really worn through. Gear is costly, and sometimes people just put off spending the money, saying, "Just one more climb.........."

Among climbers, there is the whole gamut; guys like Werner and Todd who treat their gear very casually, and those who are totally meticulous.

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 03:31pm PT
Surprise surprise. Coz taking pot shots at BD again.

Please post some facts Coz. Please support any of the below statements with facts. Please reread the last line of the excerpt of the Rock and Ice article.

"Once again, on all harnesses except Black Diamond the belay loop is the strongest part of the harness."

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


Don't bother Coz. I will post some for you. This is from an article in Rock and Ice.

BELAY LOOPS. Every harness that had a belay loop was tested. Belay-loop strength ranged from 2,160 pounds to well over 8,818 pounds. Eight belay loops failed below 3,306 pounds. Six of these had been listed as usable in a pinch or by friends. Only one harness showed any visible signs of damage to the belay loop. Curiously, 23 belay loops of the same make and age from one source showed a range of strength values, with the highest breaking strength being 41 percent greater than the weakest. Another belay loop used on a variety of harness models returned from a variety of sources had a range from 3,527 pounds to 7,054 pounds. Clearly, quality control for some harnesses is lacking, but whether this is rampant throughout the industry is unknown. The average strength of all of the tested belay loops was 6,040 pounds.


Feb 28, 2014 - 03:36pm PT
I agree my rack is old mostly second/third gen BD cams and first gen aliens and a handful of other stuff.

After this accident I replaced all my shoulder slings all my quickdraw bones and my harness and my rope. The rope was 8 years old not a lot of falls. My harness was 10 years old looked good but who knows. I did it due to age. I am now sending all my cams to Yates to be re slung with new webbing. Not worth the worry id rather be willing to fall and know my gears not old and worn.

I keep my gear in a box or a haul bag so it only sees the sun when its out climbing and away from the shelf full of chemicals in my garage.

I bet that Werner upgrades more than you think. He's picked up enough carcasses to know better than to use heavily used and worn gear.

Is it me but i hardly use my belay loop for anything. I use a locker for my raps through the leg loops and harness and i tie in the same way. I never tie into a belay loop. In fact the only purpose i see that for is for daisy chains wall climbing.


Feb 28, 2014 - 03:37pm PT

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

this is 10000%

atc = two strands of rope
gri gri = 1 strand of rope

assume rope is a spring

atc = springs in parallel ==> stiffer effective spring = higher forces.

all other things being equal, one strand of rope is half the force on the system compared to two strands.


Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 03:38pm PT
BD's testing of worn. Loops.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 28, 2014 - 03:50pm PT
Hey, FYI WTF- Yates won't resling older cams (10yrs).
I just did this and went to Fish. Better price and tubular webbing not dyneema. good workmanship from a cottage(or cabana as it were)business.

Feb 28, 2014 - 03:53pm PT
Thanks Jefe.

What was I thinking the Fish needs to work. ;)

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 03:56pm PT
Wired Bliss just re-slung about 12 cams of mine and also repaired a few trigger wires. They did an awesome job. (Aliens, Camalots, Metolius)

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Feb 28, 2014 - 04:15pm PT
Don't try to change the subject and add personal attacks again Coz. How about supporting your previous statements with the truth and some facts?

Same old Coz. Just a different login name....

edit. I'll take the dork part with a smile :-)


Feb 28, 2014 - 04:25pm PT
Just be on safe side always.

After every climb throw all your gear into the dumpster and get new gear
just like the pros do .....


Feb 28, 2014 - 04:35pm PT
Let Coz tell you how my gear was always top notch and perfect condition :-)


Our first climb together Coz sees my rope and imediately says holy sh!t !!! you lead Hahaha

Core shots everywhere LOL

Then a few years later he sees my rack and says that's the same fuked up rack you had years ago.

You're gonna die.

A couple of weeks later a mysterious package arrives with a brand new rack in it.

Coz was worried I would not survive another year with my original rack.

bless his soul.

Majid got scared looking at my tattered harness and gets me a brand new one.

Bless his soul.

My figure of eight when I came back from Borneo had grooves half way thru
it from all the grit in the static lines and people were telling me I'm gonna die using it still.

So I replaced it and break tested it.

It broke at 10,000 lbs .....

What me worry :-)


Hobart, Australia
Feb 28, 2014 - 04:41pm PT
Holey Moley Werner--when I think of all those raps we used to do on your blown-out, core-shotted, tattered, thow-it-in-the-back-of-the-Lemans-where-you'd-repair-all-the-dirtbags-batteries-and-other-junk 7mm cord, I still cringe!
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