Harness Belay loop

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Ray
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Harness Belay loop

Postby Ray » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:24 am

Looking for some advice:

A few years back i bought a harness, but it does not have a belay loop linking the leg-loop strap and the waist strap - ie, this has to be done with the rope/a karibiner. I would like to add a belay loop to it, as clipping a karibiner through both loops gets problematic when you have multiple other connections to the harness already (especially at stances). The diagrams on the harness show that you have to always clip both using either a karibiner or the rope. (This concerns we wrt the karibiner, as it is loading it in three directions in a way)

Is it possible to use sling to make a belay loop (sewing the ends closed after tying a knot)?

Or does anyone make/sew belay loops that would be safe?


thanks!

Ray

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Justin
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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Justin » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:00 am

I'm assuming the harness is an Alpine BOD?

The belay loop is one of the most important parts of a climbing harness (and also the strongest), so if the harness is not performing best for the type of climbing you are doing I recommend you buy another harness (that has a belay loop).

There are various ways that you could install a belay loop, but I do not recommend this at all.

Bottom line: Upgrade your harness :thumleft:
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tapster
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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby tapster » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:30 am

Hi Ray,

I completely agree with Justin about this.

The habit of linking the leg loops to the waist belt with a carabiner is not a good one. It stresses the crab in ways it really wasn't designed for, so you're absolutely right in what you say.

Also, the use of anything but a factory-made belay loop in good condition can be fatal, just ask poor Todd Skinner.

It's a shame to have to shell out again for a harness but using gear made for your application will ensure a long and happy life!

:)

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Nic Gear » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:05 am

dont burn that harness, the alpine bod has other uses, like it fits almost anyone. great if you want to take fat kids climbing. but i agree with the others, if you take your climbing serious get a good harness. Stick to a brand, black diamond, wildcountry, madrock ect.
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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby XMod » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:28 pm

Yeah! Dude!! Get real, really, just buy a decent harness. The bod was designed for true alpine conditions and multi day routes where you might want to take off or put on warm trousers without coming off-belay totally, its not really appropriate for local climbing. Petzl and Black Diamond both make amazing harnesses, well worth the investment for safety, comfort and convenience of use. Replace harnesses frequently - remember Todd Skinner! - RIP.

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Justin » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:58 pm

Slowly... I said that I "assume" its an Alpine Bod :)
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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Old Smelly » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:31 pm

The Omni series of Petzl Carabiners are designed to be used as the main attachment point on any harness that has two attachment points that must be connected.
Used to join the two sternal attachment loops of any harness where two attachment points must be connected.
Allows installation of a lanyard with energy absorber on a NEWTON harness.
Breaking strength of 15 kN in all directions.
Available with TRIACT automatic locking system or LOCK manual locking system for dirty environments.


Hi, see above solution. I am trying to get some of these to help people who do not like belaying from their belay loop :wink:

One also gets a maillon that does this but they are generally steel (& heavy).

Otherwise do what the other guys say & join the 21st Century. :jocolor:
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby tapster » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:50 pm

I hadn't heard of the omni. Interesting!

I'm always telling people not to cross-load their carabiners so I can now tell them that an omni is an option....

BUT it's 15 kN in any direction and the average belay loop is approx 22-26 kN in any direction. The flexibility of a belay loop has some advantages as well.

This is interesting: http://www.wildcountry.co.uk/dnlds/Bela ... 20Lite.pdf

Get a new harness.

:thumleft:

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Nic Gear » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:41 pm

Cool link tapster, but I am still unconvinced. Nylon is very susceptible to UV radiation (sun). They should have done a test check those affects, like cook it in a micro wave or something.
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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby tapster » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:58 pm

No worries, bro!

:)

You just said.... "but i agree with the others, if you take your climbing serious get a good harness"..... so it seems like we're all singing from the same hymnsheet, which is the main thing.

:D

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby XMod » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:03 pm

A belay loop is very often subjected sever twisting and loads in multiple (as much a 5 or 6 - think about it) directions, a carabiner (no matter what the design) is just not going to deal with these forces as efficiently as a flexible piece of webbing.

Anyway its a silly discussion really as Ray states his harness is already a few years old - time for a new one bud!

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby steveB » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:48 pm

Interesting topic. How long are harnesses generally designed to last?
a) if used on average twice a month
b) if in storage in a cool dark room

and are there any ways to test if its still in good shape (similar to pressing a rope between your finger and thumb to see if there's still a gap)

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:22 pm

Old Smelly wrote:The Omni series of Petzl Carabiners are designed to be used as the main attachment point on any harness that has two attachment points that must be connected.
Used to join the two sternal attachment loops of any harness where two attachment points must be connected.
Allows installation of a lanyard with energy absorber on a NEWTON harness.
Breaking strength of 15 kN in all directions.
Available with TRIACT automatic locking system or LOCK manual locking system for dirty environments.


The Petzl Omni biner is used to HORIZONTALLY join the two sides of a CAVING harness or the two sides of a chest/fullbody harness. It is NOT for joining the leg loop to the waist loop of a harness.

If you want to join the leg loop to the waist loop buy a STEEL delta maillion which is designed to take three way loading. Better yet buy a new harness as Justin said.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Old Smelly » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:32 am

Hmm NOT CONVINCED Nic (Unless you are the Engineer who designed it I think the horizontal story is BS) :pirat:

Still I did mention that a D Shaped Maillon was an alternative (Delta is not appropriate as it would load strangely or slip when you catch a fall).

In the Omni's defence I have it on good authority that harnesses are made to be 14 KN strength with the belay loops strengthened for wear & tear. Apparently there is no point in making a harness any stronger as you would break if subjected to higher loads then this anyway.

I am all for using a harness with a belay loop, but I believe the Omni to be the best option for use on an Alpine Bod. Consider if you want to carry an alpine harness to save weight do you really want to carry a steel maillon :?

There are other biners that captivate the one side of the belay to prevent 3 point loading, either with a spring system or a fixed pin. I just dunno if I like them as much as a good Petzl product :D
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby tapster » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:23 pm

Hello peeps,

Let me start by saying that I may need to get out more! This is a nerdy post.
However, I have time today and I've been lucky enough to have climbed Sunday, Tuesday and am climbing tomorrow so I'm not too worried about being indoors on a sunny day.

:)

I've been all over the net and have some near-definitive responses to queries/comments and some irrefutable FACTS :o some of which I can back up with references from scientific papers.


OK, in no particular order:



--- use of an ordinary screwgate crab to link leg loops to waist belt.....

is specifically prohibited by Petzl on this page:

http://www.petzl.com/us/node/9741




--- Old Smelly is.......

"Hmm NOT CONVINCED [about the horizontal Petzl Omni thing) Nic (Unless you are the Engineer who designed it I think the horizontal story is BS) :pirat: "

Petzl says that the Omni is a
"Semi-circular locking connector for fastening a
harness"

Look here:

http://www.petzl.com/files/all/technica ... 7501-B.pdf

and you will see that it is shown in use horizontally.
HOWEVER it then goes on to say:

"The semi-circular part provides a place to attach lanyards and similar equipment. It can be used with personal fall-protection systems....and rescue systems. It can also be used for caving, climbing and mountaineering."

With regard to its use only horizontally, if you're using a rescue system or ascending/decending the rope, it's quite likely that the carabiner will be loaded in all three axes, despite its initial orientation so its use on a climbing harness in the way Old Smelly describes appears to be approved of.
Note the way that in the diagram the accessory loads (lanyards, ropes and by extension, belayed climbers) are shown sliding from side to side in the D part of the crab. It stands to reason that you can use it vertically in the presumed "Alpine Bod" scenario.




--- Nylon, UV radiation and harness life.


Few manufacturers will come straight out and give a definitive lifetime age limit for any harness due to obvious factors like use, storage, exposure to unknown chemicals etc.

The most excellent Mammut company in Switzerland do stick their necks out and say (excuse the wierdly translated German)........

"Even if harnesses are one of the most robust pieces in climbing gear, their livespan are not unlimited. By regularly controlling the weakest points of ones harness, one can scrap the harness before it‘s too late.
Harnesses olden almost as the ropes, because they are built in the same materials. On the other hand, they are largely over-dimmensionned, and do not have to be as dynamic as the ropes. The danger of sharp edge fall is
also no question for a harness. Nevertheless, you should you for safety reasons, scrap your harness after a certain time. The following table gives guidelines, which should of course be adapted to individual cases. As an example, a harness wears off faster in a granite chimney as in overhangs.

Moreover, you should control on a regular basis, and after every important fall, every single stitch, as also wear-prone zones. Special attention should be given to the tie-in area. If any of these elements is damaged, it‘s time for a change! And since your life depends on your harness, the rule is: better too early than too late."

And Mammut suggest an approximate lifespan for harnesses:

Never used - 10 years maximum
Rarely used: twice per year - up to 7 years
Occasionally used: once per month - up to 5 years
Regularly used: several times per month - up to 3 years
Frequently used: each week - up to 1 year
Constantly used: almost daily - less than 1 year


Now, remember that harnesses and ropes are made of the same materials, Nylon 6.6 or Nylon 6 (known as Perlon).

"Nylon is slightly less dense and has better abrasion resistance than does polyester. It also has better elongation and energy absorption properties than polyester. Neither is prone to mildew and both have comparable melting points and are dimensionally stable over a wide range of temperature. However, nylon loses more strength when wet and sunlight has a greater deterioration effect on nylon when compared to polyester. Finally, acids (eg..urine and battery acid ect...) attack nylon whereas bases (eg..caustic soda and lime ect...) attact polyesters. With respect to the above, nylon is the first choice for the manufacture of climbing ropes."

Nerdy Nylon info can be found here: http://www.alliancepoly.com/nylon.asp

Chemists say........"Ultraviolet radiation, either alone or in combination with oxygen, heavy metals, etc. profoundly influences the mechanical behavior of most polymers. Indeed, the preparation of photodegradable resistant polymers, or of additives to prevent or reduce the photodegradation of polymers, have been major fields of investigation."

Pitt Schubert, President of the UIAA safety commission says......"UV radiation does not damage ropes. Nylon is UV stabilised and only the colour will be lost."

and

"The suggested life span of 10 years which has been given for ropes is to help the user determine life span . However, after contact with ICI it was found that although after 10 years there was a measurable degradation in nylon (not just in ropes, but all nylon textiles) ageing itself would not cause a rope to break, unless it was loaded over a sharp edge."

So, yes UV is probably not great, but your harness won't disintegrate in a short time, if at all.
Nylon is UV-susceptible, but these days UV stabilisers have mitigated that effect.



Finally --- Strength of belay loops

Old Smelly says........"I have it on good authority that harnesses are made to be 14 KN strength with the belay loops strengthened for wear & tear."

My post above said...."the average belay loop is approx 22-26 kN in any direction."
This info comes from destruction testing results of belay loops. Evidence-based.



I'll stop now. I'm going into the sunlight! Argh!!!...........it burns!!

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Old Smelly » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:58 pm

:jocolor: Good Stuff :thumright

You appear to be right on most counts. I also looked at the Petzl advisory & decided it was not definitive & the diagrams were merely showing one application as the description they give the product is more generalised.

Cool stuff on the nylon ageing. If your rope or harness dies from UV degradation or old age & not "wear & tear" then SHAME on YOU :oops: for not climbing enough!

Lastly I did not disagree with the rating on the belay loop, I merely pointed out that the OMNI would in fact be as strong (a little stronger actually) as the rest of the harness if you used it to join the leg loops & waist belt (Ironically they now join the leg loops of an Alpine bod with plastic buckles- doubtless no rating there). I have no idea how helpful it is that the belay loop is rated at 25KN if the rest of the harness is only able to take 14KN...

Anyhow that was a good post & at least someone is giving intelligent responses for a change :D
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby tapster » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:39 pm

Old Smelly....................(just how smelly are you?)

Many thanks for not shooting me down in flames. Gentlemanly conduct is needed in forums.
It seems many people are easily sparked off into the realms of rant and anger.

Anyway,

I think the belay loop being stronger than the rest of the harness can be explained as follows:

When I belay on trad I'm always trying to set it up so that the belay is taking the force of a fall, not me (supported by the belay). To achieve this there is more or less a straight line between the belay, the belay loop and the weighted rope with the climber on it. Thus the belay loop forms a true link in the chain from belay to climber. It therefore needs to be at least the breaking strain of a screwgate crab which can be up to 25kN.

What do you think?

:D

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Justin » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:58 pm

To carry on the 'nerdiness'

From the Carabiners Experience PDF

Tying in:
Tying into the rope must be done directly, without using a carabiner. In certain situations where the risk of a fall is reduced (top roping, glacier travel…), two locking carabiners may be used to tie in.
I heard a rumour that the reason for using two locking biners is that some person was on a traverse and managed to unscrew their biner as it rolled over the rock

The first three pictures of the image below explain why you should not use a biner as a belay loop

The bottom image is from the Petzl.com Advice on harness use under 'Misuses with carabiners' is the picture on the left:
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Misuses with carabiners
Carabiner / belay loop
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tieing_in.jpg
Misuses with carabiners
Carabiner / belay loop
tieing_in.jpg (127.09 KiB) Viewed 2448 times
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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby tapster » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:33 pm

Excellent work Justin.

:thumright :thumleft:

Those pix are great! I didn't find them..I also couldn't copy & paste the pix onto the forum.

Do I take it that you have to use the snapshot tool in Acrobat or something? How do you make the snapshot into a file that you can attach to the post?



The double screwgate thing:
There was a well-documented case in the UK where a contestant on a TV show was killed when the single screwgate securing him to the system failed. I remember that and sometimes I use a double screwgate in high risk positions. What a cissy!


On the illustrations:

The lanyard is essentially a sling, isn't it?. I'd never heard that one should larksfoot/girth hitch a sling always, and that using a carabiner was a big red X. Actually they say that one screwgate is BAD and two are OK, so it's double screwgate or larksfoot.

:o :shock:

I use the larksfoot mostly but I didn't know it was mandatory!

Right, off into the sun again...........Noooooo!

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:55 pm

It depends on the type of lanyard that you are using as to whether you must use a larksfoot/girth hitch or attach it to a maillion. For instance The Petzl Spelegyca is designed to be attached to a maillion while the Absorbica (sp?) is meant to be larksfooted on to your loop.

Slings should always be larkfooted as it is possible that the sling can move on a 'biner and load across the gate with disasterous consequences :(
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Ray » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:15 am

Well well! Point(s) taken. I will try attach a photo on the weekend and send for further comments/debate/general nerdiness.

thanks

Ray

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Old Smelly » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:32 am

:jocolor: & there in Support of Nic is a Demi Rond Maillon just as he suggested.

Without a doubt a steel Demi rond could be used on an Alpine Bod to join the leg loops to the waist belt- it would be plenty strong. The question was whether one could use an Omni in that situation or whether the gate is in a "bad" position...

Good point Tapster about the Belay loop being part of the anchor system. Naturally, for both the Alpine Bod & a harness with a belay loop, once you have tied in you should have a loop of rope through both the leg loops & the waist belt. I have been advised several times by guides to use this as part of the system as it will be able to take loads in any direction. For me the real question then becomes, "what do you belay off when using an Alpine Bod?"

Maybe there isn't a good answer :cheese: Of course I think modern Alpine Bods have a Belay loop now... :P

Please don't think I am trolling- I would like an answer (correct piece of gear) for all the people who insist on putting biners in to join the leg loops to the waist belt (even when there is a perfectly good belay loop)
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Ray » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:19 am

That has always been my concern. What are you supposed to belay off if there is no belay loop? I have started using a large biner with the large end flipped around, because of the space it provides for the two loops.

I would be tempted to say that that method does reduce the 3-way loading, but I am sure some would disagree.

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby XMod » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:15 am

Ive always thought of Climbing as an extreme sport but I never realised extreme nerdiness was prerequisite! 25years in the sport and Im still learning!

This is all academic, just buy decent gear and keep it in good nick, replace it when it isnt - no-brainer really. Im taking up bouldering full time from now on so that I dont have to listen anymore gear-talk - FAT YAWN! :thumbdown :shaking2: :shaking: :pale:

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Justin » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:52 am

tapster wrote:I couldn't copy & paste the pix onto the forum.
Do I take it that you have to use the snapshot tool in Acrobat or something? How do you make the snapshot into a file that you can attach to the post?

I take a Screenshot (hold down Alt+PrtScn) of the entire screen and paste it into Adobe Photoshop, resize (you can use MS Paint for this). I then 'Save for Web' (downscale the quality of the image, so that becomes smaller in file size). You can download a free program to do this.
------------------

If all else fails read the instructions...
From the Alpine BOD instructions:

BELAYING AND RAPPELLING
♦ Belay and rappel devices should be attached to
the waistbelt and crotch loop with a locking biner as
shown in (figure 8, shown below).


That's what BD recommend and that's what I would do.
FYI: There is also a BOD harness which has a belay loop

RE: Using the OMNI carabiner, I personally would prefer to use a standard (D or Pear) type biner and just keep my eye on it.
Which is better? No idea!! Much of muchness when it comes to cross loading.

Bottom line: Upgrade your harness
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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby tapster » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:58 am

Hi Justin,

:thumleft:

Thanks for the image info. I'd never have worked that out on my own!

Take care, mate!

:D

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Ray » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:42 am

The harness is a Black Diamond "Bod Sit Harness"

Pictures below:
IMG_5681.JPG
IMG_5681.JPG (132.71 KiB) Viewed 2119 times



IMG_5683.JPG
IMG_5683.JPG (171.27 KiB) Viewed 2120 times

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby XMod » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:19 pm

Hi Ray, at a glance the harness looks to be in good condition and is probably still servicable but you will still be way better off with a modern cragging harness. Keep the bod for when you need a spare to take friends on their first introductory excursion (just give them the new one to wear tho!). Im not sure adding a belay loop would work as the design of the leg loops is not ideal. All modern harnesses have a small retainer loop on both the leg connector and the waist belt which stops the belay loop from sliding right around the harness with possibly disasterous consequences (such as having your leg severed when the rope gets pulled across it or having the rope pulled from your grasp). Please buy another harness, you will love the new gear - super comfy and easy to use.

Sorry if I was scaldingly sarcastic earlier, I cant abide ppl hanging onto outdated gear when there is such good stuff available these days - its your life and your partners after all.

PLEASE Everyone- on a very serious note here: lets draw a very clear distinction between the value of material objects and that of life and limb. The cost of a new harness (cam, biner, nut or whatever) might seem high when you ogle the latest technology on the shelf of the climbing shop, but it is sweet f-all compared to the cost of rescue, hospital and physio bills in the event of an accident, let alone the pain and stress you and your family will go through (or worse someone else and their family!).

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:15 pm

Sorry if this comes across as a bit pedantic but it is very important that this point is made: There is NO charge for mountain rescue anywhere in South Africa, unconditionally. Whatever happens, and where ever in the hills it happens you will be rescued for free.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: Harness Belay loop

Postby XMod » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:58 am

Yes understood Nic, I refer not to cost to the rescued individual but cost (both in time and money) of the rescue forces, ie cost to the taxpayer, ie all of us.


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