JUST A FEW TIPS & TRICKS TO KEEP YOU SAFE
It's so important to maintain your gear - your life depends on it. Learn a few of the ways that we make sure all our gear is in tip top shape. Have a tip of your own, or question?
Do the "pinch test!" Inspect your rope regularly by searching for flat or irregular spots. If you find a spot that feels different, perform the pinch test. If the rope goes completely flat in that spot, then it is time to cut that end of the rope off to where the rope feels normal again, or replace your rope. If you decide to cut your rope, burn the cut end so it doesn't fray and also remember that you now have a shorter rope. A common climbing accident is when a belayer accidentally lowers a climber off the end of the rope, on a climb that is longer than the length of the rope. This is avoidable by ALWAYS tying a knot at the end of your rope. Best practice is an 'overhand flat bend' or a 'barrel knot' with 10-12inch's of tail.
Over time your carabiners can become worn and eventually unsafe (like the photo above). Watch out for sharp edges on your carabiners that can cut your rope! Replace carabiners that are worn/sharp. Inspect any fixed protection (permanent draws or anchors on a route) for the same wear marks and replace them with one of your own if it looks unsafe. Learn More
Dropping your carabiners can cause micro-fractures, greatly reducing strength.
DO NOT top rope directly through fixed anchor hardware. When you are setting up a top rope on a sport climb it is important that you use your own gear to do so. Top roping directly off of the anchor hardware puts extreme wear and tear on the fixed anchor, eventually making it unsafe to use. Learn More
Never expect that the bolts outdoors will be close together, safe, or exactly where you want them to be. Outdoor sport climbs can be bolted in a variety of styles depending on the rock quality, the person who bolted it and sometimes the year it was put up. Often the older the route, the "bolder" it will be bolted, as a lot of the old climbs were put up on lead (ground up). Some of these routes have since been "retro bolted" (when a climb is re-bolted to be more safe), so consult a guidebook or local guide about the climbs and climbing style in your area. Old routes were often bolted using 1/4 inch or sometimes homemade bolts, which are now considered rather unsafe due to years of exposure. Newer routes generally have much larger expandable or glue in bolts. Never assume all bolts and anchors are safe and learn how to identify unsafe bolts and anchors. Learn More