The dangers of worn perma-draws

Posted by Virgil Scott on 03/06/2014
Sharp edge formed on permadraw

A perma-draw is a quickdraw left in place on a steep sport route. Unusual wear patterns can leave sharp edges on the rope karabiner, with devastating consequences if you should fall. Virgil Scott from the BMC Technical Committee reports.

A climber in Switzerland suffered a fatal ground fall after his rope was severed, and in other incidents climbers have had their ropes cut but escaped with less severe injuries. In each of these cases their ropes were cut by sharp edges worn into permanent quickdraws.

Some sport routes have quickdraws permanently left in place (in-situ). It's often done on very steep routes where stripping the quickdraws can be a nightmare.. It may make the route more convenient, but it can also make it much more dangerous.

Each time a climber lowers off from a route the rope rubs against the quickdraws below, and if the quickdraws are left there permanently they will get rubbed in exactly the same place each time. In these lower quickdraws, the rope traverses the surface of the carabiners at a shallow angle – which tends to form a sharp edged slot. If the rope has sand or dirt ingrained this wear can happen surprisingly quickly.

Disaster may strike when someone falls off after clipping into a sharp edged carabiner, as this may well cut the rope.

It is essential to check all in-situ quickdraws before using them. Since these perma-draws tend to be used more on steep routes it may not be easy to thoroughly inspect them without actually clipping in to them. One way to reduce the risk is to first clip into one of your own quickdraws so that you can hang from it while inspecting. If you're satisfied that the in-situ quickdraw is safe you simply clip into it instead. Regardless of whether it's awkward, it is absolutely crucial to check all in-situ gear before using it - after all, you may well trust your life to it.



« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 1083 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Black Diamond announce quality audit following further product recalls
0
Black Diamond announce quality audit following further product recalls

Black Diamond have issued a recall for inspection for a number of products including Camalots, and have also announced a major quality audit of their production facilities and systems.
Read more »

Black Diamond recall carabiners and slings
0
Black Diamond recall carabiners and slings

Black Diamond have issued two voluntary recalls for select items of equipment including carabiners and nylon slings. Quickdraw sets comprising affected carabiners are also included in the recall. Find out how to check if your gear is affected and what to do below.
Read more »

DMM locking carabiner recall
0
DMM locking carabiner recall

DMM has issued a recall of some of its locking carabiners, subject to user inspection. Read on to find out which models are affected and how to return any potentially faulty carabiners.
Read more »

Post a Comment

Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
0

There are currently no comments, why not add your own?

RELATED ARTICLES

Black Diamond announce quality audit following further product recalls
0

Black Diamond have issued a recall for inspection for a number of products including Camalots, and have also announced a major quality audit of their production facilities and systems.
Read more »

Black Diamond recall carabiners and slings
0

Black Diamond have issued two voluntary recalls for select items of equipment including carabiners and nylon slings. Quickdraw sets comprising affected carabiners are also included in the recall. Find out how to check if your gear is affected and what to do below.
Read more »

DMM locking carabiner recall
0

DMM has issued a recall of some of its locking carabiners, subject to user inspection. Read on to find out which models are affected and how to return any potentially faulty carabiners.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »