Heading to sport crags where many of the draws are fixed or out to Yosemite where there are many old anchors means knowing a bit about the dangers of insitu gear, especially of worn fixed biners.
On September 22, Mario Luginbühl and a friend went climbing at Magletsch, in the St.Gallen canton, Switzerland. Luginbühl was trying to work out a sequence and took a controlled fall. This proved fatal as the fixed quickdraw had been worn sharp through extensive use and cut the rope. Luginbühl fell 85 feet to his death. A similar instance happened a few years ago in the Red River Gorge when a climber cut their rope on the second bolt of a popular climb.
Black Diamond did a bit of testing on sharp edged biners and ropes.
First bolts, crux bolts, and out of line bolts see the most wear. The biners on these bolts need to be checked often. To avoid these situations stand close to the wall when belaying, especially when lowering. Use your own first draw on the first bolt of fixed routes. Use long slings to reduce rope drag. Use steel biners on popular routes. Never assume that fixed gear is in solid working condition.
Touchstone gyms routinely make safety inspections to safeguard against these possibilities. If you see a worn biner or draw please notify the front desk.
Tags: fixed carabiners, climber accidents
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/