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Climbing gear can save our lives. Treating it with the utmost importance and care should be top priority.
We're republishing an excellent series of climbing articles by Ken Hamel of R&W Rope Outdoors. Call Ken for great advice and answers about rope and gear for climbing, work and safety, 800-260-8599.
When your ropes, harnesses and protection gear (cams, slings, etc.) are not in use, store them with care. The best way to protect ropes from damage (chemicals, harsh sun, etc.) is to store them in rope bags. On hot days when you sweat a lot during your climb dry out the harness before storing it away. If the harness does not come with a storage bag an alternative would be to store it in a backpack.
When transporting rope it is a good to have a rope specific bag. Rope bags can be basic or have an integrated rope tarp. Tarps are excellent for catching rope in use on so it stays out of the dirt and off the rocks. Dirt can shorten the life of your rope by increasing internal and external abrasion. Every successful climber knows a clean rope is a safer rope.
In a recent Black Diamond article, a climber was lowering in a gym when he heard a ‘pop’. He looked down and realized the stitching in his harness was giving way. Extensive tests showed that the harness had exposure to sulphuric or hydrochloric acid. These acids are found in household cleaning products and products such as aquarium cleaner and car batteries. Now they knew that the harness had come in contact with the harsh chemicals, but the owner couldn't determine how it had happened. Testing revealed the exposure had only been a few days prior.
So treat your life safety equipment with great care. Keep it safe and stored, and be mindful of what you allow near or around your equipment. You do not want a critical piece of gear to fail when you’re relying on it! If you think there is ANY chance of exposure that may compromise your equipment retire that item!
Shop R&W Rope's climbing and safety gear including rope bags and rope wash.