Author Topic: Wanted general caving gear - a descender, chest harness, footloop, undersuit,...  (Read 1204 times)

Offline Lucie

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Hi, I am looking to buy several pieces of kit for me and if there is a good deal on anything else, my boyfriend might be interested (he is keen to start). I am 170cm tall, about size 12, shoes size 7. My bf is 170cm and very skinny, shoes 6-7.

I look for:
- a stop descender (maybe a simple would work too). If you happen to sell an Australian type descender (8700068 product number) or know of someone who might, I am very interested!
- chest harness
- an undersuit from nicer materials, for general UK caving
- Petzl Omni Triact (or equivalent) in place of a central maillon
- footloop
- SRT bag, possibly another kind of tackle sack too
- maybe knee-length wetsocks

But anything that may be our size for a good price could be of interest :)
Thank you for any offers!

Offline pwhole

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Without wishing to sound too paranoid, considering the importance of your central harness carabiner (it stops you dying), I would suggest that is not something to buy secondhand, unless it still has the Petzl label attached to it. Similarly a descender, even if in very good visual condition, needs a thorough inspection before use, and ideally a trial run off a stepladder first. You only get one go on a descender unless you've double-rigged with an ASAP. I once had a non-handled descender (Banana rather than a Simple) come apart on me halfway down the Maskhill Mine pitches, thankfully on one of the few short horizontal sections, as the central 'hinge' nut had worked itself undone due to a slightly knackered thread. Luckily I had a spanner on me, but if that nut had come off and fallen I would have been screwed, as it was at least another 20m to the bottom of Maskhill before I could climb out of Oxlow. I know I could have hauled up someone else's, but that was just fortunate. If it had come apart whilst I was abseiling I would have been jam.

Offline andrewmc

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I once had a non-handled descender (Banana rather than a Simple) come apart on me halfway down the Maskhill Mine pitches, thankfully on one of the few short horizontal sections, as the central 'hinge' nut had worked itself undone due to a slightly knackered thread.

That's an issue with the way the Banana is (or at least used to be) constructed - I think the end of the thread is stamped to stop the nut coming off but that can fail. I think the Petzl design is better (fully threaded bobbin?).

Offline Lucie

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Oh, I think I remember hearing about nuts of some descenders coming undone. For the descenders, I saw many traded here, it's also a lot more expensive piece of kit. Is there something else to watch out for than the nuts coming undone and possibly how much the bobbins require changing?
I take the point the central maillon equivalent is probably better to buy new.
Thanks!

Online Fjell

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If you get a Petzl descender, it probably won’t. Given they are all the same pretty much the same, getting one that fewer people have used for fewer decades isn’t really an upside.

If I were budget limited to £40, I would get a new Petzl Simple. When you feel flush you could buy the Raumer Handy to go with it. This is pretty standard elsewhere.

Having tried all options, the PPE rated alloy D maillon is much cheaper, light, and no less functional.

It is trivial to make your own footloops and chest harness. These days I have decided to use a separate 8-8.5mm dynamic safety cord for the top ascender, which means the foot loop can be anything. I convinced myself a light dynamic rope might keep the load on an ascender below 500kg in the event of a FF1 or so on it, and so not strip the sheath. Probably wishful thinking.

I still have a size 1 TSA PVC oversuit going free for some youth to fettle. I could throw in some other no-longer-used but non-safety junk if you pick it up in the Dales. I throw away out of date or worn vertical gear.

Offline andrewmc

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Having tried all options, the PPE rated alloy D maillon is much cheaper, light, and no less functional.

The gate open strength of the carabiner is rather higher than the maillon, I suspect :) I would much rather have the carabiner, which just goes to show you will get no end of opinions about gear...

How often do accidents occur due to failure or misuse of carabiners or maillons?
How often do accidents occur due to failure or misuse of descenders?

I suspect accidents due to misuse of descenders is the only thing that happens with reasonable frequency (clutch and plummet) and my preference would always be to get people on a new-style Stop or Rig with a decent handle (less likely to clutch and plummet, I suspect) or (grudgingly, if forced) on a Simple if combined with careful and thorough training and instruction (which obviously you should get with any device). A good descender is probably worth spending the money on, and instead scrimping on things like maillons instead of crabs (despite my hatred of maillons) and (as Fjell says) non-safety parts like the chest harness and footloop.

Offline Lucie

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Thank you so much for the advice! With the descender, my main issue is I haven't really decided which one I want permanently. I have tried the Australian descender and since then, I am reluctant to invest in another type, I liked it too much. At the same time, my club is now inactive so I need to get my own gear for independent trips and my chances of getting an Australian one are quite small (not sold anymore, it seems). My club uses Simples and I love the convenience (my hands hurt from a Stop) but I am also aware that if I were to become unconscious or unable to hold the rope while descending at a bad place for whichever reason (although not too likely), nothing would save me with a Simple.

With the maillon, I have one but it's rubbish, I need to get from a different manufacturer. I trust the two about the same but the crab is so much more convenient when I am all frozen. I will be getting a new one though.

It is trivial to make your own footloops and chest harness. These days I have decided to use a separate 8-8.5mm dynamic safety cord for the top ascender, which means the foot loop can be anything. I convinced myself a light dynamic rope might keep the load on an ascender below 500kg in the event of a FF1 or so on it, and so not strip the sheath. Probably wishful thinking.
Do you have any tips for making a chest harness from a rope? I didn't know that was possible, given the price, I thought of a new one anyway (need the adjustability when walking/climbing). I was thinking of a foot loop made that way too - might need a static rope though. We have some fairly new dynamic rope 9.8mm that was split in half so not useable for climbing anymore so hoping to make lots of things from that (although might be too thick/dynamic for some).

I still have a size 1 TSA PVC oversuit going free for some youth to fettle. I could throw in some other no-longer-used but non-safety junk if you pick it up in the Dales. I throw away out of date or worn vertical gear.
That's very kind of you :) I am not sure I will get to the Dales before Christmas, unfortunately :( Normally, my club would go there for a week trip. But I will try to figure something out! What size is that? I could pay for postage or more though.

Thank you!
Lucie

Online Ian Ball

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The lower stretch option for a footloop is best. Dyneema would be my pick.

For a chest harness I would avoid rope as I suspect it would be uncomfortable more quickly than rope.

I don't know what an Australian descender is.

Disengaging the autolock on a stop is not hard.


Offline andrewmc

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I don't know what an Australian descender is.

I think it's the SRTE one.

Quote
Disengaging the autolock on a stop is not hard.

I don't think you can on the new Stop?

Offline topcat

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Yhm re free / cheap kit :)

TC

Offline blackshiver

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Use an old bike inner tube for the chest harness and attach to the chest ascender with a small mallion.
I have a plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel.

Offline Badlad

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A loop of 5-8mm shock cord tied with a double fishermans makes a great chest harness.  Put the loop through the top hole of the chest croll and then one side over each head and shoulder - fig of 8 style.  Cheap and bloody brill  ;D

Offline pwhole

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Don't tell Tony. He convinced me that the MTDE chest harness I use was worth every penny of £40 due to the comfort, support and versatility it offered, and I completely believed him until I read this. Now I don't know.

So how much are you charging for one of yours? Asking for a friend ;)

Offline Cap'n Chris

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You can make your own PPE out of old car seat belts and get stuff off off EBay. Why spend more.

Offline langcliffe

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A loop of 5-8mm shock cord tied with a double fishermans makes a great chest harness.  Put the loop through the top hole of the chest croll and then one side over each head and shoulder - fig of 8 style.  Cheap and bloody brill  ;D

I use a short climber's sling with one end attached to the Croll with a mini-maillon, and the other over my head. That works a treat, as well. I've tried the traditional ones, but they don't work for me.

Online PeteHall

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You can make your own PPE out of old car seat belts and get stuff off off EBay. Why spend more.

An I interesting suggestion though I'm not sure if you are serious or not...

You can indeed make a harness from seat belts and appropriately sized buckles without the need to sew anything, so technically, totally safe. I've not done it myself, but I have seen patterns in the past.

As for stuff off Ebay,  so long as it is genuine and not some cheap knock-off, I don't think buying second hand metalwork is any more risk than using your own worn out kit. If it passes a visual iinspection, I don't think I'd worry too much.

Second hand fabric items, harnesses, ropes, slings, etc,  I would not touch with a barge pole, unless they were from someone I knew and trusted who could vouch for their entire history.
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Offline wellyjen

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The lower stretch option for a footloop is best. Dyneema would be my pick.
My last two footloops have been in 5mm dyneema cord. This was after two of the older design Petzl dyneema foot loops both snapped due to wear from the adjustment buckle. The foot loop is big enough for two feet. The attachment to the top jammer krab is by a bunny ears knot with different sized loops so that the big loop is used when prussiking with both feet in the loop and the small when prussiking with one foot, or one foot and a pantin to give the optimum length loop for each situation. Takes some time to get the loop lengths exactly right. Noticably more efficient prussiking compared with a nylon foot loop. You can feel the relative lack of stretch. The loop needs something to hold it open, both to allow easy entry for feet and for comfort. I use nylon accessory cord whipped around the dyneema. Some tubular tape would work too.  2 to 2.5m of dyneema is sufficient, depending on how tall you are.
Jen
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Offline owd git

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my loops are a bunnies ear to avoid sloppy footing and allowing one or two feet to be used as needed. :thumbsup:
Hen racer? 2000 world hen racing champion

 

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