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INTERVIEWS

Wednesday, 9 October

Barbara Zangerl on her Alpine trilogy consecution

BARBARA ZANGERL on her Alpine trilogy consecution

By Esteban Díez Fernández


© Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Climbing 'Des Kaisers Neue Kleider'.  © Klaus Dell'Orto

© Ignacio Sandoval Burón.


Please, tell us what type of route 'Des Kaisers Neue Kleider' is. Are this route's two 8b+ pitches vertical and technical like in the other two routes?

'Kaisers Neue Kleider' is based in Wilder Kaiser (Fleischbankpfeiler) which was opened by Stefan Glowacz in 1994. 

Compared to 'Silbergeier' and 'End of Silence', 'Kaisers Neue Kleider' is more athletic climbing and less technical. There are only 2 very technical pitches, the first 7c+ and the 6th pitch, the 8a. The other pitches are steep and powerful. Compared to the other trilogy routes, 'Kaisers Neue Kleider' han't got the bolts so distanced. There are only a few longer runouts. For me, 'Kaisers Neue Kleider' felt harder than the other two routes and, in the end, it was a big mental game for me. I needed 7 tries for the 8th pitch.



This time you tried it together with Nina Caprez. What is the feeling of climbing hard this kind of multi-pitch routes together with another female?


No, I didn’t try 'Kaisers' with Nina. We only tryed 'Silbergeier' together and it was a really cool time. It is something special when both are fighting for the same goal, without any competition. Sharing emotions, great moments and pushing each other. 

This time I climbed together with Jacopo Larcher. One week after my ascent, Jacopo also sent 'Kaisers Neue Kleider'. It was an amazing experience with a lot of fun trying this route together. And finally, for the both of us, with a happy end. I really enjoyed this time!!! And maybe we chose the last moment of this year for being able to send the route. Now, we have a big raining period and the route needs some days to dry. In fact, the crux holds in the first 8b+ were often wet.


This last route has a lot of hard pitches, so is it the hardest one of the trilogy for you?


Yes, for me it felt harder than the other two... It's got a more athletic style and I spent more time for this route.



Why did you started thinking on completing this trilogy?

At the beginning I only wanted to try 'Silbergeier'. Then, I got knocked out without completing it because of an injury. The year after I searched for a project with the same style of climbing. That was 'End of Silence'. After a two years break after 'Silbergeier', I was soooo motivated to go back to try a Beat Kammerlander's master piece.....I did it....and finally I wanted to finish the trilogy. But I had a really big respect for 'Kaisers'. At that time I couldn’t imagine to climb 'Kaisers Neue Kleider'.



Now that you're done with it, what's next?

Now....????? I will join the TNF climbing festival in Kalymnos and after that I have planned a US-trip. Red River Gorge and Indian Creek. 


Have you heard about the famous Pico Urriello (Naranjo de Bulnes) in Spain? If so, have you ever thought about climbing it?

It sound interesting... I've never been to there, but I've seen some cool pictures... For sure, one day I will go to visit the Spanish Dolomites. 

© Klaus Dell'Orto.




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INTERVIEWS

Friday, 13 September

Schaeli and Jasper trilogy at Eiger

All pics by Franke Kretschmann



Schaeli and Jasper writes free climbing history at Eiger, by Alvaro Susena

In early August, Swiss alpinist Roger Schaeli redpointed the Piola Ghilini Direttissima and then fulfilled a long time dream, to redpoint the three direttissima at the north face of Eiger. The Japanese Direttissima that he climbed in 2009 and the Harlin direttissima redpointed in 2010 completes the trilogy. Roger Schaeli teamed up with well known German mountain guide Robert Jasper for all the three free climbs. 

The north face of Eiger has an infamous reputation for fast changing of weather conditions, loose rocks, melting snow, lighting storms and hard winds, all combined making the free climbing extremely difficult. The Schaeli-Jasper team is first to free climb all the three direttissima, the straight forward lines on the north face.

8a met the Salewa athlete at the Arco Rockmasters Festival:


–      I was born in the area and Eiger is my home mountain, my girlfriend’s father did the Japanese direttissima a long time ago in the old fashioned style. So I thought that we, the new generation of climbers, must take it to the next level, it’s time to free climb these routes, Roger Schaeli says.

For the experienced team it has been very important to not change the routes, not adding any new stationary gear. But they did replace some bolts that were in bad conditions at the reunions or rappel points.

–      We asked Michel Piola if it was ok to replace some of the gear, the idea is to not change the character of the climb but no one should die from a poor reunion, Schaeli says.

Every single climb of the direttissima routes have being very hard work for months, waiting for good weather and working the different pitches in every possible occasion. But the patience game paid off.

–      The day you get the perfect conditions, if you have done the previous job well, then it feels easy. From the moment we woke up at 2 o’clock in the night we were confident and enjoyed the climb, Schaeli says.

The Jasper–Schaeli team did the 1400 vertical meters in 14 hours.

Read more www.rogerschaeli.ch

Japanese direttissima 8a

John Harlin Direttissima 7a/M8

Piola Ghilini Direttissima 7c


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ANNA STÖHR

By Ignacio Sandoval Burón

In the isolation area right before competing in the bouldering final of the 2011 World Championships celebrated in Arco. 

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Anna having some fun slack-lining during the party at the 2012 The North Face Kalymnos Festival.

 Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Competing in the bouldering final of the 2011 World Championships celebrated in Arco. 

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Her reaction once she knew she was the 2011 bouldering World Champion. 

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Receiving the La Sportiva Competition Award during the Arco Rock Legends 2012.

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

none;text-autospace:none">We had this interview with Anna when the bouldering World Cup season in which she had a spectacular performance (6 victories out of 7 events so far) had almost came to an end (only the last leg in Münich was left) and just when she returned home from Rocklands where she broke some standards with a couple of 8B’s sent. none;text-autospace:none">

Days after it, the austrian just confirmed her great shape with a new victory in the last World Cup event and with her second European Championship title.



First of all, congratulations for your last achievements in Rocklands as well as for the fabulous WC season you had.

- How long did you stay in Rocklands? Was it your first time?

I stayed from the 16th of July until the 9th of August in the Rocklands. It was my secondtime. My first trip was in 2009.




- Tell us a little bit more about those two 8B's you sent.

"The Power of One" is a beautiful boulder, and it is very powerful and not very long. It took me two days to finish "The Power of One". Whereas "TheVice" is a rather long problem and I needed more time to figure out the perfect beta for me. Ittook me four days to climb "The Vice". 




- Any other remarkable sends from you or Kili during this trip?

We climbed a lot of cool boulders which we have not climbed during our first trip. For me, e.g "Black Velvet", "The Shark", "Barracuda", and maaaany more...



-Any unfinished business by either of you?

In the Rocklands there are so many boulders and lots of potential, therefore there is always business to come back to :)



- I heard you guys are opening a new area in Rocklands... Is that true? Could you, please, tell us where it is, how many problems you have developed.

Yes it is true. It is around Kraaibos pass and we have opened around 50 problems on superb rock from 6a-8a+.



-You had a great 2013 World Cup season. Did you train more than previous years or was it the same as usual? How do you think that allthis training for comps has transferred into real rock performance?

I did not train more this year, but I have a lot of training experience as well as comp experience, so this definitely helps me a lot. I have always climbed a lot outside, since this gives me a lot of motivation. I do not think that you have to transfer the training to rock performance.  I go outside and have fun climbing, I love the sport and that is why I do it.




-Have you tried any 8B+ so far? If so, how did it go? If not, do you have any in mind?

No I have not.



- I think you'll assist to the TNF climbing festival in Kalymnos. I guess that's cause you liked it last year. How was it last year and what do you expect for this year's?

Last year's event was fun. For me it was also cool to return to Kalymnos after many many years. I spent a climbing holiday with my family in Kalymnos when I was 12 years old and it was interesting to see how much has changed since then. 




- What is your (Kili and you) plan for the rest of the year.

We'll compete in the European Championship in Eindhoven this weekend. In September we have time to travel, since university starts in Octo

ber. I do not know yet where exactly we'll be heading, but we will definitely stay in Europe this time.



Check Anna's nice website: www.anna-stoehr.at


Anna in one of the two 8B's she sent during her last trip to Rocklands, 'The Power of One'.

Pic: Reinhard Fichtinger.





INTERVIEWS

Monday, 2 September

Anna Stöhr

ANNA STÖHR

By Ignacio Sandoval Burón

In the isolation area right before competing in the bouldering final of the 2011 World Championships celebrated in Arco. 

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Anna having some fun slack-lining during the party at the 2012 The North Face Kalymnos Festival.

 Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Competing in the bouldering final of the 2011 World Championships celebrated in Arco. 

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Her reaction once she knew she was the 2011 bouldering World Champion. 

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

Receiving the La Sportiva Competition Award during the Arco Rock Legends 2012.

Pic: Ignacio Sandoval Burón.

none;text-autospace:none">We had this interview with Anna when the bouldering World Cup season in which she had a spectacular performance (6 victories out of 7 events so far) had almost came to an end (only the last leg in Münich was left) and just when she returned home from Rocklands where she broke some standards with a couple of 8B’s sent. none;text-autospace:none">

Days after it, the austrian just confirmed her great shape with a new victory in the last World Cup event and with her second European Championship title.



First of all, congratulations for your last achievements in Rocklands as well as for the fabulous WC season you had.

- How long did you stay in Rocklands? Was it your first time?

I stayed from the 16th of July until the 9th of August in the Rocklands. It was my secondtime. My first trip was in 2009.




- Tell us a little bit more about those two 8B's you sent.

"The Power of One" is a beautiful boulder, and it is very powerful and not very long. It took me two days to finish "The Power of One". Whereas "TheVice" is a rather long problem and I needed more time to figure out the perfect beta for me. Ittook me four days to climb "The Vice". 




- Any other remarkable sends from you or Kili during this trip?

We climbed a lot of cool boulders which we have not climbed during our first trip. For me, e.g "Black Velvet", "The Shark", "Barracuda", and maaaany more...



-Any unfinished business by either of you?

In the Rocklands there are so many boulders and lots of potential, therefore there is always business to come back to :)



- I heard you guys are opening a new area in Rocklands... Is that true? Could you, please, tell us where it is, how many problems you have developed.

Yes it is true. It is around Kraaibos pass and we have opened around 50 problems on superb rock from 6a-8a+.



-You had a great 2013 World Cup season. Did you train more than previous years or was it the same as usual? How do you think that allthis training for comps has transferred into real rock performance?

I did not train more this year, but I have a lot of training experience as well as comp experience, so this definitely helps me a lot. I have always climbed a lot outside, since this gives me a lot of motivation. I do not think that you have to transfer the training to rock performance.  I go outside and have fun climbing, I love the sport and that is why I do it.




-Have you tried any 8B+ so far? If so, how did it go? If not, do you have any in mind?

No I have not.



- I think you'll assist to the TNF climbing festival in Kalymnos. I guess that's cause you liked it last year. How was it last year and what do you expect for this year's?

Last year's event was fun. For me it was also cool to return to Kalymnos after many many years. I spent a climbing holiday with my family in Kalymnos when I was 12 years old and it was interesting to see how much has changed since then. 




- What is your (Kili and you) plan for the rest of the year.

We'll compete in the European Championship in Eindhoven this weekend. In September we have time to travel, since university starts in Octo

ber. I do not know yet where exactly we'll be heading, but we will definitely stay in Europe this time.



Check Anna's nice website: www.anna-stoehr.at


Anna in one of the two 8B's she sent during her last trip to Rocklands, 'The Power of One'.

Pic: Reinhard Fichtinger.





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INTERVIEWS

Monday, 26 August

Maximo Kausch beats the world record of 6000 summits in Andes

Maximo Kausch beats the world record of 6000 summits in Andes


Máximo in the summit of 'Pular', extremely remote peak in Chile. 

55th summit.

One of the sharp 6000 m ridges in Bolivia.

Inca ruins at 6730 m, Llullaillaco (Argentina).

Ridge of Illampu (Bolivia).

Bike fell in an ice and sand crevasse.


About 1 year ago I started to climb all the 6000ers in the Andes. I had no idea what I was getting myself into; I thought "there are no more than 50 x 6000ers in the Andes". Unfortunately I realized there are 118 mountains above 6000m over here! It was already too late and couldn´t stop it. 

Just climbed my 59th 6000m peak yesterday. Supposedly this is already a world record. But surely one thing I´ve learned during this trip is that the more mountains I climb, the more I realize I´ve climbed nothing. The higher I get, the further I can see the horizon and many more mountains ranges show up. It makes me feel very insignificant. I still have 57 peaks left in my plan. If I manage to climb them, God know what then. 


The Plan
I think curiosity was my main incentive to climb all these peaks. After leading an expedition to Mt Cho Oyu in Tibet I had this great idea of climbing as many 6000ers as I could but I didn´t really know how to approach them. 


Google Earth
Knowing where all the 6000ers are took me 3 years. While in Europe people discuss if some of their mountains are 1 metre higher or lower, in South America we discuss their actual names or 300 metre altitude discrepancies. Most of the South American maps use really old methods and altitudes are mostly wrong. Names also proved to be a challenge. There are cases when 4 or 5 different names are linked to the same mountain. Because of the unreliable altitudes that were available I had to download gigabytes of NASA data and work on it for months. ASTER and SRTM data helped me a lot to make a list with more reliable altitudes. 3 months later, Google Earth and a lot of patience and all the foot approaches were mapped and ready in my GPS. All I had to do then was climb them! 


A motorbike sounded like a great idea but I have never even sat on one. Learning how to ride a bike on volcanic ash and virgin terrain proved to be one of the greatest challenges of my whole trip. Eventually after dozens of falls I´ve finally learned and managed to approach 6000m peaks up to an average of 4700m. Initially I started climbing 4 or 5 x 6000m peaks every week. I then moved to climb 2 of them in one day once or twice a week. Pretty dangerous game as I had no backup plans. 


Water was also a problem. I initially had a 20Lt water container attached to the bike but it ended up been too heavy. For about 1 month all my water came from snow from the top of the 6000ers I climbed. It worked well until I failed in one of the summits.

Archaeology
One of the most interesting bits of the project was surely the archaeological finds I had at 14 different sites. In one of them we found a 60 square metre Inca structure built at the top of a 6000m peak. Maybe there are mummies under there, I just don´t know. Also found a lot of pieces of wood left by Incas 500 years ago. At the southern 6000ers in Argentina and Chile I found some pretty big fossils of 1 foot long sponges, ammonites and other cretaceous sea creatures. All this at least 5000m!

 
Wikiloc
In return of a great amount of amazing sceneries and landscapes I´ve seen, I try to pay back by publishing the GPS waypoints and routes so others can come back. All my routes are available at Wikiloc (http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/user.do?id=492883  ). 


Info about me
Born in Argentina, lived about 9 years in the UK, but also lived 10 years in Brazil. Now I´m completely homeless and spend 8 to 9 months/year in high altitudes. I work as expedition leader at the Andes and Himalaya. Have now my own company in Brazil, GentedeMontanha.com


Maximo Kausch
http://www.gentedemontanha.com/
http://facebook.com/gentedemontanha

Sunrise at 6100 m, Bolivia.

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PRODUCT NEWS

Tuesday, 6 August

2013 Friedrichshafen Outdoor Fair

From July 10th and 14th 2013 the German city of Friedrichshafen held the Spring/Summer outdoor fair, being the European reference, 8a.nu was there.

  

Few spectacular news when it comes to climbing and bouldering. There’s a clear tendency towards lighter materials, thinner ropes and flashy designs.

If we talk about climbing shoes, we observed quite a few innovations for those created for the high difficulty climbs with aggressive designs in the lasts and toes following a trend started by La Sportiva with their Solution model. Tenaya and Scarpa are just some of the companies that are going to give something to talk about in relation to this. Along these lines is also Boreal together with a revolutionary insert under the toes to give consistency. Five Ten comes with a new model, not as aggressive as the ones we talked about before although it’s said to be super performing with a new super sticky rubber and a super soft last. Besides of a new Solution model for girls, La Sportiva has created some specific climbing shoes for climbing gyms with its main characteristic being that they are machine washable.

  

As for the harnesses, their future lie in less thickness in the leg loops and hip belts and lighter products, both for sport climbing and for multi-pitches. Some of the brands working in that way are Edelrid, Petzl and Beal (the latter having started to produce more stuff like headlamps, helmets, etc.). After the ‘Realization’ short with integrated harness, Mammut will come with a trouser with the same system.

  

When it comes to hardware, the thing that most struck our attention was the new DMM quickdraws, the Edelrid belay apparatuses, the Black Diamond helmets, the new crash pad with an innovative carrying system by Monkee and some other companies with anti-twist systems for their locking carabiners...

The ropes are thinner each year; we don’t know how thin they can make them! Petzl enters this market with a full Collection of ropes. The most stricking thing for us was the ‘Gully’ from Beal for multi-pitches (7,3 mm) and the ‘Corbie’ from Edelrid (8,6 mm and the three homologations (single, double and twin); both were awarded by the fair jury.

  

Lastly, where we found more new stuff was in the clothes. There are many companies, which were oblivious to the textile stuff up until now which will bring out a full range of clothes for next Spring/Summer season. Such is the case of Wild Country. Also La Sportiva with clothes inspired in the 80’s and with pretty flashy colours. Adidas Outdoor extends its range, adding an exclusive collection for climbers to what was already known as Terrex: the Everyday Outdoor. When it comes to shoes, Adidas association with 5.10’s Stealth rubber is already bringing some good results since their ‘Terrex Solo’ model was one of the awarded products. Arc´teryx has also got this kind of lifestyle clothing. Of course, really nice clothing from companies fully committed to this segment, such as E9 and Monkee –always innovating and with pretty attractive designs–, plus Moon, The North Face, Outdoor Research, etc.


** Important notice ---> We didn’t have the time to visit all the companies’ booths plus running from one stand to another didn’t ease the labour of remembering all, so maybe we’ve skipped/forgot something noticeable. Please, accept our apologies if you feel your stuff should have been mentioned.






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PRODUCT NEWS

Saturday, 27 July

Feria Outdoor de Friedrichshafen 2013

Entre los días 10 y 14 de este mes se celebró, en la ciudad alemana de Friedrichshafen‏, la feria de deportes outdoor o deportes al aire libre. Es la referencia europea en eventos de este tipo y 8a.nu estuvo allí.



Pocas novedades espectaculares en lo que a escalada y boulder se refiere. Hay una tendencia clara hacia materiales más ligeros, cuerdas más finas y diseños llamativos.



En cuanto a pies de gato hay muchas innovación para alta dificultad y bloque, con un diseño agresivo en la horma y la puntera, siguiendo la tendencia que empezó La Sportiva con los Solution. Boreal, Tenaya, Scarpa son algunas de las marcas que con este estilo van a dar mucho de que hablar. Five Ten apuesta por un nuevo modelo para bloque, no tan agresivo pero muy blanco y con nueva goma. La Sportiva, además de sacar el modelo de chica de Solution, ha creado una línea de gatos para rocódromo cuya principal característica es que se pueden lavar en la lavadora.



En los arneses, el futuro próximo se encamina hacia productos finos y muy ligeros, tanto para deportiva como para vías de largos, con materiales que compensen con comodidad tanta ligereza. Y en este sentido trabajan Edelrid, Petzl o Beal (los franceses han comenzado a fabricar más cosas que cuerdas). Mammut lanza la versión de pantalón largo a su ya conocido 'Realization' (arnés y pantalón integrado).



En cuanto al material duro, nos llamó la atención las cintas express de DMM, los aseguradores de Edelrid, cascos de Black Diamond, el crashpad con nuevo sistema de transporte de Monkee, varias marcas con mosquetones de seguro que incorporan un sistema antigiro para el asegurador.



Las cuerdas más finas cada año, no sabemos hasta donde pueden llegar. Petzl entra en este mercado y ya tiene preparada su colección. Lo más destacado nos pareció la Gully de Beal para pared (7,3 mm) y la Corbie de Edelrid, 8,6 mm y con las 3 homologaciones (simple, doble y gemela); ambas fueron premiadas por la feria.



Y por último, el apartado en el que más novedades encontramos: la ropa. Hay muchas compañías, ajenas al textil hasta ahora, que han sacado su línea de ropa. Tal es el caso de La Sportiva, inspirada en los años 80 y con colores muy llamativos. Adidas Outdoor amplía la gama, sumando a su conocida línea Terrex, una colección exclusiva para escaladores: la Everyday Outdoor. En cuanto al calzado, su unión con la goma Stealh de 5.10 ya le está reportando beneficios, ya que fue su Terrex Solo fue uno de los productos galardonados por la feria. Arc´teryx también tiene este tipo de prenda Lifestyle; el mismo carro al que suben los de Outdoor Research. Y por supuesto las marcas propias de ropa de escalada como E9, siempre innovando y con diseños muy atractivos, Moon, Monkee, etc.

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INTERVIEWS

Wednesday, 24 July

El Cap at arms strengh

El Cap at arms Strengh

by Clement Perotti from Sandstones Media

One morning while checking facebook, I saw a link to something that stopped me. It was about a lady planning to climb El Cap, without the use of your her feet. And to accomplish that, she needed support, so I cliked this link <a href="http://www.kisskissbankbank.com/fr/projects/el-cap-a-bout-de-bras?utm_source=critsend&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign="> and learned a few things about this beautiful project, but I felt like there was more to say, so I got in touch with Vanessa, and asked her a few question. Here's her answer !


Could you introduce yourself for us ?


I’m Vanessa François from Belgium, and a nurse. 10 years ago, I took a break from work in Chamonix, and fell in love with the area. I met a lot of people there to climb the amazing mountains of Mont Blanc massif, and have made the first winter female ascent of the Manitua, on Grandes Jorasses north face.

Could you tell us how your accident happened, and how you reacted to it?


I was climbing in the mountains on a beautiful spring day, when a big frozen chunk of snow hit me in the back. We were a lot on the face, but I was the only one to be hit. I knew straight away than my leg won’t move anymore, and stayed conscious waiting for the rescue team.

It didn’t took long before I wanted to go back to the mountain, and after some swimming, I started backcountry skiing. It helped me to stay positive during the rehab and filled me with tons of energy. And as soon as I could pull hard enough, I started climbing again and prepared El Cap at arms strength.

Talking about this project, it has been crowfunded, and you reached the initial goal in less than 24 hours ! Can you tell us what it is about ?

We’ll be in Yosemite in October 2013 with Liv Sansoz, Marion Poitevin and Nicolas Potard to climb the Zodiac route on El Capitan, Yosemite. We plan to spend 5 days on the wall, and I’ll jumar the whole thing, and sleep in a portaledge.

Does this quick succes makes you wanna turn this project into something bigger ?

Yes ! It felt amazing to feel the people support. I’m going to keep the fundraising open so we can document better our trip, and then share the whole experience !

Thank you Vanessa, any message you’ll like to share?

First of all we should all enjoy the moment, from a nice light to a friend’s smile. And never hesitate to give a hand to somebody. That helped me a lot to keep moving !

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INTERVIEWS

Wednesday, 24 July

Wrongs and right about quickdraws



This is the quickdraw that the police showed to Tito's father.

Picture published first by Grimper Magazine showing the wrong assembled quickdraw, the rubber string and the right assembled rubber string, but notice that the rubber string is placed at the wrong biner.

2. Wrong assembled dog bone fixation.
A short rubber capsule makes the error easier to spot. The weight of the biner should be enough to pull it out of position.

4. Inside rubber like used by Black Diamond and Mammut can also be wrongly attached, but the mistake is hard to do and easy to spot.

Picture  from the new Petzl safety manual for use of rubber strings.



In the aftermaths of the tragic accident of Tito Traversa, it has been a broad discussion on 8a.nu and other climbing forums about the whys and how of the quickdraw’s failure. In many cases, it seems to be some misunderstandings on the purpose of the rubber string attached to the sling. After have seen the picture that explains how the rubber string was wrong assembled with an example of a right assembled quickdraw, we decided at 8a.nu to find some answers. Because this picture just shows how difficult this issue is, even though the rubber string is correctly mounted, it’s placed at the wrong end of the sling on the “right” assembled quickdraw, fixating the straight gate biner.

We contacted therefore Andres Lietha, who works as Head of Business Unit Hardware at Mammut in Switzerland. All the product managers and developers for safety gear work in his department (ropes, biners, slings, harnesses, etc.) meaning that he’s pretty much involved in all safety gear development and issues. We want already here to emphasize that no Mammut gear was involved in the accident. We are directing our questions to Mr Andres Lietha because he’s an expert in this field.

During the design, how do the engineers take into account the factor of human mistakes and how much does it influence the outcome of the product?
If you look at the accidents statistics you will very rarely or almost never find accidents due to pure gear failures – all the gear on the market has to fulfill the EN Norms, which provide quite a safe margin to the impact forces, which can happen. Accidents are almost always based on human failure or a combination of human failure with aging problems or other factors. And what’s very important: EN Norms do not cover human failures / misuse.

So to avoid this human failures is definitely at focus in each design / development process. But there is also always a question about how far you want to go. For example: There have been some accidents when people tied in to the gear loops of the harness – so should we make all gear loops of all harnesses strong enough to compensate this failure? We decided to do this on rental harnesses, as we expect this failure to happen more frequently with rental clients, but did not apply it on all other harnesses as this makes the gear loops big and stiff and the harness a bit uncomfortably and more expensive.

Is there any established method for predicting the different situations a product may encounter (regarding human behaviour and thereby the risk of not understanding the proper use of the gear in question)?
We try to go systematically through all variants of use and misuse on a product but there is no established method to make sure this checklist is complete.

How does designers of safety gear get feedback from users?  
We have a defined internal validation process for new safety gear. The user is of course not involved – we cannot test safety with users. If we start to sell new safety gear we have to be 100% sure it works. Of course we still collect user feedbacks about design, handling or not safety related features in a later stage. 

The use of rubber strings on quickdraws is not a new feature, what are the mayor advantages of that piece of gear?
There are two purposes: 
– Avoid 180 degree turning of the biner, that makes the clipping of the rope very uncomfortable .
– Avoid 90 degree turning of the biner that can lead to critical across loading.
So it’s definitely an essential little piece - if you don’t fix your rope biner you create other risks. Have also in mind, that a fixation of the upper bolt biner is wrong, and can also create a critical biner position on the bolt and across loading.

Have you followed the discussions on the web forums about the causes of this specific accident?
When I have a look at the comments on 8a.nu there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and mixing up of the possible failures – may be it would be worth to put them together again and explain what is safe or not.

1. Open sling failure - This can happen with any type of fixation rubber and can also happen while climbing after a correct assembling. This problem was well known since a couple of year – but it’ seems that many climbers are still not aware of this. Solution: Never use any biner fixation on an open sling - this is not a new fact!

2. Wrong assembled Dog Bone Fixation - This can only happen with long Dog Bones or / and thin, flexible slings (see picture with the redish webbing) With short dog bones and a thick sling (eg. 16mm) the failure is not possible, as after a wrong assembling, the sling falls directly apart (see picture with the yellowish webbing).
The wrong assembled dog bone type was principally known – but we were probably less aware about the potential risk.

3. The failure with the fixation type as shown here - It seems that this type of fixation should not be used any more to avoid this potential failure. We at Mammut never sold this type of rubber piece so we have never discussed it.

4. It is also possible to assemble inside rubber wrong – but this seems to be well visible (see picture with the grey sling).
However in Titos case, the wrong rubber string placement was pretty well visible too.

In the light of what just happened, do you think it would be better to skip the rubber strings all together, or is there any other ways to make the use of the strings more safe?
Definitely not, this would create new, probably higher risks – use a short dog bone for thicker, or with thin slings an inside rubber type to avoid this problem. Never use any a fixation on open slings. And probably generally: don’t use gear from other persons. However, my perception about when failure is possible or not, changed quite a bit after this case.

There is also an excellent document from our friends from Petzl available


Read more

INTERVIEWS

Friday, 19 July

Wrong and rights about quickdraws




In the aftermaths of the tragic accident of Tito Traversa, it has been a broad discussion on 8a.nu and other climbing forums about the whys and how of the quickdraw’s failure. In many cases, it seems to be some misunderstandings on the purpose of the rubber string attached to the sling. After have seen the picture that explains how the rubber string was wrong assembled with an example of a right assembled quickdraw, we decided at 8a.nu to find some answers. Because this picture just shows how difficult this issue is, even though the rubber string is correctly mounted, it’s placed at the wrong end of the sling on the “right” assembled quickdraw, fixating the straight gate biner.

We contacted therefore Andres Lietha, who works as Head of Business Unit Hardware at Mammut in Switzerland. All the product managers and developers for safety gear work in his department (ropes, biners, slings, harnesses, etc.) meaning that he’s pretty much involved in all safety gear development and issues. We want already here to emphasize that no Mammut gear was involved in the accident. We are directing our questions to Mr Andres Lietha because he’s an expert in this field.
During the design, how do the engineers take into account the factor of human mistakes and how much does it influence the outcome of the product?
If you look at the accidents statistics you will very rarely or almost never find accidents due to pure gear failures – all the gear on the market has to fulfill the EN Norms, which provide quite a safe margin to the impact forces, which can happen. Accidents are almost always based on human failure or a combination of human failure with aging problems or other factors. And what’s very important: EN Norms do not cover human failures / misuse. 
So to avoid this human failures is definitely at focus in each design / development process. But there is also always a question about how far you want to go. For example: There have been some accidents when people tied in to the gear loops of the harness – so should we make all gear loops of all harnesses strong enough to compensate this failure? We decided to do this on rental harnesses, as we expect this failure to happen more frequently with rental clients, but did not apply it on all other harnesses as this makes the gear loops big and stiff and the harness a bit uncomfortably and more expensive.

Is there any established method for predicting the different situations a product may encounter (regarding human behaviour and thereby the risk of not understanding the proper use of the gear in question)?
We try to go systematically through all variants of use and misuse on a product but there is no established method to make sure this checklist is complete.

How does designers of safety gear get feedback from users?  
We have a defined internal validation process for new safety gear. The user is of course not involved – we cannot test safety with users. If we start to sell new safety gear we have to be 100% sure it works. Of course we still collect user feedbacks about design, handling or not safety related features in a later stage. 

The use of rubber strings on quickdraws is not a new feature, what are the mayor advantages of that piece of gear?
There are two purposes: 
– Avoid 180 degree turning of the biner, that makes the clipping of the rope very uncomfortable .
– Avoid 90 degree turning of the biner that can lead to critical across loading.
So it’s definitely an essential little piece - if you don’t fix your rope biner you create other risks. Have also in mind, that a fixation of the upper bolt biner is wrong, and can also create a critical biner position on the bolt and across loading.

Have you followed the discussions on the web forums about the causes of this specific accident?
When I have a look at the comments on 8a.nu there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and mixing up of the possible failures – may be it would be worth to put them together again and explain what is safe or not.

1. Open sling failure - This can happen with any type of fixation rubber and can also happen while climbing after a correct assembling. This problem was well known since a couple of year – but it’ seems that many climbers are still not aware of this. Solution: Never use any biner fixation on an open sling - this is not a new fact!

2. Wrong assembled Dog Bone Fixation - This can only happen with long Dog Bones or / and thin, flexible slings (see picture with the redish webbing) With short dog bones and a thick sling (eg. 16mm) the failure is not possible, as after a wrong assembling, the sling falls directly apart (see picture with the yellowish webbing).
The wrong assembled dog bone type was principally known – but we were probably less aware about the potential risk.
3. The failure with the fixation type as shown here - It seems that this type of fixation should not be used any more to avoid this potential failure. We at Mammut never sold this type of rubber piece so we have never discussed it.

4. It is also possible to assemble inside rubber wrong – but this seems to be well visible (see picture with the grey sling).
However in Titos case, the wrong rubber string placement was pretty well visible too.
In the light of what just happened, do you think it would be better to skip the rubber strings all together, or is there any other ways to make the use of the strings more safe?
Definitely not, this would create new, probably higher risks – use a short dog bone for thicker, or with thin slings an inside rubber type to avoid this problem. Never use any a fixation on open slings. And probably generally: don’t use gear from other persons. However, my perception about when failure is possible or not, changed quite a bit after this case.
There is also an excellent document from our friends from Petzl available

Read more

INTERVIEWS

Friday, 19 July

Wrong and rights about quickdraws



This is the quick draw that the police shown to Titos father

2. Wrong Assembled Dog Bone Fixation


Picture is from a Petzl safety manual for Strings



In the aftermaths of the tragic accident of Tito Traversa, it has been a broad discussion on 8a.nu and other climbing forums about the whys and how of the quickdraw’s failure. In many cases, it seems to be some misunderstandings on the purpose of the rubber string attached to the sling. After have seen the picture that explains how the rubber string was wrong assembled with an example of a right assembled quickdraw, we decided at 8a.nu to find some answers. Because this picture just shows how difficult this issue is, even though the rubber string is correctly mounted, it’s placed at the wrong end of the sling on the “right” assembled quickdraw, fixating the straight gate biner.

We contacted therefore Andres Lietha, who works as Head of Business Unit Hardware at Mammut in Switzerland. All the product managers and developers for safety gear work in his department (ropes, biners, slings, harnesses, etc.) meaning that he’s pretty much involved in all safety gear development and issues. We want already here to emphasize that no Mammut gear was involved in the accident. We are directing our questions to Mr Andres Lietha because he’s an expert in this field.

During the design, how do the engineers take into account the factor of human mistakes and how much does it influence the outcome of the product?
If you look at the accidents statistics you will very rarely or almost never find accidents due to pure gear failures – all the gear on the market has to fulfill the EN Norms, which provide quite a safe margin to the impact forces, which can happen. Accidents are almost always based on human failure or a combination of human failure with aging problems or other factors. And what’s very important: EN Norms do not cover human failures / misuse.

So to avoid this human failures is definitely at focus in each design / development process. But there is also always a question about how far you want to go. For example: There have been some accidents when people tied in to the gear loops of the harness – so should we make all gear loops of all harnesses strong enough to compensate this failure? We decided to do this on rental harnesses, as we expect this failure to happen more frequently with rental clients, but did not apply it on all other harnesses as this makes the gear loops big and stiff and the harness a bit uncomfortably and more expensive.

Is there any established method for predicting the different situations a product may encounter (regarding human behaviour and thereby the risk of not understanding the proper use of the gear in question)?
We try to go systematically through all variants of use and misuse on a product but there is no established method to make sure this checklist is complete.

How does designers of safety gear get feedback from users?  
We have a defined internal validation process for new safety gear. The user is of course not involved – we cannot test safety with users. If we start to sell new safety gear we have to be 100% sure it works. Of course we still collect user feedbacks about design, handling or not safety related features in a later stage. 

The use of rubber strings on quickdraws is not a new feature, what are the mayor advantages of that piece of gear?
There are two purposes: 
– Avoid 180 degree turning of the biner, that makes the clipping of the rope very uncomfortable .
– Avoid 90 degree turning of the biner that can lead to critical across loading.
So it’s definitely an essential little piece - if you don’t fix your rope biner you create other risks. Have also in mind, that a fixation of the upper bolt biner is wrong, and can also create a critical biner position on the bolt and across loading.

Have you followed the discussions on the web forums about the causes of this specific accident?
When I have a look at the comments on 8a.nu there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and mixing up of the possible failures – may be it would be worth to put them together again and explain what is safe or not.

1. Open sling failure - This can happen with any type of fixation rubber and can also happen while climbing after a correct assembling. This problem was well known since a couple of year – but it’ seems that many climbers are still not aware of this. Solution: Never use any biner fixation on an open sling - this is not a new fact!

2. Wrong assembled Dog Bone Fixation - This can only happen with long Dog Bones or / and thin, flexible slings (see picture with the redish webbing) With short dog bones and a thick sling (eg. 16mm) the failure is not possible, as after a wrong assembling, the sling falls directly apart (see picture with the yellowish webbing).
The wrong assembled dog bone type was principally known – but we were probably less aware about the potential risk.
3. The failure with the fixation type as shown here - It seems that this type of fixation should not be used any more to avoid this potential failure. We at Mammut never sold this type of rubber piece so we have never discussed it.

4. It is also possible to assemble inside rubber wrong – but this seems to be well visible (see picture with the grey sling).
However in Titos case, the wrong rubber string placement was pretty well visible too.

In the light of what just happened, do you think it would be better to skip the rubber strings all together, or is there any other ways to make the use of the strings more safe?
Definitely not, this would create new, probably higher risks – use a short dog bone for thicker, or with thin slings an inside rubber type to avoid this problem. Never use any a fixation on open slings. And probably generally: don’t use gear from other persons. However, my perception about when failure is possible or not, changed quite a bit after this case.

There is also an excellent document from our friends from Petzl available


Read more