Anyone know anything about these racks?

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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby hank moon » May 6, 2013 9:58 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote: disallowing a poor innocent caver from riding down their precious rope on aluminum is maybe a bit of an abuse of "personal preference."


creo que si


GroundquestMSA wrote:(perhaps NZ's claim of rope fibers being obscured by aluminum deposits can be confirmed by someone. I use an aluminum 8 very often for practice and most of the black cleans off when I wash my rope. I have no trouble inspecting it.)


Perhaps it's a simple hygiene problem. From my work as a canyoneering guide, with hundreds of canyon days sliding down ropes with aluminum devices and seeing no aluminum buildup, it's safe to say that the stuff washes off naturally with regular immersions. Maybe if the rope is kept completely dry, some buildup might occur. Should just wash off, though. Hmmm. Back to that hygiene question, need we look further than NZ's avatar to find a decent washing-up spot?

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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby NZcaver » May 7, 2013 12:56 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:I re-read that entire old thread about aluminum on rope. NZ seems to be the only person who feels that aluminum adversely effects the handling of the rope, and no one who has done their research thinks it's dangerous. The very existence of aluminum descenders rather suggests that they don't destroy rope. If a person doesn't want to use aluminum, that's obviously perfectly fine. However, the fact that their objection has no practical basis other than an aesthetic one (which is truly baffling among a group of people who pride themselves in happily trekking through the cruddiest of crud) suggests that disallowing a poor innocent caver from riding down their precious rope on aluminum is maybe a bit of an abuse of "personal preference."

In that topic I linked to, it does seem I am the only voice of dissent regarding aluminum descenders. In this one and other previous topics I remember - as well as in personal conversations - apparently not.

Please note I did not say I thought aluminum devices are dangerous or destroy rope or that my preference against them is purely an aesthetic one. Actually I often use a Stop descender with one stainless bobbin (doing most of the 'work') and an upper aluminum bobbin plus an aluminum braking carabiner. And occasionally (very rarely) a figure 8 on a short drop. My other beef with 8's is they twist the rope and affect the handling, but that's a whole other story (which has been discussed at length in other topics).

Regarding comments from you and Hank about regularly cleaning ropes and removing the black/gray aluminum surface deposits, that's great. Perhaps between WNS and other considerations, some US cavers are cleaning their gear more diligently than they were 5 or 6 years ago. In the past I've used some pretty crusty ropes belonging to other cavers, and while mud and gypsum is often inevitable I consider aluminum glaze to be mostly avoidable. Some comments long ago about aluminum transfer stripes on clothing being considered "status marks" I thought was just silly.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby Extremeophile » May 7, 2013 9:26 am

GroundquestMSA wrote: the fact that their objection has no practical basis other than an aesthetic one (which is truly baffling among a group of people who pride themselves in happily trekking through the cruddiest of crud) suggests that disallowing a poor innocent caver from riding down their precious rope on aluminum is maybe a bit of an abuse of "personal preference."

Agreed. This doesn't seem much different than restricting people wearing orange helmets from going on your trips because it might ruin the quality of your photos. I've used a Stop, Simple, and Al bar racks for caving and would allow others to use the same on my ropes. I really don't understand the mentality of not wanting to get your rope dirty on a cave trip.

There's simply no truth to the idea that aluminum oxide makes it more difficult to inspect a rope for damage, or that it affects rope handling characteristics ... in my humble experience. Rope handling properties undoubtedly change with use, but not because of aluminum residue.

As has been pointed out, other rope based activities such as canyoneering and rock climbing almost exclusively use aluminum descenders such as ATCs, 8s, Piranas, Reversos, etc. without negative effect other than aesthetics. Given the generally low level of personal hygiene in our community (myself included), limiting use of Al devices seems like a double standard.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby hank moon » May 7, 2013 7:09 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
GroundquestMSA wrote:As has been pointed out, other rope based activities such as canyoneering and rock climbing almost exclusively use aluminum descenders such as ATCs, 8s, Piranas, Reversos, etc. without negative effect other than aesthetics.


Not even an aesthetic problem, at least, not with 8mm BW canyon pro rope (polyester sheath). No permanent discoloration at all.

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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby NZcaver » May 7, 2013 7:57 pm

Extremeophile wrote:There's simply no truth to the idea that aluminum oxide makes it more difficult to inspect a rope for damage, or that it affects rope handling characteristics ... in my humble experience. Rope handling properties undoubtedly change with use, but not because of aluminum residue.

I disagree, but I can only speak for my own 25 years of humble experience which doesn't really include rock climbing or canyoneering. I accept that your experience may differ.

Regarding the original question about zinc-plated racks, I haven't used one personally but my gut instinct would be to avoid them and just go for a stainless model.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby wyandottecaver » May 13, 2013 4:18 pm

hmm Hank references polyester sheath rope. I would suspect poly to be a bit "slicker" than nylon and poly sheathed ropes for caving are (compared to 3 decades of caving) relatively new. Could be a difference between materials.

NZ...just curious, your statement did confuse me as I would expect finding rope damage to be easier with a white core contrasting with a gray or black sheath?
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby NZcaver » May 14, 2013 1:12 am

wyandottecaver wrote:NZ...just curious, your statement did confuse me as I would expect finding rope damage to be easier with a white core contrasting with a gray or black sheath?

Yeah, I was thinking more of checking for a glazed/melted surface or cut fibers in the mantel. I found this difficult to inspect through blackened aluminum residue that never seemed to come clean with just simple washing (at least for me - others' experiences seem to differ). A core-shot where the kern is visible is fairly obvious.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby Tlaloc » May 16, 2013 8:49 am

NZcaver wrote:...I can only speak for my own 25 years of humble experience....


Oxymoron! This is a joke right?
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby GroundquestMSA » May 16, 2013 9:21 am

NZcaver wrote:
wyandottecaver wrote:NZ...just curious, your statement did confuse me as I would expect finding rope damage to be easier with a white core contrasting with a gray or black sheath?

Yeah, I was thinking more of checking for a glazed/melted surface or cut fibers in the mantel. I found this difficult to inspect through blackened aluminum residue that never seemed to come clean with just simple washing (at least for me - others' experiences seem to differ). A core-shot where the kern is visible is fairly obvious.


I've been practicing a lot the past few days and noticed something interesting. My rope is a bit greyed from several recent fig8 sessions on a nearby cliff. While taking my chest ascender off rope to cross a rebelay in the tree, I snagged a few hairs of sheath with the cam. While the outside of the rope was pretty gray, the fibers just under the immediate surface remained white, and made the snag extremely obvious. Of course, if I paint the rope with an 8 again, that spot would disappear, but initially at least, the failure of aluminum residue to penetrate the sheath seems to make even the most minor damage contrast with the dark surface of the rope. I didn't think about glazing. My brother has a green static rope that was badly glazed by a friend who wasn't content with reasonable rappel speeds. In this case we didn't realize just how badly the rope was scorched until cleaning off the aluminum, so that may be a legitimate concern.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby Shane S » May 23, 2013 2:43 pm

All studies and research I have read says that the AL particles have no effect on the reliability of the rope. Likewise if it were my rope, I wouldn’t turn down someone new just for having Al. But be warned there are those who would.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby NZcaver » May 24, 2013 2:55 am

I think we're beating the dead horse. Nobody is saying aluminum devices are dangerously bad for caving ropes. Just that some people prefer no aluminum descenders on their ropes. If you own the rope, you get to make the rules.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby Tim White » Jun 4, 2013 11:51 am

NZcaver wrote:I think we're beating the dead horse. Nobody is saying aluminum devices are dangerously bad for caving ropes. Just that some people prefer no aluminum descenders on their ropes. If you own the rope, you get to make the rules.


Keep your aluminum devices off of my rope! :big grin:
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby Extremeophile » Jun 4, 2013 12:18 pm

Tim White wrote:
NZcaver wrote:I think we're beating the dead horse. Nobody is saying aluminum devices are dangerously bad for caving ropes. Just that some people prefer no aluminum descenders on their ropes. If you own the rope, you get to make the rules.


Keep your aluminum devices off of my rope! :big grin:

You can have my aluminum bobbin when you pry it from my cold, dead, blackened hands.
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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby tror » Jun 13, 2013 3:43 pm

What about this stainless steel rack from gear4 rocks?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RAPPEL-RACK-5-B ... 4ac570a13c

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Re: Anyone know anything about these racks?

Postby trogman » Jun 14, 2013 6:35 am

tror wrote:What about this stainless steel rack from gear4 rocks?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RAPPEL-RACK-5-B ... 4ac570a13c

Image


My first impression was "this looks very similar to a BMS rack." Then I noticed the sheet metal cover piece over the gap in the eye. :yikes: Good quality racks should have a welded eye, or at least what is referred to as a "spun eye," which is looped around a couple of times. The danger is that the eye loop may bend open and allow the carabiner to slip out. I would also worry that the thin metal cover might cut or damage the rope in the wrong situation.

Something about this Gear4rocks company just screams out "Beware!" Maybe they should be called "Gear 4 rockheads."

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