Utilizing older/used vertical gear

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Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby OpenTrackRacer » May 21, 2013 12:33 pm

I seem to have the habit of acquiring used vertical gear, usually to have around for spares or loaners. It's mainly "hard" gear but I occasionally get "soft" goods as well. Some gear is newer and some is older. For example, I just picked up a grab bag of gear... a SMC 5 bar "J" rack, a four bar B&B rack, a version "G" Petzl Simple, a version "D" Petzl Stop and a version "D2" Petzl Croll (thanks to Gary as usual for the version info) along with some soft goods (more on that in a second).

I typically inspect the gear and check for recalls. If everything looks to be in order I clean it up and put into my box of stuff that can be used. I'm just curious what everyone thinks about used/older gear and my methodology. I often score some great deals which means I end up with equipment I wouldn't have otherwise. However, saving money on gear isn't worth my life (or anyone elses) so I expect it's sort of a fine line to walk.

Now, that's the hard gear. This time I got some soft gear too... a Petzl Fractio harness from 1997, a Petzl chest harness and a couple of beefy 22kN Petzl sewn slings. Most of the time I just toss the soft goods aside. However, in this case I noticed everything was in excellent condition with little to no wear. It looks like it was used briefly then stored. I'm a bit more conflicted in this case. The slings look great and would be very useful (they're 48" which is the most common length we use building anchors in mines) and a spare harness and chest harness is great to have around for loaner gear. But...

Looking forward to your comments as always!

Mike
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby hank moon » May 21, 2013 3:01 pm

Hi Mike

Sounds like you are "in doubt" about the soft stuff. There are several ways to deal with dubious gear:

- throw it out (as the saying goes).
- willfully ignore the doubt and use the gear
- solicit advice from experts and act on their recommendations
- solicit advice from random internet strangers and act on their recommendations
- ?

Ultimately, what you do with the gear is your decision. Keep in mind that you are subjecting others to the consequences of your choices. Do you intend to inform every loaner-user of the gear's provenance? How will you arrive at your decision? What kind of info would help you in making it?

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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby NZcaver » May 21, 2013 4:31 pm

Destruction test it all. Then you can be absolutely sure it's safe. :big grin:
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby johnf93 » May 21, 2013 4:48 pm

I like the idea of asking strangers on the internet, since nothing on the internet is wrong. I love buying used gear to save a few bucks, but used vertical gear makes me shudder. That's only my two cents.
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby driggs » May 21, 2013 9:13 pm

hank moon wrote:Sounds like you are "in doubt" about the soft stuff. There are several ways to deal with dubious gear:

- throw it out (as the saying goes).
- willfully ignore the doubt and use the gear
- solicit advice from experts and act on their recommendations
- solicit advice from random internet strangers and act on their recommendations
- ?

Ultimately, what you do with the gear is your decision. Keep in mind that you are subjecting others to the consequences of your choices. Do you intend to inform every loaner-user of the gear's provenance? How will you arrive at your decision? What kind of info would help you in making it?


Hank, welcome back to CaveChat! :kewl:
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby OpenTrackRacer » May 21, 2013 9:52 pm

I'm not so much in doubt on the soft gear, just curious to see what random people in the Internet think.

:grin:

I washed everything and looked it over thoroughly. It looks like it was used a few times and then stored. There is hardly any wear on the harness. It almost looks brand new.

As for letting people use gear, I wouldn't let anyone use gear I wouldn't use myself.

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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby NZcaver » May 22, 2013 2:55 am

I steal vertical gear off my friends all the time. I'm hoping the guy I stole my seat harness from back in 1992 has forgotten about it by now... :shhh:

To each his own. Some buy used gear, some don't. Some only buy it from original owners they know and trust. Coincidentally I have previously bought used vertical gear from Hank, who I only know on the internet and not in person. You go to a climbing gym and use their gear, but you don't know the history of it. You trust people to have taken good care of it, and you (presumably) check the gear because you're a caver and you know what to look for.

In general, I'd be more worried about the history of some of the fixed ropes and anchors in caves than somebody's clean, un-abused harness. Just throw it on and bounce up and down with a soft surface below you. Or do the sensible thing by destroying it in the Fires of Mordor. Or send it to me for long-term testing.
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby paul » May 22, 2013 6:19 am

Just my 2 cents worth:

For hardware (jammers, descenders, karabiners, etc.) I go by visual inspection for damage and whether the item is not dangerously worn and still functioning correctly and safely.

For software (slings, ropes, harnesses, etc.) I stick to the manufacturers' recommendations.
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby Anonymous_Coward » May 22, 2013 2:44 pm

NZcaver wrote:Coincidentally I have previously bought used vertical gear from Hank, who I only know on the internet and not in person.


Coincidentally, I also have done this...

I guess some people's reputations hold up, even on the internets.
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby chh » May 22, 2013 7:59 pm

So I occassionally splice things for myself that are very much used in keeping me off the deck. I usually pull test my splices with a winch capable of pulling somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/3 the strength of our climbing ropes. I don't use a load cell (though i frequently wish that I had one). I figure that's more than I'm ever going to load it with in a real world scenario that isn't going to result permanent damage to myself (or probably it would). When the splice passes that test and a visual inspection for creep or anything else unusual, I use it. I would think that some kind of "real world" test for your used soft goods might give you some piece of mind. That being said, I have some sewn runners that I've found at climbing areas from people bailing off them. I don't use them for climbing. Confidence in your gear is important, it frees your mind to concentrate on the things you need to concentrate on, and what's more, enjoy them. But I also think buying something new isn't always the answer. Also, confidence is an amorphous thing. Some days I'd take a look at some used slings, give an inspection, and throw myself right on them. Other days not. I usually try to guage whether or not the Universe is out to get me, and then stay home on those days that it is :big grin: Anyway, take some advice from a stranger on the internet; "You are probably fine."
Your words of caution are no match for my disaster style!
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby hank moon » Jun 10, 2013 5:09 pm

Driggs, Andy, NZ, thanks for the welcome back and good-faith used gear promo! :laughing:

Lotsa TAG folks finding their way out west, and into these roof-less caves we got out here. I still can't get that Buddy Lane fella to come, though. Some folks gotta have a roof over their heads... sheesh...

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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby Tim White » Jun 12, 2013 11:23 am

:hijack:

hank moon wrote:I still can't get that Buddy Lane fella to come, though.


I'm really feeling the need for another roofless trip...I'll work on B. from this end.
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Re: Utilizing older/used vertical gear

Postby hank moon » Jun 12, 2013 2:13 pm

Tim White wrote:I'm really feeling the need for another roofless trip...I'll work on B. from this end.


Please do...and Doranne, too!

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