Last summer, there was a really unfortunate climbing accident due to old, worn-out slings on a route in Kentucky. It seems like there are one or two of these each year, and they are so sad because the accidents are preventable. Mark and I took the hint last summer and went through our slings and cordage, retiring the stuff we had been using since we first started climbing (eight years ago)!
We also went over our trad gear, much of which we bought all in one day with work bonuses during our second season of climbing. The cams were all in good shape, but many of the slings on them were not looking good. On a cam, the sling is a single point of possible failure, so it is dangerous to let it wear out too much.
Based on recommendations from BJ at Splitter Choss, we sent 24 cams off to Yates gear for re-slinging about two weeks ago, and got them back on Tuesday! Needless to say, the work was fast and professional. The new slings match the cams nicely, though the one orange TCU had to get a red sling. The price was good too, as getting all 24 cams reslung cost about $130 (less than a new rope!) Pulling the cams out of the box with the new slings was a wonderful treat, like I had just bought a whole new rack. Now, we’re both totally excited to get climbing and see the “new” cams out on the rock!
Mark and I have big plans for our REI dividend this spring, and we’re looking to replace a lot of gear that is showing wear these days (our harnesses have seen better days, the big belay biners have grooves worn in them, my helmet is cracked, etc) and I’m excited to upgrade to new, top-of-the-line safety gear as we do it. Look for more posts on new, shiny stuff this spring!!