The Firefly by DCMountaineering (quickdraw retrieval device)


Original Post
Dallin Connell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Hey, everyone, I invented a piece of climbing gear and just wanted to share it with all of you. We are planning on launching a Kickstarter in a few weeks, and I wanted to let you all see it first!

The device is called the "Firefly" and it retrieves quickdraws from the wall if you have to bail. Let me know what you think. I posted a link to the website with the video below. 

https://dcmountaineering.com/

If you add your email to the list on the site we will put you on our mailing list so when our Kickstarter goes live we can send you an email.

matt c. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 155

dallin.... I would suggest taking down at least two of your posts... right now you are actually just spam. 

Also, interesting product. I personally have spent about $10 in bail biners during the duration of my climbing of the past few years.... is your product less than $10? 

Austin Russell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 10

Would also be interested to know the price of the product

Andrew Child · · Santa Clara · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 655

Cool product. Just curious, why did you design it so that you need an extra carabiner to attach the cord to the device? couldn't you just put a small hook on the device and sling the cord around that?

Dallin Connell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0
matt c. wrote:

dallin.... I would suggest taking down at least two of your posts... right now you are actually just spam. 

Also, interesting product. I personally have spent about $10 in bail biners during the duration of my climbing of the past few years.... is your product less than $10? 

Took them down. Sorry I didn't know that each forum was connected.

Dallin Connell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0
Andrew Child wrote:

Cool product. Just curious, why did you design it so that you need an extra carabiner to attach the cord to the device? couldn't you just put a small hook on the device and sling the cord around that?

The carabiner is for convenience and assurance you can tie it on if you would like, but I used it on a 120-foot wall for a test and as I rapped off I was happy to know there was no way it would slip off. If enough people think the hook is enough that is an easy change.

Dallin Connell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0
Austin Russell wrote:

Would also be interested to know the price of the product

Price will be posted on our Kickstarter here in a week or so. If you join the mailing list on the website posted at the beginning of the feed you'll get a notification when it goes live. It is less than the cost of two quickdraws and weighs .6 ounces so it is a lot lighter than any other bailing method. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

I'm of two minds on this one. 

On the one hand- i've only bailed off a sport route once where I would have had to leave gear had there not been a pair of links on adjacent bolts. Any other time I've struggled, i've just pulled up the stick clip and finished via aid.

On the other- this is a pretty neat device and i like the concept. I do think a better way to attach the pull line would be good- something less bulky and quicker (and more secure than a hook).

Dallin Connell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0
John Wilder wrote:

I'm of two minds on this one. 

On the one hand- i've only bailed off a sport route once where I would have had to leave gear had there not been a pair of links on adjacent bolts. Any other time I've struggled, i've just pulled up the stick clip and finished via aid.

On the other- this is a pretty neat device and i like the concept. I do think a better way to attach the pull line would be good- something less bulky and quicker (and more secure than a hook).

Thanks for the feedback!

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

I'd suggest modifying your front page so people can see your video without having to leave an email. In fact, it appears as if there's no content at all and you're just trying to harvest emails. 

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 355

I like the idea of folks using this instead of leaving quicklinks behind on hangers.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
AndrewArroz wrote:

I'd suggest modifying your front page so people can see your video without having to leave an email. In fact, it appears as if there's no content at all and you're just trying to harvest emails. 

Scroll down a bit and click the video banner. I watched it without submitting an email.

Alex Temus · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 241

I totally want one. I'm always hesitant to try difficult routes in case I can't make it to the chains and have to leave gear.

Sick idea!

pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

This is a clever idea.

So I'm only bringing this up because I can see at least one place for a mistake with serious consequences:

1) The climber is lowering, and the Firefly line gets caught somewhere on the climber's gear -- it looks like that can happen fairly easily with a spaghetti of thin line.

2) For some reason the climber continues descending, so the line gets loaded, and the biner rotates. 

3) The biner becomes open-gate, perhaps during a bounce when the gate is less loaded by the main rope, but the Firefly pull line still pulls. Or rotates due to force on the line and become crossloaded. Worst case the biner unclips and the climber falls. Admittedly the falling is unlikely, it seems...but I'd need to be convinced that it's near 0% and not just "unlikely".

Questions: is there a safety mechanism that prevents the biner from being rotated while the climber is lowering? Eg a "fuse" of some kind that would detach the release line from the Firefly. 

Personally, I'd never consider even touching this device unless there was a very convincing set of arguments for why an accident can't happen, and mechanisms in place to prevent accidents.

I saw the answer to "What keeps the carabiner from coming off before you are on the ground?", which didn't mention any specific reasons or tests, etc for drawing the conclusion that this can't happen...it was pretty unconvincing to me;)

Again, I think it's a cool idea :) , so hopefully the above scenarios are already accounted for. But if they are already addressed, make sure to mention them very clearly on the page; I didn't see anything related of substance. 

Daniel McCormick · · San Jose, CA > Bellingham, WA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 45
pjc30943 wrote:

This is a clever idea.

So I'm only bringing this up because I can see at least one place for a mistake with serious consequences:

1) The climber is lowering, and the Firefly line gets caught somewhere on the climber's gear -- it looks like that can happen fairly easily with a spaghetti of thin line.

2) For some reason the climber continues descending, so the line gets loaded, and the biner rotates. 

3) The biner becomes open-gate, perhaps during a bounce when the gate is less loaded by the main rope, but the Firefly pull line still pulls. Or rotates due to force on the line and become crossloaded. Worst case the biner unclips and the climber falls. Admittedly the falling is unlikely, it seems...but I'd need to be convinced that it's near 0% and not just "unlikely".

Questions: is there a safety mechanism that prevents the biner from being rotated while the climber is lowering? Eg a "fuse" of some kind that would detach the release line from the Firefly. 

Personally, I'd never consider even touching this device unless there was a very convincing set of arguments for why an accident can't happen, and mechanisms in place to prevent accidents.

I saw the answer to "What keeps the carabiner from coming off before you are on the ground?", which didn't mention any specific reasons or tests, etc for drawing the conclusion that this can't happen...it was pretty unconvincing to me;)

Again, I think it's a cool idea :) , so hopefully the above scenarios are already accounted for. But if they are already addressed, make sure to mention them very clearly on the page; I didn't see anything related of substance. 

I have the exact same concerns. I could so easily see that wad of thin line getting tangled and stuck on something. Then your buddy lowers you a little bit further and the biner opens and gets pulled off....

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Your weight keeps the carabiner in place. There's no way you could rotate the carabiner off the bolt while you're weighting the draw with that tiny little pull line. 

Josh Janes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 8,418

If you're going to use this, you've decided to bail. If you're bailing, you're likely going to be cleaning all the draws/gear on your way down. All this will be done while hanging from a single bolt and while simultaneously feeding out a little pull cord... unless, I suppose, you had two of these devices and cords (one for the top bolt and one for the next lowest bolt). 

I'd consider lowering straight down, without interruption, off a single bolt, but I would not be caught starting, stopping, swinging, tramming-in, and otherwise cleaning a route off a single bolt. This device actually encourages this approach which, frankly, I find pretty irresponsible. I think it is an idea with some potential and it looks to be well-engineered, but for me it begs the question "Why?" ...Especially when bringing a pair of leaver 'biners is so simple. With two leaver 'biners, perhaps rigged as a draw for added versatility, you can lower off  a bolt while being backed up by the next bolt down. They are cheap, free or virtually free, light, and simple.

And for god's sake please have the guy in the video practice clipping - it was scary to watch!

pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
John Wilder wrote:

Your weight keeps the carabiner in place. There's no way you could rotate the carabiner off the bolt while you're weighting the draw with that tiny little pull line. 

Hmmm...I do see where you're coming from, and am hoping that the above is accurate as well. However, to me it needs vetting. These kinds of statements are what I was asking to be convinced of, since I'm not convinced by "unlikely" or "no way" without showing testing or data, or explaining why it's as foolproof as is claimed. 

Intuition covers many cases, but I'm questioning the edge cases that could be (potentially) catastrophic; here's an excerpt from what i wrote above, a scenario that is related to your reply of "no way...while you're weighting the draw":

"3) The biner becomes open-gate, perhaps during a bounce when the gate is less loaded by the main rope, but the Firefly pull line still pulls. Or rotates due to force on the line and become crossloaded. Worst case the biner unclips and the climber falls. Admittedly the falling is unlikely, it seems...but I'd need to be convinced that it's near 0% and not just "unlikely"."

Josh Janes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 8,418
pjc30943 wrote:

falling is unlikely, it seems...but I'd need to be convinced that it's near 0% and not just "unlikely".

You're exactly right. I think the gate of the carabiner could easily open while you're lowering - but as John pointed out, the fact that your weight is on the carabiner means it's unlikely to slip off the hanger. But then, why not just lower off a Fifi hook and then give your rope a good shake (or use a pull cord) afterwards to bring it down? Cuz it's freaking sketchy, that's why. 

It bothers me that the creator says in the video that "climbing is risky... but this device is designed to reduce some of that risk" when, actually, I think it increases risk by reducing the chance of losing gear and thus "encouraging" people to get on routes that are over their head without (apparent!) consequence. The greater risk, in my opinion, than lowering off a draw with an open gate is lowering off a single bolt. The experienced climber would probably not use this device (just like he/she wouldn't use a Fifi hook) to bail off a sport route, but he/she could make an informed decision. The novice climber, who wants to push his/her limits but perhaps hasn't yet accumulated some leaver 'biners and doesn't want to lose one of his/her precious quickdraws, might see this and think it's a solution. 

Bolts fail and quickdraws come unclipped from bolts all the time. Hopefully there is another one beneath you to catch you if it happens. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

I should point out that I generally aid upwards if I have to bail, as it's usually pretty easy to do with a stick clip. And the one time I did bail downward, I lowered off two existing links. 

I would agree with Josh- on anything super steep or traversing that requires tramming, this device would be a no go for me. And anything that isn't either of the above is likely to be very easy to aid. 

Like I said originally, I like the idea, but I don't see myself using it. After considering Josh's points, it's probably one of those things that an experienced climber could use safely, but doesn't need to and something a novice climber probably shouldn't use as it is very situation dependent. I guess you could always use it in conjunction with a single bail biner below you so you only leave one carabiner, not two...  

John Hegyes · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2002 · Points: 4,815

I just wanted to point out that in the video, the bailing climber is shown opening the gate of the carabiner that he is hanging from in order to attach the device. By opening the gate he loses 2/3 of the carabiner's strength. So if the fully rated 24 kN biner is downrated to 8 kN the climber is losing a significant safety margin to say the least. I get that this is an item of last resort and acknowledge that the climber assumes all risk in this process, but I think the manufacturer is really going out on a limb if they document this in the instructions. Maybe you should consult a product liability attorney before sticking your neck out like this.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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