Mountain Project Logo

How often do you drop gear?


Roots · · Redmond. OR · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 20

Not once in 24 years of climbing.

Colonel Mustard · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Sep 2005 · Points: 1,186

Not often. Last thing I think was a biner. I once dropped an approach shoe three or four hundred feet off the edge of a cliff when a biner popped open. Now I only use lockers for my approachies.

Clayton Ernst · · Austin, TX · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 25

Usually never, except for this one time.

I'm a little ashamed to share this, but here goes. When I climbed Epinephrine, I was following the last bit of the last chimney pitch, and mid-chimney I decided to fiddle with the pack I was hauling. I think at the time I had it clipped to a regular quickdraw off my haul loop, and I decided I wanted to extend it with a sling to make it less annoying. Well, somehow I failed to successfully clip the pack to the sling, because when I released the pack expecting it to weight my harness, it just kept falling. In that moment I was horrified because there was a conga line of climbers down below me in the chimneys! But, by an amazing stroke of luck, it landed on the ledge midway up that pitch and stayed there. I just had to get lowered like 20 ft and retrieve it. Anyone who has climbed this route can appreciate how miraculous this was. Still gives me the creeps imagining what could have happened if it had bounced off that ledge.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have screwed around with my pack MID-chimney. At the least, I should have weighted the rope while I adjusted it, which would have facilitated me being more careful and less frantic. Also, I should have used lockers or girth hitches for the attachment points.

Later that day, on the ledge at the top of the serious climbing, I was lounging and somehow fumbled a cliff bar out into the void. Clumsy day. I screamed "CLIFF BAR" to everyone on Black Velvet wall.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456
rgold wrote: I almost never drop anything, but I've watched, sometimes in horror, as equipment rains down from above.

A dropping theme I've noticed occurs when a biner full of nuts is racked on the harness with the gate out.  The biner has to be at least partially inverted to unclip from the harness loop, and if the climber hasn't got a good grip on all the nuts, those that are free slide off the gate, which necerssarily aims down at the moment the biner comes free from the harness loop.  

I'm a confirmed gear-sling racker, so this isn't an issue for me, but I'd suggest racking a biner loaded with nuts gate-in to minimize dropping potential.  But that probably means racking everything on that harness loop gate-in for consistency, which might be too much for dedicated gate-out rackers.
This is the sort of thing most do, but I don't. I rack my stoppers by size on three gates-down-and-out biners. Because I don't want to lose all the stoppers on a biner I simply never remove the biner from my sling or harness loop. Instead I figure out what stopper I need and just remove that stopper from the biner. There is a short learning curve finger-wise, and you have to develop the skill of knowing what stopper you need first time by eyeballing a placement, but I haven't dropped a stopper since adopting this approach about three decades ago.


Thomas Chapman · · Sewanee, TN · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0
Eric Engberg wrote:

Muenter

For belaying yes. For rapping, using a biner block

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

In 45+ years, 2 biners (separate incidents), a sling, and a #4 Chouinard stopper.

Bill Czajkowski · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 30

Dropped a sling once, didn’t even know till later. It stuck in a tree. Gone.

Today I dropped the lid to the jelly jar and the ham for my sandwich. At different times. Ham landed on my shoe so it was saved. So not too bad.

Everett · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 25

Used a small brassy as a rivet hanger, and it popped right off the rivet when I removed my aider. I hope no one was below me and got it in their eye, but I hope more that no one tried to booty that mangled piece of expensive.

SeƱor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Racking nuts is the one time that an old biner with a huge notch is much better than a modern one without a notch. I use old BD ovals just for that. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210
rgold wrote: I almost never drop anything, but I've watched, sometimes in horror, as equipment rains down from above.

A dropping theme I've noticed occurs when a biner full of nuts is racked on the harness with the gate out.  The biner has to be at least partially inverted to unclip from the harness loop, and if the climber hasn't got a good grip on all the nuts, those that are free slide off the gate, which necerssarily aims down at the moment the biner comes free from the harness loop.  

I'm a confirmed gear-sling racker, so this isn't an issue for me, but I'd suggest racking a biner loaded with nuts gate-in to minimize dropping potential.  But that probably means racking everything on that harness loop gate-in for consistency, which might be too much for dedicated gate-out rackers.

Another situation ripe for dropping occurs when a partner inexplicably takes a whole bunch of cleaned gear off its carabiners and just hands over a bunch of unsecured stuff.  I think of this as a total noob mistake, but am surprised to find people who surely should know better doing it as well. Along these lines, when handing over gear, don't try to place it in your partner's hands.  The two sets of moving hands might not collaborate as they should.  Hold the gear firmly and let your partner take it from you.

To add to this, I’d also recommend using oval biners for your nuts instead of Ds.

Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 275
Señor Arroz wrote: Racking nuts is the one time that an old biner with a huge notch is much better than a modern one without a notch. I use old BD ovals just for that. 

I was going to say the same thing.  Most all other circumstances i like the keyhole type but for racking nuts especially on a big wall I like the extra security of that notch, it's the only time I don't mind stuff getting hung up on it.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526
Healyje wrote: This is the sort of thing most do, but I don't. I rack my stoppers by size on three gates-down-and-out biners. Because I don't want to lose all the stoppers on a biner I simply never remove the biner from my sling or harness loop. Instead I figure out what stopper I need and just remove that stopper from the biner. There is a short learning curve finger-wise, and you have to develop the skill of knowing what stopper you need first time by eyeballing a placement, but I haven't dropped a stopper since adopting this approach about three decades ago.


I might add, for those who use a gear sling, that there is an analogous protocol for removing just a single stopper, even if quite a few are racked on a single carabiner.  You grab the stopper you want and lift it up, shaking the biner so the rest of the stoppers fall to the other side, put the stopper you want in your mouth, and unclip the biner from it with the freed hand.  The biner and all the other stoppers stay on the gear sling.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

I dropped a cam one time and watched it go for a couple of hundred feet. A couple days latter i went up to do some climbs in the gully below. Low and behold there was the cam hanging from a tree branch.

sDawg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 0

I've dropped my share. Two atc's within maybe a month when I was learning to clean an anchor and for some reason rappelling. Most recently a yellow x4 in a failed lead trade hand-off. The best story is my chalk bag. For years I used a pink cord to tie my chalk bag because the belts that came with them used to be harder to adjust. I got a new chalk bag with a nice belt and decided to use that instead. Then I followed a pitch with a chimney on the second half. I secured the pack to my haul loop with a sling and also carried it on my back for the first half. Then I took it off to climb the chimney including unclipping the hipbelt and chest strap. At the top, my chalk bag was gone and I fuzzily remembered unclipping that hipbelt twice. I never found it and went back to the pink cord with the next one. 

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456
rgold wrote:

I might add, for those who use a gear sling, that there is an analogous protocol for removing just a single stopper, even if quite a few are racked on a single carabiner.  You grab the stopper you want and lift it up, shaking the biner so the rest of the stoppers fall to the other side, put the stopper you want in your mouth, and unclip the biner from it with the freed hand.  The biner and all the other stoppers stay on the gear sling.

I just reach down, select the stopper I want grabbing it with my fingers, and then lift the ones on top of it that I don't want above the gate with my thumb removing the one I want at the same time with a twisting movement. No mouth involvement. Again, you have to teach your hand the dexterity of a specific sequence of movements, but I don't even think about it anymore - it just happens.

Gavin W · · Langley, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 181

I was belaying a friend who was using borrowed gear. As he clipped someone else's chalkbag to his haul loop we jokingly told him to make sure that he screwed the locker shut.
He gets to the chains and reaches behind his back to unclip his PAS thong. Hears the biner hit the rock near his feet after he lets go and thinks "that's weird, I didn't think my PAS was that long". Turns out he unclipped the chalk bag instead, I saw it coming last second and got my face out of the way, took a high-speed chalk bag to the shoulder from 60 feet up.

Conor Pesci · · everett, wa · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0

personally, I have not dropped anything ... yet.

my buddy once dropped a cam on lead when we were climbing Zion at Smith.  Thankfully, I was looking up at the time and noticed it, reached my hand out and caught it.  still not sure why my football coach never put me in as a receiving tight end ... I always said I had good hands ha!

Juan Vargas · · Bakersfield, CA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 757

Dropped a black totem climbing Nutcracker a couple years back. I wasn’t even trying to place it. Needless to say, it took me a while to get a replacement.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 507
Juan Vargas wrote: Dropped a black totem climbing Nutcracker a couple years back. I wasn’t even trying to place it. Needless to say, it took me a while to get a replacement.

That is a sin among sins. 50 lashings, eternal shame, and $90 is the price to pay.

Seriously, though, that's gotta be a painful thing to drop.
Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456

I did take a client call on top of a hexagonal pillar once and then dropped the cell phone behind the pillar where it fell down about fifty feet. It was in an aluminum case and kept ringing while I did the adjacent climb. The client was pretty pissed to be cut-off in mid-sentence without a callback and the phone is still back down in there to this day.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
Post a Reply to "How often do you drop gear?"

Log In to Reply