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Dropped Cam... Still good?
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Oct 8, 2016
So today I accidentally dropped my friend's #1 camalot about 50 ft while cleaning a route. When we got down we inspected it and it only had a little ding on a lobe and one of the wires needed to be moved a bit on the trigger. It looks fine, but are there potential problems that we can't see? Like some kind of hairline fracture that'll explode it if it's fallen on or something?
Thanks
Nick N
From Telluride, CO
Joined Aug 5, 2013
476 points
Oct 8, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Gym bouldering
Stress fractures are a very serious concern and often cannot be seen. Best bet is to retire it as a Christmas tree ornament. Ross Ayer
From Southington, CT
Joined Apr 11, 2015
57 points
Oct 8, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Russ Just off the block
Pics would help, but odds are very good its fine. At the end of the day the only opinion that really matters is yours, but if you decide to retire it, let me know and I'll buy it from y'all ;) Danger-Russ Gordon
From Tempe, AZ
Joined Nov 30, 2011
423 points
Oct 8, 2016
Ross Ayer: Are you joking or serious? Xam
From Boulder, Co
Joined Dec 6, 2011
48 points
Oct 8, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I thi...
Send it to me and I will dispose of it properly. Rick Blair
From Denver
Joined Oct 16, 2007
376 points
Oct 8, 2016
If it's mechanically sound, don't worry about the aluminum. There is still a persistent myth out there, believed even by some AMGA guides, that dropped aluminum hardware (carabiners, belay devices, etc.) develop "microfractures" that you can't see and yer gunna die. That was debunked in 2007 in testing at the University of Colorado and has been proven false several times since. I asked my son about it (he's not a guide but his masters in materials science engineering and research in aluminum alloys should count for something, no?), and he says the same. If it looks significantly damaged, don't use it; if not, don't worry about it. Lee Green
From Edmonton, Alberta
Joined Nov 24, 2011
62 points
Oct 8, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: MUSHROOM
If the cam (or basically any other protection for that matter) operates correctly and passes visual inspection, there is no reason not to use it. I will change my opinion on this if anyone has evidence which shows dropped gear fails to perform as expected. apoet
From AZ
Joined Oct 2, 2015
121 points
Administrator
Oct 8, 2016
This is one of the longest-standing myths in climbing. There was once a time when dropped gear could possibly in small fractures, but that became history before many of us were born. There is little, if any, gear still in active use that will develop micro fractures if dropped. This myth only continues to propagate and exist because people tend to believe that if something is commonly mentioned then it must be true. 20 kN
From Hawaii
Joined Feb 2, 2009
1,219 points
Oct 8, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Sam Perkins; Ground-up FA; named because it's big ...
Unless you're having to bend the lobes back into alignment by 90° you're fine (unless they're the original chouinard u-stems which were 7000 series aluminum)

Hell, the original friends were so overbuilt they could be that bad and you could hammer them straight and call them good.

If the axles are bent or the axle holes oval-ized then you might have to retire them.
Ball
From Oakridge, OR
Joined Jan 18, 2010
113 points
Administrator
Oct 8, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: OMG!
Proper gear disposal and recycling is the next big issue in eco-friendly climbing. Please e-mail me for the address to send this obviously DANGEROUS item and i, we, will recycle it into it's proper place.
(My rack)
thank you
Muscrat
Joined Oct 27, 2011
3,553 points
Oct 8, 2016
YER GUNNA DIE NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Joined Oct 6, 2011
127 points
Oct 9, 2016
J Marsella wrote:
Was wondering who would be the first to say it


I'm only surprised that anyone out there still thinks this is clever or witty.
Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
2,617 points
Oct 9, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: The crux of 6' man roof (5.11d).
Manufacturers are probably going to err on the side of caution when recommending to replace gear. It wouldn't hurt to see what they say. In the case of BD I think they say look for visible damage.

As an engineer I agree with all the previous posts that you don't need to worry about micro fractures.
will ar
From San Antonio, TX
Joined Jan 11, 2010
231 points
Oct 9, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Tony Bubb getting out of the overhang pockets and ...
In the early 90's, then the BD ATC was out in the first generation (to replace stitch plates & Figure-8's) I dropped one about 200' onto rock. It got dinged up pretty hard when it bounced about 20' up and went spinning into the woods.

Anyway, I recovered it and a lot of folks had a lot of ideas about it's future. So we decided to test it. But not as is, we wanted an extreme case.
I put it on a rock and pounded the shape out of it with another cinder-block sized stone for quite a while.

Then we sent it back to BD for testing.

They gave us a full report with the data. They said it was hard to run the test because the slots had been beaten almost too narrow for the standard set up, but the data for it was pretty close to a normal failure in the end.

That's right, the thing beat down to paralleled failed about as normal.

While this does not prove anything about the viability of any other particular piece in any other particular circumstance, it hardly feeds the 'yer gonna die' narrative.

As for your cam? I'd climb on it so long as the action was smooth. The lobes can get pretty high forces and good dents on them when placed in uneven surfaces and fallen on, and we don't retire them on that alone either.
Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
24,850 points
Oct 9, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH
apoet wrote:
If the cam (or basically any other protection for that matter) operates correctly and passes visual inspection, there is no reason not to use it. I will change my opinion on this if anyone has evidence which shows dropped gear fails to perform as expected.


This. Though it's important to note that this DOES NOT APPLY to soft goods. Slings, ropes, harnesses etc can all have less-than-visible chemical, UV, or age damage and should be treated with more caution. However, in the case of physical damage, don't worry about slings etc unless they're hanging by threads of course.
Brendan Blanchard
From Boulder, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2010
594 points
Oct 9, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying 2nd (or was it 3rd? 4th?) on Turk's Head ...
It's fine. Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
178 points
Oct 9, 2016
Thanks for the good news! Everything on it works fine and looks fine so I won't be needing to send it to anyone for 'proper disposal' Nick N
From Telluride, CO
Joined Aug 5, 2013
476 points
Oct 9, 2016
I dropped my #1 off the top of a pitch this spring, it's caught a few falls since. Nick Drake
From Newcastle, WA
Joined Jan 20, 2015
393 points
Oct 9, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Gym bouldering
I was serious, but I have researched the issue. I don't think that you should drop gear, but it seems that it is not as huge of a concern as I originally thought. I apologize for my error. Ross Ayer
From Southington, CT
Joined Apr 11, 2015
57 points
Oct 10, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Red Rock
I have had multi pieces of gear dropped 50ft+ by followers cleaning it. I have also fallen on this gear after it was dropped and they are fine. ViperScale
Joined Dec 22, 2013
201 points
Oct 10, 2016
Lee Green wrote:
There is still a persistent myth out there, believed even by some AMGA guides, that dropped aluminum hardware (carabiners, belay devices, etc.) develop "microfractures" that you can't see and yer gunna die. That was debunked in 2007 in testing at the University of Colorado and has been proven false several times since.


Do you have a link to this study and/or more information? I'd love to read it.
Cory F
From Blacksburg, VA
Joined Jun 20, 2016
8 points
Oct 10, 2016
Cory F wrote:
Do you have a link to this study and/or more information? I'd love to read it.



CU Study
Xam
From Boulder, Co
Joined Dec 6, 2011
48 points
Oct 10, 2016
Thanks Xam! Cory F
From Blacksburg, VA
Joined Jun 20, 2016
8 points
Oct 10, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Aleks
Nick N wrote:
So today I accidentally dropped my friend's #1 camalot about 50 ft while cleaning a route. When we got down we inspected it and it only had a little ding on a lobe and one of the wires needed to be moved a bit on the trigger. It looks fine, but are there potential problems that we can't see? Like some kind of hairline fracture that'll explode it if it's fallen on or something? Thanks


climbing friend,

yes.

it would be OK if no significant visible deformities in metal structures there are any.

microfractures the myth they are.
Aleks Zebastian
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 3, 2014
162 points
Oct 10, 2016
Cory F wrote:
Do you have a link to this study and/or more information? I'd love to read it.


Here's a first-hand account from one of the people who conducted the testing: outdoorsafetyinstitute.com/ind... Geir Hundal reports that REI did something very similar: geir.com/mythbuster.html

Caveat that these tests were done with 'biners not cams. However, the metal behaves the same. The issue with cams would be damage to the mechanism. If it works, it works; if it seems sticky, misaligned, loose, or otherwise wonky, don't trust it. If you're concerned about the mechanism, try putting full body weight on it while either close to the ground or on toprope, just to be sure it doesn't misbehave under load. But don't worry about the metal exploding.
Lee Green
From Edmonton, Alberta
Joined Nov 24, 2011
62 points
Oct 12, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: After a very very damp and cold evening climbing o...
Ross Ayer wrote:
Stress fractures are a very serious concern and often cannot be seen. Best bet is to retire it as a Christmas tree ornament.

Is that what they are calling micro fractures these days?
that guy named seb
Joined Oct 24, 2015
182 points


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