First harness thread, or, introducing (? the) "Spurr Harness"

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JosiahSpurr
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Re: First harness thread, or, introducing (? the) "Spurr Harness"

Post by JosiahSpurr » Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:01 pm

c9h13no3 wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 6:59 am
[...] Executing those easy ideas [...]
More succinctly, I am against the trend to seek "adventure" in the wilderness, particularly when seeking adventure is driven by machismo, which turns "adventure" into a psychological defence mechanism, often without realizing it. All my "adventure" happens in a circle which is just slightly bigger than my existing skills level. Slow progress, rather than an adventure blitz. And the tone of bragging that some guys exhibit after nearly loosing their ass in the wildernass is sick. *








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Re: First harness thread, or, introducing (? the) "Spurr Harness"

Post by seanr » Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:01 pm

Hi JosiahSpurr,

As for your original post, when I look at it I admire the level of thought, detail, and creativity. At the same time, I think I would just buy and use a lightweight modern harness, rap device, and rappell rope. Adding autoblock generally increases safety. Of course, if you create something truly safe that works for you, rap your own rap (hike your own hike).

WD is known for wisdom and experience. I too would add that a helmet can be very wise to wear in case of falling rock, loose rock, unexpected falls, accidentally bonking into stuff scrambling, and imperfect rappelling. Yes, rappelling can usually be done safely, but all it takes is messing it up a bit one time for a serious problem to happen. As alluded to, rocks can get pulled down, ropes can get stuck, ropes can get cut, anchors can break, route/rap can be awkward, and user error can happen besides any of that. Doing anything where you think you may need to rappel (or where you may be able to downclimb, but feel the downclimb is hazardous), is on the adventurous end of the spectrum and taking on risk.

I have descended both sides of University Pass multiple times that was referenced as potentially a place with a difficult or dangerous downclimb and cannot recall anything remotely of that nature. There is loose rock to be wary of though. If with further experience it still seems sketchy or a place to rappel, perhaps consider sticking to easier places. On the other hand, seeking such places to gain experience with routefinding and scrambling ought to build skill and confidence.

As far as my Evolution report, thanks for the thoughtful reading and analysis! I wrote it to provoke thought and self-analysis by readers. You indeed identified many of the questionable decisions by myself and the group that were described in the report and that one may need to consider on a trip of that nature. I don't have any one answer to what went wrong and one could even pick additional elements to question beyond your observations. I didn't feel an awareness of feeling exceptionally out of sorts, but clearly was a bit out of sorts at time of accident. I definitely did not feel perfect, but that's not uncommon on a trip like that. It's dang physically and mentally taxing! That can sneak up on someone, especially in hard terrain at altitude, and lead to impaired judgement that can be hard to sense in the moment. Bailing anywhere near the accident site was not a wise option, but resting or pausing a bit could have been good. I do look at such trips with additional skepticism now, beyond skepticism that already existed. I also am now more prone to be disciplined in backing off on agenda and pace. On the other hand, ideally one would do that particular traverse lighter and faster than we did. It is a delicate balance and some trips enter known hazardous territory that deserves sober questioning. I would find the whole traverse technically pretty easy now, but conditioning for it would always be a challenge and it is on the hazardous end of the spectrum any way you slice it. I suspect I will tend to choose easier and less risky objectives. I have found that with experience, assessment of risk and consistent awareness of what hazards to be most wary of increases.

There are many solid online resources available for climbing gear nuances. This site/HST is not where I would go first, second, or third for that matter. Freedom of the Hills is excellent and useful, but probably getting a tad antiquated. For discussion you could try mountainproject.com, but reputable and authoritative gear usage resources are plentiful online. Here's one I happened to have open already--
https://rockandice.com/climb-safe/climb ... -business/

Anyway, alpine rappelling is a useful skill, but not something I advise relying on unless truly necessary. Then again, some people rap purely for the fun of it or canyoneer.

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Re: First harness thread, or, introducing (? the) "Spurr Harness"

Post by JosiahSpurr » Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:05 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:45 pm
Some of the sport climbing harnesses today are quite light weight and a lot more comfortable than a Swiss Seat. They do cost some $$.
Follow up to WD's mention of $$. How much additional cost? For mountaineers on a budget, the "bible" (Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, by The Mountaineers) says:

"An occassionally used rope should be retired after about four years (nylon deteriorates over time)."
( Part 2 "Climbing Fundamentals" // Chapter 9 "Basic Safety System" // "Rope Care" :: "Retiring a Rope" ,, Chart: "THE LIFE OF A ROPE").

And:

"Harnesses deteriorate over time and should be inspected often and REPLACED WITH THE SAME FREQUENCY AS A CLIMBING ROPE."
(Same chapter // "Seat Harnesses" :: "Manufactured Seat Harness").

Whether making one's own seat harness, or buying a commercial one pre-manufactured, either one "should be" replaced every four (4) years!! $$

The "bible" (7th ed., 2003) mentions that "A description to build a homemade seat harness can be found in a book for professional rescuers by Rick Lipke, _Technical Rescue Riggers Guide,_ revised edition." It doesn't mention swiss seat or sling seat. It mentions swami belt, but not how to make one, only that they are commercially available.
*

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Re: First harness thread, or, introducing (? the) "Spurr Harness"

Post by JosiahSpurr » Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:53 pm

JosiahSpurr wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:34 pm
[...] In particular, returning from Langley, it would be nice to rappel ("abseil" "abseiling") down the cliff at the bottom of the ridge that runs East from the summit (instead of making a right to the top of the chute and descending past the ice/snow field which is usually there most of the year).
This is a chute in that cliff that looks do-able...

(from photos @ josiah piwigo com):
IMG_2306.JPG
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Re: First harness thread, or, introducing (? the) "Spurr Harness"

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 08, 2020 7:58 pm

When to replace a rope or harness depends on use. I do not know where the 4-year limit came from. Freedom of the Hills is a good book on climbing but far from "the bible". I think its 4 year "limit" is pretty conservative.

Nylon looses strength when exposed to ultra-violet rays, when abraded severely, when repeatedly knotted, how and where it is stored when not used, exposure to chemicals and oils, if it has sustained a significant leader fall, and many other factors. I have had to retire a rope in 2 years, and have some that lasted many years past four. A harness used occasionally outdoors will last more than 4 years. If used regularly when climbing on abrasive rock, it may have to be retired in two years. Frequent inspection of every inch of your rope or harness should be done, and it should be retired when it is needed. I have "retired" ropes from lead climbing to use only when top-rope climbing before they are retired to non-climbing uses.

If I were to take a rope on a climb of Mt Everest or Denali, I probably would retire it immediately after the climb. UV rays are stronger the higher the altitude. I used to climb a lot at Joshua Tree- very abrasive rock - a real rope-killer. And if you sport climb, which also involves a lot of leader falls, that rope will not last long. If you just occasionally use a rope on a few easy alpine climbs each year and store it in a cool, clean, dark, dry place when not in use, I do not see why it could not last 10 years, provided it is regularly inspected for abrasion and other wear points.

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