Home Sport gear Fortunately he is not dead: descended from a toy carabiner

Fortunately he is not dead: descended from a toy carabiner


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I watched a guy try his first sport outdoors. He bailed out after the fourth bolt. None of his friends wanted to try the route, so an older climber asked him to thread the rope straight through the bolt hook so he didn’t have to leave a carabiner on bail. Then the older gentleman proudly told a story of how he was two lengths from a route and couldn’t complete it. Instead of leaving a real carabiner behind, he used a toy carabiner because it was cheaper. He said, “These things only hold 500 pounds. or so, but I was just too cheap to leave a real carabiner.—Kevin Kuo, via email

CLASSES: There are many ways to safely withdraw from a sports route. Threading the rope directly through a bolt hanger is usually not one of them. Take a look at the methods in the linked article and be sure to pack some carabiners or quick links in case you need to descend because you can’t ascend anymore. Although slightly more expensive (really only a few dollars), it’s more polite to leave carabiners. At best, quick links are hard to remove for the next person leading the route. At worst, they can rust and become very difficult to remove. Keep in mind that you may be able to scavenge gear by walking to the top of the cliff and abseiling, climbing the next route, or having a stronger friend climb the route.

Toy carabiners usually have something like “Not for climbing” or “Not load-bearing” printed directly on them, because they are not load-bearing. 500 pounds is a very generous estimate. They are meant to hold a set of keys or maybe a bottle of water. Absolutely not a person. If your life is worth so little to you that you’re willing to risk it instead of leaving behind equipment that costs about the price of a hamburger, then I can’t help you. You will be best advised by a therapist.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – A Lucky Landing

Want more? Check out more episodes in our ever-growing Hall of Shame:

Leader Decks when an experienced climber misses the belay

Sawing through someone else’s rope

Insured only with hands, without device!

Smoke Brick Weed and go climb

Belay with a knife in hand

Don’t let a clueless dad take a child rock climbing

She was frustrated and untied – on a leash

The Six Dumbest, Most Dangerous, and Most Irresponsible Climbers We’ve Heard About (So Far)