Abseil & Climb appendix 1 – Equipment

The equipment required and the appropriate “type” of equipment used is dependent on the specific context of the activity.

Equipment used for abseiling and climbing may include but is not limited to:

Abseiling and climbing specific equipment

  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Descending device
  • Belay device
  • Carabiner
  • Ropes – static and dynamic as appropriate
  • Slings
  • Climbing cord
  • Artificial anchors including but not limited to chocks, cams, nuts, hexes, bolts
  • nut tool
  • Whistle (for communications or emergency)
  • Rescue equipment

Rescue equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • Additional rope
  • Pulleys
  • Ascenders
  • Prusik loops
  • Slings
  • Climbing cord
  • Carabiners
  • Belay device
  • Knife suitable for cutting ropes (preferably on a lanyard)

Abseiling specific equipment

Specific equipment for abseiling may include but is not limited to:

  • Gloves

Climbing specific equipment

Specific equipment for climbing may include but is not limited to:

  • Gloves
  • Climbing shoes
  • Chalk bag

Bouldering specific equipment

Specific equipment for climbing may include but is not limited to:

  • Crash pads or padding

 

General equipment

Emergency/rescue

  • Documentation (see Part 1 – Core Standard 5.1 activity leader required documentation)
  • Emergency communication equipment (see Part 1 – Core Standard 4 emergency communication)
  • First aid kit in waterproof storage (see Part 1 – Core Standard – 6.3 first aid equipment and medication)
  • A waterproof method of storing and carrying documentation and communications equipment
  • Specific activity context equipment required
  • Emergency shelter where appropriate for the context
  • Emergency equipment to keep a patient warm (g. mat, sleeping bag) where appropriate for the context
  • Signalling device(s) g. mirror, flares

Activity Leaders

  • communications equipment (standard communication rather than emergency communication where this differs) and spare batteries or backup “power banks”
  • relevant maps and navigation information
  • a waterproof method of storing and carrying maps and navigation information
  • compass and/or other navigation aids g. GPS
  • pen/pencil and blank writing paper
  • watch or equipment suitable to tell and measure time for first aid purposes
  • head torch and spare batteries
  • same as for participant

Participant

  • personal medications (including for asthma and anaphylaxis)
  • personal hygiene requirements
  • clothing appropriate to the weather conditions
  • sun hat
  • sunglasses
  • spare prescription glasses
  • sunscreen

Group

  • backpack to carry equipment
  • trowel for toileting
  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitiser
  • water purification ‘system’
  • repair kit
  • food for duration plus spare
  • rubbish bags
  • multi-tool with knife
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellent
  • Refer Part I – Core Standard for first aid kit common content.

Multi- pitch activities

  • small personal backpacks to carry person equipment
  • inter-group communication equipment (e.g. portable two-way radios)

 

 

 

Abseil & Climb appendix 2 – Equipment & relevant standards

Fixed and mobile artificial climbing and abseiling walls:

  • 1—2009 – Part 1

Equipment and the relevant standards:

  • Accessory cord (EN 564)
  • Braking devices (EN 15151-1, EN 15151-2)
  • Carabiners or other connectors (EN 362, EN 12275, AS/NZS 1891.4 or ISO 10333-5)
  • Chocks (EN 12270)
  • Crash pads/padding (AS2316.1—2009 – Part 1, UIAA 161-3)
  • Descending devices (EN 341)
  • Energy absorbing systems EN 958
  • Frictional anchors EN 12276
  • Helmets (EN 12492)
  • Harnesses (EN 358, EN 361, EN 813, EN 12277, AS/NZS 1891.4 or equivalent)
  • Lanyards (EN 354)
  • Rock anchors (EN 959)
  • Rope clamps EN 567
  • Rope – dynamic (EN 892)
  • Rope – static (EN 1891, AS 4142.3, CI 1801)
  • Personal fall protection equipment – anchor devices (EN 795)
  • Pitons (EN 569)
  • Pulleys (EN 12278)
  • Slings (EN 566, AS 1353 (series) or AS/NZS 1891.4)

 

List of relevant standards

AS/NZS

  • 1353 Flat synthetic-webbing slings Product specification
  • 1891 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices
  • 4 Part 4: Selection, use and maintenance
  • 1—2009 Artificial climbing structures and challenge courses Part 1: Fixed and mobile artificial climbing and abseiling walls.
  • 2512 Methods of testing protective helmets
  • 1 Part 1: Definitions and headforms

CI

  • 1801 Low Stretch And Static Kernmantle Life Safety Rope

EN

  • 341 Personal protective equipment against falls from a height—Descender devices
  • 354 Personal protective equipment against falls from a height—Lanyards
  • 358 Personal protective equipment for work positioning and prevention of falls from a height—Belts for work positioning and restraint and work positioning lanyards
  • 361 Personal protective equipment against falls from a height—Full body harnesses
  • 362 Personal protective equipment against falls from a height—Connectors
  • 564 Mountaineering equipment—Accessory cord—Safety requirements and test methods
  • 566 Mountaineering equipment—Slings—Safety requirements and test methods
  • 567 Mountaineering equipment—Rope clamps—Safety requirements and test methods
  • 569 Mountaineering equipment. Pitons. Safety requirements and test methods
  • 795 Personal fall protection equipment. Anchor devices
  • 813 Personal fall protection equipment—Sit harnesses
  • 892 Mountaineering equipment—Dynamic mountaineering ropes—Safety requirements and test methods
  • 958 Mountaineering equipment. Energy absorbing systems for use in klettersteig (via ferrata) climbing. Safety requirements and test methods
  • 959 Mountaineering equipment. Rock anchors. Safety requirements and test methods
  • 12270 Mountaineering equipment. Chocks. Safety requirements and test methods
  • 12275 Mountaineering equipment—Connectors—Safety requirements and test methods
  • 12276 Mountaineering equipment. Frictional anchors. Safety requirements and test methods
  • 12277 Mountaineering equipment—Harnesses—Safety requirements and test methods
  • 12278 Mountaineering equipment—Pulleys—Safety requirements and test methods
  • 12492 Mountaineering Equipment – Helmets For Mountaineers – Safety Requirements And Test Methods
  • 15151-1 Mountaineering equipment. Braking devices. Braking devices with manually assisted locking, safety requirements and test methods
  • 15151-2 Mountaineering equipment. Braking devices. Manual braking devices, safety requirements and test methods
  • 1891 Personal protective equipment for the prevention of falls from a height—Low stretch kernmantel ropes

ISO

  • 10333 Personal fall-arrest systems
  • 10333-5 Part 5: Connectors with self-closing and self-locking gates

UIAA

  • 161-3 Crash Pads

 

Abseil & Climb appendix 3 – Equipment load ratings

Proper understanding and use of equipment load ratings (stated strength) is needed to allow for an appropriate safety margins (safety factors) to be used. This ensures that equipment is never overloaded to a point it is in danger of breaking or being damaged.

Manufacturers provide details of the load ratings for equipment either stamped on the equipment or in available documentation. This is called the Stated Strength. Stated Strength is the magnitude of load that is either the Safe Working Load (SWL) or Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS).

It is critical to understand the difference between Safe Working Load (SWL) and Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) because SWL has a safety factor already applied to it, while MBS does not.

Safe Working Load (SWL): is the magnitude of load that does not permanently distort, weaken, damaged or break equipment. It is safe to load equipment to 100% of the SWL.

Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS): is the magnitude of a load that may permanently distort or damage a piece of equipment but not cause it to break. An appropriate safety factor needs to be applied to the MBS. The MBS is a load, determined by the manufacture, that might not break a piece of equipment but may make it unusable or unsafe to use. Equipment should never be loaded to the MBS, even for testing purposes. Some equipment may be in danger of being overloaded even at less than half the MBS. It should be noted that the stated MBS value is calculated from tests on a selection of items, not on each individual item. It is therefore likely that a small percentage of similar items, (usually less than 1%) will break slightly below their stated MBS value.

Safety Factor: The ratio between the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) and Safe Working Load (SWL) which is used to provide a safety margin. It is expressed as a ratio for example 8:1. An appropriate Safety Factor is chosen based on the type of equipment and intended use. The safety factor applicable may be specified in relevant standards or manufactures instructions. It is recommended to follow known safe practices, manufacturers recommendations, relevant standards or calculated assessments when determining safety factors.

 

Examples

Rope

Recreational ‘climbing/abseiling’ rope may have the Stated Strength provided as a Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS). In use, it requires a suitable Safety Factor to be selected and applied to the MBS to calculate appropriate SWL.

Static rope:

  • Stated strength: 30kN MBS
  • Safety Factor: commonly 8:1
  • Safe Working Load (SWL): 3.75kN (30 divided by 8 = 3.75)

Flat lifting sling:

A flat lifting sling may have the Stated Strength provided as a Safe Working Load (SWL). In use, it can be loaded to 100% of the SWL.

  • Stated strength: 2,000 kg SWL
  • Safety Factor: may or may not be provided by manufacturer
  • Safe Working Load (SWL): 2,000 kg (No calculation required as Stated Strength given as SWL)

The Australian Standard AS1353 states that a 2,000 kg SWL flat lifting sling should have a 8:1 safety factor.  If this is the case, then the MBS is 16,000 kg (2,000 times 8 = 16,000).

Connectors

Recreational ‘climbing/abseiling’ connectors may have the Stated Strength provided as a Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS). In use, it requires a suitable Safety Factor to be selected and applied to the MBS to calculate appropriate SWL.

In-line loaded carabiner:

  • Stated strength: 24kN MBS
  • Safety Factor: commonly 4:1
  • Safe Working Load (SWL): 6kN (24 divided by 4 = 6)

All equipment needs to have its Safe Working Load (SWL) estimated using an appropriate safety factor for the context it is being used. They are not to be loaded above their SWL.

Loaded connectors in non-optimal load situation (e.g. loaded in three or more directions):

  • Stated strength: 24kN MBS
  • Safety Factor: commonly 4:1 increased to 10:1 to cater for three-way loading
  • Safe Working Load (SWL): 2.4kN (24 divided by 10 = 2.4)

The increased safety factor will vary depending on the angles and points at which the carabiner is loaded.

Case example

On the 4th of May 2014, in Rhode Island USA, a 45kN carabiner was overloaded and failed with a 6.8kN three-way load, causing 8 circus performers to fall 10m. The subsequent investigation showed that similar carabiners, in new condition, also failed when similarly loaded but easily held 50kN when in-line loaded.

 

Kilonewtons (kN) of force vs kilograms (kg) of load (mass)

Newtons, (abbreviated to N) are the metric units of force. A 102kg object applies, approximately, 1,000 N, (1kN) downward force at the surface of the earth, (due to its mass and gravity). One Kilonewton (1 kN) is 1,000 N.

In a simple vertical loading situation, it is generally accurate enough to convert a load mass of 100 kg to a force of 1kN. Forces can exist in any direction, not just up and down. Force is calculated by multiplying mass by acceleration. Gravity at earth’s surface produces approximately 10m/s2 of acceleration, (the exact valve varies and is slightly less).

Therefore, equipment rated 1 kN of force equals equipment rated approximately 100kg of load (1,000N divided by 10 = 100kg of load). So 1kN of force = approximately 100kg of load.

 

Examples:

SWL 3.75kN force equals approximately 375kg load

  • Calculation: 3.75 times 1,000 = 3,750N with 3,750N divided by 10 = 375 or
  • Calculation: 3.75 times 100 = 375

SWL 2,000kg load equals approximately 20kN force

  • Calculation: 2,000kg times 10 = 20,000N with 20,000N divided by 1,000 = 20 or
  • Calculation: 2,000kg divided by 100 = 20

 

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