Belay loops do fail

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  John Knight 10 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #4388 Reply


    The sad death of Todd Skinner at Yosemite recently is a reminder of the possible consequences of gear failure. Read the story on

    #4389 Reply


    The article says the loop was very worn. No surprise then.

    I was once cheap about my harness replacement and the strap between the leg loops failed, so I was left hanging by the waist band only.

    I enjoyed Tod’s climbs in Thailand and Lander.

    At least he died having fun.


    #4390 Reply

    Dayle the Canadian

    I once met Todd, er sort of. I was doing a route in Thailand and he calls up to me, asking what route I was on. I told him. Later my mate , in a Crocodile Dundee-esque moment says, “Do you know who THAT was?” No.

    Todd Skinner.

    Hate to see anyone die especially in a stupid accident. Worse if it’s someone you actually met.

    Gravity Sucks!

    #4391 Reply

    Dayle the Canadian

    Oh forgot to add, I don’t abseil off the belay loop but pass my carabiner through both main loops. I have friends who add a back-up loop to the belay loop which is sensible.

    #4392 Reply

    ed nepia

    its an interesting concept, backing up your belay loop.. by all means do it if your paranoid but when do you then stop doubling up?

    By extension you’d use two ropes (singles of course), 2 belay devices thru two belay crabs, 2 cowtails etc.

    eventually adding layers of redundancy becomes a burden and inefficient.

    belay loops are over engineered for their purpose and are generally the strongest part of your harness

    Adding carabiners or extra loops of webbing clutters your working area and creates extra wear points on your harness.

    A crab clipped thru both parts of your harness and then loaded is subject to a three way load which is dangerous and furthermore often loads the crab across its gate which is the weakest link.(which is another excellent reason to not belay from a crab thru both parts of your harness)

    A belay loop is made from webbing rather then metal to allow for movement and changes in load direction which a metal crab cant.

    Extra loops of webbing are superfluous and add little to the safety of your rig.

    The best safety gear is the one between your ears, just keep checking your harness and retire it as soon as it is worn. Todd Skinners loop failed because it was extremely worn and he decided to use it anyway….

    I have had a similar accident to Ross when I snapped the loop joining the leg loops to the belay loop (2 yr old petzl harness) it was a bloody scary reminder to check and replace my gear more often.

    I now use Metolius safe tech harness’s in which every part of the harness (including the gear loops) is fully rated. they are worth a look if anyone needs to replace their harness.

    Have fun eh.

    #4393 Reply

    John Knight

    I’ve always gone the paranoid route, now I’m glad.

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