Everyone has a dependable piece of gear from the ‘good ol’ days’. The real question is: How did it last so long? There’s a lot more to the story than the original product quality. If you want your gear to last, you have to take good care of it, and make sure it is properly stored. Here, we’ll show you how.
A study conducted by a renowned magazine recommended replacing quickdraws after 5 years (heavy use) or every 7-10 years (moderate use). In most cases, you can see if you can still use a quickdraw:
"If any stitching is worn, or if the webbing is showing any tears, it must be replaced immediately. Pay special attention to quickdraws left in a project! Sun and weather can affect the strength of the quickdraw without necessarily being able to see any sign of wear. Before you clip any gear, it is important to decide for yourself if you can trust it."
Peter Manhartsberger, AUSTRIALPIN Product Manager
„Ice tools should be filed by hand, and never from a machine. Personally, I use a Mühlsägefeile file. In order to keep the angle fixed while filing, the best is to fix the tool with a vice. Always file towards the tip. Finally, file the pick until it is sharp, but not too sharp. If the pick becomes too thin it will become blunt faster."
In order to maximize the lifespan of a rope, it is important to take proper care of it from the moment you buy it.
1. Uncoiling a new rope: In the manufacturing process ropes are coiled on a production-scale drum. Only by reversing this coil can you avoid the otherwise inevitable kinks. How? Remove the rope from the packaging, and put both your forearms through the coil towards each other. Now slowly begin to undue the coil, unrolling with your arms, guiding the outside rope end onto the ground. Pay attention that the inside end of the rope does not start to unroll. Once the entire rope is unrolled, coil the rope as usual or store in a rope bag (where it will stay better protected from any water or dirt).
2. Care: Ropes which are extremely dirty can be cleaned with a mild synthetic soap. This increases the rope’s lifetime and helps to keep it from getting too stiff. The best method is to handwash in tepid water. Washing in the delicate cycle of the washing machine (max 30°) is also OK, however be sure to remove any soap residuals in the machine, and never use a spin-cycle! Don’t hang dry. To dry spread the rope on the ground in a cool dark room, turning often.
3. Storage: Store ropes somewhere which is dry, out of the sun, and protected from chemicals (eg. Cleaning protects) and batteries (ie. Never in the trunk of the car!).
4. Lifetime: There is no fixed lifetime for a rope, as it strongly depends on how it is used. A rope that is rarely used should be replaced after 10 years after its manufacturing date. Even a rope which has barely been used should be replaced after this time, as the plastic threads age with time. A rope that is used more often, and stored properly, can be used for three to six years. For those who climb often, and who fall often, should replace a rope after one year. Indications that a rope should be immediately replaced include: An open mantel, a mantle which is displaced from the core, and any burns, bulges, or contamination. A rope must be replaced immediately after any contact with aggressive chemicals or after a fall with a high Fall Factor.