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QC LAB: Daisy chain dangers

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
I see it all the time. People at the cliff with one or two daisy chains girth hitched to their belay loop or tie-in points, and using them as a personal anchor system when at an anchor. Wrong.

Lets be clear: You should NOT be using a daisy chain to anchor yourself to a belay.

Daisy chains are designed for aid climbing only and to support body weight only. When aid climbing properly, the rope is ALWAYS in the system, and in the event of a fall, the energy absorbing capacity of the rope is used. If you use a daisy chain to anchor yourself to a belay, you've now taken the rope out of the equation and are potentially subjecting yourself and the daisy chain to a possible shock-loading scenario. You should NEVER be impact loading a daisy chain. NEVER. Daisy chains and runners don't stretch much, which means they don't absorb much energy. This increases the load on the anchor, and you. Worse-case scenario under a severe-impact load, a daisy can snap. Best-case scenario under a severe-impact load, you'll snap your back.

daisy chain


From our instructions:
Daisy Chains are variable length tie-offs designed to support body weight ONLY. DO NOT use them as part of your belay or protection system. They are NOT designed to hold falls.

Warning: Improper use of Daisy Chains can cause severe shock loads. When clipped to an anchor (or other piece of gear) with a Daisy, never climb above the anchor (illustration 5). In the event of a fall, the Daisy will not stretch, resulting in a severe shock load to you, to the anchor and to all gear in the system. This can potentially injure you and can even cause your gear or anchor to fail.

Another very real and very dangerous issue with using daisy chains is clipping in short. If you incorrectly clip in short to a daisy, it can be potentially bad. Very bad. The thing to remember when clipping in short using a daisy is to use a SECOND carabiner to shorten it up.


From our instructions:
Always use a second carabiner to shorten your daisy chain
daisy chain

Why you may ask? Why not do this?

daisy chain

Basically, it's possible that when you clip a second loop, or pocket of your daisy, to the main carabiner, attached to the end loop of your daisy, that the end result MAY really be the biner just being clipped across the tack of the pocket, and therefore being really, REALLY weak—as low as 500 pounds. Below is a video that clearly shows the danger. You may have to watch it a few times, because it's pretty freaker crazy, and no, I'm not a magician.


Crazy eh? It's almost like you have a 50/50 shot of having the twist in the extra pocket as your shorten up your length. With the correct twist, and if impact loaded, the pocket would blow and you'd be ok… BUT with the incorrect twist and even a very small impact load (say your foot skating off the belay ledge and you falling onto your daisy), the pocket would blow and you'd be airborne. Those odds aren't good enough for me. Use a second carabiner to clip up short.


From our instructions:
daisy chain
NEVER clip a carabiner in to more than one pocket at a time. If the bar-tacks between the pockets were to fail under load, you would no longer be clipped in! This scenario could occur when any two pockets are connected to a single carabiner

Bottom line: Daisy chains are for aid climbing NOT for use as part of your personal anchor system. Don't know how to properly anchor yourself using the rope? Don't know how to thread sport anchors without clipping in with a daisy chain? Then go get some instruction from a professional guide IMMEDIATELY before you get yourself hurt. If you're aid climbing and going to clip your daisy in short, it's always best to use an ADDITIONAL carabiner to clip to the main carabiner thus avoiding the potential loading scenario above.

Be safe out there,

KP

 


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