Friday, 26 June 2009

DMM Dragon Cams

We have just been evaluating the new DMM dual axle cams that are about to be unveiled at the July climbing trade shows.

They are looking pretty awesome.

The cams are all hot forged and have a true three dimensional shape. This has allowed DMM to reduce weight and keep strength. The stem uses a patented system that creates a lightweight, durable and flexible stem. The cams will use the same doubled sling that has made the 4CUs so popular.

Cam angles have been kept at 13.75 degrees and the larger units are coming in 10-15% lighter than the equivilent units.

They have been named Dragon Cams.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

My mountain leaders first aid certificate is up for renewal soon so I was trawling the web for info on the 5 minute presentation that I had to give on avoiding common climbing accidents.

I came across a US site that I thought was worth sharing for several reasons. The site Traditional Mountaineering is based in Bend, Oregon and provides some really good information on mountain safety.

I have climbed a couple of times at the famed Smith Rocks which are situated just outside Bend and always considered it a 'fun' venue and it was a interesting to see the number of accidents that have happened here, especially the number of accidents caused by belayers lowering the leader off the end of the rope. The details showed that the accidents occurred to a wide spectrum of climbers - experienced and beginner - on a whole range of route grades.

This really mirrors the finding of the German DAV and Swiss Gaswerks Climbing Wall in a survey of climbing wall safety and accidents that they carried out over a 2 year period - learn to habitually belay well and always pay attention.

When we were at Smith we could virtually always see the snow topped mountains further north looking pictureque - the accident reports for these mountains shine a different light on them and the Traditional Mountaineering site provides solid information on how to prepare for trips into the mountains and a list of key items to take along so that when things go wrong you stand a better chance of staying safe.

The list of 10 essential items is great and I would certainly second the usefulness of gaffa tape in your emergency kit - awesome stuff that can patch, seal, splint and tie.


Sunday, 7 June 2009

Chilam Balam Cave Topo and Guide

After a frantic trip to Spain to help the aptly named Rok to learn how to climb - Rok was brilliant, one of the best, most determined clients that I have had - we have finished the first part of the Villanueva del Rosario climbing guide.

There is no published information to this area and so we have built the guide from scratch with the help of the local climbers - many thanks to the two Carlitos and Manolo.

The general consensus is that for the time being the guide will not be made public in order to keep the area quiet and unspoilt.

Documenting the amazing Chilam Balam cave was awe inspiring; Chilam Balam is obviously hard, but the sheer majesty of the lines of La Rubia and La Chispa makes them so jaw-droppingly good.

Time to train harder....

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Dyneema is strong...very strong

The DMM Torque nuts are almost ready for release and have been going through the final stages of testing and certification.

I was surprised to discover that the Torque Nuts have been designed to reach their breaking strengths and then break in two different ways. The smaller nuts reach their rated strength of 14kN and then it is the dyneema webbing that breaks.

However the two largest sizes have been designed so that it is the metal chock that breaks/deforms - in this way the weight of the chock can be kept to a minimum. The 8mm dyneema webbing is actually stronger than the extruded aluminium nut!

The image to the left show a Torque nut that has been tested and was deformed by the webbing - the dyneema webbing was perfectly fine and was then seperately tested before breaking at 24kN.

In another test the dyneema actually pulled through the top holes in the nut at 17kN!

Apparently one of the key processes to getting the nut to behave in this way is machining very smooth radiuses on all the edges of the internal holes.