Traditional climbing equipment- slings
Slings (or tapes) are invaluable for climbing, allowing the climber to extend runners (wires, cams, etc), equalised belays, and sling large natural objects such as spikes, trees and blocks. They are light, simple and incredibly strong and durable.
Once upon a time, all slings were made from plain nylon, a tough, strong and inexpensive material. For most climbers, regular nylon slings are more than sufficient. In the last ten years though, Dyneema (a close relation to Spectra) has firmly established itself as the material of choice, having phenomenal strength, abrasion resistance and low weight. A Dyneema sling will far outlast a nylon one plus, a modern Dyneema sling of only 10 cm in width has an equivalent strength as an 'old school' 16mm nylon sling. If money is tight buy nylon, but if you want the best then save up for Dyneema.
Lengths and uses
- 10cm/15cm/20cm - Good length for extenders, be it for sport, trad or multi pitch.
- 25cm/30cm Winter - Alpine and wandering multi-pitching (sea cliffs, mountain crags).
- 60cm (aka four footer) - All-round shoulder length sling suitable for slinging spikes, extending runners or used to set up belays.
- 120cm (aka 'eight footer') - Double length sling suitable for slinging very large objects and for belay set-ups.
- 240cm (aka 'sixteen footer' or 'Mountain Tools Webolette ®') - Super-long sling designed for equalising complicated belays.
Andy Kirkpatrick is recognised as a world authority on equipment and technique, a knowledge built up on some of the hardest big walls and faces in the world. Andy's expertise is big wall climbing and winter expeditions. He has scaled Yosemite's El Captan, one of the hardest walls in America, over 24 times. As well as being a successful climber, writer and speaker, Andy also works in film and TV as a stunt safety advisor.
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