Yesterday we replaced a dangerously worn lower-off at the top of Viagra (6b+) and Michumi (6a+) at La Selva in Camarasa (Page 63 in Lleida Climbs 2).
Even though the karabiner on the old lower-off unit was halfway worn through (see picture) it seems that people have been happily using it until very recently. This is madness!
These two routes are extremely popular and it's likely that the karabiner was also regularly used as part of top-rope setups — a practice that should be avoided at all costs.
As we stress in the introduction to the guidebook, climbing in Catalunya is not a regulated activity. There is absolutely no structure in place to inspect or maintain in-situ gear. What this means in practice is that when trusting your life to in-situ bolts and lower-offs you must use your own judgement as to their dependability. If a lower-off looks dangerously worn (such as this one) then leave one of your own karabiners behind — it's a small price to pay for peace of mind!
Be safe out there!
Yesterday we had a climb in Marcant Estill and nearly got locked in if it was not for the great help of the locals. The narrow road after at the Pont del Pastor bridge is secured with a gate which was open with no warning sign that we should not enter so we drove through and climbed till afternoon when on the way back we realized the gate was closed and locked. So be aware that you are suppose to park your car before the gate and not drive through the small road anymore. Big thanks to the locals who helped us break free :). climb safe and responsibility.ReplyDelete