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Research and Information

A comprehensive list of updated articles provides advice for climbers and mountaineers on techniques and equipment. These are educational resources and the UIAA holds no liability for their accuracy. Submit your articles to the UIAA for review and possible publication.

BELAYING 

Analysis of Belaying Techniques
Carlo Zanantoni, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

Beware of Quickdraws for Self-Belay
Neville McMillan, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

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CARABINERS (CONNECTORS) 

How strong are your carabiners?
Lionel Kiener, Safety Commission, UIAA 2009

Karabiner Breakings when Using a Figure-of-Eight
Neville McMillan, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

Karabiners: Be Aware!
Jean Franck Charlet, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

Attaching to the Rope by Karabiner?
Pit Schubert, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

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CLIMBING ANCHOR FAILURES 

The UIAA Safety Commission has produced an extensive document charting the factors behind the recent incidents of unexpected failures of climbing anchors under low loads and sometimes after only some months/years in place. The document is available in EnglishFrench and German.

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CRAMPONS 

Anti-Balling Systems for Crampons
Michael Larcher, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

DAV PUBLICATIONS

The following recommendations are courtesy of the Deutscher Alpenverein/German Alpine Club (DAV)

Avalanche Transceivers – Test 2013/14
The DAV – Safety research Group tested all new avalanche transceivers of the season 2013/14.
Avalanche Transceiver Test

Test Overview

Safety Notification FIXE Anchors

Belay Device Recommendation for Single Pitch Climbing

Panorama 2015/4 The Aging of Sling Materials
On the search for answers: By how much is sling strength reduced in everyday use? How are the different types of slings affected? Are there recognisable patterns of strength loss and age/ use?

Panorama 2015/5 Assisted Braking Belay Devices
The German Alpine Club (DAV) recommends assisted braking belay devices for most single pitch climbing situations. But what are the individual strengths and weaknesses of the different assisted braking devices?
Assisted braking belay devices – advantages, disadvantages, differences

Assisted braking devices chart

Panorama 2014/6 Accidents in Climbing Gyms

Panorama 2014/5 Which Sling Material for Which Application Slings are made from various kinds of materials. What are the differences? And how do we choose the right sling material for a specific purpose?
Sling Jungle Tables

 Sling Jungle

Panorama 2014/3 Belaying in Multi-Pitch Routes
Body belay or anchor belay? Advantages and disadvantages.

LOWERING OFF AND ABSEILING 

Lowering Off and Abseiling, a Huge Difference 
Pit Schubert, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INSPECTION AND RETIREMENT 

The UIAA equipment standard provides a baseline for equipment performance in a test lab under controlled conditions on new equipment. Although these test conditions are relevant to the conditions encountered climbing, conditions encountered at the crags and the condition of the equipment are equally important.

This recommendation from the UIAA member federation The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) provides vital equipment information that is NOT explicitly addressed in the standard, particularly failure modes of the equipment and recommendations for the use, inspection, maintenance, and retirement of equipment.

These recommendations are of necessity general. For any specific piece of equipment, the primary source for all equipment information is the manufacturer. Always read and heed the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions for use, inspection, maintenance, and retirement of equipment. Taken together, the UIAA standard, the BMC recommendations, and the manufacturer’s instructions provide a sound basis for understanding climbing equipment and its limitations. This understanding, in conjunction with best practices, is the basis for managing the risk associated with climbing and the use of climbing equipment.

Note: The following information on use, care and maintenance comes from the BMC booklet:
CARE and MAINTENANCE – Copyright © 2001 British Mountaineering Council

Connectors (Karabiners)

The first standard for karabiners for use in climbing and mountaineering was produced by the UIAA Safety Commission in 196. Read more

Harness

The harness is an important piece of climbing equipment that performs the vital task of attaching the climber to the rope or belay anchors, and also gives a means of arranging your other equipment so as to be close at hand when needed. Read more

Helmets

The helmet is a very important (and vastly underused) piece of safety equipment in the world of mountaineering and climbing. There are many instances of accident reports containing phrases like ‘serious injury/death could have been avoided had the climber been wearing a helmet’.  Read more

Ropes

The rope is the most vital piece of safety equipment for use in climbing and mountaineering, and was one of the first pieces of gear to be employed for safety in the sport. Read More

Slings

Slings are the most versatile component in modern climbing and mountaineering, and have a whole multitude of uses – the most important of which is to provide a link between the climber and the belay and also to connect the rope to a protection point. Read more

ROPES 

Behaviour of rope under stretching during fall
An accurate numerical simulation of the consequences of a fall on the “safety chain” (assembly of rope, fixed points, karabiners, cords and other climbing gears) is essential for understanding the events and conceiving safety methods.
Authors: Vittorio Bedogni (CAI), Andrea Manes

Marking of Ropes by End-users
NOTIFICATION: Tests show that marking ropes with liquids such as those provided by felt-tipped pens can damage them; even with those markers, sold specifically for marking ropes.

Nylon and Ropes for Mountaineering and Caving
While it was known that wet ropes lose much of their capacity, the rapid degradation of ropes in abseiling and top roping is surprising.

About Ageing of Climbing Ropes
Pit Schubert, Safety Commission, UIAA Journal 3/2000

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VIA FERRATA 

Via Ferrata
Recommendations for via ferrata construction Chris Semmel und Florian Hellberg, German Alpine Club Safety Analysis Unit, 2008,English translation by Dave Custer, American Alpine Club, 2009

Consensus Of The UIAA Safety Commission
Statement Regarding The Re-Usability Of Via Ferrata Energy Absorbing Systems After A Significant Fall (May 2015)