Photo courtey of http://colinhaley.blogspot.com/
Like may of us I suspect, I have thought that factory umbilical attachments were best done in a steel or aluminum "loop" that could be directly clipped with your umbilical biner of choice. Having climbed a bunch on Cobras, the newest Fusions, new Ergos and Nomics (old and new) and the original Quark I am rethinking that idea.
photo courtesy of http://colinhaley.blogspot.com/
I've notice that those that don't choose to use umbilicals aren't always very careful on where they leave their own tools. To the point of a couple of winters ago we picked up several sets of tools left behind simply because the climbers who owned the tool forgot them at a rap station or even just left them on the ground at the base of a climb. (hard to blame that on umbilicals I guess :) Or just as bad, set them somewhere they could easily be knocked off (by the owner, their partner or rock and ice fall) at a belay station.
But the issue that just became readily apparent to me is clipping carabiners to a metal umbilical attachment points has a huge disadvantage. That is, the wire gate biners tripping themselves open and dropping the tools in use. You can't just ignore where the tool is and what is happening when it is a metal to metal contact between umbilical and tool. None of the carabiner based umbilicals have any advantage here..."no matter how strong the the biner gate is" as one manufacturer's rep told me.
Rope tie on points won't solve the entire issue. But they will help make the umbilical biners less likely to pop off the tool. Tonight, as good as the BD tool design work is, I added perlon loops to both my Fusions and Cobras all the while negating the full strength metal attachment points on both tools. The reason? I'd rather have a less than full strength umbilical attachment point than loose a tool because the umbilical biner ever so easily snapped off the tool by accident.
photo courtesy of http://www.alpineexposures.com/pages/chamonix-conditions
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