With all the comments and multiple blogs on umbilicals I have made it is worth asking (as some did) just how strong is the next link in the chain? How strong is your actual attachment point on the tool?
May better asked, "how strong is your tool where you clip in?" I use my tools all the time as an anchor (may be the only anchor) and expect them to do the job if required. (hold a top rope fall and me)
I like to climb on Petzl tools. But with the exception of the newest Quark just out this season it has been a while since Petzl has made a high priority of a full strength attachment point in their design work.. I have no clue what a new Quark will hold on the spike. But I will ask and post the results here next week.
Doesn't take much imagination to figure out what a Nomic or Ergo was designed by Petzl to hold for weight. The answer is? Not much.
I like how "bomb proof" the BD tools are (just not always the picks) and use them as well. There are good reasons climbers have a preference in ice tools. I respect reliability. And I also value performance.
This from Black Diamond when I asked on the subject:
"One thing I will clarify; there is no requirement for spike ( load ) strength even though it is now used as an attachment point for leashes on some tools. BD proof tests every tool we sell (technical and mountaineering) to 1000lbs (pulled end to end). We have an internal requirement for the ultimate end to end strength to exceed 2000lbs (we usually exceed this by a large margin).
We were the only one in the business to do this and test for it to my knowledge. I have tested many other manufacturers' tools and most do not meet it, and some tools (with plastic type spike/pommels) only went to a couple hundred pounds at room temps before they broke.
The only exception to the 2000lb internal requirement is the Fusion. Fusion spike will go to around 1500lbs with the maximum amount of spacers allowed(3) before the bolt breaks (the threads do not fail). We worked a bunch to maximize the strength of that area."
Bill Belcourt, Black Diamond
More on the UIAA and CE tests.
Tools sold in Europe must pass CE (Conformité Européenne) standards that the product has met EU consumer safety requirements. The CE standards for climbing gear were adopted from the UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations D’Alpinisme, based in Berne Switzerland) 15 years ago. For climbing UIAA certification meets a more stringent standard than CE certification. Some manufacturers require both UIAA and CE certification on their climbing gear.
Ice tool definitions from the UIAA website:
Type B = Basic, lower strength, glacier travel use and/or ski mountaineering.
Type T = Technical type, high strength, water fall ice climbing, M (mixed) climbing.
Ratings B T
3-point bend test on the shaft 2.5 kN* 3.5 kN
Strength of head/shaft (ourward) 0.6 kN 0.9 kN
Strength of head/shaft (across) 2.5 kN 4.0 kN
Torque test of pick 127 N 182 N
Fatigue torque test of pick No test 80 N
Attachment point of shaft to spike 2 kN 2 kN
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