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Liquid leakage on slings and ropes

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Liquid leakage on slings and ropes

Postby JHH60 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:04 pm

Gear manufacturers warn you not to get oil, acid or bleach on ropes, slings, harnesses, etc. On a recent trip to the high country I discovered that the Aquamira water purifier drops I had included in my first aid kit had leaked and about 3/4 oz of the stuff was on the rear bed of my wagon. I guess I hadn't screwed the top down on Part A (chlorine dioxide solution, basically bleach) and the baggie I'd stuck it in wasn't watertight. I cleaned up the bed of my wagon and luckily it didn't get on my harness, rack, or ropes, but it got me thinking - there are a number of substances that are routinely carried in the backcountry that could be corrosive and damaging to gear slings, harnesses, and rope, including white gas, DEET, Aquamira, sunblock, cooking oil, and battery electrolyte (if a battery cell leaked). And of course there's motor oil or windshield washer fluid in the back of our cars (I had to throw away my original Whillans harness years ago when I lent it to a friend and motor oil leaked on it in his van). Obviously the best solution is to keep this stuff well away from gear, but if something did leak onto nylon/dyneema gear to which you trust your life (harness, rope, slings, etc.) and you were in the backcountry, what would you do? Rinse it as best you can? Not use it? Not worry about it?
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Postby BrunoM » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:15 pm

If you worry about it, justified or not, it's time to ditch it (imo).
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Postby Paul82 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:50 pm

BrunoM wrote:If you worry about it, justified or not, it's time to ditch it (imo).


Agreed. The thought of the integrity of your gear will haunt you in the back of your mind when you're out climbing.

If I was in the backcountry, I would clean as best as possible and either finish the climb, obviously because either way you could possibly die, or pack up camp and head home.
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Postby Alasdair » Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:31 am

lopgok wrote:Pure spectra is pretty inert.
I contacted bluewater in 1993, and I got a material sheet.
It is here:
http://www.weasel.com/gear_fiber.html

Basically, of the common chemicals they tested with, anything other than clorox (which I presume means bleach in general) is ignored by spectra.
They did a 6 month immersion test, which is more than you should ever experience...

I presume that the test results should still be valid, as spectra is still pretty much the same.


It totally depends on what I spilled on my gear. Deet will disolve nylon. Aquamira part b is phosphoric acid. Those can both be damaging to nylon. Petro-chemicals are not as damaging as those two items would be to nylon.
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Postby DudeThatMustHurt » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:41 pm

In my line of work we regularly get hydraulic (846) rock drill (vegitable oil) lithium geases and even diesel fuel on many of our nylon rigging kits. We reduce the use time of them but have never seen substansial damage other than slick gear. We are also exerting regulary MUCH more force than the average consumer would ever think.
You just need to calculate hour own acceptable risk levels with the amount of debris your gear gets
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Postby Wastral » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:00 pm

Phosphoric acid is in every fruit and in every sports drink. So... do you never eat fruit then touch your ropes or slings??? Do you never spill a drop of your sports drink on said rope? Ascorbic acid is in almost every candy made along with a lot of foods as well.

Gah, ignorance... sigh. Phosphoric acid, its the concentration that counts and NOTHING sold to purify water is even close to that needed to harm nylon/spectra or anything else.

The molality of those drops is rediculously low. You can drink that bottle without ill effects. Deet, and Hydrosulpheric acid you can't because their molality is much much higher in order to make them effective. Deet I wouldn't worry about either unless you get the stuff sold in 5 gal pails that have to be watered down to use. Unless you have a chemical liscence and sign half your life away, there is no way in heck anyone will get their hands on it. If it won't effect you it sure as heck won't effect nylon! Yes, if you took said bottle and purified it and added a couple more purifed bottles to it then dropped a molality of say 1 on said sling, yea you might have a problem.

If you are really worried about it, sure junk the slings and ropes. Slings are cheep, your life isn't.

I have had to cut a brand new rope in half because I found a flat spot it in before after a few days of use. Rock dropped on it. To each his own.

Alasdair wrote:
lopgok wrote:Pure spectra is pretty inert.
I contacted bluewater in 1993, and I got a material sheet.
It is here:
http://www.weasel.com/gear_fiber.html

Basically, of the common chemicals they tested with, anything other than clorox (which I presume means bleach in general) is ignored by spectra.
They did a 6 month immersion test, which is more than you should ever experience...

I presume that the test results should still be valid, as spectra is still pretty much the same.


It totally depends on what I spilled on my gear. Deet will disolve nylon. Aquamira part b is phosphoric acid. Those can both be damaging to nylon. Petro-chemicals are not as damaging as those two items would be to nylon.
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