Nominee – Lifespan Unlimited
Manuals of textile mountaineering equipment manufacturers define a lifespan in years. Walter Siebert proves in his scientific paper that there is no evidence for this number. Through raising awareness about this issue, he wishes to prevent tons of gear landing in the trash due to being outdated. Climbing equipment, according to Walter Siebert, only degrades by usage, wear and destruction and not over time.
Vision, goals and objectives
The manufacturers of textile mountaineering equipment write a lifespan in years in their manuals. Walter Siebert could proof scientifically that there is no evidence for this number. Due to the defined lifespan literally tons of gear, which is still safe and fit for purpose, is discarded.The goal of this project is to eliminate the lifespan defined by years (e.g. 10 years) from the manuals as long as there is no scientific evidence for it but only against it. Climbing equipment made of polyamide does not degradiate over time to an extent that it becomes dangerous. It degrades only by usage, wear and destruction.
Expected implementation and outcomes
Through raising awareness, tons of climbing equipment made of Polyamide (ropes, harnesses,etc.) will be saved from unnecessary discard and destruction.
Climbing, mountaineering or outdoor sport focus
Polyamide is a basic component of textile climbing equipment: Ropes, harnesses, slings, lanyards, etc. It is used in all mountaineering varieties (climbing, speleology, slacklining, etc.), in rescue organisations, and as a side effect also in industrial applications, firefighters etc. Local communities can benefit directly when for example unused or little used rescue equipment can still be used. The project has a generic effect in saving resources worldwide.
Best practice in mountaineering and mountain-based sports for mountain protection
Business as usual is that equipment is taken out of operation when the lifespan, defined by the manufacturer, is reached, after 10 years + 5 years storage time. No matter how safe it still is. The project will put the focus on the real dangers defined in discard criteria, like: Wear, destruction, chemical influence etc. “Beyond business as usual” means that no one will ask the question: “How old is it”, but rather look at the safety of the device.
To discover more about the UIAA Mountain Protection Award please click here.
Please note that the content published in this article is courtesy of the Award nominee. The UIAA has made minor revisions to the original submission.