Monday, July 11, 2022

Triaxial Loading on Trees

Surprisingly, there is one mistake that both beginners and advanced climbers alike tend to make. Many people will wrap a tree with a sling and then clip the sling. Often the sling is wrapped around the tree in such a way that it is loading the carabiner improperly. A carabiner that is loaded from three directions is often referred to as being triaxally or tri-directionally loaded. This is very very bad...

In this photo the carabiner is radically tri-loaded.
An impact on such a carabiner could cause failure.

A tri-loaded carabiner is crossloaded. It will not hold a high impact fall. As such, it is important to use slings that are long enough to tie off. In the preceding example, there is not enough sling material to get all the way around the tree, but even if there was enough for the carabiner to hang more loosely, it could still triaxally load it.

One could tie the sling off with a pre-equalized knot, but this isn't required. The following photo shows one quick example of a tie-off that eliminates the possibility of triaxal loading.

Triaxal loading is a detail that a lot of climbers don't think about. But it is just these kinds of minor details that can get you in the end. The phrase, "the Devil's in the details," didn't come from nowhere.

--Jason D. Martin


Dean said...

Easy, simple, effective and safe.
So many try to overly complicate such things...good post - thanks!

Nolan Jones said...

Fixed it! By using longer sling. Good job.

Unknown said...

Great to raise awareness of this!
If the sling is long enough to wrap around the tree and tie a knot before connecting to the carabiner - then - the included angle without the knot would probably not be a major issue. Every situation is unique and should be assessed. Most climbers I know are aware of the 3 way loading issue.

Unknown said...

Kind of apples and oranges, though.. 1st photo you wouldn't have had enough webbing to do any kind of tie, second photo the webbing would have been enough that you would have had a nice 20 deg angle and wouldnt have an issue of tri-loading..