Believe it or not! The preliminary drop tests were successful and promising. A 100kg load was dropped onto a Quickie Descender™ (QD) in belay configuration. Peak force and slip distances were measured. And theoretically, the system is safe employed within certain parameters. Now that the testing was done, only one thing to do: get onto the sharp end!
Typically, when you lead climb, it is done on dynamic rope (stretches), usually single 9-11mm or double or twin rope systems as small as 7.5mm (2 x 7.5mm ropes). If a lead fall occurs, the energy created in the fall is absorbed by the stretch in the rope. Imagine climbing on a wire cable, essentially what you’re doing with static rope (though even static ropes have some stretch), and falling onto it. Not only is it going to hurt, it’s going to impose extreme forces on your protection and potentially cause it to fail. This’s why static rope is not used in lead climbing. But there are exceptions to every rule!
The key component is the QD used as a belay device. When excessive forces are applied to it, it slips under friction. That slippage has been fine tuned through design, to start slipping, when exposed to a dynamic force above 4kN. That means that instead of the energy being absorbed by rope stretch, it is being absorbed by rope slippage. A fall that generates more than 4kN will cause the device to slip, and when the friction of the slippage is reduced to around 4kN, it will bring the climber to a stop. Percentage of slippage is actually similar to percentage of stretch.
But there are caveats. This is a highly specialized system, intended for expert use only. TRACE™ Systems are for use in lead climbing tactical operations and are NOT for use on hard routes, or ‘working’ a sport route, or any recreational climbing. The easiest line should be taken, and a unique belay technique is required, including mandatory wear of gloves. It has been designed specifically to significantly reduce the amount of bulk and weight a soldier or specialized law enforcement officers have to carry on operations in technical terrain.
If you have a requirement for ultra light-weight, comprehensive capability rope systems, please contact us.