QC Lab: Wet vs. Dry runner strength
Last week I was climbing a classic multi-pitch route in Big Cottonwood Canyon, 30 minutes from the Black Diamond Equipment offices. Clear skies upon arrival but true to the weather lately in the Wasatch there was a downpour mid pitch 2. When we met at the belay, my partner voiced his concern. “Our gear is soaked. Are these runners going to hold if I take a whipper?” “Of course they will,” I assured him. But how much weaker are runners when wet? The truth is I wasn’t sure.
This sparked my curiosity. Is the strength of runners affected when water drenched? People say to use Dynex in snow because Dynex doesn’t absorb water, so are Nylon runners affected more than Dynex runners?
The next day in the lab I got my hands on 10 nylon and 10 Dynex runners. I put five of each in some water to soak for 24 hours. I tested five dry and five wet of each runner in the standard CE tensile testing configuration (something I do almost daily). All samples broke at the test pin, which is typical.
Just note, runners and quickdraws are rated to 22kN (4946 lbf).
Here are the results: