Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wherein I Turn Into A Cantankerous Old Fool

Try as I may it seems that I might be losing my ability to adapt and change with the times. The latest example of this has to do with climbing. See, I've started climbing a tiny bit again, and let me just mention here, that it has been quite a while since my climbing glory days. It seems the times, they have passed me by.

I've been climbing with a fresh young whippersnapper from the Hub's office (Hi Rachel!) and it has been lovely to get out on a semi regular basis and fling myself at the rock again. Rachel is wonderful and sweet and, well, more than ten years younger than me. So here's where I get the teenyist bit cantankerous. Gospel was, in my day, that you did not, let me repeat, DID NOT EVER, use DEET bearing bug spray anywhere near climbing equipment. The theory was (is?) that DEET eats through nylon. Not only are climbing ropes made of nylon, so are the harnesses, webbing and cordolette that connect you to the rope. So back in the good ol' days this meant that you just didn't use bug spray while climbing. You just wore long sleeves and transcended such pesky things as mosquitoes. But evidently now-a-days I am the only ornery old coot that said young whippersnapper has ever encountered that suffers to such a great extent for some supposed edge in safety.

So what could I do, but turn to the All Knowing, All Seeing Internets! And what did I find? Nothing but conflicting answers, of course! It seems to be common knowledge that DEET dissolves plastics, but then again, one climbing rope company supposedly did a study where DEET was shown to not affect rope strength at all. Of course my new rope is not made by THIS company. I'm also seeing on the chat boards (chat boards, who trusts chat boards?) that it supposedly doesn't affect Nylon 6 or Nylon 6,6. Hmm, it seems that my new rope is made of "Polyamide 6 (Nylon)". Is that the same? And despite my best efforts I cannot actually find a copy of the procedures and results of the Blue Water test. (Did they test only on the day of exposure, did they test a month later, etc?) And all this seems crazy to me in light of the fact that it has been proven that using a sharpie pen to mark the center of a rope can reduce the strength up to 50%!

Okay, so in conclusion, do I stick to my old fashioned guns (and my comfy luddite-ness) here and still say NO! to DEET, or do I give in to progress (albeit slightly sketchily documented progress) and go with the flow (of toxic pesticides)?


Talley said...

I say get more information. Unless you find out more about the test that said it wasn't a problem, continue enduring the bugs. Of course, I am a total non-climber so what do I know?

dad said...

You mark the middle of your ropes? You have bugs out there? I thought the snakes would get them all. Just as the Sharpies don't always use the same formula, neither do the DEET users use the same formula...something as innocent as the perfume they put in there with the DEET could cause problems. I'm with Talley, if my life is hanging by that rope, it will be as pure and wonderful as I can keep it...

Kathleen said...

i am just amazed that sharpies have so much power! jeez-louise!