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Irish Guy

Opinions on buying used gear (ebay)

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As I've started building my rack from scratch (gym rat stuck in NE Ohio for a long time), I know good gear is expensive. Especially full priced gear.

 

What are people's thoughts on buying used gear from a place like eBay? Not being able to see/touch the gear or know who I'm buying it from doesn't make me feel like it's a good idea. But are some pieces "ok" to buy used online - like passive instead of cams? Where would you draw the line?

 

I've seen some good deals for the previous generations of BD camalots, and didn't know if a cheaper buy is worth the risk of used gear.

 

Or do you usually stick to new gear or buying from someone you know (and can trust)?

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Like buying a used parachute from a stranger on eBay, sight unseen.

 

Now trust your life to it. That's what you're gonna do with this gear.

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Climb with someone who has a rack, while you accumulate pieces as you have cash.

 

This way you gain expertise placing gear while climbing with experienced leaders and also get a chance to use different brands and figure out what you like before you buy.

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Buy locally from Craigs List. You can actually look at the gear before you buy. It might take you longer to find what you're after, however.

 

I don't subscribe to the notion that one must know the history of a piece of pro to use it safely. I know guys who's racks are composed of mostly booty gear.

 

If it looks good, it's going on my rack. The exception to the above is Aliens. I'd want to have one that I knew already had been fallen on!

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I have bought all of my hard gear on e-bay. You can get great deals on climbing gear that is still in the original packaging. That being said, I would NEVERbuy soft gear on ebay. Someone may have dribbled battery acid on it sometime last year.

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I wouldn't buy used gear on eBay... because that shit is way overpriced. eBay is a great place to sell, a poor place to buy.

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Like buying a used parachute from a stranger on eBay, sight unseen.

 

Now trust your life to it. That's what you're gonna do with this gear.

 

Good point.

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You can generally tell whether a biner is broken or not. Of course, maybe you can't tell whether it was dropped from the top of El Cap, but hey just think of it as solo climbing.

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You can generally tell whether a biner is broken or not. Of course, maybe you can't tell whether it was dropped from the top of El Cap, but hey just think of it as solo climbing.

 

Unless you have X-ray eyes that can also see microscopic cracks in aluminium, this is poor advice. Aluminium fails pretty spectacularly when it fails, if you've ever seen a 'biner stress tested in a lab, you know what I'm talking about.

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Ok, maybe I am wrong, but I have heard that aluminum does not form microcracks.

 

I have also heard that a biner was dropped off el cap and it broke at full strength. Am I wrong?

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Ok, maybe I am wrong, but I have heard that aluminum does not form microcracks.

 

I have also heard that a biner was dropped off el cap and it broke at full strength. Am I wrong?

 

Something I found on the Mountaineers website regarding this very topic:

 

OK

 

Here is what I think I know

 

I work in the outdoor industry and I have done some work with a hardware/biner company. One day they decided to gather pro from the base of El Cap take it back to the lab and test it for breaking strength. From what I understand All the pieces regardless of the style, maker, condition or estimated age passed by reaching its minimum breaking strength. (Consistent with your gyms findings) I am not speaking for their company in any way or saying that these are the findings of some official test. I just felt like passing on some information I have heard about. I know that there are a number of folks throught the testing industry that have convinced me that micro fractures don't exist. That is not to say that visible fracture can't happen, it is just that, if you can't see it after careful inspection it is not there.

 

Aluminum comes in different grades and stock, so I am not sure that we should assume that a biner would behave the same way as aluminum used for a plane fuselage

 

you are totally on as far as the gate open vs closed and if your biner is old and the gate spring is not slamming the gate closed setting that pin well, then yes, that is something that can be a problem. I have retired a few biners that somehow had the spring mechanism deteriorate, but I am sure it was the corrosive action of salt water as I used them for Sea kayak rescues

 

Anyway as ken and others have pointed out it is about your personal level of acceptable risk.

 

By the way I have a lot of pro from the late 80s that I still us. Of course depending on their condition I may mark them differently and occasionaly relequish them to light duty, but I still use them. When I pick up new stuff it is mainly because I am a gear junky.

 

Andy

 

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Ok, maybe I am wrong, but I have heard that aluminum does not form microcracks.

 

I have also heard that a biner was dropped off el cap and it broke at full strength. Am I wrong?

 

Black Diamond performed that test, but currently Kolin can't find the test results. he did confirm with me that if the biner looks good and the gate still works that it is fine to continue using, regarless of how far it was dropped. steel, not aluminum, generates microfractures since it is a more brittle metal than ductile/deforming aluminum.

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Another nice thing about buying new is that you can get all the latest light-weight stuff. I bought my rack only 5 years ago and if figure if i replaced all my cams and biners it would be 2/3 the weight or less.

 

Try holding a neutrino draw in one hand and a regular draw in the other an see for yourself. Do the same with an old #4 camalot and the new C4. The weight difference is phenominal. Makes me want to go out and replace my whole rack.

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...Or do you usually stick to new gear or buying from someone you know (and can trust)?

 

Irish Guy, it really depends. I've gotten some great deals on climbing gear from eBay over the years. Today as a matter of fact I bought 7 wired Black Diamond Hexentrics off eBay for a whopping $11.01. That said, you really have to be discerning as others have flagged here in this string and my personal rule is to steer clear of cams, rope and webbing no matter how trustworthy the description/seller sounds.

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Hey everyone - thanks for your advice and opinions, and fenderfour thanks for the link to the BD testing. I'll stick to craigslist so that I can at least see the gear.

 

Kinda on the same note - what about mountain booty? If you can't find the owner, do you usually add it to your rack after inspecting it?

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I dropped a cam (red metolius) from half way up Yak Peak (~1 pitch below where Yak crack and Reality Check meet). Two weeks later I saw a guy carrying it on his rack at Squamish (it has very distinctive markings). He said he found it on the trail at the base of the climb.

 

If you had been the guy who found it, would you have used it? How about if you had known how far it had been dropped? That same trip i found a red tri-cam on the peak of Yak. I assumed it couldn;t have been dropped far, but the sling looked ratty. I intended to replace it, but then i lost it somewhere.

 

Generally, for gear bootied from cracks, use your common sense. If it looks OK, it probably is. If it has a sling on it, the sling should be considered suspect and replaced.

 

This past summer i found two nuts at the base of Bugaboo Spire NE Ridge. One was in like new condition. The other, the cable was rusted to shit. Use your common sense.

 

Also, i use bootied biners for more mundane things like racking nuts, carrying my nut tool etc. and they will be the first to get left behind if i ever have to bail.

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Another nice thing about buying new is that you can get all the latest light-weight stuff. I bought my rack only 5 years ago and if figure if i replaced all my cams and biners it would be 2/3 the weight or less.

 

Try holding a neutrino draw in one hand and a regular draw in the other an see for yourself. Do the same with an old #4 camalot and the new C4. The weight difference is phenominal. Makes me want to go out and replace my whole rack.

 

Hey, I was gonna say that:-)

 

BTW, idiots like us then are often putting last years model up for sale, and they are perfectly fine. I know someone on this site who bought a used rope off ebay, uses it all the time, and I've led on it.

 

I would avoid that however, you don't really know the history, there was just 60m ropes for sale for $83. each, and it seems like the used ones on ebay, like carl says, are selling for much more money.

 

I think if you keep your eyes peeled on sites like this and take your time, you will be able to get some of last years prizes off of idiots like myself, who upgrade just because they have the money and want too.

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I think if you keep your eyes peel on sites like this and take your time, you will be able to get some of last years prizes off of idiots like myself, who upgrade just because they have the money and want too.

 

Thanks for the info billcoe. I did jump on a deal for a last generation BD cam #4. It's in really good shape, while it does weigh more than the new C4, it fills a hole in my rack. But I think in the future, I'll stick to this place and look for used gear - at least I can see it and have more trust in the seller's honesty.

 

 

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My 2 cents:

 

1 - Follow leaders with racks a lot before you go and build your own rack. This will give you a sense of what is most useful.

 

2 - Start out with stoppers and hexes and tricams. They are cheap, and you should learn to place them and not always rely on cams.

 

3 - Never get used soft gear (rope, harness, slings, cordelette etc). Nylon decomposes pretty fast. Same goes for booty.

 

4 - Most hardware is probably OK. Stoppers are easily inspected visually. I own more from booty than ones I bought. Cams should be free of major dings and demonstrate good expansion and retraction properties. If you can't test these I wouldn't buy them.

 

So if I find a sling and biner booty I will throw out the sling and keep the biner. Nuts I keep. I've only found a few cams. One was an original friend I got in the Pickets. I have only used that once in a TR anchor where other pieces were present as backups. My main concern is it's sling, which I could replace, and outdated design and weight.

 

Lastly, watch the Yard Sale category here. Sometimes good stuff comes up.

 

Caveat emptor.

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