Full Record

<< Back

Item Type:
Object
Category:
Object
EntryNumber:
334e
AccessionNumber:
11.2014.04
AccessionDate:
2014-06-09
Name:
Waist tie
Image: Waist tie
Brief Description:
Waist tie, hemp
Materials:
hemp
Number of Objects:
1
Object Production Place:
UK
Object Production Date:
1960s
Provenance:
The waist-tie was supplied by the late Robert Lawrie's climbing shop in London. It was bought in the late 1960s, the dying days of an era of climbing gear which had remained largely unchanged for decades.

It is about 20 foot long, and was wound in a coil around the midriff and secured by a reef knot. The main climbing rope was either tied directly into the coil with a figure-of-eight knot or linked by means of a steel karabiner. Painful falls were, indeed, relieved by waist-ties but there was little value to be gained by unfortunates left suspended in mid air. Dangling climbers had only a short time to re-establish contact with a rock or ice face before succumbing to diaphragm strangulation.

By this stage, nylon had replaced hemp as the material for main climbing ropes. Hemp, though remained the best material for waist ties; nylon-on-nylon contact entailed the risk of the rope melting in the heat generated by friction.

In the early 1970s the hemp waist-tie mercifully began consignment to its current status: service as museum pieces. A revolution in mountaineering gear brought a step-change in climbing safety and practice. Hemp waist-ties were tossed into cupboards and attics to make way for the Don Whillans harness, a sit-sling primitive by today's standards but a huge advance in its day.

I am now 81 and an armchair climber with many happy memories of hills and crags but I remain a member of the Climbers' Club and the London Mountaineering Club. My eldest daughter and also a C.C. member, now carries the family banner as an active and enthusiastic mountaineer and rock-climber.
Acquisition Terms:
Outright gift.
Acquisition Date:
2014-06-09
Access Category:
Open
Condition:
Good
Normal Location:
Mountain Heritage Trust
Current Location:
Mountain Heritage Trust
AccessStatus:
Open
Notes:
Purchased from Robert Lawrie in London
Rules:
Spectrum : the UK Museum documentation standard, 1997
Access Points:
Waist tie
Views:
3424
Created:
2014-09-15 00:00:00
Creator:
M Willett