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“THE SMOOTHER AND DENSER THE MATERIAL, THE LONGER THE VIRUS REMAINS CAPABLE OF MULTIPLYING (INFECTIOUS); EVEN UP TO SIX DAYS”


CLIMBING KIT


Ropes, harnesses, webbing and karabiners can all potentially be coughed and sneezed on. Open-pored textile material poses the least risk here. If we want to take precautions to reduce the virus after use, we can proceed as follows: first of all, the material can be aired in a dry, warm place (outside) for 24 hours in kit quarantine, hanging. This should already result in a very good risk reduction. To go even further, you can rub the material with soap solution:


a 30°C washing machine cycle with a lot of water and detergent or rope wash can achieve a good virus reduction. For karabiners and express slings, manual cleaning in a washbasin with soap and a brush is suitable. Bear in mind that washing will lead to a considerable virus reduction, but with the disadvantage that the remaining virus will feel comfortable in the wet material for a long time. Washing should therefore only be done when there is enough time and space and good conditions to dry and air your kit. In the case of karabiners and so on, don’t forget to oil them immediately after drying.


R Alcohols are suitable disinfectants for hands when out and about.


WHAT MAKES CORONA VIRUSES HARMLESS?


SARS-CoV-2 are so-called enveloped viruses: they consist of a nucleus (which contains the genetic information in the form of RNA) and an envelope (consisting of proteins). This virus is relatively sensitive to environmental conditions: it can be decimated by dehydration, so warmth and good ventilation help considerably.


Regularly washing hands with water and liquid soap for at least 20-30 seconds and then drying them with paper towels is, according to the WHO, sufficient for every day life, while alcohols are suitable disinfectants for hands when out and about, and for surfaces. Most surface disinfectants and hand disinfectants are alcohol- based (mainly ethanol and isopropanol mixed with water). A reduction of the virus to zero cannot be achieved, but it can be dramatically reduced (a bottle of disinfectant often reads, for example, ‘kills 99.89% of all bacteria and viruses’).


As the next reduction stage, alcohol can be used to disinfect the material, namely ethanol/water (80%/20%) or isopropanol/water (70%/30%). All common textile materials used in mountaineering (polyamide, polyester, dyneema) are not harmed by this. However, this treatment can have a negative effect on the impregnation of ropes and on the suppleness of the material. In order to assess the risk, a clear distinction must be made between different application scenarios: If the material is only in private use (one-time use by the same users), is it in commercial rental (used several times a day by different users), was it used by infected people?


These are all assumptions made with expert background


knowledge. No test results are available for these specific cases. However, the fact that alcohol does not have a harmful effect on textile parts of climbing kit has been scientifically sufficiently proven. If someone leaks a tube of hand disinfectant or even the rum in their rucksack, they don’t have to worry about the strength values of their material.


CLIMBING HOLDS AND CLIMBING WALLS


Closed rooms containing lots of people cavorting, sweating, breathing and coughing of course present a higher risk of infection than climbing outside. Climbing holds are breathed on, coughed on and above all: constantly touched. Therefore you should take special care to wash your hands as often as possible and never touch your face or take the rope in your mouth while you are in the climbing hall (which would probably make sense


SUMMIT#98 | SUMMER 2020 | 63


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK


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