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VOLUNTARY PRODUCT RECALL: Vergo Belay Device

VOLUNTARY RECALL NOTICE
VERGO BELAY DEVICE
BATCH NUMBERS 16159 AND 16195

14 April 2017 –  Trango has elected to voluntarily recall all Trango Vergo belay devices in batch numbers 16159 and 16195 that were sold after 1 October 2016. Please IMMEDIATELY cease use of all such Vergos and return them to Trango for replacement as described below.

Background
Trango has recently discovered that the handles on some Vergo belay devices may have loosened to allow lateral wobble or movement of the handle. If excessive downward force is exerted on a handle subject to lateral movement, the handle may over-rotate onto the front plate, preventing the front plate from moving freely, and impairing the device’s assisted braking capacity. If the handle over rotates as described above, the assisted braking function is impaired or disabled, and the risk of uncontrolled descent increases significantly.

Proper use of the Vergo, however, never requires the handle to move forward and over rotate onto the front plate.

As of 14 April 2017, Trango has received two reports of this issue occurring. No injuries have been reported due to this issue.

Identifying the Units
The units affected are in batch numbers 16159 and 16195. You can identify your Vergo’s batch number adjacent to the carabiner hole as shown in the photo below.

The photo below shows a Vergo with the handle improperly over rotated onto the front plate.

Over Rotated Handle shown here

Remedy
After analyzing the issue, Trango has redesigned the Vergo’s handle attachment point and has modified the handle itself to prevent it from over rotating and impairing the free movement of the front plate.

Returning the Units
The recalled Vergos have been sold worldwide. If your device is affected, please email vergorecall@trango.com for further instructions on how to return your Vergo to us or visit http://trango.com/t-product-alerts.aspx for instructions.

Repair or Replacement
Trango will replace your Vergo as quickly as possible and will pay for all shipping costs to recall and return your Vergo back to you.

The safety of our customers is our primary concern. We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause. Trango understands that any voluntary recall is inconvenient and we are working hard to ensure that you receive your replacement Vergo as quickly as possible.

Video: How to Uncoil a New Climbing Rope

Let’s be honest – getting a new rope is glorious. After hours of internet research and nerding out on technical questions like “how many grams per meter?” and “what’s the static elongation?”, you came to decisions on diameter, dry treatment, length, and color. Now all you have to do is unpack this beauty and whip off of your pending project.  Before flaking out your new rope and knotting it into 70 meters of Rubik’s Cube frustration, take a deep breath. Uncoiling your new rope correctly can save you hours of untangling and heartache. Let us explain…

When the rope is ready for packaging, it is coiled torsion free and neutral to give you a head start on maintaining a twist-free rope. Uncoiling your new rope properly will maintain this neutral positioning and minimize the amount of twisting introduced. To do this, you will need to reverse the factory coiling process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Remove any packaging being careful not to damage the rope
  • Unwrap the outer rope end from the coil and place your arms through the center of the coil
  • Rotate your arms over each other repeatedly as the outer end that you already unwrapped begins to flake into a pile
  • Take your time to prevent the inner end of the rope from coming out of the coil or wrapping around your arm
  • Once the rope is completely uncoiled, flake it from end to end to remove any twists that may have found their way in

Now your rope is ready for action. Once you have begun to use the rope, we recommend using a rope bag or foldable rope tarp instead of coiling your rope after each use.

Techmaster Tip:  When uncoiling your rope, toss the rope ends and middle (clearly marked on Trango ropes) to the side. This makes it easy to flake the rope from the middle to each end so none of the twists have to travel more than half the rope length.

Making History at the Red River Gorge

Dan Brayack climbs at the Motherlode. Photo: Lena Moinova

Reason to Celebrate

We are celebrating a huge victory in climbing access at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky as the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition and the Access Fund have finalized the purchase of the Bald Rock Recreational Preserve. This is an incredible milestone for climbing access at the RRG and adds another 102 acres to the 1,000+ acres of land that the RRGCC has preserved over the past decade.  Climbing access and stewardship are an integral part of Trango’s mission, so we have committed significant financial support to help ensure the long-term success of this project. Part of this commitment includes a sizable gear donation to fuel the campaign and provide donation incentives.

(read the Access Fund press release)

The preserve was secured through a Climbing Conservation Loan from the Access Fund and includes world class crags like the Motherlode, the Chocolate Factory, Bear’s Den, and Unlode. This project could not have been accomplished without the tireless efforts of these two organizations and the ongoing support of the climbing community (that’s where you come in!).

Tyler Yarbrough climbs “Snooker” at the Motherlode. Photo: Joe Segretti

You Can Help! “Own History” in the Red River Gorge

Access to this area is preserved, but the RRGCC needs your support to help pay off this $225,000 loan and keep the area secured long-term. The first year of the loan is interest free and provides the best opportunity to make significant headway. In addition to financial support, Trango has donated gear to encourage climbers like you to donate to the cause.

To support this project, visit the RRGCC website and make a donation or share this post to help create awareness for the cause.

Donate Now

 

Climbing access has been (and continues to be) a critical element of the american climbing landscape. Over the years we’ve learned that we should jump at any opportunity to help promote positive access relationships and to preserve access for future generations. We are excited for this opportunity to live out this part of our mission by partnering with our long-time friends at the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition and the Access Fund to secure one of the most iconic crags in the country.

 

 

2017 Ice Festival Schedule – Where We’ll Be

It’s the time of the year when long tendrils of snowmelt begin to harden and form some of our favorite ice and mixed climbing formations. Like you, we spend our time scheming new ascents, planning trips to new areas, and optimizing our gear. If you’re looking to connect with us this winter, here’s our schedule for the ice season. We’ll be making our usual stops as well as joining the Michigan Ice Fest for the first time. Drop by to say hello or to demo a pair of our Raptor Ice Tools.

Season of Giving: Flatirons Climbing Council

In 2015, we launched our first annual Season of Giving and gave 10% of sales at Trango.com through the holiday season to key local climbing organizations that work to maintain and improve access to our favorite areas. This year, we are continuing the tradition by supporting these local climbing organizations:

  • Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (November 21-27)
  • Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (November 28-December 4)
  • Flatirons Climbing Council (December 5-11).

We could not enjoy our iconic climbing destinations without the work of these volunteer-based organizations, please join us in supporting them over the next three weeks.

trg_season16-wk3

This week, we are supporting the Flatirons Climbing Council – here is some information on the FCC and their projects over the past year:

About the FCC

The Flatirons Climbing Council (FCC) is a local climbing organization in Boulder, Colorado, dedicated to preserving and expanding climbing access on City of Boulder public lands. Our specific priorities are to conserve climbing resources through trail building and stewardship projects, facilitate new route development and bolt replacement, and advocate for climbers.  More information about the FCC can be found here.

Accomplishments in 2016

The FCC had a successful and exciting year that included trail work, fixed hardware upgrades, stewardship and new routes that continue to help climbing thrive in the Flatirons.

dinosaur-rock-trail-project

Dinosaur Rock Trail Work:    In July 2016, the FCC and OSMP hosted a volunteer trail project at Dinosaur Rock and Der Zerkle in the Flatirons west of Boulder.  Some of our accomplishments include the installation of 5 gabions to create a flat, stable staging area at the base of the Dinosaur Rock, construction of 15+ steps and flat staging areas at the Der Zerkle climbing wall, and the elimination and restoration of multiple social trails along the Mallory Cave trail.

Trash Bash: In September 2016, the FCC celebrated its 16th annual Trash Bash.  Since 2000, the FCC has hosted this event, which has resulted in hundreds of bags of garbage and recyclables collected and has helped protect our climbing and natural resources.  The event is also a major community collaboration among the FCC, land managers, local climbing organizations, local businesses, and climbers.  This year’s Trash Bash was a big success, with more than 60 volunteers collecting garbage across Flagstaff.

skunk-canyon-hardware-upgrade-2

Skunk Canyon Fixed Hardware Upgrade: On September 17th, 2016, the Flatiron Climbing Council hosted a volunteer bolt replacement day in Skunk Canyon.  FCC members teamed up with other volunteers from the Boulder Climbing Community (BCC) and the Action Committee for Eldorado (ACE), all armed with the latest technology in bolt removal.  Every bolt in Skunk Canyon, with the exception of one route that hosts a giant eagle’s nest, was replaced.  The majority of the new 1/2″ stainless hardware was installed in the original holes. With the addition of a new rappel anchor on The Achaean Pronouncement, a total of 60 bolts were installed.

thulsa-doom-overhang-rock-rob-kepley

Thulsa Doom, photo by Rob Kepley (https://www.instagram.com/robkepley_photography)

New Route Development:  The FCC facilitated the development of 6 new routes in 2016 including the stunning third pitch of Hasta La Hueco (5.13b), a 115’ rope stretcher on Overhang rock called Thulsa Doom (5.12c/d), plus Jade Gate, Hell in a Bucket and several other fantastic routes.   All told, there are now over 45 new routes in the Flatirons that have gone through the FCC’s Fixed Hardware Review Committee. 

Plans for 2017

The FCC’s main priority for 2017 is to renew our Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) with the City of Boulder with new formations for new route development.   Some of the formations on our wish-list include the Devil’s Advocate, Mickey Mouse Wall, Hillbilly Rock, Shanahan Crag, plus route caps lifted on the Maiden and the Matron.   In addition, we plan to continue our efforts to facilitate the development of new routes, upgrade aging hardware, construct sustainable trails to our favorite crags and host the Trash Bash.

Season of Giving: SLCA

In 2015, we launched our first annual Season of Giving and gave 10% of sales at Trango.com through the holiday season to key local climbing organizations that work  to maintain and improve access to our favorite areas. This year, we are continuing the tradition by supporting these local climbing organizations:

  • Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (November 21-27)
  • Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (November 28-December 4)
  • Flatirons Climbing Council (December 5-11).

We could not enjoy our iconic climbing destinations without the work of these volunteer-based organizations, please join us in supporting them over the next three weeks.

trg_season16-wk2

This week, we are supporting the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance – here are a few of the projects that they have completed over the past year:

Lower Little Cottonwood Canyon Climbing Access Trail Work Continues

Over 300 volunteers have come out and put in ~1,500 hours of work to improve climbing infrastructure, protect the places we love to climb, and ensure access continues for future generations. This project has

Graffiti Removal and Clean up in LCC

The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) facilitated yet another graffiti clean-up on November 12th in lower Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) along the popular Little Cottonwood Trail. This trail is enjoyed by bikers, hikers, and climbers’ year-round. On November 12, the SLCA along with dedicated volunteers, youth from the Momentum Climbing Team, Salt Lake Ranger District, Unified Police Department, Snowbird, LDS Church, Friends of Alta, Granite Community Council, and Williams Reality all supported the graffiti clean-up effort. Regardless, only a small dent was made in eradicating vandalism from lower LCC.

To donate directly to the SLCA, click here or visit trango.com, where 10% of all purchases this week will be donated to SLCA.

Season of Giving: Year 2

In 2015, we launched our first annual Season of Giving and gave 10% of sales at Trango.com through the holiday season to key local climbing organizations that work  to maintain and improve access to our favorite areas. This year, we are continuing the tradition by supporting these local climbing organizations:

  • Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (November 21-27)
  • Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (November 28-December 4)
  • Flatirons Climbing Council (December 5-11).

We could not enjoy our iconic climbing destinations without the work of these volunteer-based organizations, please join us in supporting them over the next three weeks.

Trango Season of Giving

This week, we are supporting the RRGCC – here are a few of the projects that they have completed over the past year:

Trango Trail Restoration Project Completed:
Thanks to a generous donation from Trango, the Shire and Volunteer Wall, two of the PMRP’s most popular crags, received a complete restoration!

RRGCC Receives Grant for Two Outhouses:
Thanks to a $25K grant from the Arches Foundation the RRGCC will be able to erect and maintain (5 years) two outhouses, lessening the impact of the growing number of climbers enjoying the MFRP/PMRP!

Eastern Kentucky University RRG Climbing Economic Impact Study Released:
Dr, James Maples and a team of researches announced the results of a nearly yearlong study of climbers’ economic impact in RRG area. Their research concluded climbers bring an estimated $3.6 million annually to the local community.

12th Annual Johnny and Alex Trail Day:
Another hot and steamy summer in the Red River Gorge and another Johnny and Alex Trail Day is in the books! On Saturday, July 30, nearly 150 volunteers gathered to help maintain the land they love and own.

RRGCC hires Executive Director:
After being an all-volunteer organization for 20 years, the RRGCC hired it’s first paid employee in August 2016. The part-time position will focus on growing the RRGCC’s education outreach programs, helping with the coalition’s ongoing fundraising efforts, and volunteer coordination. Welcome Ashley Milanich!

Rocktoberfest 2016:
Another Rocktoberfest has come and gone and we are thrilled to announce that this year’s event was our most successful ever! With the help of the best climbing community in the world and all of our awesome sponsors, we raised over $40,000!! That is HUGE, because we have an upcoming $36,000 mortgage payment to the Access Fund for the MFRP. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to continue to secure world-class climbing for everyone to enjoy!

snooker4

Please join us in supporting the RRGCC this week by purchasing your holiday gifts at Trango.com or by donating directly to the RRGCC. To donate directly to the RRGCC, visit their website.

Trango Vergo: Common Questions Answered

The Vergo belay device has officially launched! As we’ve shown it to dealers and users for many months, we’ve learned what many of the most common questions are, and we’ll answer some of them below.

vergo5-edit

Here are some quick specs to get the basics covered:

  • Rope range: 8.9mm – 10.7mm
  • Weight: 195 grams
  • MSRP: $89.95

One of the questions I hear from dealers and customers fairly commonly is “is this a Cinch 2?” The Vergo uses the mechanical principles that were used in the Cinch, and certainly shares some of its DNA. The original plan was actually to tweak the Cinch to fit modern ropes, make it lighter, etc. However, once we moved from product line planning into actual design, we decided to make more sweeping changes. We changed enough about it that we felt a little disingenuous calling it a Cinch 2, despite the appeal that name would have to the Cinch lovers out there. Some of the differences include:

  • Completely redesigned lowering kinematics. The handle is actually mounted to the back plate of the Vergo, whereas the Cinch handle was mounted to the front plate. With the new system lowering speed is extremely predictable and easy to modulate. We also introduced some new materials and methods into this system.
  • Modified braking geometry.
    • The dimensions are tightened up to accommodate smaller ropes.
    • The braking force has been increased by changing the relative positions of the various points of action.
    • It is designed to perform above the levels of the CE requirement even after some wear and tear has been put on the device, which increases its usable life.
    • The Friction Pin that bears the brunt of the braking force saw an increase in hardness for improved durability.
  • Weight is actually a bit higher than the Cinch.
  • Addition of geometry that reduces the likelihood of an accidental override of the braking mechanism.
  • The design ethos was completely different, as has been written about elsewhere (some info at trangovergo.com). In short, the aim was to create a device that is part of a system, half of which is the actual user. This sits in stark contrast to a device designed to do all the work and then adding the user in at the last step.

I’ve also had a question or two about the longevity of the Vergo compared to the Cinch. The modified geometry and the harder Friction Pin give the Vergo a notably longer usable life.

When teaching others to use the Vergo, they sometimes ask me why we instruct them to orient it the way we do, and if it really matters. Clipping it in the way we instruct does a couple things, both of which are subtle, but still worthwhile. First, it complements the belaying method for a better feel. Again – it’s subtle, but with how much we belay, everything helps. Second it adds some safety margin for the unfortunate situations of belayers not paying attention or making other mistakes. So if you clip it in the opposite way from how we recommend, chances are it will never matter. I for one, however, like to have every bit of the odds stacked in favor of my own and my partner’s safety, and I’m betting you do, too.

An arrow graphic denotes the correct orientation of the device.

An arrow graphic on the bottom of the Vergo denotes the correct orientation of the device.

Can you belay from the anchor to bring up a second? Absolutely. One nice thing about the Vergo is that there is no spring holding it open, so you actually capture every inch of rope you pull up. With some other devices, the weight of the rope isn’t enough to actually make the device engage, and it can slide back through.

The Vergo being used to belay a second on a multi-pitch climb

The Vergo being used to belay a second on a multi-pitch climb

Can you use it left handed? Because we infused so much “human fit” into it, we had to choose a hand, and for obvious reasons we chose the right hand as the brake side. Our sincere apologies to the lefties. However, we have you in mind for the future, and the clear tactile indications will keep users of either hand preference in control.

What do you mean when you talk about disengaging it without overriding it? “Override” is the common term used to describe holding an assisted braking belay device in a way that actually prevents it from engaging the rope and stopping a fall. You are overriding its ability to catch the fall. If you ever need to override a device, it is a particularly risky event because a fall in that moment would not be caught. It would be like driving a car that required you to take off your seatbelt to go around a fast corner. Obviously that makes no sense because the turn is a period of higher risk. Plus, you’ll probably get tired of taking the seatbelt on and off, which leads you to just never wear it (i.e. override the safety mechanism all the time). This is where the Vergo really shines – in the event of a shortrope during fast slack feeding, the Vergo actually allows you to free the rope without preventing a fall from being caught. If the climber falls while you are doing the “palm bump,” as we call it, they will still be caught. You are disengaging the device’s grip without overriding its ability to grip again if the climber falls.

The "palm bump" rotates the device to disengage its grip on the rope without overriding its ability to grip again if the climber falls

The “palm bump” rotates the device to disengage its grip on the rope without overriding its ability to grip again if the climber falls

Thanks for your interest in the Vergo! As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions, and keep an eye out for the Vergo at your favorite dealer.

-Adam Sanders, Trango Vice President

 

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