Since taking over as equipment officer after the AGM I have updated the inventory of the kit kept at Godre Pentre and in Croydon. My main conclusion is that we have a lot of gear, but most of it is old and it is debatable whether we should be trusting our lives to it.

I can't get any clear information on at what point ropes should be retired purely on age grounds - opinions vary from, after 5 years even if never used, to depends totally on usage.

My opinion is that for club gear we need to be more stringent in setting our rules and following them; even if we may not agree with them for our personal use. Equipment suppliers often suggest life time of 5 years for ropes and slings. In the events of an unfortunate incident these may be the guidelines we are judged against.

I have no problem if people carry on using personal gear that is centuries old, but for taking novices, and for any gear owned by the club we should be sure that we cannot be accused of negligence if there should be an accident.

All it would take would be for an incident to happen when a 10 year old rope is carried on the trip, even if not used. If news leaks out we were carrying such old kit it would be disastrous for our reputation, especially if the media get hold of the information.

The rules we set are open for debate, and should reflect the manufacturer's guidance and best practice. This could mean we are left with not enough rope to go down Pant Mawr.

We are also far too dependent on members lending their own spare gear to novices, often meaning that we waltz around with small helmet mounted batteries while novices struggle with Oldhams. At present we have one 'safe' club helmet, with others all being site hats with bits of string for straps. We don't have any good club belay belts.

I am suggesting that we should invest in three sets of lamps, helmets, belay belts which could be kept in Croydon and issued to named people for trips. The wooden box in the shed needs replacing with something mouse proof. The spare oversuits and furrys left by members are a valuable resource, but currently people's goodwill in leaving stuff is being mostly wasted.

Here endeth my rant. Basically I want money to buy new gear and somewhere to keep it in good condition.

Adrian Clark