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1 September 2016

HANG IN THERE – GENUINE IS BEST AT 900 METRES

If you’ve ever suffered through a restless night’s sleep, spare a thought for Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson.

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Early in 2015 these intrepid (some might say insane) thrill-seekers became the first people to ‘free climb’ the rock formation known as The Dawn Wall, on the south-east face of El Capitan, a 900-metre vertical slab of granite in California’s Yosemite National Park.

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Even the most experienced rock climbers thought this feat impossible, but over 19 days and nights the pair pressed on through a series of set-backs and inevitable injuries to reach the summit using only their bare hands.

Yes, they had ropes and safety harnesses to catch them in case of a fall, but there were no assist cables to help their ascent or chisels to notch out hand-holds. Five years of training and planning, not to mention a couple of failed attempts, faded into memory as they pushed towards the top.

As challenging as the climbing was, the ability to rest and recuperate was essential, and with a distinct lack of hotel rooms available several hundred metres up the sheer face, the best option was a Portaledge: as the name implies, a small, tent-like platform hitched to the rock.

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With buffeting winds whistling around your ears and the knowledge that a long, long drop lies beneath your precarious perch, it would take nerves of steel and supreme confidence in your equipment to be able to drift off to sleep.
But even a daily routine of checking and re-checking every rope, knot and hitch wouldn’t account for a fake carabiner or two quite literally slipping through the cracks.

For those in the know, mountaineering equipment makers like Petzl (France), Black Diamond (USA) and DMM (UK) are trusted to deliver, but even these great brands have to deal with counterfeit versions of their most popular carabiner models.

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They are fighting back through careful management of intellectual property via patents and trademarks, monitoring global markets across a wide variety of distribution channels, investigating the sources of counterfeit production, and pursuing legal action to shut down production.

Like car and motorcycle manufacturers producing genuine parts, these makers offer user procedures for dealing with potentially fake products, and unlike the makers of knock-off replicas, provide recall information in the case of any manufacturing issues.

They also reinforce the fact that their products comply with explicit international standards, and are designed, tested and manufactured to the most stringent quality requirements.

And they, like Genuine Is Best, reinforce the fact that consumers should only buy through an official retailer connected to an authorised supply chain.

Whether it’s peace of mind on the freeway at 100km/h, or drifting off to sleep 100 metres up, Genuine Is Best.

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