Is the energy absorber of a gear kit for via ferratas for just one use? I mean, one fall and it has to be replaced?

In the product description, there is often mention of it being "tearable."

  • 1
    possible duplicate of How much is a major load?
    – user2766
    Apr 1, 2015 at 15:51
  • short answer, it depends, how much load can the equipment take, how much load was applied to the equipment.
    – user2766
    Apr 1, 2015 at 15:51
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    @Liam: this question is specific about gear for via ferratas, which is different than other, less specialized climbing gear. Apr 1, 2015 at 21:14
  • Webbing energy absorbers cannot be reused safely, but at the sacrifice of weight and bulk, you can get a reusable ferrata energy absorbing plate that can be reused for multiple falls.
    – ShemSeger
    Apr 2, 2015 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


There are such things as reusable energy-absorbers, they use rope and a braking plate to absorb the energy of a fall. Stiched webbing energy-absorbers are only intended to catch one fall, but that fall typically has to exert at least 2.5kN (250kg) on the device before it will start to tear.

If the threads in the energy absorber tear, then yes, it needs to be replaced, if you do not replace it, then it will not absorb as much or any shock at all the next time you take a fall and could fail.

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Tearing is how they absorb shock forces, the lanyard is actually rather long, but it's folded over itself and stitched in a way that when you take a fall, the stitches will take the force and tear. This relieves shock-loading to the anchors and your body.

It's important to inspect your lanyard for signs of damage before each use and after any fall. You should retire your system if the energy-absorbtion lanyard:

  • is cut, worn, melted or abraded

  • stitching is broken or shows signs of wear

  • has any amount of energy-absorbtion webbing separated

Basically, if your lanyard hasn't gotten any longer after you take a small fall, then you probably haven't exerted enough force to cause any tears or separation, but always inspect your gear carefully to be sure, the reason you use this stuff is so it can potentially save your life in the event of a fall. Whenever you have any doubts about your equipment, you should always choose to retire it (destroy it so no one else can use it) and replace it.

Reusable Energy Absorbers

Reusable energy absorbers, more commonly known as energy absorbing plates, or ferrata breaking plates, have been around for a while. They're still in use, but they've largely been replaced by the webbing absorbers because the webbing absorbers are lighter, and don't have a tail of rope that needs to be managed somehow.


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  • Good answer, but according to the website the reusable absorber is intended to be used in the safety chain of normal climbing protection to prevent overloading delicate anchors. I'm not sure if it is suitable for via ferrata use as well. Apr 1, 2015 at 20:46
  • @BenediktBauer - Why not? It does the same job. The only real difference would be that the reusable device would be a bit heavier, bulkier, and more rigid. You're right that it doesn't specifically mention on the website that via ferrata as one of it's intended uses, but that's probably mostly because they're an ice climbing company marketing towards the climbing elite. Via ferrata is like the top-roping of alpinism, it's typically for the curious climber, which probably isn't their target market.
    – ShemSeger
    Apr 1, 2015 at 20:54
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    @ShemSeger: Because it is not designed for such high impacts, a factor 2 fall (worst case scenario in describe usage scenario) is not comparable to a essentially static fall in via ferratas. This manifests in the fact, that it is only compliant with EN566 for quickdraws, not EN958 for via ferrata sets.
    – imsodin
    Apr 1, 2015 at 21:05
  • In normal climbing the fall energy is nearly exclusively absorbed by the rope and technically falls cannot exceed a factor 2 fall and the force on the anchor is limited by the rope. In this setup the reusable absorber is thought to reduce the peak impact acting on a delicate anchor by taking a small portion of the energy. If the absorber maxes out, the rest can be taken by the rope. In via ferrata fall factors can be much higher and the whole energy has to be taken by the absorber. If the absorber maxes out here, the remaining energy directly hits the body and can cause serious injury. Apr 1, 2015 at 21:10
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    @ShemSeger Thx for asking e-climb. I am sure they will answer quickly - when I contacted them I got detailed information directly by the firm owner. From my point of view they have really innovative ideas. Still we can't be sure without asking them directly about the energy absorber. I voted to let the answer as it is. I am sure you will edit it properly when they get back to you.
    – Wills
    Apr 1, 2015 at 22:46

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