I have an expedition to Peru in July and have noticed that my trusted Spantiks may have a potentially broken eyelet.
It is the 4th eyelet down (the one you crank the lace and it locks) and the top rivet has slipped underneath the yellow outer leather. It still feels secure to the main/inner boot and I have been told that it should be fine by a boot repair company and best to just monitor it.
My question is, do you take anything with you in an expedition that can repair or replace the broken eyelet. Having this pop off at the start of a route half way through the trip would be a pain!
Eyelets are always an issue on all boots, especially hooks or anything with moving parts, as climbing is very destructive (one reason why it’s vital to always wear gaiters with such boots). One reason for simplicity in all climbing gear is necessary for this reason, but the Spantik has one of the more ’sophisticated’ lacing systems. The number one issue with the Spantiks is broken laces, so it’s vital to always have some spare cord in your personal spares (2mm or 3mm dyneema or 3mm perlon) that’s long enough (you can tie knots in a broken lace but it effects tightening of the boot). For rivets yes always get them fixed before you go if you can (before a big trip everything needs to be squared away, as arriving with cams that have broken triggers or bent picks is a bad start!), and it’s best to contact the distributer to make sure you get the correct parts. If you’re out of the country then it’s easy to find a cobbler who can add an eyelet or hook that will see you right and this can be drilled out later at home and replaced with the correct part. In the field you can often just miss out an eyelet short term, but this will often see laces loosen fast and come undone. Field repairs can be made easily, depending on how good your repair kit is. I once met someone who ripped out one side of his boots eyelets when he had a small whip and his wall boot’s lace got snagged by a piece of pro (being flipped upside-down is a good reminder to wear a helmet!). In this case he made do by simply wrapping duct tape around his boot every morning, but you could make a powerstrap out of a rucksack strap or even abseil tat and use this to secure the top of the boot. In your exped repair kit it’s always worth having some large heavy duty rivets (get them online or from a cobbler), as they come in handy for many things (practise with them first as some can be crimped with a leatherman, while others will need a tap with a hammer). If you don’t have these spares you can always cobble something together, like using a washer on the inside as a block, threaded with wire that swaged through a nut to created an eyelet (always carry a few small nuts, bolts and washers, plus wire and swages suitable to rewire your cams in the field).
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Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.Follow @ Instagram