A Variety of Things Can Go Wrong at An Anchor

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A Variety of Things Can Go Wrong at An Anchor

Post by wirednut » Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:34 pm

Here's one:

A climber seconds a steep sport pitch, close to their limit. Along the way, they clean the quickdraws. At the crux, the seconding climber unclips the bolt end of the quickdraw and lets it dangle, clipped to the rope. (The other quickdraws the climber has cleaned completely from the rope and clipped to their harness.)

So the climber arrives at the anchor, a pretty solid standup stance on a small ledge--so before even saying "Take!" the climber grabs a draw and clips into the anchor with a quickdraw.

Now the climber, still holding the chain anchor for balance, calls for "Slack!" and pulls up about 10 feet of slack. Now the climber leans back.......and falls about 10 feet! Whoa! What happened!??

The quickdraw that the climber clipped into? It was the one that the climber left dangling on the rope--and the climber had clipped the bolt end of the draw to the anchor, but not clipped the rope end into the belay loop. Because the climber was still tied in, and hadn't unthreaded the anchor, the fall was caught by the top rope.

Scary!!

Ultimately a happy ending.

But...what if? What if the climber had untied the rope to thread the anchor and hadn't retied before leaning back? Groundfall.

What if: The belayer took the climber off belay (not good protocol..but it's been seen). Groundfall.

What if: The belay wasn't using an autolocker device and was lackadaisical about keeping a tight grip on the rope? Probable groundfall.

What if: The climber had actually clipped to the anchor correctly but forgot to unclip the draw cleaned and left dangling? Probably, it would slip off the rope when the climber unties the original knot in order to thread and lower. Possible injury (or?) to persons on the ground.

Cause: The climber was rushed. The climber neglected the standard procedure usually used in order to save time. The climber was highly fatigued after multiple days of climbing.

Lesson: Don't rush! Don't leave draws dangling at your tie-in when you clean a route on top rope. Say "Take" when you are at the anchor. Maybe use it as you first signal to begin tracing and double checking all attachments at each anchor. Further, backclip the top bolt to the belayer side of a toprope. Then you can use your "don't drop it knot" clipped to your belay loop. In the event of an anchor failure, the top bolt can protect you, but only if its connected to your belay loop--and your belayer should ALWAYS keep you on belay during your standard sport "clean and lower" process.


Any thoughts? If anything isn't clear, let me know and I'll do my best to correct it.

Will
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Post by pigsteak » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:45 pm

it isn't clear why you posted this.

let me help you out...a Pigsteak public service message.

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Post by Wes » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:20 pm

I dropped a #1 camalot from the top of the inhibator that way...
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Post by wirednut » Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:52 am

pigsteak wrote:it isn't clear why you posted this.

let me help you out...a Pigsteak public service message.

"Always double check before leaving the ground and when doing a transfer."
Double check what?
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Post by dhoyne » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:55 am

Quickdraws are to short to clip yourself to the anchor most times anyways; that's why just about everyone I've climbed with uses slings, daisy chains, or Metolius PAS.
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Post by Meadows » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:55 am

dhoyne wrote:Quickdraws are to short to clip yourself to the anchor most times anyways; that's why just about everyone I've climbed with uses slings, daisy chains, or Metolius PAS.
Ever hear of doubling the draws? Oh, that's right ... you don't climb sport.
Last edited by Meadows on Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Sunshine » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:15 am

Most of my partners and I clean routes (especially really steep ones) on top rope. We just chain quick draws together to clip in at the anchor. I always oppose the biners on the belay loop. Once the draws are weighted you are "safe". They won't just open up. Also, when cleaning on TR you can leave the last draw and back-clip the rope for anchor redundancy.
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Post by Stewy911 » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:30 am

thats why I never use quickdraws to clean. i always have a daisy girth hitched or a sling girth hitched and clip into the anchor directly with the locking. i dont believe in using non locking biners to clean anchors for some reason. im not saying its unsafe i have just been taught to use lockers. AND i never go biner to biner when cleaning~~~ not a good idea.
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Post by Christian » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:34 am

I agree with stewy.
wes:I dropped a #1 from the 2d pitch of North Ridge route at table rock. It was col dand I was goofy and I had to poop and it cost me 50 dollars.
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Post by Stewy911 » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:44 am

I dropped the rope while trying to rappell off creature feature............................jk


BTW has anyone on this forum every dropped the rope while cleaning a route or seen it happened?
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Post by Artsay » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:21 pm

Meadows wrote:
dhoyne wrote:Quickdraws are to short to clip yourself to the anchor most times anyways; that's why just about everyone I've climbed with uses slings, daisy chains, or Metolius PAS.
Ever hear of doubling the draws? Oh, that's right ... you don't climb sport.
Even though doubling draws is a quick and easy way (and/or lazy) to clip to an anchor, metal on metal is a well known hazard in climbing for many reasons. I do it occasionally but don't prefer to nor do I feel completely safe doing so. It's only when I'm too lazy to use the recommended way (slings, daisy, etc.). I think people who come from more traditional climbing backgrounds tend to feel this way. I started with sport but was informed early on to use slings...probably because my partner at the time was a trad climber. I have memories of being scolded by fellow climbers for creating metal-on-metal setups. I guess it comes down to knowing both sides and doing what makes you feel comfortable.
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Post by Stewy911 » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:26 pm

what makes you feel more comfortable is perfectly spoken.
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Post by Meadows » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:32 pm

I never link the draws that way - I link them through the dogbones as you would for a "cheater draw," except leave the extra biner there (or if preferred, take it off). I own slings and lockers specifically for cleaning, but found they were more of pain than anything.

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Post by Meadows » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:34 pm

Stewy911, It happened to my friend - he forgot to tie off the rope on his harness, untied his rope BUT caught the rope as it was dropping.

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Post by dhoyne » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:37 pm

I do climb sport. I was just taught that metal on metal and unnecessarily complicated anchors are bad things. It's cumbersome to clip 2-3 draws together (especially if you clip into the dogbones to avoid the metal-metal). Double that (you do use redundancy, right?) and you now need four to six draws just to anchor yourself to the wall.

I'll stick with the girth hitched slings and lockers I use. They're never gotten in the way, I can't drop them, and I don't have to spend time chaining them together (then spending more time unchaining them and reorganizing them -- what a PIA for multipitch, or even general throughput).

I'm really not concerned about the 0.1% extra weight I'm carrying for two slings and two lockers.
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