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Tech Tip: Question Anchor Selection Example - Not-Imlay Aug 1 2015

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by ratagonia, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Did Not-Imlay, one of my new favorites, yesterday. Hot and humid made the approach not so happytime.

    We have collectively been figuring out the best place for the First Rappel, and I think we finally have it figured out.

    1. The "original route" involves a short rappel off a tree to a dirty, brushy, steeply slanted ledge traverse, to a largish tree and a somewhat awkward rappel with a difficult pull. Not so good.

    2. I had put a sling on a tree just right of the streamflow, which worked OK, but... hard pull and a 300' rope did not put you on the "ground" but on the higher ledge, that then required a dicey traverse across a dirty, brushy, steeply slanted ledge - but at least without a death-fall below it.

    3. Ram had done a trip that used a tree further along the edge of the drop, from which the rope reached the ground.

    My plan was to use the "further" tree (3). Looking at when actually there, that small tree is not rooted in much of a dirt island. Probably good enough for a couple of rappels, but I think constant use would eventually kill the tree.

    I did number one (1) the first time down, and it 'was kinda special' - type 4 fun, as in, not fun at all. Which is why we were searching for alternatives.

    We re-evaluated number (2). I chose the second tree back because... well, probably because the first tree, so solid, had a bunch of gnarly branches that made getting to the trunk unpleasant. I successfully maneuvered Bailey into dealing with this, so "we" put a long, long sling around the lower tree. Our 300' rope just reached the ground from this ring. The pull was still quite hard.

    NotImlayrap1a. NotImlayrap1b.

    Sometimes it takes a couple of trips through a canyon to figure out the optimal place to anchor a rappel.
    Wise canyoneers can disagree on many things, including where the best location would be.
    This is one reason that I think publishing beta after going through a canyon ONCE is not a good idea, though this is common practice.

    Comments? Discussion?
    Rapterman and Matt Snow like this.
  2. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    The pull was our reasoning for using "3", but I do also agree that there isn't much sand around the base of that tree.

    Maybe even a longer sling is needed to get the rope over the ledge for the last person down
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The sling we left is FAR longer than "usual". But it definitely could go another 10 feet or more. It is down a slab.

    Tom
  4. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Any shallow ledges to stage from say, around 100 feet down from the tree? Something that could facilitate use of a more standard 60m rope (or a pair) and might reduce the sling needed?

    What about a tree-to-tree option at canyon left (LDC)? Be toward the viewer in your second picture.

    That white rock fairly soft? Maybe not a candidate for a fixed anchor?
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    A. There is a substantial ledge with a healthy tree about halfway down. However, it is at the base of a steep wall, and I am not sure you could pull the rope from there, it being tucked in. With a large group, one could certainly re-belay from there, which might get things moving better, but pulling from there would be troublesome. At the bottom of this rappel, a few ledges and a large ledge at the bottom mean you are pulling from 40' out from the direct vertical fall line (where the photographer is standing).

    noti13.

    B. 300 foot ropes are fairly standard now, Brian. The problem at the top is it has quite a gradual roll-over, so a reasonably longer sling does not make the start more difficult (yet), but could reduce the friction some more. Somewhat unsightly, yes.

    C. The last rap is about 260', so you'll need a long rope for this canyon anyway.

    D. The tree to tree is the original route. The traverse from the bottom of rap 1 to the tree for rap2 is nasty - steep, brushy dirt with death-fall. And you can't really get to the lowest stout trees, end up bashing through their branches, and then turn a corner for the remainder of the rappel => not elegant, unpleasant.

    E. The canyon is all natural anchors except one bolt. Would be nice to keep it that way, at least for awhile.

    F. There is no "natural" place to put a bolt anchor for the first rappel. Mostly due to the long, gradual roll-over. It would still require quite a lengthy sling, from any place people would be comfortable walking to to set up the rope.

    G. Rock quality unknown.

    Tom
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
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  6. Ram

    Ram

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    Everything Tom says about D is correct. It is a very undesirable place. I would like to add that there is a ton of loose rock there too and the whole thing is downsloping on top of that. Very dangerous spot worth avoiding

    As for E., talk about odd. The only bolt is at the canyons shortest drop and it was the only drop in the canyon that had an anchor, that I felt comfortable downclimbing, as it is a pretty secure chimney. Weird
    2065toyota likes this.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    And there are natural anchors available at that spot, though not convenient. I think they were worried that the rap extended quite a ways, so put the bolt out on the face for a clean, easy pull (and easy rappel start). As it is, the rap is only 20' tops. Did you downclimb that, Ramoo?

    T
    Ram likes this.
  8. Ram

    Ram

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    I did indeed downclimb it. I do not downclimb at a high standard in Zion. I find it to be my worst venue for doing so. I find Zion downclimbs mossy, wide and slippery. This one was secure chimney in the 15 foot range to a ledge Lowering the pack is prudent as its a bit crowded in there (Thanks Kyler!)
  9. ucla56

    ucla56

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    Is this the anchor that was used in the unfortunate accident? The ledge looks really far down. EDIT-NEVERMIND, I SEE THE OTHER THREAD DISCUSSES THIS TRIP
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
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