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Anchor Trickery

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Bootboy, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    WARNING: THIS THREAD CONTAINS DEPICTIONS OF MARGINAL ANCHORS. IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH OR THINK ONLY BOLTS ARE WORTHY ANCHORS, LOOK AWAY!

    Ram eluded to the story behind an anchor that I posted a picture of over in the Marginal Anchors thread here http://canyoncollective.com/threads/fraternity-of-the-marginal-anchors.19979/page-4#post-93647

    So here is the background and story:

    Ram told us that a group had been through this particular canyon 7 and 1/2 months earlier and had some anchor problems. They ended up with 2 anchors that could not be retrieved and had to cut the ropes. He was curious, as were we, to see the anchors from above and assess their failure modes and hopefully come up with better solutions.

    The anchor in question was off of a hard, ancient included piece of apparently metamorphic or igneous rock protruding from the left down-canyon wall at a particularly narrow spot, 10 feet up, immediately above a 50-60' drop.

    The rock in question.
    [​IMG]

    Figurin'. The anchor rock is just out of view above my left foot. Photo Credit: Christian Feinauer[​IMG]

    The geometry of the chamber prior to this constriction was not at all conducive to other ghosting techniques. Neither a Sandtrap nor Waterpocket could be reasonably pulled through the tight, v shaped slot on the floor. Also, being around a corner, significant rope grooving would be likely only to have your anchor of choice become hopelessly stuck anyway

    The group 7 months before had hooked the rock I described above with a black diamond grappling hook but were unable to retrieve it due the geometry of the pull. The corner created enough rock contact that shaking the rap rope would not transfer enough slack to the hook to allow it to come off. It also meant that the small pull cord attached to the apex of the hook would unavoidably follow the same path of pull as the rap rope, thus rendering it ineffective.

    The Solution:

    I stemmed up to the hook, and assessed the situation. It became immediately clear that in order to get the pull cord to pull on the hook in a significantly different direction, a redirect would have to be used to make this happen. I called for a full potshot to be sent my way. it was positioned directly below the hook on the floor. We rigged the hook with a fiddlestick so our second worst case scenario would still yield at least our rope. To the Dyneema pull cord, we also attached the weaker 4mm nylon pull cord used by the previous party. Once the rap rope was free, the pull cord ran through a carabiner attached to the sandbag then up to the hook. An additional length of rope was tied to the hook and the sandbag. The force then applied to the hook by the pull cord was straight down, off the edge of the included piece of rock. Once the hook was off the rock, the additional length of cord simply ensured that we got our sandbag back. Kind of a 3 step retrieval. Fiddlestick, dislodge hook, pull down our redirect. The use of the old pull cord was intentional as well. Should the hook have failed to dislodge, we could simply get a couple guys to reef on the dyneema line and break the nylon pull cord off at the hook, thereby still retrieving our sandbag and leaving only the bare hook and biner in the canyon.

    SAFETY NOTE: The rap rope was backed up with an inline figure 8 at the level which you would clip into it and run back to meat in the chamber before the constriction. It was My anchor, so I went last and was truly the only one at risk.

    Ill do a mock up and a video when I get some time

    I have drawn a crude diagram to show what we did.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
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  2. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I just want to point out that I was glad he was the only one at risk because that hook seemed really, really manky to me. I was very happy not to rappel on it. :)
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    No way to fiddle that protruding rock, I presume?

    Very clever. G E N I U S !

    Assuming it worked. You kinda left out the punch line. Once you pulled the rope off the hook, did it just kinda fall down somewhere, to be retrieved with the SandBag?

    Tom
  4. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Thank you, Tom

    And yes, it all came neatly down in the prescribed sequence.
  5. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Canyonuity skills. Very impressive!
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  6. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Nothing to fiddle there. Alternative anchors include a water pocket (if the pothole behind is full) or a sandtrap (if it isn't.) I'd certainly do both of those before that hook, especially one that required THAT system to retrieve. To Bootboy's credit, it was a thing of beauty to see it all come down as prescribed.
  7. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    No way we were pulling a sandtrap or Waterpocket through that slot at ground level. Too skinny, too much rock contact around the corner.

    In my mind, the BEST option for this pothole would have been something like this[​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    This is probably not a place where it would have worked, but there are places where using sand to cover or fill catchy obstacles makes using a SandTrap or WaterPocket a viable alternative.

    I presume the stick is from a different canyon or at least a different drop. Fiddled, I presume.

    Tom
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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  9. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    We would have had to use an enormous amount of sand to fill the trench. We had no accessible sand.

    Yes, the stick is from a different canyon .
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  10. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Memory getting fuzzy, but there was definitely not enough sand right there to fill the groove, but I think we could have hauled it from above and we definitely could have hauled it from below (huge mound there.) Some risk of catching the water pocket in the groove for sure as well. You were LAPAR (and it would have been your water trap/sandtrap left behind) so it was your call. I think I would have risked the water pocket rather than that hook though had I been LAPAR. Maybe if I had watched 4 or 5 guys rap it first with meat back-up, dunno. Didn't have to worry about it so didn't.

    Still, can you imagine if the "standard" way to do that drop were to have that hook on you and have to rig up your fancy anchor trickery to get your rope back? Seems to be asking a bit much to me, especially since the hook placement will get worse every time it is placed.
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  11. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Edit: wrong thread
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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