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Cassidy Arch Canyon First Rappel New Location

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bnwilso, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. bnwilso

    bnwilso

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    In order to preserve the tree that has been the long time anchor for the first rappel into Cassidy Arch Canyon the National Park Service in Capitol Reef asked Tom Jones to install a bolt station about 20 feet east of the tree (closer to the arch). The new location is easy to reach and is much safer than trying to work around the tree. The rappel length is approximately the same. There is a small ledge just below the new bolt anchor and after that the rappel becomes a free hanger much sooner than the old line. Though you are only about 20 feet closer to the arch it seems like a lot more than that. The new location is not only significantly safer it's also a more stunning rappel experience. Hopefully the attached pictures make the new location clear.

    The first picture shows me on rappel from the new bolt station with others in the party near the bolt station.

    The second and third pictures show the new bolt station from close-up and farther away (blue circle) with the old tree anchor in the background.

    The fourth picture shows someone on rappel from the old tree anchor with a blue line drawn in to represent the new anchor and line of descent. IMG_2768.JPG
    cassidy24. Deiner Cassidy Arch pic. New Line.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Thanks, Bruce.

    The Park asked the Coalition of American Canyoneers to consult, and Dean Brooks and I went up to look over the situation, then came back a few weeks later, permit in hand, to put in that first anchor. Dean is working on getting a chain de-glossed and painted to be as inconspicuous as possible, and will install in the next few weeks. We are also permitted to install bolt anchors at 2 other locations in the canyon where small trees are being severely stressed by the canyoneering traffic; plus one other where massive rope grooves are being created.

    Tom
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
  3. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    The bolts seem to be kinda far apart, was there a specific reason for that? I know there is a minimum distance they need to be from each other (I think its twice the length of the bolt), however most bolts I've seen are a lot closer together than these so I'm curious.
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Good question.

    The bolts serve two purposes. Obviously, they are the rappel anchor, that is number one. But also, they provide an anchor for working near the edge. For this purpose, they are spread horizontally so that two people can be comfortably working at the anchor and clipped in. Presumably, the next rappeller and a "supervisor". The rappel is made almost entirely off the left hand bolt, the supervisor clipped into the right hand bolt. When finished, the right-hand bolt is a backup to the primary bolt, rather than trying to equalize them. (Given modern 1/2" bolts, the benefit of equalization is minimal, as we have a 10:1 safety factor already).

    Tom
  5. EvergreenDean

    EvergreenDean Master of the obvious

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    Thanks for sharing your positive experience with the new anchor station. I know it is important to the park to clarify that they did not request the change. They requested that we help find a solution to the unsustainable impact the tree was receiving. We (mostly Tom) chose this solution, and applied for the permit to place the new bolts. Small details I know, but the park doesn't want folks to think they are directing our anchors or taking any responsibility for them. It is still up to us (canyoneers) to decide how we manage these issues, keeping the park's interests in mind at all times. Thanks for all the input prior to the change and thanks for supporting it after. This is how we build strong relationships with our land managers and keep our access.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Here's two pics showing the new launch point...

    cassidy202. cassidy203.
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  7. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Good news for the tree...maybe.

    No criticism here, I think it's a very good compromise. Can't help but recall stumbling across a trip report years back about Cassidy Canyon (by Courtney, I believe), which was one of the main ticklers for my interest in canyoneering. I do recall the discussion at that time was to make sure you ghost the 1st rap from the tree, being that it is a well traveled tourist destination.

    Fast forward to recent when the new/now-obsolete anchor installation was reported on the CC back in May here. (It's not visible in the picture, assuming it has been removed.) And now the newest new anchor, which appears to be the best solution yet. (Ghosting out, conservation in. Is that anchor evolution at its best?)

    It will be interesting to see if the canyoneering masses evolve as well, and layoff the tree. Ofttimes it requires the death of the natural anchor to promote that kind of change... hope not, in this case.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Part of the issue is that the tree was accumulating webbing - so that people were not ghosting off the tree.

    If people continue to use the tree, then the tree will be tagged as a preserved resource, and rapping off the three will become a resource violation. The ranger staff is not real hot on doing this, but they will.

    The line of rappel off the new anchor is really, really good. Even more dramatic than the previous rap. Certainly an easier anchor to access, and an easier rappel to start. Even has a comfy ledge about 6 feet down for people to readjust on, before rapping free 130 feet to the ground.

    I see no reason, other than lack of awareness, for people to go off the tree, and hopefully it will recover. I certainly hope people agree.

    Tom
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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  9. Sonny Lawrence

    Sonny Lawrence

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  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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  11. Taylor

    Taylor

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    From one who enjoys the occasional descent of Cassidy: thanks Tom and Dean! Looking forward to trying out the new rap.
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