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Deadman questions

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Here's some questions for the group about deadman anchors and related points of ettiquette.

    The first issue that we're struggling with is the method of producing the deadman. Folks generally take one of three approaches. The tree-huggers advocate using only natural found objects or bare hands. The trad camp argues that using a hand tool, such as a knife or a club is ok. The sport group feels that it's alright to use mechanized devices, the tool of choice being the .357 magnum revolver. Positions range from "respecting nature" to "a body is a body, regardless of how it was produced". The tree-hugger and trad groups are worried about the rapid proliferation of anchors across the CP if placing them is too easy. The sport group is concerned about the quality of the placement, since much more skill is needed to place the anchors by hand. Any guidance on the correct method would be greatly appreciated.

    There's an even bigger debate in progress about how to choose the "volunteer". The most popular method nominates the FNG – fairly new guy. This might explain the extreme willingness of many of the experienced folks on this board to take neophytes down canyons. It also explains the frequent rendezvous that the ACA has. Our problem is that we've sort of run out of FNGs and are trying to settle on a backup method. The female contingent feels quite strongly that a literal approach is correct – that the term deadman clearly indicates the sex of the anchor. Others of us fear arousing the wrath of NOW or other femi-nazis by excluding women from such important work. The rest of us are just plain secure enough to deal with it. One of our number, we'll call him Bubba, is a redneck from the deep South who is strongly in the sport camp and feels that the volunteer may be freely chosen from any clearly identifiable group except for white southern rednecks. We're a little nervous about arguing too vigorously since he's usually armed. How would you best reason with him? An idea that is gaining a lot of support is that of recruiting passersby, which could work well in heavily traveled canyons such as Pine Creek or Mystery. What's the most polite way to recruit an anchor? We envision something like the following:

    "Hey buddy, can you give me a hand here?"

    "Sure, what's the problem?"

    "Need a deadman" ... BLAM.

    Do you all think that this is acceptable practice?

    Another method for choosing the volunteer involves a point system. Points are awarded for experience, climbing ability, EMT training, knowledge of the route, quality of gear, suitability of vehicle for shuttles, and danger from an enraged spouse. Should negative points be assessed if the spouse is likely to be pleased? Once the anchor has volunteered, is his or her gear to be considered booty? If not, then points for gear quality would go away and we could all buy some of those fancy new aluminum carabiners and nylon ropes. Once beta is shared, do the points garnered from route knowledge get deducted? Has anyone come across or used a point system that works? Since this seems to be the best long-term solution, we desperately need a workable solution.

    On a related note, is there an age of consent issue in Utah? One of the guys wants to bring some of his kids along. (Don't worry, he's a good Mormon – got about a dozen spares) Do kids have to be a certain age before they are considered competent to volunteer? Hopefully some of you denizens of the planet Utah can shed some light on this for us.

    We also need some advice about evaluating deadman anchors that we come across in the field. How do you assess the quality of the anchor? Once rigor mortis has faded is the anchor still safe? Since the anchor was placed before rigor set in, it seems likely that it's ok. As soon as the anchor is placed, it begins to deteriorate. How much deterioration can occur before a new anchor must be placed? Putting a date on the anchor doesn't seem like it would work, since decomposition rates vary so much with temperature. Different placements may rely on varying mechanisms of resistance as well. It seems like a placement requiring good flesh to rock friction would be inferior to one relying on the wedging of rigid parts in a constriction and would fail sooner. Any insight is welcome.

    I've been reading some of the posts here on the board about a group called the CBP (Canyon Body Police?) removing anchors on the Plateau. Is this a big problem? Should we never rely on a previously placed anchor still being available for use? Should we leave ID on the body so that billing for the recovery will be sent to the right address? These fine points are really sticky.

    Another major point of contention involves credit for a first descent. Should the deadman get credit for a first descent? As part of the group, it seems reasonable on the one hand that credit should be given. On the other hand, there's only a certain amount of glory to go around and the deadman does exit the canyon quite some time after the rest of the group. Some of us have a concern that this type of anchor doesn't leave a lasting enough mark on the canyon to prove that the descent occurred. Perhaps certain body parts should be strategically placed on ledges high above the watercourse? Is there a standard for this?

    As you can see, we really need some help.

    Thanks, Gordon
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