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Disconcerting anchor techniques (Poe and Heaps)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ScottM, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    I was fortunate enough to go through Poe (Smiling Cricket) over this past weekend (Oct.14th) and was very surprised to see webbing being used without rapides or a quicklink. At no less than 3 anchors we found webbing that was slung without a link, leaving burn scars on the webbing and a certain hazard for those that follow. While it is incumbent upon all of us to check all aspects of the anchors we come upon, this irresponsible act seriously endangers subsequent groups that may not be so diligent. I'm curious to know why a group would chose to descend a canyon with this type of practice. I haven't seen this in other canyons, and for the life of me I cannot rationalize why a group would chose to do this in a canyon as technical as Poe. Why not utilize a retrievable anchor? Even if replacing old/worn-out webbing you could still utilize the existing rapide. The locations were spread out within the canyon, so I would likely rule out that notion that they were sparingly saving their rapides for latter anchors.

    Additionally, while in Heaps this past Sept. we came upon 2 different anchor stations that were slung with webbing tied with an overhand vs. ring bend. Very disconcerting to see both of these within more advanced canyons.

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    image1.JPG
  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Weird. Now that I look at it closer, are those rings by your glove? If so, that would be really weird since that would mean that the anchor had rings, but they were not used?
  3. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    We inspected the webbing and chose to add a rapide due to the minimal damage. The picture was taken after the ring was added.

    Realize some would fault us for not replacing the webbing on the spot, but it was closely inspect and deemed fit for rappel.
  4. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Poe is ghostable with a little finesse. I’m of the opinion that there should be no webbing left in there. But that’s beside the point.

    That first drop in Poe is very short so I could see someone thinking a ring isn’t necessary. Anymore, Poe is almost a trade route and as such, this technique is certainly not best practice.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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  5. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    I guess they could have Fiddled off that sling.
  6. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    They should have as that would be the best way if you’re going to use webbing. But I don’t think that such a short length of rope running through that sling would have left such a mark.

    On he RARE occasion that we leave webbing, we always fiddle it.
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  7. GravityWins

    GravityWins

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    Zion seems to attract the dangerous anchor builders. Three weeks ago in Spry I cut out three separate anchor locations all intended to protect the same 15' downclimb. The most visible of the three was was flat 3/4" webbing with no QL.
  8. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    So...Poe shouldn't have any anchor material left in it...but, someone left webbing. With no rap ring/rapide. And, we should be checking webbing anyhow prior to use?

    So, you added a rapide instead of removing the webbing altogether?

    Maybe the prior group intended to not leave any material and decided against it, leaving minimal material as to not as impact the next group?

    Or, maybe they didn't have that many rapides...thinking they wouldn't need them?

    In years past, I think it was very common to leave a sling with no ring as some rappel anchors were thought to be either replaced every time or so seldom used.

    At any rate, I'd consider any webbing in a canyon suspect regardless of a rapide or ring on it...

    Maybe even doing Poe is irresponsible? Is the expectation in that canyon to find all the rappels fixed to your liking?

    I'll have to admit to getting a kick out of this:

    https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/113219229/microaggression-or-having-the-overreaction
  9. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the response! This isn't a question of rigging not left to my "liking", or even for my benefit, so much as questioning the usage of rope being pulled through webbing. As Taylor has already stated above, the notion of fiddling webbing is likely the case here.
  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I think in general its not a good practice to not leave a rapide/ring if you're considering groups coming along later. But, in a canyon where there isn't usually webbing/rings? Just webbing would be the minimal option methinks.

    Sorry...I couldn't help but compare the infamous Aleks from the 'proj...and the parallel with the Evening Sends Cedar quote of "if you want to be taken seriously as a climber, don't wear booty shorts" article (which he got a gob of heat for). The canyoneering twist would be, "if you want to be taken seriously as a canyoneer...don't complain about webbing with rope burns in a canyon"...or some such. Just thought it was funny.

    Just not enough "neck meat" here in the canyon forums...ha ha.

    Cheers!
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  11. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Yea, don't they know they're supposed to use black webbing?

    My other thought was that if people keep publishing "advanced canyons" that you will continue to see such things in "advanced canyons." I mean, there are people in Heaps putting dogs in dry bags and you're surprised to see an overhand?
  12. tom_brennan

    tom_brennan

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    Coming from Australia, it's only been the past 10 years or so that rapides have appeared in our canyons. Before that, every drop was rigged with just webbing, and the rope pulled directly through. I wouldn't say I was replacing webbing any more often back then than now.

    Plenty of less frequently visited canyons still don't have rapides on every drop.

    Obviously pulling the rope through does wear out the webbing - over time - but webbing is expected to be replaced, and rope pull is far from the only source of wear on webbing.

    To be fair, I would say our webbing is more likely to be wet, and our ropes more likely to be clean (based on a couple of month long canyoning trips to Utah!) - both of which would have an impact on sling wear.
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  13. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Based on my limited knowledge and no scientific testing I would think that pulling the rope through webbing would have more friction than through a rapide and thus making the pull a little harder. It probably won't add a lot, but anything that makes the pull more difficult would be a bad idea in my opinion.
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    As the pull gets taller, the friction will be substantially greater. Additional friction also means greater possibility of damage to the rope and the webbing.

    Short rappels - not a big problem. Long rappels - definitely a problem.

    Tom
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