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UT: Zion Leisurely day down Spry and bolt placement question

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by bhalvers2002, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Steve Allen's book says that in the technical canyoneering section. It doesn't give beta for technical canyons, but goes as far as alluding to the fact that only canyoneers with a death wish use a sling that was previously placed by someone else.

    Maybe in some dedicated sport or trad climbing areas, but this is often not the case.

    The Hourglass on Little Bear is a good example:

    [​IMG]

    Climbers are always leaving a big rat's nest of ropes, slings, biners, etc. on that route. The above is typical, sometimes it is worse than that. What's scary is that people use them from the bottom without testing them.

    There are actually many routes that have rat's nest like the above. Apparently some climbers in Colorado aren't afraid to do a climb, but they are afraid to rappel off, or so it seems by looking at the rat's nest rappel anchors. A good example is the one on top of Devils Thumb. I filled my whole pack with the rat's nest.

    In the Fisher Towers, for example, it is also customary(?) to leave fixed fixed ropes behind in order to come back later and climb the next set of pitches on a route. Fixed handlines and slings are also left on approaches.

    It's more than canyoneers that do it.

    When it comes to rope grooves though, I would venture to guess that by percentage, canyoneers are more guilty. Part of this reason is that canyoneers often look for canyons in soft rock, while many rock climbers prefer harder rocks. Still, when climbers do climb soft rock, they leave rope grooves behind. There are plenty of rope grooves on the sandstone towers such as the The Penguins, Independence Monument, many of the Fisher Towers, etc.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
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  2. Ram

    Ram

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    I don't know about the book. Maybe Dave Black's book? I know that some of the pioneers that Dave moved with sometimes, changed out EVERY piece of webbing they encountered, back in the day. Then again they did not encounter webbing often. What they would think watching a day at an anchor in a popular Zion canyon?

    As for your premise that popular canyons that lack fixed anchors get rope grooves...(!) I think this is outright BALDERDASH! I challenge you to support your claim. I counter...... Poorly placed anchors of all kinds and anchors not extended beyond lips create rope grooves.
  3. Ram

    Ram

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    He told me that if I had placed webbing the day before and even if I was with him, he would change it, as he didn't know what had happened to it overnight. As stated in my other post, encountering webbing was rare for these fellas. They were doing firsts, not following others, but he went on say that his premise was also based on the webbing that was secured to his dogs over the years. He encountered situations where he felt rubbing, UV and other factors made webbing that looked OK, at a glance, to be brittle and dangerous.
  4. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Popular canyons that lack fixed anchors get rope grooves...

    Since we're talking Spry in this thread, Spry has the worst rope grooves that I've seen in a canyon (you can see photos of them in this thread) and all the anchors are fixed. I do however believe that there are times when a bolted anchor can alleviate rope grooves, such as the anchor in the original post of this thread.
  5. Ram

    Ram

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    Oh you mean these? This from the fall equinox 2008. They are MUCH worse now
    [​IMG]
  6. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Of course, no fixed anchors naturally (ha!) lends itself to poorly placed anchors.

    A few from North Wash...(and these are 6 years old):

    North Wash 1.

    North Wash 2.

    North Wash 3.

    I'll also reference Poe. The recent pic's of those rope grooves in a canyon that probably isn't that popular, but, is the poster child for no-fixed-anchors, proves my point.

    Be honest. Popular canyon. No fixed anchors. Full of rope grooves. Name one that isn't.
  7. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Be honest. Popular canyon. No fixed anchors. Full of rope grooves. Name one that isn't

    Correct me if any of these need to be updated:

    Goblins Lair/Chamber of the Basilisk, Zero G, Misery, Davis Gulch, Alcatraz, Angel Cove, Boss Hog, North Fork Iron Wash, South Fork Buckwater, Buckwater, et al.

    None of these are full of rope grooves, at least not that I know of. All are popular. Should I take any of the above off the list?

    To be fair, list some canyons that have fixed anchors that aren't full of rope grooves. ;)
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  8. darhawk

    darhawk

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    I do think well-placed fixed anchors can minimize or eliminate rope grooves. I wonder whether all the anti-bolt folks anticipated the awful rope grooving now apparent in lots of canyons. And I wonder whether some well-placed bolts might not alleviate the problem in some locations. I also would say that long strands of webbing around natural anchors are not any better than bolts. For example, at the Golden Cathedral rappel in Neon, there is 40 feet of fairly ugly webbing and two chopped, well-placed bolts that probably held 2 feet of webbing when they existed. I guess I don't understand why 40 feet of webbing right at your feet (doubled up of course because it rubs on two different rock surfaces as it goes along) is better than a pair of bolts and 2 feet of webbing up out of the way a bit. But I realize these are fighting words. Still, I just wonder if people made assumptions about what would happen without bolts that have not turned out to be true. My sense is that the anti-bolters envisioned a much more pristine canyon experience than the one that has evolved.
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  9. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I recall Boss Hog has rope grooves. Coming out of that wild hole feature. I don't have any decent pic's of it.

    Davis? Hmm. I recall a whole line of chopped steps just down canyon from the exit to the technical section. Everett Ruess maybe didn't know better.

    Let's see...fixed anchors, rope grooves. Last rappel (original location) in Pine Creek?

    I'm going to blame the deep rope grooves in Spry and Behunin on my other favorite cool kids technique...single rope rappelling.

    To darhawks point...yeah...

    Neon 1.

    It is amazing how deep the rope grooves have got on popular routes. Ropes and soft rock. Yikes.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Oops...double post...
  11. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    How does single produce more than double
  12. R Marsters

    R Marsters

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    NF Iron Wash has an unnecessary bolt (fixed anchor at a fairly easy DC). Chamber of the Basilisk has a single broad groove. Alcatraz has a lot of minor grooves at the bulge before the free hang part of the first rap. I don't have good enough pics of the others to tell.
    Chamber and Alcatraz would not benefit from a bolt due to the nature of the rap. A bolt would still send the rope over a bulge (not to mention the rock type in Goblin Valley favors the current setup).

    I do agree with the above post - sometimes, a single well-placed resinous bolt will have far less impact in a frequented canyon. If everybody descending canyons had proper anchor training, sure, no bolts necessary. But they don't. And it only takes one improper setup to forever scar the rock. Might as well be proactive and recognize where improper anchor rigging or ropes running over a lip/bulge might become a problem. Problem is, the person making the judgment call may go haywire on whether or not a bolt is actually necessary and can be placed in a manner to preserve the rock features.

    That being said, it is significantly more fun to figure out and construct one's own anchors than to throw and go off bolts.
  13. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Davis? Hmm. I recall a whole line of chopped steps just down canyon from the exit to the technical section.

    What does that have to do with rope grooves?
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  14. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Twice the tension, twice the force on the rock, twice the stretch. For a comparison, look at any popular rock climb on similar sandstone. Climbers nearly always rappel double strand. Ice Cream Parlor and Wall Street if you want a couple of popular places near Moab. Rope grooves given the high climber traffic? Pretty minimal.

    I just know my gums hurt more when I use a single piece of thin floss. Gotta be a correlation.
  15. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Instead of using ropes, folks just chopped footholds.

    My memory maybe hazy, but, I don't recall using a rope in Davis.
  16. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I don't think you can convince me that rappelling causes more grooves that pulling the ropes, but you are probably right that it is a contributing factor
  17. MiCamp

    MiCamp Just Another New Guy

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    Ehh... I'm not sure.

    Isn't most of the damage done while pulling the rope after the rappel, as opposed to the rappel itself? Certainly the rope moves and slides over the rock while on rappel and so double strand would, as you say, halve the forces on the rock. But once you start to pull the rope, it's all the same; one strand is cutting into the rock with a great deal of friction while the other strand is, hopefully for ease of pull, largely isolated from the rock.

    I think the difference in rock damage between climbing and canyoneering raps and pulls lies in a wet and sandy rope. While climbing you rarely have a wet and sand impregnated rope, while canyoneering you rarely have a clean and dry rope.
    YMMV.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
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  18. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Fiddlestick it, thats the solution to all these rope grooving problems. :tongue:
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  19. Ram

    Ram

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    And those grooves are worse now than in your pictures. That is the 1st or 2nd rap area in Leprechaun, depending on your entry point. It is the left, then right, then left turning drop. The start of the drop has no wall above knee high. I suppose you could put 3 bolt stations in this 30m corridor? There is often 3 built anchors there already. SOOOO if someone raps all three sections at once, it doesn't matter what the anchor is, its going to cause grooves that you captured, even if its extended beyond the first lip. So beginner methods in the quintessential beginner canyon has caused the grooves not the presence or lack of presence of a particular anchor.

    As for Poe, it is coming up on 2 years since I was there. We already determined that those grooves at the Pit entry were caused pulling failed pots back and can be mitigated with a bit of effort. Being unaware that the pull back is causing problems is the likely culprit. Not rapping or pulling a retrievable anchor, but no matter what causes it, it is unfortunate. A bolt would not make that easier or harder. Just being aware and care will solve the problem. You should really go out there Brian. There is something like 30+ drops, still has a dozen bolt stations or so, is getting done a fair bit, as I hear of folks in there often and the passage is quite 'dense' with anchoring challenges. Caution/vigilance needs to be applied on sand anchor lips for sure. The place puts a lot of pressure on a group. I hope people are not so stressed as to get careless. You can't bolt that place into submission. I suppose you could with ladders out of the potholes. Nice that last I saw NOT ONE chipped hook hole in a pothole in the whole canyon. No time now. Off to work again

    Again where are the specific spots that a bolt would prevent grooves that have arisen in these popular canyons? Aren't the grooves almost always the product of anchors not extended, no matter the anchor? Or inexperienced folks turning corners, bolt or no bolt? Is not the vast majority of grooves caused by pulling of ropes? You are suggesting a solution that fails to address the problem. The grooves in Zion clearly showcase that.
  20. darhawk

    darhawk

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    Specific spots where bolts would be less invasive than current anchors in popular canyons I've done recently:
    Last rap in Spry before the boulder field. Anchor around rock created horrific grooves.
    Golden cathedral rap in Neon. Very long slings in watercourse rather than short sling at a bolt station out of the way.
    Just off the top of my head.
    I think this an important question and the quality of discussion here surprisingly high!
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