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New Water Anchor Prototype: The Water Pocket

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Bootboy, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    As I recall, all our water pocket placements had an upward pull. When I saw it fail it was on a flat pull. We didn't have a water pocket failure on this trip that I know of, but we did have a sandtrap that failed on 3 or 4 different testers.
  2. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Right, but bomber means you can hang your SUV off it. Think rappelling off a telephone poll buried 20 feet into the ground. Two 1/2 inch bolts sunk 4 inches into granite etc. Think about aid climbing. In aid climbing, there are pieces that will hold a fall and pieces that will hold body weight only but will rip out if you actually fall onto them. Sandtraps are far closer to body weight only placements than a placement that would hold a fall. Now, that's okay because most of the time you only need to hold LESS than body weight (how much less depends on that particular geometry and your skill), but bomber is something that's going to hold when your 300 lb cousin goes Aussie style out of control and locks it up 5 feet before the bottom.

    Rappel technique and a testing procedure is all integral to safe use of a sandtrap because it's NOT bomber. If it were bomber, you wouldn't need to back up the first few guys and it wouldn't matter if you were leaning way back at the lip or hopping down the rappel.
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    By "fail", I assume you mean that the backup person chose to apply some backup force to the Trap. Then more sand was put in the Trap or other adjustments made, before the last person when down, correct?

    I don't really consider this a failure - it is part of the process of setting up the SandTrap correctly.

    Tom
  4. Ram

    Ram

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    Conceptual semantics yes?
    Yes, the 'failures' being the times that some backup force was applied and yes it is part of setting up the sandtrap correctly.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  5. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Absolutely. It's all part of the process until it fails on the second to last person.
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  6. Jenny

    Jenny

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    CONGRATULATIONS on your latest prototype,Taylor!!!!! From all reports, it seems to be great!

    I'm still in the queue for the "geriatric" version, right?

    Ditto on
    My Aguanchor (water trap) had one "failure" in all the testing and early trials. That was really scary and I/we learned more from that event than any other set up. You know what we ol' ski instructors say; "If your not falling on your face, you're not learning anything".

    Oh, and while I LOVE the new colour (Canadian spelling) can you make mine in pink?
    Cheer(io)s
    Jenny
    Ram likes this.
  7. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Pink it is;)

    The new one is the version for all ages! The weight and bulk of the new one is about 1/3 of the original but still holds 70% of the volume. You could probably stuff the new one into a nalgene if you felt like it.
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  8. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Put me down for one please! Love your stuff. Your prototype pull cord bag still works great. Just used it again last weekend...
  9. CRNPRES

    CRNPRES

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    Does this mean you may have a limited run off these? and how does one get on to this list.
  10. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Yes, this will be a limited run for now.

    The issue is that I have philosophical and ethical conflicts with the nature of this thing and and the nature of the places it can take you. I'm still trying to find a place, mentally, that I'm comfortable with regarding these conflicts. I'm getting there, but understand that the desire to protect and preserve these special places is at odds with my desire to make a little money in this venture. My passion for canyons is the primary driver here. I have no problem with people going to these places, I just hope that they are visited and descended in a manner that is consistent with the nature of the tool being offered.

    I fear the social media and commercial adventure crowd. These places are not commodities to be traded and exploited.

    A contraption such as this stands at what could be the brink of a new chapter in the evolution of the pursuit of canyoneering on the CP. The ramifications and impact a tool like this has are not something I deal with casually.

    Enough with the philosophical speak...

    Basically, I need strong evidence that you aren't a numpty and reassurance that your commitment to LNT ethics is commensurate with the utility of the Waterpocket.
  11. CRNPRES

    CRNPRES

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    Well put I will send you a PM about my self.
  12. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    An update:

    Version 3.0 is being drawn up this fall. It will be functionally identical to version 2 but sewn in a manner that makes producing them in larger numbers more economical and much easier for me.

    Basically, the reason I've only sold 10 is that I hate making them because they are hard to sew. Hoping to simplify the construction method.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  13. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    The problem, as I'm know you're well aware from personal experience, is that nobody wants to be the water pocket/aguanchor back-up because it's a cold job because you're almost surely sitting in water up to your neck. With a large group, you often have to switch out halfway through the rappels and you still end up with two cold dudes. Now imagine having two in there at once. Now you have four cold dudes. And if you do the back up way back out of the water not only do you need more rope, but maybe the backup can't even see the anchor, much less the rappeller.

    By the way, I appreciate what you showed me with the sandtrap back up last week. Using 10 or 15 feet of rope is way better than my 2-3 foot daisy already near the edge and it doesn't interfere with the sand trap pull at all. Dunno why I'd never thought of that before.
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Agree all points.

    The best ideas are those that are obvious once you see them, but unthinkable before.

    T
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  15. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    To the point of backing up the Waterpocket, let me share some things we've learned along the journey.

    Disclaimer: I use the word "Safe" within the context of marginal anchors. Safe for what it is. Remember, we're talking about rappelling of a bag of water.

    The water pocket is an open system. It is not normally closed and does not need to be when placed appropriately. Most (all "safe") placements of the water pocket are with it in a vertical orientation of greater than 45ยบ. Closing it when in this position would be akin to putting a glass of water on the table and then putting a lid on it to keep the water in. No point, gravity does a fine job of keeping the water in because of the mechanism by which it empties, which is inversion and then emptying out the top. The Waterpocket is inherently safer than other water anchor designs because It cannot empty as long as the rappel rope is attached and weighted. There is no bottom hatch or spout that can be inadvertently opened by accident at any point. The rappel rope must be removed and the system UNweighted in order to get the water out. This is usually done by means of a Fiddlestick. So, given that the placement itself is adequate, the water pocket is at least as safe as a Fiddlestick. That adds up to a +1 for safety.

    Heres the +2 for safety.

    The Waterpocket, like any anchor of its family, must always be backed up for all but the last man. In the case of the Waterpocket, this should ALWAYS be done by attaching the back up to the BOTTOM of the bag, never to the top rings or rappel rope. Heres why: In the event that the the Waterpocket begins to go over the edge, its orientation will change and the water will begin to spill out of the top. If it goes all the way over the edge, all the water will empty because the backup is attached to the BOTTOM. that way, the back up is left to hold only the weight of the rappeller, not the weight of the water in the bag AND the rappeller.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  16. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    I haven't used a waterpocket but I've used the sandtrap quite a bit. So I'm arm chair quarterbacking here. Seems like by attaching to the bottom of the bag for the back up this could allow the bag to move quite a ways and pick up quite a b bit of speed before the meat anchor comes into play? The shockload on the meat may take him for a ride.By anchoring to the top like Sandtrap the meat can come into play much sooner.

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  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The rope can be tight to the front, or tight to the back, either way. Attention is what counts.

    T
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  18. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    I guess buthe is not hooking to back but bottom. Unless your below the bag, it's got to slide up the wall and start towards the edge before the bottom rope would get tight, unless the meat pulled up slack and pulled the bag towards him. We used a very rude concept a year ago in Powell. Took one of your packs put a large dry bag in it. Filled it up put rope thru back pack straps and handle on top and rappeled about 20 ft. With the pack hanging vertical. Worked well, but even if pack would of been strong enough we never would of meated to bottom.

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  19. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Not necessarily... As the bag moves, the person on back up needs to pay close attention. Most of the time, the back up person is in the pothole with the bag, if it does start to move, extra weight is typically applied by hand. The back up, or another person on the lip either grabs the bag or steps on the rope on the lip. With hundreds of raps logged on it, Im not aware of any instance where what I described above has even had to come into play, but it is important to consider worst-case-scenarios.

    Do everything you can to stack the odds in your favor. Remember, there are many things you should have already done to avoid what I described, like sending heaviest man first with extra bodies ready to assist, added more water if it seems to be inadequate, changed or improved placement, or abandoned it altogether in favor of another tool. In a canyon where the water pocket may be used, I take very careful mental notes about individuals' rappel techniques and I am careful to coach the heavy setters with poor technique. I ALWAYS go LAST unless someone who I know is competent is willing to "man the station" and accepts the responsibility.

    If you've gotten to your second to last man and the back up guy is having to work overtime, you've already screwed it up at several junctures.

    I cannot overstate what Tom said.
    Paying attention is paramount to safe use. At least one person must, but usually several people do, pay very close attention to what is going on with the anchor at all times. Someone "owns" it. If you're setting it up it's all yours. You do your best to stay out of the way of people getting out of the pothole and onto rappel but you never for second lose track of what's going on with it. You make sure the fiddle is backed up, that water hasn't been dumped, or squished out by others, you put more water in if it needs it, you are poised and ready to pull back on it if even hints at dislodging, and you COMMUNICATE with everyone clearly. It is yours and it means the safety of your crew.

    Be safe out there.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  20. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Not aware huh. Well, let me make you aware of it since you were (both) involved in it. On a recent canyon you, Tom and I did together the bag was filled (Tom maybe?) and then Tom was playing meat for the guided rappel. I was watching the water pocket serving as the rappel anchor from the lip. As it sometimes is, most of the water was in the outer portion, not inside the actual bladder. As you know, water slowly leaks out from the outer bag if it is not also inside the bladder. As there were quite a few people rappelling, and it was a complicated rappel, we were there for quite some time. The bag slowly but surely was losing weight. I found myself stepping on the rope more and more with each rappeller. With 3 or 4 guys left Tom was switched out (to get out of the cold water) and we started even having the water pocket clipped in to the guy also doing the meat for the zip line in addition to me stepping on the rope. By the time it came time for me to rappel into the pothole last, I wasn't about to rappel on that anchor, which at this point consisted of perhaps a 1/4 full waterpocket. So I refilled the bag, making sure to get most of it in the bladder with the usual technique and rappelled on it without issue.

    The water pocket is a marginal anchor and must always be treated with respect. Did I HAVE to step on the anchor rope to make sure it held? Not 100% sure, but it sure seemed like the right thing to do at the time. In fact, if it hadn't been backed up with meat I would have refilled it a lot sooner.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
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