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Tech Tip: Answered The FiddleStick - an advanced anchor tool for canyoneering

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by ratagonia, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Two years in the making, by a cast of thousands - The FiddleStick is now available as an Imlay Canyon Gear product.

    The FiddleStick is an advanced canyoneering anchor tool. It is a new approach to retrievable anchoring, opening up a wider range of possible anchors, and making it possible to descend more canyons while leaving nothing behind (aka “ghosting”). As an ADVANCED anchor tool, it requires skill, practice and understanding to use safely. Even when used properly, it has the possibility of failing, resulting in severe injury or death, or being stranded in a canyon with your ropes hopelessly stuck.
    fiddle00.

    The FiddleStick retrievable anchor system has some great benefits:

    - Rope grooves are virtually eliminated.
    - Anchors can be well back from the edge of the rappel.
    - Anchors can be around corners.
    - Uses little to no webbing.
    - Can easily and safely “ghost” in many circumstances.
    - Faster to rig than most any other anchor.
    - Lightweight.
    - Fun!

    The “FiddleStick” is both a product and a concept. It is certainly possible to make very reasonable FiddleSticks at home, but it is somewhat difficult to improvise them in the field from commonly carried materials.
    While it is possible to use the FiddleStick on traderoute canyons, to not contribute to deeper rope grooves or make some pulls easier, it really shines on first descents and in rarely-traveled backcountry canyons where it is of substantial benefit to not leave junk behind.

    Using the FiddleStick
    The FiddleStick is based on the Stone knot. The Stone (Stein) knot can be used to secure both sides of a doubled rope so both can be rappelled on. The concept is the same when FiddleSticking, but one end of the rope is just a short tail, while the other (long) end is used to rappel on. A pull cord removes the FiddleStick, and the Stone knot falls apart, leaving a short, clean end of the rope to be pulled out from around the anchor, and down the drop.

    There are several versions of the Stone Knot, but the one we recommend for the FiddleStick is the Upward Overhand Stone, which has the most consistent disintegration once the Stick is pulled. Learn more about tying and uses of the Stone knot at: CUSA Tech Tip: The Stone Knot

    By replacing the carabiner in the Stone knot with a stick and leaving one strand short, you create a very slick retrievable anchor. Upon removing the stick, the knot falls apart, and only the short end of the rope needs to pull from around the anchor.

    More Information available at CUSA Tech Tip: The FiddleStick

    Available for sale at the CUSA Store and at better Canyoneering Retailers everywhere.

    Attached Files:

    • fiddle01.
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    Louis Johnson and Dan Ransom like this.
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    This would be a good place to discuss any questions, comments, heap abuse, critical comments...
  3. Dan Ransom

    Dan Ransom Staff Member

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    My biggest question still is this - if someone is on rappel, how hard is it to pull that stick out? Are there any concerns with it inadvertently being pulled out while someone is on rappel?
  4. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Is it a piece of acrylic?
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Lexan = Polycarbonate. Very tough.
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Certainly a concern. I will do some measurements later this week or over the weekend.
  7. John Diener

    John Diener

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    Certainly you want to avoid any unecessary force on the fiddle pull, but have you tested what it takes to pull a weighted fiddlestick out? I suppose it depends on the rope and a couple of other variables, but just wondering if you have any data?
    -john

    Oops, too slow on the draw... PS, really like the fiddle.
  8. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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  9. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    Easy to imagine scenarios where the knot is only lightly loaded and the stick might be easily pulled. Proper pull cord management seems to be key. I'm looking forward to seeing some test results!
  10. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    DSCF5789.JPG
    I am happy with how they turned out. I don't feel there is any risk of it "falling" out. It can be pulled or pushed out however. The attached pic is a situation where the the only anchor placement was in the drainage. To tie the knot farther down would have put it over the lip which makes it harder to start. I was very careful to rap to the side and twist the rope so the stick was laid flat against the rock rather than being pushed out. I see this as being something that could be easily overlooked as setting it up is very easy. As with anything, practice and pay attention to the details
  11. Dan Ransom

    Dan Ransom Staff Member

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    call me a sissy, but i'm more worried about that anchor than the fiddlestick in that photo! :eek:
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  12. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    That's why I went last :)
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Western Redbud. Solid as a rock!

    Tom
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  14. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    I really like the write-up about the Fiddlestick, particularly about what could go wrong. It reads very honestly and not like a sales pitch. This had me menatally comparing the Buckle to the Fiddlestick. Intetesting that it flies out of the knot when pulled. That totally makes sense, though. Does that make it more likley to get stuck?
  15. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Generally it makes it less likely to get stuck, since the FiddleStick flies over the first set of possible stuck points.

    Tom
  16. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    that's pretty cool...

    Edit: looking forward to the video....
  17. Canyonbug

    Canyonbug Outdoor Junkie!

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    You need to remember that this type of anchor is a LAMAR anchor. For everyone else it should be backed up and re-inforced with meat. These new fangled type of anchor systems offer a huge advantage to being able to set and place anchors in new ways, but they should be considered a LAMAR system leaving the last man to trust he did it right.
  18. Blake Merrell

    Blake Merrell Lovin' Utah's Backcountry

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    for noobs like me, what does LAMAR stand for?
  19. Canyonbug

    Canyonbug Outdoor Junkie!

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    Last Man At Risk. It means that all the others are backed up and only the last person down should be taking the full risk on the anchor system.
  20. Blake Merrell

    Blake Merrell Lovin' Utah's Backcountry

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    Thank you! I've been wondering what that terms means for a while now.
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