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Birdland P2 Rappel Anchor
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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Apr 25, 2006
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

This post was originally a comment in Birdland

Ron Olsen wrote:
The anchor atop the second pitch is a knotted sling and quick link attached to two offset bolts. The equalization on this anchor isn't perfect for rappelling; it needs to be fixed. Another quick link (or rap rings) should be added. Even better, put chains on the bolts.

Sorry the webbing on the top of P2 was not quite equalized. I put it on to match the lengths of some of the old junk before cutting the old crap away. In hindsight, I could have probably cut ALL of the old junk off and gotten it more even. Though I do hold that it is pretty close and not a danger. If moved 'soon' the webbing I placed may not be too tight to re-equalize yet.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Apr 25, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

This post was originally a comment in Birdland

Thanks for fixing up the second-pitch rap anchor, Tony. Currently, there is a black 9/16" sling, knotted in cordalette fashion, and one quick-link for the rappel.

I watched the anchor closely as my partner rappelled; all the weight was taken by one bolt. The equalization was off by less than 1". Redoing the knot to improve equalization may still be possible.

Perhaps a sliding-X anchor with two slings and two rings could be used to ensure equalization regardless of the exact rappel line. Maybe the ASCA could put this anchor on their Red Rock improvement list and install equalized chains.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Apr 25, 2006
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

This post was originally a comment in Birdland

Yup, that was my anchor. I buy 9/16 black by the roll and links by the pound- and always carry some on me. I guess someone removed the rainbow piece with the single rap-ring that had been there beside it. I guess I might as well have, but something in me always wants to leave one previous piece.

The way I set up that stuff (late march) was so that if one failed, the other would not be shock loaded- you'd get a little bit I guess, but not a few feet of it. I don't like sliding X's because if one side fails, you really kill the other side, which kind of defeats the equalization. Plus, in a sliding X if any point on the sling is damaged, the whole anchor will fail.

The cordalette-style is set such that you could cut any individual line and the anchor would still remain intact- It's redundant. I always set anchors up that way- while I use them and if I leave them.

Still, I admit it is hard to get the anchor perfect that way, even from scratch, especially since the exact loading angle frequently changes after I step over the edge. WIth chain there is a similar problem at times, since the lengths are in finite increments. Usually this is made up for by the load center moving to reach 'both ends' provided that the setter know how to do this.

The problems with chains are that:
1) I can't carry around 5 lbs of chains, links and cutters to get it right on climbs, but a 10 meters of webbing, I can.
2) Chain beats up the rock, if you are talking sandstone.
3) Chain can be hard to replace and people destroy it by TRing directly through it without biners.

The problems with webbing are that:
1) It has a limited life for weather and the like.
2) It gets chewed by critters.
3) It gets chewed by rock and anchors.
4) People clip OVER it instead of UNDER it on the bolts and cut/stress the material.
5) Some idiots might thread the rope directly through it.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Apr 25, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

This post was originally a comment in Birdland

Tony, I suggested two slings for the sliding X, not one. It's very unlikely that a bolt will fail, so I think it's more important to have the anchor equalized (with redundant slings or chains) than it is to worry about extension in the event of a bolt failure.


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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 25, 2006
...

I agree, it could be better. But having just rapped this a week or two ago, I explicitly remember my partner saying, "I've rapped off of lots worse." When I asked him if he wanted me to add a sling.

Maybe I am old fashioned, but I hate it when you sanitize a route so much that "sport climbers" flock there. If a climber doesn't know a good piece of webbing from not, the two words are natural selection.

Then again, maybe I have become too blase' about rapping off of things, and natural selection will get me soon.

After you spend time in the mountains and desert lands, you come to that rappel anchor and think, "solid."

But maybe this gets to a bigger question, isn't the safety of the climbing community more important than my elitism? So maybe I should just shut up and bring chains to install on my future anchors?


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By Jason D. Martin
Apr 26, 2006
Jason

Ron Olsen wrote:
This post was originally a comment in Birdland Tony, I suggested two slings for the sliding X, not one. It's very unlikely that a bolt will fail, so I think it's more important to have the anchor equalized (with redundant slings or chains) than it is to worry about extension in the event of a bolt failure.


Slightly off topic, but a Sliding X with load-limiting knots makes the whole system redundant and eliminates the need for two slings. If you're not familiar with this, there is beta on it in most instructional climbing books.

Jason


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Apr 26, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

Jason,

For rappel anchors, UV degradation from exposure to sunlight will severely weaken sling material over time. As Tony mentioned above, another issue is having slings chewed on by critters. That's why I like to have at least two slings at a rappel anchor. One old sling could fail at multiple points at the same time due to either of these causes.


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By Jason D. Martin
Apr 26, 2006
Jason

Ron Olsen wrote:
Jason, For rappel anchors, UV degradation from exposure to sunlight will severely weaken sling material over time. As Tony mentioned above, another issue is having slings chewed on by critters. That's why I like to have at least two slings at a rappel anchor. One old sling could fail at multiple points at the same time due to either of these causes.


Understood. But if both slings are put there at the same time there is no difference between a Sliding X with load limiting knots and two separate slings. The degradation is equal unless the two slings on the anchor are put there at different times.

There is no doubt in my mind that the best option for a high use route like Birdland is chains...unfortunately we don't all carry such things in the mountains all the time.

My personal recommendation on the UV issue in Red Rock is to be extremely cautious. This is especially true at the beginning of the RR season each year after the summer sun has beaten down on everything for months on end...

On a completely separate note, Red Rock sling material doesn't tend to get chewed on as much as slings in other environments or climbing areas. I don't know why this is. It appears that the biggest threat around here to our anchors is sun.

Jason


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By alpinglow
From city, state
Apr 29, 2006

You know what I do if I come to a jingus anchor?

I fix it, add something, knick something, make it bomber, rap and go home.

I don't wail about how janky it is, I don't need group therapy to validate my position, I just do it.


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By J.J.
Apr 30, 2006

Where is the problem with this rap anchor? I didn't even bat an eye when we used it.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

Thanks, John.

We've all rapped off much worse anchors than this. If this were a remote desert tower, we'd be glad the anchor was as good as it is.

However, Birdland is soon to become one of the most popular moderate classics in Red Rock, joining Cat in the Hat, Johnny Vegas, Olive Oil, Frogland, and Dark Shadows. Climbers will be lined up wanting to tick this route.

The anchors on a heavily traveled moderate classic should be maintained at a higher standard than those on a seldom-done backcountry route.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
May 1, 2006
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Just so people are clear, the anchor PRESENTLY is BOMB PROOF. The concern expressed was that in my doubly-redundant system, tied off and all, that there was an inch of slack on one side, so the other side was taking the weight. This of course depends somewhat on where you lay the rope.
But meanwhile, it is safe to be on. Nobody's life is in danger. I have certainly rapped on worse, and I've had RARE opportunities to rap on better.

The discussion at hand is what it should eventually be replaced with, not if it is presently safe.


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