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Do you use the Sliding X for equalizing two pieces of protection?
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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Jun 30, 2008
Half Dome

No I understand the sliding X versus two separate slings thing.

I was pointing out that when you learn the sliding X - make sure you twist it. Otherwise that is the "death" part...an overclip of a sling. I wasn't saying anyone was advocating that. You do have to learn the twist though. It isn't intuitive.

It's just that I've never heard anyone refer to the sliding X as the "DEATH X" Sure I've heard the shock loading fears and hence I stopped using them for a while until I learned a bit more about backing them up etc...

Isn't the American triangle another thing completely. Seen often at rap anchors. So while Americans were using triangles Euros were busy with death knots?


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By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Jun 30, 2008
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wall.

Yeah, you're probably right about the American triangle. I've heard two versions. One was that the sling angles in triangle bolt belays increase stress and cause failure of the bolts. The other was a rumor that the party of three that fell off the Nose years ago resulted from clipping a pinch around the top two sides of the triangle, so that when the top bolt blew, the biners just slid right off of nothing and ...horror.


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By icsteveoh
From salt lake city, UT
Jun 30, 2008
white gold at maple.

Paul Hunnicutt wrote:
What is an alpine equalizer? or and equalette? is this different than a cordalette?


trango alpine equalizer


equalette


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jun 30, 2008
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Mal, I read about the Taqhitz accident but not the Sandias one. Anyone know of a link to the report?


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By Bosier Parsons
From Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 30, 2008
Preparing to descend west-most branch of Y-Couloir on Pikes Peak.

Having read John Long's book, I now use the Equalette, and find it easy to use and feel a bit more comfortable in terms of how it addresses an unpredictably arcing fall, where the force increases as the pendulum is occurring. The book clearly describes how the cordelette does not actually equalize the force on each piece, and since it has no multi-directional capability is actually not as good as the sliding X or the Equalette, in the tests they performed.

With that said, the biggest question mark is really the quality of the rock and how well it will hold, and that is where SREN is a good practice. What I'd like to emphasize for novice and experienced climbers is that sometimes we judge a placement to the best of our ability, and sometimes when loaded, the rock just crumbles, whether we expect it or not. I once fell on a piece that I thought was totally bomber when I placed it, and the rock blew, and next thing you know I was sailing forty feet. When I climbed back up and inspected the former placement I could not believe what the force of the fall did to that chunk of granite!


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By Not So Famous Old Dude
From Denver, CO
Jul 1, 2008

Paul Hunnicutt wrote:
It's just that I've never heard anyone refer to the sliding X as the "DEATH X"


Exactly. Because that Camp4 thing is complete BS.


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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Jul 1, 2008

Tim, I think there was a good write up of that accident in a back issue of R&I. I think Allison Osius wrote it. Or it may have been climbing. For a while there you couldn't tell the difference because of the revolving door between the 2 mags.

Mal


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Jul 1, 2008
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

Not So Famous Old Dude wrote:
The "death" part is from [cue scary music]...S-H-O-C-K L-O-A-D-I-N-G

Not So Famous Old Dude wrote:
Exactly. Because that Camp4 thing is complete BS.

Funny stuff, the blood-dripping letters and scary music... I agree that most of what you hear and read about shock loading reflects fear engendered by ignorance---witness that Camp4 drivel. It seems to me, however, that it's easier to come across a climber who on-sights 5.14 than to find one who really understands shock loading of anchors. And I don't think we can dismiss shock loading as just another bugaboo. What we can do is to play it safe, which comes down to Malcolm's rules. The Roman aqueducts lasted very long because they were "bomber," not because the Roman architects could compute bending moments and centroids. The original Tacoma Narrows bridge was designed by people who knew a lot more, but it didn't last nearly as long.


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By Not So Famous Old Dude
From Denver, CO
Jul 1, 2008

brenta wrote:
The original Tacoma Narrows bridge was designed by people who knew a lot more, but didn't last nearly as long.


I used to work for the insurance company that underwrote that fiasco...that's an awesome video.


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By John Gunnels
From Gillette, WY
Jul 1, 2008
Old Belay Slave

What we can do is play it safe, which comes down to Malcolm's rules.

I completely agree. There's nothing wrong with "The School Of Paranoid Climbing"...


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By Andy Choens
From Albany, NY
Jul 1, 2008
Me!

I think everyone who is reading/posting to this thread has at least a passing interest in maximizing their safety in the mountains. That being said, I think there are two different approaches to trying to find new ways of being safe(r).

1) Take a careful, objective look at all the systems, gear, and methods we use to climb and descend. Although valuable, this is often complicated by the fact that the forces involved are very complicated.

2) Look at the causes of accidents/deaths in climbing and look for patterns.

I think option #2 is useful for looking at the Sliding X question. I don't have the equipment or skills to accurately and scientifically test the results of shock-loading a Sliding X where one side has failed. Instead I can look at my own experience and the experience of others and ask, what _does_ harm climbers? I'm sure a careful reading of the Accidents in American Mountaineering texts would come up with at least one example of a failing Sliding X but it's not a common cause of accidents. So, while I'm not trying to devalue any attempt to better understand the forces and risks involved with using the technique, I think it's also important to understand we're all more likely to die doing something universally seen as stupid, like rappelling off the ends of a rope because we failed to tie a stopper knot in the end.


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By Buff Johnson
Jul 1, 2008
smiley face

maybe the better question with this topic is to ask how to go about trying to rig for marginal placements?


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By Not So Famous Old Dude
From Denver, CO
Jul 1, 2008

Mark Nelson wrote:
maybe the better question with this topic is to ask how to go about trying to rig for marginal placements?


Use the sliding X.


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By Buff Johnson
Jul 1, 2008
smiley face

touche


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By Jason Halladay
Administrator
From Los Alamos, NM
Jul 1, 2008
Climbing at the Belvedere crag near Nago with a great view of the northern end of Lake Garda and the town of Torbole sul Garda below. June 2013.

Tim Stich wrote:
Mal, I read about the Taqhitz accident but not the Sandias one. Anyone know of a link to the report?

Maybe there was another accident in the Sandias in recent history that I'm not aware of but the only one I know was in '96 and is detailed here.

In the 96 accident, the causes were the leader did not even setup an anchor and one of the followers untied from the anchor before being put on belay.

Is this the one you're talking about Mal?

Thanks for informative reading in this thread, by the way.


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By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Jul 1, 2008
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wall.

Andy Choens wrote:
I think everyone who is reading/posting to this thread has at least a passing interest in maximizing their safety in the mountains. That being said, I think there are two different approaches to trying to find new ways of being safe(r). 1) Take a careful, objective look at all the systems, gear, and methods we use to climb and descend. Although valuable, this is often complicated by the fact that the forces involved are very complicated. 2) Look at the causes of accidents/deaths in climbing and look for patterns. I think option #2 is useful for looking at the Sliding X question. I don't have the equipment or skills to accurately and scientifically test the results of shock-loading a Sliding X where one side has failed. Instead I can look at my own experience and the experience of others and ask, what _does_ harm climbers? I'm sure a careful reading of the Accidents in American Mountaineering texts would come up with at least one example of a failing Sliding X but it's not a common cause of accidents. So, while I'm not trying to devalue any attempt to better understand the forces and risks involved with using the technique, I think it's also important to understand we're all more likely to die doing something universally seen as stupid, like rappelling off the ends of a rope because we failed to tie a stopper knot in the end.

Good, thoughtful post, Andy. The biggest gains in safety come from always honoring and reviewing the fundamentals.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jul 1, 2008
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Jason Halladay wrote:
Maybe there was another accident in the Sandias in recent history that I'm not aware of but the only one I know was in '96 and is detailed here. In the 96 accident, the causes were the leader did not even setup an anchor and one of the followers untied from the anchor before being put on belay. Is this the one you're talking about Mal? Thanks for informative reading in this thread, by the way.


Which is more of a cascade of judgment errors rather than a cordalette anchor failure. So the Tahquitz accident is a clearer example of that. What was determined about the area those climber had anchored into? Or was it ever discovered? Bad belay spot? Anchor unable to take an upwards fall? I never saw what pieces were attached to their cordalette.


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