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Lowering off from shuts
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By Robert Dominguez
From Birmingham, AL
Nov 1, 2007
Lost Roof (V4)

I'm new to sport and am curious about a couple of things:

Is it okay to lower off from shuts or does it put to much wear on the shut and the rope?
And second, what about lowering off from chains?

Thanks, and sorry about the questions that I'm sure have obvious answers!


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By A.P.T.
From Truckee,Ca
Nov 1, 2007
So nice.

The best thing for all fixed anchor's is to "Rap." Lowering off Shut's or chain's causes premature wear on them! Just make sure that the person rethreading the rope through the chain's or shut's are well rehearsed on doing it safely. Welcome to the Sport and be safe out there.


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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Nov 1, 2007

Robert, I'll second what apt said. Unfortunately, shuts rarely have any facility to rig in any other way than right through them so they get the most wear. If it's a chain anchor, with chains sections at least 8" long, you, as the leader should thread the shuts or anchors but also clip in to short draws attached directly to the bolts which take the load off the chains. Then your second can simply remove the draws and lower on the chains. If that's not clear, have an experienced climber or AMGA guide show you what I'm talking about.

Mal


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By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Nov 2, 2007
Waiting for lift-off, Thin Air(5.6) Cathedral Ledge, NH

Robert Dominguez wrote:
I'm new to sport and am curious about a couple of things: Is it okay to lower off from shuts or does it put to much wear on the shut and the rope? And second, what about lowering off from chains? Thanks, and sorry about the questions that I'm sure have obvious answers!


It matters what the local ethics/pratices are. Up north at Rumney it is extremely commonplace to lower from the shuts or fixed carabiners. Out west however you might get beat up for lowering from shuts. Ask around for the local practices, and be careful when cleaning your anchors!


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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 2, 2007
South of Windy Peak

Ladd Raine wrote:
Out west however you might get beat up for lowering from shuts.
Well, I don't know anything about that, but here's what I wrote about lowering through fixed gear on another post:

Whenever a belayer lowers the climber off, you place approximately twice the climber's weight directly on the anchor. As the rope passes through the anchor, all the sand in the rope grinds into the anchor, slowly wearing it away over time. This leads to premature anchor failure, especially in the desert due to the prevalence of sand.

It's much more polite and ethical to lower through your own gear, as you can easily inspect and replace that at appropriate intervals, whereas fixed gear rarely gets replaced, and is arguably more difficult to do so.

Rappelling through anchors places a certain force on the anchors as well. But the largest force is applied while the rope is not running through the anchor. The only time the rope runs is when you pull the rope down and there is hardly any load at that time.

And finally, just to drive the point home, the effect that lowering has is significant. If you've ever seen links, rings, etc., partially worn through (I see this all the time), this is directly from such bad practices.


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By kirra
Nov 2, 2007

It is amazing to see how much of an impact upon metal, lowering-off can have over time.

Please TR off you own gear I beleieve the claim was these were about a year old.  <br /> <br />(This isn't my photo, but I imagine whoever it was wanted the word to spread)
Please TR off you own gear I beleieve the claim was these were about a year old.

(This isn't my photo, but I imagine whoever it was wanted the word to spread)


it was always our practice in AZ (especially on busy sport routes) to use our own gear with any anchors and rap-off when cleaning


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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Nov 2, 2007
Half Dome

Make sure you inspect the rings, chains, bolts, webbing, or whatever you are rapping or lowering off. There are plenty of suspect "anchors" out there and just because the guy or gal before you made it down on them doesn't mean you shouldn't double check. Especially if it is common in that area to lower off - aluminum rings especially can wear quickly. Many biners are left up on walls for a lonnnnnng time and I've seen people lower off just threads of metal before after having NOT inspected the system. Scary.

Fixed draws hanging on a route are also suspect, while I'm at it. Go somewhere like Maple Canyon and you will see what I mean. Just don't take fixed gear for granted.

This goes for setting up a top rope for someone as well, which as Malcolm said is usually set directly into the bolts on your own quickdraws (I prefer locking biners on my draws). And double check your entire setup BEFORE you unclip yourself from the anchors to lower or rap. This includes making sure your belayer is attentive and prepared. Rappelling is better for the reasons listed above, but most everywhere I go now everyone is lowering. Not that I'm approving it - just a fact.


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By Matt TeNgaio
Nov 2, 2007

If there are shuts, hooks or lowering biners on chains then, by God, just lower off. Sport anchors, cold shuts, Fixe Super Shuts, etc. are made for Sport Climbing. They are made to eliminate the need to untie from the rope when you are hanging 100' off the deck. Yeah, they'll need to be replaced sooner but all anchors will need to be replaced sooner or later.

If there are just chains at the anchors without lowering biners on the end then you'll obviously need to untie to set the rope through the last link. Just be sure to know how to do this before you leave the ground, which I'm sure you do.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 2, 2007
Stabby

Coldshuts are not made for sport climbing. They are made to repair broken links in a chain. I placed more than a few back in the day. Does anyone know the tensile strength of the eyelet? I don't. And the weld is usually done by an amateur.


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By A.P.T.
From Truckee,Ca
Nov 3, 2007
So nice.

I ordered some several year's ago and this is what it say's on the invoice.

High Strengh Carbon Quick-Attach Link Cold Shut, 1/2" 7,200lb.
High Strengh Carbon Quick- Attach Link Cold Shut, 7/16 5,400lb.

And the Local Guy's that welded them for me were not amateur welder's!


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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Nov 3, 2007
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

At Smith Rocks, I had locals repeatedly tell me that lowering off top-anchors is acceptable - and is the preferred practice.

According to them, they have a good anchor replacement program and people are just expected to lower.

It took me a while to get used to it, as anywhere else I feel like it deserves some bad juju.

It does make the changeover faster - which at a crowded venue like Smith Rocks also makes sense.

Andy


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 3, 2007
Stabby

andy peter tretiakoff wrote:
I ordered some several year's ago and this is what it say's on the invoice. High Strengh Carbon Quick-Attach Link Cold Shut, 1/2" 7,200lb. High Strengh Carbon Quick- Attach Link Cold Shut, 7/16 5,400lb. And the Local Guy's that welded them for me were not amateur welder's!


Those strengths are rated for the typical configuration, which is the post driven thru the eyelet. The top of the eyelet and or the neck right below it may or may not hold those loads since we configure them out of "spec".
If you took yours in to a welding shop, that's a good thing. I'm certified now, but wasn't back when we'd use a borrowed welder. I've seen a lot of sparred, cold joint welds on those things. Even worse is when more material is blown out than placed from the rod. Bottom line is that those things invite running through for TR's and lowering; guaranteeing short life span for the hanger. Then the bolt itself needs to be disturbed in order to replace the hanger, possibly compromising its strength. A quick-link system is indefinitely sustainable for the top anchors, and there's just no excuse to not use real stainless hangers on the route.
BTW - whatever happened to Goldshuts anyway?


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By Matt TeNgaio
Nov 3, 2007

Greg,
You're definately right about Mussy hooks being the best set up out there, mainly for their ease of replacement. And if your area has custom anchors like that 2nd photo, then yeah, I can see the reason for rapping being the preferred method.

But if these anchors are in popular places like Jacks, etc. then maybe the people that frequent these climbs or areas should take the responsibility and effort to remove these shitty homemade jobs and update them. Everyone wants to climb but no one wants to take the time to bolt or rebolt stuff.

Lately I've been installing sport anchors (Raumer) on my new routes, with the expectation that people will just lower off of them. I use wedge bolts and when the hook wears out, just undo the nut, replace the hook, then retighten the nut just enough to set it again.

And Mike, I may be wrong but I think you mean Quicklinks not Coldshuts, eh?


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 4, 2007
Stabby

Matt - I've never heard of those Raumer anchors, I'll look into them. Look at my last sentence, I mention Quick-links as being the most sustainable as you can replace them without disturbing the bolt itself. Each time the nut is loosened there is some (small) potential to compromise the bolt's placement. Goldshuts used to be available here in Denver, they were anodized Coldshuts some guy manufactured. Psychologically, they appeared stronger than regular Coldshuts.


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By A.P.T.
From Truckee,Ca
Nov 4, 2007
So nice.

Robert Dominguez wrote:
I'm new to sport and am curious about a couple of things: Is it okay to lower off from shuts or does it put to much wear on the shut and the rope? And second, what about lowering off from chains? Thanks, and sorry about the questions that I'm sure have obvious answers!



This poor "Guy" asked and that's what he got! He might be feeling a bit overwhelmed? Anyway it makes for some interesting reading.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nov 4, 2007
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Go to the hardware store and cut off about five links of chain on the beefy chains they have. There will be a cool hydraulic chain cutter. It's fun pumping it up until BAM, the chain snaps. Get two or four beefy quick links. Then, next time you are on that cold shut P.O.S. anchor, you can put the chains and links on there. The last quick link should be what you thread the rope through. When it wears out, you simply replace it.


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