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Mt. Lemmon Carabiner-Anchors: do NOT blindly trust them!!!
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By Andy Bennett
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 3, 2013
!!!ALWAYS DOUBLE-CHECK IN-SITU CARABINERS ON MT. LEMMON!!!

It goes without saying that the responsible, observant, and life-loving climber always does this. It is easy to become complacent though, especially when sport cragging. In light of several recent casualties, and at least one fatality due to rope-severing "perma-biners", I wanted to remind everyone to do this. Many newer routes on Mt. Lemmon are going up decked-out with biner-anchors (thank you Jim and Eric), while some older routes are being updated with them. Most of these are aluminum alloy carabiners however, and some are being quickly worn down, even on somewhat-popular climbs. I've seen some pretty worn and scary biners lately and have replaced the ones I could, unfortunately just with more normal Al biners.

Make sure to inspect all "permanent" hardware before trusting it. That means anchors, project draws that've been up for a while, and "perma-draws". Nothing is permanent. If a biner is wearing thin, deeply grooved, at all sharp, or otherwise sketchy, replace it; your life is worth $15. Use steel carabiners if you happen to have them. I'm going to start carrying around a grip of these whenever I go out. Though even steel biners wear out...

Play it safe, happy climbing!

-Andy Bennett

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By Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Apr 3, 2013
Ooops...
If more than one person in your party is going to climb the route, make sure only the last person gets lowered off the anchor 'biners i.e. everybody before the last person gets lowered off quickdraws.

I've seen some people at Raycreation even rap at the end to save wear on the 'biners, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having them there in the first place lol

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By Maurice Chaunders
Apr 3, 2013
Colombian Crack
I don't think it defeats the purpose entirely. If you yard up an extra armlength or two, you can rap without untying, so the biners save time in that sense. I always prefer to rap, rather than lower.

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By Steve Pulver
From Williston, ND
Apr 4, 2013
And obviously, if they look in bad shape but you can't replace them, please just take them off the route and throw 'em away.

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By Andy Bennett
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 4, 2013
Wanted to add that, if you are setting up a top rope, use your own gear at the anchor. This should be a no-brainer, but I wonder how much wear I've seen is due to top-roping off the anchor biners, or chains...

Here's a good method for setting up a safer top-rope when climbing with novices who may not know how to clean an anchor: clip your quickdraws to the anchor hangers, top-rope off of them, but also run the rope through the in-situ anchor biners. That way, the anchor biners are not being worn, but a novice can, upon reaching the chains, just unclip the draws and still be safely on belay.

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By jbak
Apr 4, 2013
A steep climb too.
Good idea to bring this up Andy.

My thoughts:

If you see dangerous-looking stuff, try to remove it. Better the next guy has to figure something out for himself than continue to use bad stuff.

Steel is way better than aluminum. Aluminum wear rate is 5 to 10 times faster.

Mussy hooks seem to be a pretty good solution at anchors. They are no fun to clip, but they should last a long time. On a project with a desperate anchor clip, you can use your own QDs on the mussys for the redpoint runs, and then use the mussys when you clean the route. At the Shed and the Tusk we have gone almost totally to Mussys.

Permadraws...

I like the idea of minimizing their numbers first. Yes, I know that's hypocritical. Certain routes would be a total bitch to clean without them. Like Freeloader or The Crossing. But Cres-sent doesn't need them (Cres and I did not put any on). It's nice to have them, but it's cleanable without. So I'm thinking about removing some of my permadraws on certain routes. AND I'm thinking about using commercially-made cable-and-steel-biner combos to better handle the wear-rate problem. I just ordered 10 from ClimbTech at $18 a pop.

Some permadraws look unnecessary, but really serve a purpose. At the Shed, at least 2 were placed on long chains because there was no solid, drillable rock where the clip needed to go. So we drilled higher into good rock, and then extended a chain down to where the clip should be.

One last thought... try to check the hanger nuts on permadraws. When you are placing your own draw, a loose hanger is pretty noticeable. When clipping a permadraw, you are much less likely to notice a loose nut/hanger. A wrench and some locktite (red paste from Copperstate Nut and Bolt) are your friends.

A last final-final thot...All this stuff should be camo-ed, and the land-manager visibility taken into account.

FLAG


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