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Personal Anchor system on bigwalls
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By Justin Lofthouse
From Utah
Apr 9, 2013
The Platform

I know this have been covered somewhere, but I cannot find it, so direct me to the thread if needed. I have read that daisy chains should not be used as a personal anchor system. I have also been told that doing this on a trade route in Yosemite is OK because the bolts are bomber. Lets hear it, what are the options for setting up a personal anchor system when climbing a big wall.

Is it: clip daisy chains to two different points, tie in with rope and hang off it it, clip daisy chain in and tie it with rope?

NOTE: Lets keep this to big wall application only, not multi-pitch trad or sport climbs.


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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2013
Half Dome

OMG another daisy chain thread. Tie in with the rope as your primary. Use a daisy or PAS or runner or cord as your backup (you are going to get 1000 opinions on which is best/safe). Same for Big Wall or multi pitch trad or multi pitch sport.

Look up daisy chain threads as suggested to see what John is talking about. Keep a biner on the last daisy loop and if you must use the other loops - use a separate biner. There are some videos that illustrate the problem with daisy chain tie ins.


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By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Apr 9, 2013
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wall.

Sorry for the drift, Justin. But, I'm curious if you're related to the wrestling Lofthouses from Salt Lake.


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By randy88fj62
Apr 9, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

I use a sterling reactor as a third leash for extra odds and ends when big wall climbing.

1 clipping into a fixed traverse line.


2 rapping with my pig (pig at end with it's own tube device, my personal tube device in the middle.)

I agree with the above statements. Know the limitations of your gear and be safe.

Sterling reactors, metolious PAS, and static dyneema or nylon runners must be tight if you're hanging from them. Leaving slack and falling on them will hurt you, the anchor, or both.

Also know the limitations of daisy chains and always have one end clipped to your harness and the other end clipped to something regardless of whether or not the center loops are clipped shorter.

As long as you know the uses and limitations of your gear you can use them as you please.


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By Arlo F Niederer
From Fort Collins, CO
Apr 15, 2013

I learned this from my 12 years on a SAR team in Jackson Hole.

It's called a purcell prusik, and is used for all kinds of personal attachment in the rescue business...clipping anchors,stretchers, helicopter short hauls, etc.

It doesn't have the shock loading of daisy chain and is adjustable to any length, quickly.

Mine are made out of 6 mm Mammut Pro Cord, and are girth hitched to my harness. My only "complaint" is the space they take up on the harness.

In rescue work, they tie a short, medium, and long, and these can be used to ascend the rope in a pinch, in classic prusik style. I tied two mediums to use as my PAS.

Here's a link:

bigfootmountainguides.com/2012/06/21/the-purcell-prusik/

I suggest you also click through to the Rigging for Rescue links...it talks about the testing on various daisy chains and Purcell prusiks.

They can be tricky to tie...here's a video.


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By Doug S
Apr 15, 2013
Edge of Time <br />

^^^^^ Been using that too, but I didn't know what it's called! Purcell prussic for a PAS is the bomb. I just tied mine on the belay loop permanently with a double fisherman's bend, no girth hitch.


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By Steven Lucarelli
From Moab, UT
Apr 15, 2013
Showing off Johns almighty poop tube on the top of El Cap, after climbing the Nose.

Do yourself and your partner a favor and use Yates Adjustable Daisys. Don't have to worry about cliping into a loop wrong and WAY Faster when on lead.

www.yatesgear.com/climbing/etriers/index.htm


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By Ryan N
From San Louis Obispo
Apr 15, 2013
RJN

Purcell prusik is a nice tool. Though I'm just getting into big walls, I've got tons of multipitch rock, ice, and alpine expierence and the Purcell prusik has no benifiet in climbing. They are nice for certain things, but here are some problems I have. If you weight it at all, it becomes a two handed operation to adjust it, where a daisy or PAS doesn't have that issue. They are VERY bulky. They don't have a great range of extension. They will go quite long, but generally don't go very short(if u used one you know what I'm talking about). Though its nice to have 20' of extra cord at your disposal, in my 10 years of climbing I've never needed any. They could never replace a daisy or PAS. When you make it out of prusik specific cord it does have stretch, which is nice, but not a big enough reason to switch. I like them, but not for climbing. The rope has always worked best for me. It's always there, dynamic, and adjusts to any length.


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By Justin Lofthouse
From Utah
Apr 16, 2013
The Platform

Thanks everyone for posting. I understand the dangers involved in how to properly clip in a traditional daisy chain. My question was not really about that, but thanks for the input about that. I have a pair of Yates adjustable daisy chains. So is it unsafe to use both of those as my only attachment to the anchor? Should I tie in with the rope as well or is that overkill(should I not bother doing this to avoid more cluster)? It what situations would the daisys or adjustable daisys be shock-loaded?


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By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Apr 16, 2013
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks

Justin Lofthouse wrote:
In what situations would the daisys or adjustable daisys be shock-loaded?


Catching a factor 2.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Apr 16, 2013

Justin Lofthouse wrote:
Thanks everyone for posting. I understand the dangers involved in how to properly clip in a traditional daisy chain. My question was not really about that, but thanks for the input about that. I have a pair of Yates adjustable daisy chains. So is it unsafe to use both of those as my only attachment to the anchor? Should I tie in with the rope as well or is that overkill(should I not bother doing this to avoid more cluster)? It what situations would the daisys or adjustable daisys be shock-loaded?


If you climb above the anchor and fall on your daisy, it creates shock loaded situation. However, I think it's overblown, because we don't see bodies in Zion, Yos and other places. I've taken daisy chain falls when the pieces I'm on blew. I wouldn't recommend it. On a big wall, unless you are on a hanging belay, the anchors tend to spread out just a little bit, that you need slack to move from one side to the other. I normally give myself enough slack in the lead line to move around, then tie it off one bolt or something. Then use my daisies as attachment to the closest anchor I'm working on.

Your concern of creating cluster with rope tie in is not something you have to worry about. Take a look at Mark's PDF. I don't use the exact same system but concept is similar, and it works.


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 16, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

Go to the DMM site and watch the vid about Dyneema slings.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Apr 16, 2013

divnamite wrote:
I normally give myself enough slack in the lead line to move around, then tie it off one bolt or something. Then use my daisies as attachment to the closest anchor I'm working on.

That's what I've always done and it's worked without problems. Really the issue is more when you are following a pitch than leading. When leading, you'll tie in long with cloves hitches however you've arranged your anchors but then I tie in short with my daisy. Conceivably, I cannot imagine what you might be doing at a belay where you'd possibly take a factor 2 fall onto your daisy (especially if you're clipped in pretty tight) so that concern seems unrealistic to me. When following, you'll want to tie in with the rope when you arrive at the belay(again with some slack so you can move around if needed) but tie in shorter with something else.

One should be aware of some of the issues with dyneema slings though. I have seen the DMM video Mark refers to and it's pretty eye opening.


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By BGardner
From Colorado
Apr 16, 2013

Adjustable daisys are awesome for leading and following the pitch.

When at the belay just use the rope. A clove hitch on the rope is almost infinitely adjustable and way stronger (and more dynamic) then any sling/daisy/PAS. Using multiple daisys for daisy+rope combo is just more cluster for a less effective system.

Purcell Prussics are a great tool for rescue situations where your doing all kinds of stuff without necessarily being tied to the end of the rope. I've used them a lot when working with rescue teams and like them for that application. For me, they're not the right tool for climbing. As someone else mentioned they're bulky and never seem to be the right length.

I also don't think they (or any daisy/sling/PAS) are strong enough or dynamic enough to be the belayer's primary connection to the anchor if a factor-2 is even a remote possibility. I'm sure you could get away with it here and there, but the margin of error just seems to small. Not to mention the static nature of those sling/daisy setups will do a number on your internals. I'm not saying it will be fun to catch a factor-2 if you use the rope but the combination of a stretchy rope and the bit of slip you'll get at the clove hitch, will smooth out the catch a bit.


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 17, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

Last spring, when I was soloing Iron Hawk, I had one Metolius PAS and one Adjustable Daisy. On a solo, you're never really tied into the rope so you're moving around on the anchors secured only by your daisies. Although I was careful about it, I noticed a number of times where I had moved to the point where I had slack in my PAS. On my next route, I went with just two Metolius Adjustable Daisies.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Apr 17, 2013

Mark Hudon wrote:
Last spring, when I was soloing Iron Hawk, I had one Metolius PAS and one Adjustable Daisy. On a solo, you're never really tied into the rope so you're moving around on the anchors secured only by your daisies. Although I was careful about it, I noticed a number of times where I had moved to the point where I had slack in my PAS. On my next route, I went with just two Metolius Adjustable Daisies.

Mark, are you saying you use PAS on lead just like a daisy (bounce test, etc)?
I generally tried to work below the anchor a little bit so I don't have to move up or down much.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Apr 17, 2013

Mark Hudon wrote:
... you're never really tied into the rope so you're moving around on the anchors secured only by your daisies....On my next route, I went with just two Metolius Adjustable Daisies.



SKETCHY! Mark, IIRC those adjustables are not anywhere near as strong as a std daisy or PAS. They break at the buckle, whether metolius style or yates/fish/etc ankra-style buckle.

You know that's how Pete cratered some years ago, right? Broke a metolius adjustable. Around the same time, a dude broke one in Zion on an easy trade wall (spaceshot IIRC).

I'm a big fan of ankra-buckled adjustables for leading on aid, but I would never use adjustables as my sole connection to planet earth. YMMV, etc.


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 17, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

I was afraid of the dreaded fall factor 2 with the PAS and figured that there was scant chance that both of the adjustable would break at the same time. Still though, you're right, if I was moving one, and fell onto only one...

I think what I'll do next time is to merely grab a chunk of rope and clip my Gri-gri into it for ultimate security.

While on a pitch, I never am clipped into a lower piece while bounce testing an upper one.


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By randy88fj62
May 6, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Mark Hudon wrote:
I was afraid of the dreaded fall factor 2 with the PAS and figured that there was scant chance that both of the adjustable would break at the same time. Still though, you're right, if I was moving one, and fell onto only one... I think what I'll do next time is to merely grab a chunk of rope and clip my Gri-gri into it for ultimate security. While on a pitch, I never am clipped into a lower piece while bounce testing an upper one.


Mark,
I am confused by your last statement. I'm relatively new to aiding and I am usually standing on one aider while giving the next piece a bounce test. That way if the piece pops I'm still in my other ladder and can continue finding a better placement.

Am I missing something? Seems like not being clipped into your previous piece would make bounce testing a moot point.


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By Jon H
From Boulder
May 6, 2013
At the matching crux

randy88fj62 wrote:
Mark, I am confused by your last statement. I'm relatively new to aiding and I am usually standing on one aider while giving the next piece a bounce test. That way if the piece pops I'm still in my other ladder and can continue finding a better placement. Am I missing something? Seems like not being clipped into your previous piece would make bounce testing a moot point.


I'm just venturing a guess here and obviously can't speak for Mark, but I believe, when bounce testing, he is still standing in his lower aider, but he has unclipped his daisy from it.


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By Mark Hudon
May 7, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

Right, when I'm bounce testing a piece, my rope would be clipped into my current piece, the last one, and the one I have a death grip on, but I'm bouncing on the piece above. If it blows, I want to catch myself on my last piece but it if I don't, I don't want my daisy to catch me on it either, I'd rather the rope did that.


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By randy88fj62
May 7, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Mark,
Your method makes sense as I have wondered about popping a piece and falling onto my other daisy.

Now my next question is:
What's keeping you from dropping an aider?

Let's say I:
1. place a cam with it's own biner dangling from an overhanging crack.
2. clip aider by itself into the cam's sling
3. bounce test and decide it's good
4. clip adjustable daisy into the cam's sling
5. step up and pull adjustable daisy tight

This means I now have three carabiners in the cam's sling (the cam's wiregate, aider on locker, and adjustable daisy on locker)

Seems like a lot of extra stuff going on that I wasn't previously dealing with. Having one locker for the aider/daisy along with the piece's wiregate was already a pain with biner shift.

I guess I'm newer to aid than I thought as I have never heard of separating the daisy and aider.


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By Mark Hudon
May 7, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

I learned to climb aid back in the days when a daisy had a different function. It was only a small chain of biners from your waist to be used while top stepping. We were never attached to our aiders like climbers are these days.
In all of my couple dozen multi-day aid routes, I've never dropped a set of aiders and on all of those routes my partners have dropped only one set. It's not something I worry about, although I do carry an extra set of light aiders in the haul bag.

I use a Kong adjustable fifi about 95% of the time when I want to go hands free in my aiders and quite often, quickly getting into the rest step position is easy, fast and comfortable.

Cheyne uses two ladders always clipped to two Metolius Adjustable daisies and he ain't exactly slow or always tangled up so it's all what you get used to.


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