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Top rope Clip Fail

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:18 am
by Justin
I was at Silvermine the other day on a toprope (cleaning the draws) and arrived at the top to find one of the top anchor carabiners open (See pics below).
Best practice: Use a quickdraw with lockers on both sides.
Next (somewhere along the line) best: Place your quickdraws on the bottom ring so that there is less chance of anything pushing up against the gate.

FYI: I've also seen a carabiner snapped during a fall (the carabiner twisted) on a homemade ring bolt (on Ben Dover at the Scoop).

Re: Top rope Clip Fail

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:54 am
by Old Smelly
I don't think that is the best solution - if the quickdraw had just been clipped on top of the ring it would have been ok.

Yes the special rig with locking biners on quickdraws would also work but seeing as we are seeing more unequal anchor setups - yes some of them are deliberate (see multiple previous discussions on unequal anchor bolts)- so the best answer is actually to carry a pre-rigged Quad. ... ad-anchor/ ... ad-anchor/

Seriously though - simplicity is key- I prefer leaving the bottom rings for the rope and clipping the draws to the hangers but then where do you clip your tethers? So maybe sometimes the tethers should go to the hangers and the draws to the rings. It is so much more simple if there is a link inbetween the hangers and the rings but then it either has to be twisted or you need 2. Hmm.

Still I say use a Quad :thumright

Re: Top rope Clip Fail

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:00 pm
by Justin
Thanks Old Smelly, I like the Quad! Especially for multi pitch - (video from one of the links posted by OS)

You could carry a pre-rigged quad for Sport climbing, but top anchors are often at different heights/levels, this would then have you sitting there and adjusting your Quad. Which for my personal climbing takes too much time.

To clarify, I would put both quickdraws on the bottom rings always.

Two ordinary (opposing) quickdraws on top anchors are what I've used forever. The incident that started this thread (gate opening, see above), is the first time that I've ever seen a biner do that (in that particular situation).
I do use the locker quickdraw in a guiding situation, but for a different reason.
The reason: So the client can't remove the rope from the system (I use a triple auto locker and you can tell if they start struggling with it!). More often than not, I thread the rope directly so it becomes (almost) impossible for the climber to disengage from the system (they would have to untie their knot).
The down side, is wear on hardware - however this can be replaced.

Re: Top rope Clip Fail

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:24 pm
Backup and redundancy is the name of the game. Hence 2 top anchors. If you are leaving draws up there it means you are not cleaning the route and then there is lots of redundancy with all the clipped draws. So a biner opening somewhat is only of concern if someone is top-roping. That biner was almost certainly not clipped on properly the first time. Just a lower off weighting that biner would not have caused that problem. Pulling the rope and it whipping through could have. In any case even if top-roping weighting the rope would have kept the biner on the top ring and it is still way strong enough to withstand a few hundred kilos of weight. And again there are two.

Putting on locking biners is OK but really adds to the admin and not necessary at all. Just adds "clutter" to the system in my opinion and the more clutter the less fun.

The real danger in sport climbing is deck falls from the bolts failing at clip 1, 2 or 3 and possibly at the top. And of course the belayer failing to hold the rope, not checking knots and so on. All else fades into insignificance in terms of risk.