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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:49 am 
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Real Name: Ernesto Ismail
Hi,

So for some reason some friends and I decided to go try climb something 5 - 7 grades higher than what we climb normally (5 for them, 7 for me). Needless to say, we were flattened by the route, but it was nice to try. So - four bolts up and its getting late so we decide we need to head home; so the guy who's currently up there has to bail.

Now, we had a maillon with us, and an old biner that is showing a lot of wear, and the bolts were nice round Raumer bolts. What should we have done? Lost an old biner, a R45 maillon or just rapped off the top bolt (worrying that someone would not take kindly to that). All ways we looked at it there was going to be an issue of only being on a single bolt if we tried to retrieve all the gear.

What should we have done? Needless to say well go back to climbing our grades and projecting stuff 2 grades harder than our standard...

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:57 am 
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1) Rapping off the bolt itself causes wear on the bolt and your rope (the bolt may have rough edges from quickdraws) - the wear on the bolt being the greater concern - that said the 4th bolt shouldnt see this happen to often (not like the top anchors) - nonetheless maillon or old biner is the far better option.
2) The only way (I know of) not to lose gear and to stay on more than one anchor is to downclimb. Its a pretty exciting affair, unclip get your belayer to take slack as fast possible, downclimb repeat (it usually requires a number of falls along the way - especially if you are climbing 5 - 7 grades above what you are comfortable with)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:12 pm 
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Hmm, wear on the rope I guess I can see, but on the bolt? A rappel = minimal rope motion through the bolt while its loaded, different if one decided to be belayed off. But, I guess any wear can be read as wear to much. I do recall Nic le Matre (sorry if I cant spell the name) saying one can ab straight off the glue-ins on Jovian Thunderbolts...

In terms of not being on only one piece I was more going for maillon on the top bolt, and old biner on the next lowest when you clean the draw.

I'm mainly just trying to make sure it all gets done correctly...

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Well if you take a sling with you, you can do the following:
1. Thread the sling through the (any) hanger.
2. Tie one end of the rope to one end of the sling - the side with the knot if it has one.
3. Thread the second end of the rope through both ends of the sling, and feed enough rope so that it reaches the ground, then abseil down the rope. Abseiling is advised as there is no friction on the rope, as opposed to being let down by your partner.
4. Pull the second end of the rope (Point 3) back through the sling, which should now leave you with the sling threaded through the hanger connected to the other end of the rope. Now simply pull the sling back out of the hanger.
Voila! no gear left on the route - this will of course not work on very long routes (unless you have a 70m), but should be fine for some of our shorter crags.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:24 pm 
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Guys, guys.... Its perfectly ok to abseil off a Raumer bolt. Just clip in, untie, lower an end and pull up an abseil device, Thread the rope through two bolts and pull through until the end reaches the ground, get on rap and abseil off. -simple.

This does not cause any wear on the bolt as the rope is unweighted when its being pulled through the eye of the bolt. Note that you should abseil and not get lowered as this does cause wear over time. In fact we should abseil after cleaning a route too to save the anchors but few people do.

You do not need slings, leaver biners, maillons or shackles to escape from a route equipped with nice rounded glue in bolts. I fact Id like to beg people not to use maillons or (especially) shackles ever. They just get in the way of clipping and are a real bitch to remove once the threads have rusted shut. So Raumers - nothing needed, Mechanicals - use leaver biners only.

As a foot note: If you decide to use a sling instead only abseil as Stu says, never get lowered off a sling! - I suppose that goes without saying, but one should also note that it will some arranging backup the sling arrangement through a second bolt.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:04 pm 
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Well,

That's what I was going for - I regard rappel and abseil to mean the same thing. Rope controlled by person descending, two strands through belay device.

I know about the sling/ prussik-cord trick - but its a lot to explain to someone 10m up a route.

With regards to practicing this stuff - where should one do it? I'd like to practice prussiking up hanging ropes, escaping belays, and cleaning gear from a stance that is loaded when I can't get back on the rock (when you can't get a draw out of a hanger cause your attachment to the bolt is above the 'draw). I always thought indoors at a gym - but the guys at CityROCK don't take kindly to people not climbing normally...you should have seen when I tried practising falling there - falling off a route with "clipping slack" in hand got me a very stern talking to.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:13 pm 
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"abseil" is a german word and literally means "downrope". Rappel is some other language... french, i think, but means exactly the same thing.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:40 am 
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Abseil appears to be the locally accepted official term. It is what you will see written in all literature should you chose to go the guiding qualification route.

I merely underlined abseil to distinguish it from being lowered with the rope running through the bolts.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:31 am 
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XMod wrote:
Guys, guys.... Its perfectly ok to abseil off a Raumer bolt. Just clip in, untie, lower an end and pull up an abseil device, Thread the rope through two bolts and pull through until the end reaches the ground, get on rap and abseil off. -simple.


Ok, yes that is the easiest quickest way to retreat off a Raumer bolt... however this breaks the golden rule of 'Never trust a single bolt' and it is therefor not the safest. I'm being pedantic here.

Here would be my two bolt lower off method (and yes you will need to sacrifice a piece of metal)
- You need to stay tied into the rope (remain on belay) at all times while threading the rope through the bolt (yes, it is possible)
- When you reach the bolt below, you need to replace the quickdraw with a leaver biner (before you remove the quickdraw)
- Once the leaver biner is in place, you get lowered down and clean the route

Yes, you are lowering off the bolt, but I don't see a problem with this as it would happen very seldom and there would be minimal wear on the bolt.
In practise I see very few people doing this :cyclops: (consequences of a bolt failing could be rather unpleasant though)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:22 am 
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Hay Not - sorry, when you said "(worrying that someone would not take kindly to that)" I assumed that you were talking about lowering off - Rappelling would mean almost no wear on the bolt


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:05 pm 
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All I was saying is that I've seen people get very upset with any shenanigans on bolts. I've been chastised for prussiking up a top rope going through two top anchors before (hence asking where I can practice such skills)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:53 pm 
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Justin there is no reason why one should lower off the bolt instead of abseiling, in fact bits of glue and small knicks on the bolts could chow your rope lowering off. Also if you re-read my post you will see that I advocate threading through two bolts, presumably when you clip in you will be doing likewise. This is pretty tricky to arrange when the bolts are far apart and you are on terrain that is way above your abilities but it is possible (To be honest with glue-ins Im happy to rap off one after some serious bounce testing - saves complicated, time consuming rigging - but thats just me), although quite why one would want to get onto routes that far over your head Im not sure. I also disagree that the wear and tear on the bolt will be minor as often on our rock there is a specific crux move that is way harder than anything else, making it likely that the same bolt will get abused over and over. Leaver biners are probably the best bet as at least they are easy to remove later, unlike shackles which require the hanger to be replaced completely (if youve ever tried to hacksaw and old rusty shackle off half way up a cliff you'll know what Im talking about). Please all; never use shackles on glue in bolts coz then we have to hang there to try and remove them - not fun at all!

Anyways, its impossible to describe all the variables one may encounter on the cliff in an i-net forum. Plus discussions like this just irk me, why did I start writing here again................ oh yeah Im sick at home with flu and bored, but its still irksome................hmmmmmmmmmmm.


Last edited by XMod on Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:11 pm 
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Justin wrote:
I'm being pedantic here.


Sorry I should have noted that you did mention two bolts, however it would be a helluva thing to thread two bolts in such a scenario while staying safe.

Agree with you on:
Don't get on routes that far over your head/ability
Two leaver biners are as good as it gets for retreating

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:30 pm 
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Okay, okay - sorry to irk you XMod...this is just me trying to do stuff right.

Two things: first, what is a "leaver biner"? Is it just a standard biner like the ones on a quickdraw? Is it one of those heavier but cheaper steel ones? Is it what I use which is an old biner that I'm not totally happy taking whippers on but that is probably hundreds?

Second, the reason we on on this route was curiosity as to what makes a hard climb so hard - a climb a grade or two higher than normal just feel a little more off-balance, a little more stretchy, requires a little more finger strength. But we wanted to know just how hard a hard climb is. We'd hoped there would be other people at the crag who might have offered advice and helped fetch gear - but no - hence the retrieval process.

And will someone please tell me where to practice the skills I mentioned above... I know WSAR/MCSA had a training day at the begining of the year at Silvermine - and that I couldn't go.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Okay to be fair finding rusty shackles adorning cruxy clips irks me way more than explaining/writing stuff here.

A leaver biner is just an old biner that you dont mind leaving behind which is still good enough to take your weight (dont use the one you dropped onto a rock ledge from the top of a route! - destroy those ones with a hacksaw!), if youve been climbing a while you will probably have collected quite a few by now, if not, well - tough, just use the cheapest one ones on your rack. Leaver biners are cool as you dont have to untie or anything so getting off is quick. I also like collecting them so use them liberally - heh heh :wink: (if you want to leave two brand new quickies instead we wont complain!!)

Jumping on routes a grade or two above your limit is cool, do it from time to time, usually one realises and learns a whole lot. Five grades over your limit seems a bit daft however and you will more than likely be retreating. IMHO - You want to be on things where you can at least go from bolt to bolt otherwise it seems a bit pointless.

@ Justin - yes threading two bolts if they are far apart is a mission (understatement! -I usually dont bother - thats just me - use two bolts ppl!) it involves creating a closed loop running between two bolts and a bit of up and down missioning to set up the abseil.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:35 pm 
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Right on Greg, just one thing:
XMod wrote:
(dont use the one you dropped onto a rock ledge from the top of a route! - destroy those ones with a hacksaw!)
...I remember reading a paper by some guys in California that used a pull-test rig to check a whole bunch of carabiners that they collected from the base of El Cap. They could have been dropped from the first pitch or the last, so you expect most of them to have fallen from somewhere in the middle right (normal distribution assumed?). Anyway, since seeing their finding way back then, that NOT ONE of the carabiners failed at less that 85% of their rated closed-gate major axis strength, I've bought into the school of thought that the whole "microfractures in softish aluminium alloys are crap". Cast metals (especially the harder ones, like iron, steel and stainless steel, tend to be brittle and thus more susceptible to cracking apparently).

I am searching for the article, anyone else see the one im talking about?

And, there's this: http://www.onrope1.com/Myth1.htm about testing the open gate strength of dropped carabiners...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Thats interesting, I recall a similar article where they tested old slings retrieved from abseil points, almost all were white with age, yet all stiil had over 60% of the rated strength (more than enough to abseil safely off), I suppose it goes to show we are safer than we think we are, but I still wont use the 24 year old belay biner I dropped 50m onto a rock to belay anyone with, just in case!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:58 pm 
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Check out Test the Stress

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:44 pm 
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My 2 cents regarding trying routes above your grade. I dont see any problem with this tactic as long as you plan which route to try with care. If you feel the urge to climb something way harder than you are capable of, choose a hard line next to one you know you can climb. Then if you come off at the hard routes crux, you or your friends shouldn't have too much trouble gathering gear from the "do-able" line next door with some mild wall walking. Of course, that is not applicable in all situations.

Regarding abbing of glue-ins, it IS probably best to use a leaver biner, as painful as it sometimes is considering how impoverished all of us climbers tend to be ;P. Bolts of any sort will always be experiencing metal on metal contact through their lifespan so scrapes, scratches, nicks, etc. however unlikely, could occur and snag your rope. Then again, the same can be said of the anchor chains...

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:56 am 
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Is see mention made fairly often in this thread about the glue in raumer being damaged by quickdraws. Has anybody actually witnessed this? Logic tells me that everybody climbs with aluminium draws and maybe the odd titanium draw. Aluminium is quite a bit softer than 316 SS and I cannot see it leaving sharp marks on the SS. I must admit that I have not inspected the glue-ins to see if this is the case though. IMO abbing off a well placed glue-in directly is highly unlikely to do much damage to the glue in and quite safe. That said it is always better to have redundancy in a system.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:25 am 
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Hi,

The MCSA has about 10 training meets each year, focusing on a variety of skills. There is an annual 'emergency' procedures meet held around December each year. This is a great opprtunity to practise skills like ascending a rope in a safe and controlled environment.


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