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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:19 am
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Real Name: Adam Bethlehem
I was very surprised on Saturday on my visit to strubens valley to see a group of about 30 climbers top roping through the anchors on about 15 routes.

i was even more surprised when ask the MCSA representative who watches over the cars who this group was, his answer the MSCA.

I am not exactly who the group was, but this is not acceptable in my opinion (specially if the group is in fact from the MSCA). If you inspect the anchors you will see the wear from continual top roping through the anchors

This makes it unsafe for the people that use the crags correctly and all anchors should be set with draws to avoided wear and tear on the crags


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:37 am 
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Real Name: Paul P
Top-roping through your own draws is not something that is commonly taught in SA for some reason. Next time you see it, just introduce yourself and politely point out the error of their ways. :thumleft:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:53 am 
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Hi Adam,

Yes it does put extra wear on the anchors (not a lot, but if everyone were to do it and the anchors are not rings then it is worse). I would imagine the main reason that the MCSA Meet Convenor did this was out of safety and convenience.

Safety point: The (I'm guessing mostly novice climbers) are unable to kill themselves i.e. they cannot un-clip anything. This takes a huge worry off the person in charge.
Convenience: When everyone is tired out, no one has to go and clean the routes, they simply just pull the rope. This saves (valuable) time and effort, especially when out with a big group.

I hear you saying "but the anchors are getting worn down at a rapid rate!!". This may be the case, but in most cases they can replaced. If sport climbers contribute towards 'fixed hardware' for their sport then the anchors could simply be replaced with new ones.

To me the fact that someone was willing to take out 30 climbers is great (he/she is not being selfish with their time!). The MCSA contributes a good amount of time/effort/money towards our mountains/sport, in my mind it's ok if they toprope directly through the anchors :)

Obviously if you don't have a good reason to go directly off the anchors then please don't!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:38 am 
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I agree with Justin on this.

Although I completely understand the need to top-rope on your own gear. I don't see the bolts wearing quickly enough to warrant having to use your own gear and, as Justin said, the bolts can be replaced easily enough provided the climbers making use of the fixed hardware contribute towards it.

A bigger concern would be whether those anchors are at the correct angle to facilitate just passing the rope through them. If the anchors are far apart and spaced horizontally there would be additional stress on both anchor points. If the anchors are spaced vertically and are not equalized correctly there would be a large amount of stress on a single anchor point. I don't know if this would be a means for concern and if there would be a significant degradation over time?

This brings another question to mind which is in the cleaning of routes. I am told, and understandably so, that the correct way of cleaning a route is to climb the route, safety yourself, clean your anchors, set up an abseil and then abseil the route cleaning your gear as you go. This puts less stress on the anchors as there is only the weight of one climber to carry and there is little friction as there is no rope running through the anchors therefore very little wear-and-tear. Who cleans their routes like this? Personally, I make a judgement call based on the route, the rock and the anchors and decide what I will do from there. 99% of the time someone is lowering me down the route but there have been times that I have decided to abseil the route. This is usually due to conditions of the rock or anchors where I wouldn't want to put any more weight on them than necessary. Either way... I vote down-climb! :drunken:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:42 am 
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Real Name: Adam Bethlehem
the bolts at strubens on a lot of the routes are very warn and in fact need replacing (ill post pictures the next time i climb there), which i would do but i am not qualified to do.(if someone would like to teach me would be more than happy to learn)

i understand that if you tired, or for beginner. however there should be leeway for safety, specially at strubens where the anchors are easily accessible with just a shore walk.

at the end of they day we should exercise every practice to keep the integrity of the gear. its a really simple and safe practice. beginners should be taught safety from the beginning

however this is my opinion and the more people on the rock the better

lets just keep it safe :afro:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:54 am 
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In that case. If the anchors are already pretty worn then you are probably right. The way I see it personal judgement should always be applied to any situation in rock climbing. If the anchors where worn precautions should have probably been taken. A locking biner can be used to prevent people accidentally unclipping. As for the ease of cleaning... suck it up :pirat:

I have never climbed at Struebens so I am not familiar with the situation.

Maybe post the pictures and someone with a little more knowledge on the subject can make a suggestion for replacement?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:10 am 
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Real Name: Paul P
Justin wrote:
This may be the case, but in most cases they can replaced. If sport climbers contribute towards 'fixed hardware' for their sport then the anchors could simply be replaced with new ones.

For glue-ins, how? Chop them and drill new ones? That's going to be fugly. Check Andy's list of contributors to ARF. It is way short compared to people you see at the crag every week. People should top-rope on their own gear, end of.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:39 am 
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proze wrote:
Check Andy's list of contributors to ARF. It is way short compared to people you see at the crag every week. People should top-rope on their own gear, end of.


Agreed. It's easy to say it can be replaced, but someone still needs to spend the money and time to do it and few are willing to do so. I'll bet very, very few people who (regularly) toprope on anchors have actually ever bolted or done maintenance on a route.

thomsonza wrote:
Who cleans their routes like this?

I do, and I teach everyone I take out to do the same.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Let's be honest here, sport climbers are generally lazy. Yes, we are. Crags must be close to the car, the trails must be groomed by "them" and those damn bolts better be in top condition when we get there.

Well I don't agree about this toproping business through the lower-offs. They are lower-offs. I take people out a lot and put up topropes for them. Even if only 2 people are going to hang around, I use my draws through the bolts. Carabiners take forever to wear through and if they do they are really easy to replace. Bolts are not.

If you are worried about inexperienced climbers unclipping ropes at the top, brief them better or use screwgates/slings/figure-of-8's (more tedious!) etc. There are no excuses for laziness.

Maybe in Europe you can leave it up to the authorities to regularly inspect and continually replace anchors at the crags.

What we need at popular places like Strubens where there are U-Bolts on top, is a single link (or 3) of chain and a maillon on each U-Bolt. I have not been there for ages but I imagine those top anchors are getting nicely worn? Any pics?

To me the bottom line is not to be lazy. The leader(s) of a group need to budget time to go up and clean routes after everybody is done climbing. You get to climb the route twice, what a bargain!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:11 pm 
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Real Name: Adam Bethlehem
Ill take some pics on Saturday and post them for reference :)

where can i learn to bolt routes and place anchors

i climb at Strubens a lot so would not mind spending some of my own money to replace some anchors?

Any takers?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:27 pm
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Solution: Lead climb and Downclimb. All is solved. :bom:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
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Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Gustav wrote:
Maybe in Europe you can leave it up to the authorities to regularly inspect and continually replace anchors at the crags.


I've seen some lower offs on popular Spanish crags in a shocking state, so much so that I've left a maillon through the chain rather than trust the half worn through lower off 'biner.

It's all very well saying they can be removed and replaced once worn, but take a long view and consider what the top of these routes will look like in 100 years, when the U-bolts have been replaced half a dozen times.

While there are exceptional cases where it's a safer option to toprope off the lower offs, any climber, novice, new or otherwise should be able to understand how the equipment they are using is integral to their safety and if they start dicking about with it then death can result. Better to teach them good habits from the outset and have them be at least partially responsible for their own safety rather than wrap them in cotton wool and teach them bad habits.


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