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#27851 - 03/26/07 03:46 PM cordelette-attention RG
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
The new climbing anchors book by John Long does present a lot of changes in recommended rigging, most notably negative aspects of a cordelette and that using a daisy or other static tie in has been implicated as major factors in some recent fatalities. Our own RG is quoted at length and seems to be the mastermind behind the cordelette analysis. I'm ready to change but thought to ask a couple questions. First, does switching to a dynamic cordelette reduce the problems appreciably?
I've been aware of the unegual loading problem awhile after catching some falls by a second and noting that the load rarely gets shared as much as possible. When in a vertical crack or set of anchors (rare at the gunks), I've started tying the cordelette knot so that I purposely have more tension on the longer arms in order to reduce increased stretch weighting these less. Has any research been done as to whether this provides any improvement? Thanks in advance.

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#27856 - 03/26/07 08:01 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
GOclimb Offline
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Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Personally, I'd just switch to another method - one which integrates some level of dynamic equalization. These are the only methods that I think, in the long run, will be successful in keeping the forces reasonably well distributed among pieces.

There are several reasonable choices out there, two of which are even in JL's book - Sliding-X with limiter knots, and what I think he called the duoglide. Other excellent options are the Mooselette, RG's own Nerdalette (damn, I think I'm getting the name wrong) and one popularized by CharlesJMM on RC.com. Sadly, none of these was recorded in JL's book, nor have they been tested aside from by a few users in the field. But they can be found online if you are willing to search.

GO

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#27857 - 03/26/07 08:52 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: GOclimb]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
In which fatalities was a static tie-in implicated?

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#27858 - 03/26/07 08:53 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: GOclimb]
chip Offline
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Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Thanks GO. If anyone runs across some links to these, please post.

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#27860 - 03/26/07 09:50 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Chip, I'm hardly the mastermind, but I did point out a while ago, at a time when people were chanting the SRENE mantra, that true equalization was unattainable, not just in a practical sense, but in theory. When John Long started on his latest anchor book, he had Jim Ewing of Sterling Ropes test some of my predictions, which were found to be of quite practical significance in spite of their idealized formulation.

Things have headed in a funny direction since then. I think most people, once they understood that cordelette anchors distribute the load rather than equalizing it, were reasonably comfortable with that, even if what it really meant was that the pieces were loaded sequentially. But as we started thinking about (the very small number of) catastrophic anchor failures, it became reasonable to wonder whether you can up your chances of survival if you can really equalize the load.

The trouble is that you can't equalize without introducing the possibility of extension, thereby violating another of the mantra's precepts. Other tests by Ewing suggested that extension had far less effect on the ultimate peak load than people thought. GO originally pointed out that these tests may be flawed, however, and I think he is right, although I still think that small anchor extensions (relative to the length of the belayer's tie-in) are not a serious threat, or perhaps I should say that the advantages of equalization outweigh the risks of small extensions.

One of the results of that discussion was the enormous Sliding X thread on rockclimbing.com, in which various people proposed and discussed different equalizing rigging systems. Personally, I can't see myself using any of them, but others feel differently and believe that some useful solutions are presented there.

Meanwhile, I, a climber who never uses cordelettes and just ties in with the rope, became interested enough in the equalization debate to try to design something that I thought might work and also which met my standards for general utility. The initial result is the Geekqualizer (yes, GO got the name wrong), and Mal Daly of Trango was intrigued enough to sew two up for me to experiment with. I originally posted some pictures of this gadget on Supetopo; they have now been reposted by someone on rockclimbing.com as well. Neither of those threads is active at the moment; searching for "geekqualizer" or a lot of scrolling will be required to find them.

As for the pictures themselves, here are some of them:

The whole unit:



The equalizing portion is a (small) Trango Alpine Equalizer:



Set-up with unequal arms:



Close-up of clove hitch and back-up connection:



All wrapped up:



I should add that the question of relatively dynamic materials vs. newer high-strength stuff is not about improving equalization, it is about reducing the peak load to the anchors. It is fairly clear that connecting a belayer to the anchor with dyneema is not a good idea; the rope should always be the thing that transmits belayer load to the anchor. Personally, I don't think it matters that much what the anchor rigging materials are as long as the belayer is connected to them with the climbing rope.

Dawn, I don't know about fatalities, but there is one set of tests done by a canyoneering group and another set by a rescue group that indicates that falls onto dyneema (such as one might take while tethered to a rappel anchor) produce forces in excess of the UIAA maximum limit and in some cases are enough to break the dyneema sling. I'll see if I can find the references.

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#27861 - 03/26/07 10:12 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
chip Offline
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Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Looks like a good solution, RG. Not available, eh? Maybe Trango will sew up some if called... Good folk there. Thanks for the reply.

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#27866 - 03/27/07 02:57 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
 Quote:
Dawn, I don't know about fatalities, but there is one set of tests done by a canyoneering group and another set by a rescue group that indicates that falls onto dyneema (such as one might take while tethered to a rappel anchor) produce forces in excess of the UIAA maximum limit and in some cases are enough to break the dyneema sling.

I have no problem believing that but that's a very different subject.

I was following, to some extent, the discussions on rockclimbing.com and am one of those people not too concerned about the pieces being loaded sequentially rather than simultaneously, especially at the Gunks. I thought from the tone of the original post that some kind of real world accident had ensued which might cause me to re-evaluate my position. As long as it's still just geeks arguing equations, I'm OK with what I'm doing.

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#27869 - 03/27/07 04:34 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
MarcC Offline
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Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
I was following, to some extent, the discussions on rockclimbing.com and am one of those people not too concerned about the pieces being loaded sequentially rather than simultaneously, especially at the Gunks.

'Cause the Gunks is different?

 Quote:
I thought from the tone of the original post that some kind of real world accident had ensued which might cause me to re-evaluate my position. As long as it's still just geeks arguing equations, I'm OK with what I'm doing.

IIRC, the fatal fall on Tahquitz a couple of years ago was likely due to the sequential loading and subsequent failure of 3 cam placements. I do not remember if a cordelette was involved.
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#27873 - 03/27/07 01:43 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: MarcC]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
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Loc: CT
They never figured out what happened at Tahquitz. I believe there was a cordelette attached to someone but they aren't sure whether the gear was even in the rock at the time of the fall. The final report, I believe, suggested that they fell from somewhere between their supposed route and the rap off but friends of the guy who had the gear still attached to him said he wouldn't have walked around without cleaning it up.

Yes, the Gunks are different in some ways. I'd trust any single well-placed piece at the Gunks. The other two pieces are in case I've made a mistake in either technique or judgement. Based on current thinking, if I were somewhere building an anchor I really didn't trust, I'd put more thought into how I was equalizing it.

Mainly, I feel that if cordelette technique were dangerous it would be supremely obvious by now from the accidents that would have occurred. That's how I feel about the EDK too. You can run as many tests as you want but real life is telling us that both techniques work fine and since they're convenient and familiar, I'm going to keep using them.

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#27882 - 03/27/07 04:25 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
chip Offline
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Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
The gunks can also be different in that the anchor placements are often in a horizontal relationship (I know what you're thinkin' Smike), which tends to keep the arms of the cordelette more equal in length than in a vertical alignment. As such, there is less relative difference in stretch and consequent loading between the different elements of the rigging in a straight up or down pull. Obviously not true for every situation but more often the case than on some crack jam-fest.
This can work against you as well, as the side pull effect is then more pronounced on a horizontal alignment as the cordelette is essentially fixed in position against any wandering and will then load the anchor point farthest away from the pull much more than any other.

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#27890 - 03/27/07 10:02 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I think at one point I counted four or five cases I had read about involving a catastrophic anchor failure in the last ten years. Since no one is left to tell the tale when this happens, we have virtually no information about how these failures happen. Typically, the bodies and the gear are found at the base of the rocks and what happened and how it happened are matters of conjecture.

Dawn has described what I have understood about the Tahquitz accident. I don't know anyone familiar with the rock and the details of the accident who think the official S & R report is right, and there is a climber witness who heard a distinctive series of plunks that would be consistent with a sequential failure. But still, we just don't know.

In any case, the sequential failure hypothesis is almost unavoidable, since it seems extremely unlikely that all the pieces in a multi-piece anchor would be so bad as to fail at the the low loads that would occur if the impact was truly equally distributed to three or four anchor points.

As for the need for better distribution than you can get with a cordelette, we are speaking of highly unlikely scenarios and individual comfort levels with those levels of probability. I think that both Dawn's reasoning and her analogy to the EDK situation are flawed, however. The fact that there have been only a handful of catastrophic anchor failures may simply be a measure of how rare such occurrences are, rather than any indication of the adequacy of traditional cordelette rigging practices. The EDK is used worldwide and is tested almost continuously on a daily basis. Belay anchors are almost never put to the test anywhere.

My personal bet is that a significant number of belay anchors wouldn't survive, but I am not arguing that folks should throw out their cordelettes and start using any of the weird equalizing setups that have cropped up as a result of the Sliding-X thread. There are various uncertainties in climbing, and ultimate belay anchor strength is one of them.

John Long is, however, in a somewhat different position. If you are going to write for the world on what the best practice is, you have to devote some serious attention to divining what to do. It isn't enough to say, "I'm comfortable with this," you have to do better and say that, within the bounds of our still very limited knowledge, this is the best strategy for anchoring, one that will give you the best chance of surviving even those incredibly unlikely scenarios. From that perspective, it seems that cordelette-based anchoring techniques fall far short of what is ideal.

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#28088 - 04/04/07 09:43 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Julie Offline
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Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
I only know what the rest of anyone knows from the SAR report about the Tahquitz accident. However, I've been to the spot(s) that the climbers are thought to have fallen from, and know the rock and area there. From the gear left on the climbers, and knowing the rock, I have two hypotheses about what might have happened.

First, there's a spot where the route they were on shares a belay with several other converging routes. One obvious place to plug gear is a horizontal crack that's about waist height, and quite varied in its size and inner geometry. It's not comfortable to sit or stand right at the gear, but a good seat/stance is a few feet directly right of that. My hypothesis in this case is that the 2nd took a (relatively) hard and/or swinging fall, and the gear in the crack rotated and pulled.

Second, above that point it's a pitch or two of mostly easy 5.0-5.3 climbing to the summit. Some climbers do simul past this point. Then once you get to the top, depending on rope drag, it's tempting and easy to put in a sub-optimal anchor ... or even hip-belay. The hypothesis here is that one of them fell and took both of them down, in the very last stages of finishing the route.

My point in writing this out is not to establish what happened; rather, to point out that we don't and can't know. What we do know is that the two climbers were experienced and able, and yet somehow, gear &/ anchor indeed failed.

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#28152 - 04/08/07 03:47 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Julie]
Dillbag Offline
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Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
 Quote:
gear & anchor indeed failed


Wasn't the paragraph just before this statement kinda saying... it couldn't be sure if the anchor or gear pulled?

From all the reports and conjecture that was tossed around on that accident, there are just too many different scenarios that could have played out for anyone to definitively say what happened.

Of course this doesn't mean that if testing was done on cordalettes after this and they aren't as safe as was initially thought... Well of course we should all pay attention to the new information. It's like everything with climbing, you make a choice...
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#28291 - 04/15/07 11:51 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Dillbag]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I think most people will still be using traditional anchor techniques at least some of the time. Some of the recent work on anchors provides useful practical information about strategies for anchoring with a cordelette (or tying in with the rope). I posted this advice on SuperT but is also seems to fit well in the context of the present discussion here. The assumption is a 3-point trad anchor rigged with a cordelette.

1. Use a cordelette of 7mm nylon rope. The stretch plays an important equalizing role. (But see item 5.)

2. Don't be sloppy. Slack in the arms and/or knot slippage makes a significant contribution to load inequality in the strands.

3. The strength of placements is much more important than achieving small arm angles (stretch in 7mm nylon cordelette will decrease the arm angles).

4. The shortest strand will bear the highest load. Expect it to get half the impact, so if possible the piece on the shortest strand should be the best piece, and if possible it should be the middle piece.

5. Use a low-stretch sling on an anchor piece to equalize nylon arm length if there big differences in arm lengths (otherwise the stretch in a much longer nylon arm will end up transferring most of the load to the other arms).

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#28447 - 04/20/07 02:48 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I've been using an equalette, as outlined in JL's new book and find it just as fast and more forgiving than the cordelette. The cordage can always be tied as a cordelette if you see this as a better option for a given situation. Thanks everyone, especially RG.

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#28467 - 04/20/07 09:10 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
can we see some pix of an equalette, or is it the same as the trango thingamabob?
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#28473 - 04/21/07 01:41 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I don't have a pic, but there is a nice one and description in JL's new version of Climbing Anchors.

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#28476 - 04/22/07 04:16 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
4. The shortest strand will bear the highest load. Expect it to get half the impact, so if possible the piece on the shortest strand should be the best piece, and if possible it should be the middle piece.


RIght. And what seems strange to me about Mr. Long's solution (equalette) is that it automatically puts 50% of the load on the single arm of a three piece anchor.

I think there are better solutions out there ... none perfect, but ones that approach the simplicity of a cordelette, limit extension (at least to the point where the belayer won't get ripped from the ledge), and distribute loads dynamically and efficiently. I have one solution that I'm getting ready to post pictures of; I'm sure many others have yet to be discovered.

In the mean time, I'm not too concerned about these problems with the traditional cordelette. Craig Conolly's testing suggests that the maximum possible impact in a real world factor 2 fall is under 4 kn. If each individual piece in your anchor can't handle 4kn with ease, then you have serious problems: the rock is bad, the placements are bad, or the load direction is way out of line with what you predicted. In any case, this means you have no actual redundancy whatsoever, because the soundness of the anchor depends on no piece failing. If you know you have placements this weak, then you're going to need many of them, and you may to engage in elaborate equalizing to make them safe (numerous sliding Xs, etc.).

With more reasonable placements (each able to hold well over 4kn), a standard cordelette is pretty good. Each of the three arms can individually hold the fall. If a piece fails for reasons you couldn't predict, you still have double redundancy. Efficiency of distribution and sequence of loading are just not a big deal. Direction of loading is always a big deal, but more from the perspective of the individual placements than the rigging.

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#28478 - 04/22/07 07:01 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
So I was hanging off my anchor yesterday. It wasn't a hanging belay, I was just leaning back against it while belaying, like you do, and all three arms looked quite weighted to me. They were all taut anyway. I could even shift somewhat from side to side without that changing - not a lot but say 6 inches to each side. What gives? Is that imaginary weighting? Does it not count?

I almost always, and was at that time, ledged (clipped above the knot). Does that make a difference?

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#28479 - 04/23/07 01:45 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Craig Conolly's testing suggests that the maximum possible impact in a real world factor 2 fall is under 4 kn.

If this were true a single black alien could withstand a factor two belayed fall. Do not try this at home folks. Think about the anchor failure that caused a fatality on the DNB a few years ago. Four pieces, none of them capable of holding 4 kN either separately or in combination. Thinking about anchoring with a 4 kN max as a guiding principle is not a good idea, in my opinion.

Look, I've never said cordelette anchoring isn't good enough for most situations, I've only pointed out, back when most people were chanting the srene mantra, that equalization part of that refrain is a myth, a fact that has now has had some experimental confirmation.

All three arms looked quite weighted to me. They were all taut anyway. I could even shift somewhat from side to side without that changing - not a lot but say 6 inches to each side. What gives? Is that imaginary weighting? Does it not count?

The fact that all three arms are under tension does not mean they all have the same tension. Failures of equalization, which can be substantial, occur because the tension in the arms isn't equally distributed, not because there isn't any tension. A properly rigged cordelette on three pieces in a horizontal crack will, if loaded in the direction it was tied for, probably distribute about half the load to the center piece and the rest to the sides arms. This seems pretty acceptable to most people, except perhaps the rescue folks, and the equalette doesn't seem to be any better for three-piece anchors. Off-axis loads on a cordelette will typically weight only one arm and set the scenario for a cascade failure if the individual pieces aren't good enough.

As for the 6-inch horizontal shift having no effect on arm tension, I don't know what the configuration was and how the shifting was measured, but if you put three pieces in a horizontal crack, rig a cordelette, and contrive to shift the power point 6 inches to the side in the plane of the rock, only one arm will be weighted. i'm not sure what the effect of "ledging" is; it doesn't seem to me that it would make any difference. Perhaps a shift could pull slack out of the cordelette power point knot and thereby maintain tension in the other two arms, but if this happens, only the center strand will be weighted by a straight-down load.

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#28480 - 04/23/07 02:45 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
[color:blue]Think about the anchor failure that caused a fatality on the DNB a few years ago. Four pieces, none of them capable of holding 4 kN either separately or in combination. Thinking about anchoring with a 4 kN max as a guiding principle is not a good idea, in my opinion.


This is close to the point I'm trying to make. If you have a few pieces, none of which is capable of holding the maximum possible fall, then you have a serious problem ... even if you concoct some rigging that can distribute the load well enough to get acceptable overall strength. Because in this situation you have zero redundancy, and all varieties of cascading failure are possible.

On the other hand, if your individual pieces are strong enough to hold a factor 2 fall (whether you judge that to be 4 or 8 kn, or whatever), then rigging together multiples give you true redundancy. Equal or quasi-equal distribution is icing on the cake, but I think it's debateable if it's as important as some other practical considerations. Like simplicity, versatility, ease of use, ease of evaluation, etc.

All systems seem imperfect, but in this last regard the cordelette has some things going for it. Understanding its limitations (fixed direction, innability to make safe use of bad pieces) will help you decide when not to use it.

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#28481 - 04/23/07 03:34 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
 Quote:
Think about the anchor failure that caused a fatality on the DNB a few years ago. Four pieces, none of them capable of holding 4 kN either separately or in combination.
Weren't those pieces clove-hitched? And aren't the people decrying the cordelette now for being non-equalizing the same people who have decried the cordelette forever for being . . . whatever? The same people who clove-hitched because it didn't require a separate piece of gear and was just more "trad"?

RG, are you now using one of those more complicated rigs that requires more gear or are you still clove-hitching? And if you're clove-hitching, do you believe you're getting better equalization that way?

I was just at R&S trying to buy one of those cordelette-on-a-spools they used to sell. As far as I can tell, they don't even sell that material anymore and told me cordelettes had been debunked. They also tried to convince me I wanted this stuff that was "stronger" but that maintained a bend when I bent it. Now the last time the cordelette was debunked, IIRC, it was the material that was in question and we were told not to use the stuff that bent like that because it weakened every time you tied a knot. R&S seemed to know nothing about that subject. I assure you I'll be checking with our mutual friend before I buy anything. I don't know everything, but I know my sources.

I'm believing nothing short of real life drop tests on real life gear that are comparative. I almost am getting the feeling at this point that people are being told option A is not good when there isn't a better option B. And FWIW, a long spool of strong, thin cord is useful for more than equalizing anchors. I use my cordelette on almost every pitch but maybe only use it to equalize an anchor on one in three and if I want another long piece of thin, strong cord I should be able to buy one without being told they're somehow dangerous.

RG, this isn't aimed at you directly. I'm getting fed-up with how people repeat things they know little about and decide that I'm unsafe when I've made a conscious decision based on more evidence and thought than they're capable of. Those who have made other decisions based on evidence and thought are totally welcome to their opinions and I'm actually interested to hear them but if all you're doing is repeating something third-hand you heard off of rockclimbing.com, please STFU.

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#28484 - 04/23/07 12:19 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Disclaimer - I haven't read any of the cordelette testing reports.

But it seems to me that anyone who ever thought a cordelette yields 33/33/33 load distribution is woefully unaware of the basics of physics. I'm not talking PhD stuff, just things about angles that all leaders should appreciate. If the reality is more like 25/50/25, well guess what - I ain't losing any sleep over that. (And yes I realize the sum of the loads will be greater than the applied impact loading. More basic vector stuff that.)

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#28486 - 04/23/07 01:10 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Mike Rawdon]
strat Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 4242
Can I still use my cordalette to tie around sappy pine trees so that my rope doesn't get all sticky?

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#28488 - 04/23/07 01:40 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: strat]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
I was being grumpy last night, sorry. Anyway, the material you should use for a cordalette is Bluewater Titan. This is based on testing http://www.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/High_Strength_Cord.pdf which I'm not going to pretend I understand. R&S didn't seem to have this but I wasn't able to ask for it by name and expecting them to read my mind is unfair. It might even have been Titan that I was being shown. I just didn't like the way it bent.

As for why a cordalette might equalize a little better above the ledge than at the power point, my guess is that it's the biner being able to shift that makes the difference. From the power point, there's no play whatsoever but when you're clipped in above it, the biner can rotate as you move from side to side, thus keeping tension on all three legs somewhat better. Also, there's none of the error that was introduced by the knot not being tied with perfect tension on all three legs.

The obvious downside to ledging is that you're only using one strand of each leg which is considerably less strong. I'm usually also clipped into the power point as a backup when I ledge. One interesting possiblity which I'd never considered before is to clip into the power point and redirect through the ledge. I'm usually redirected through a single piece and if that piece blows there's obviously trouble. Redirecting through the power point would give maximum strength at the redirection point, possibly with maximum equalization (given minimum extension). The failure point might actually be the cord in that case.

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#28490 - 04/23/07 02:42 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Mike Rawdon]
paulraphael Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
I'm not talking PhD stuff, just things about angles that all leaders should appreciate. If the reality is more like 25/50/25, well guess what - I ain't losing any sleep over that.


Agreed. It's just important to be aware of this. The only people who are going to get in trouble are those who assume they'll get perfect distribution with a cordelette (or anything else), and based on this think it's ok to use marginal placements. But I don't think this kind of Russian Roulette says as much about the cordelette as it does about people's basic grasp of odds and redundancy. Not to mention physics.

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#28491 - 04/23/07 02:45 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
I was being grumpy last night, sorry. Anyway, the material you should use for a cordalette is Bluewater Titan. This is based on testing http://www.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/High_Strength_Cord.pdf which I'm not going to pretend I understand.


What I took away from that (and other tests, including the ones J. Long did with Sterling Ropes) is that 7mm nylon is the best material.

It loses much less strength when knotted than any of the high tech cords, and is also essentially immune to fatigue--the constant weakening of the fibers from being flexed under load. All the high tech cords are depressingly vulnerable to fatigue.

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#28494 - 04/23/07 03:05 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
 Quote:
As for why a cordalette might equalize a little better above the ledge than at the power point, ...

The obvious downside to ledging is that you're only using one strand of each leg which is considerably less strong. I'm usually also clipped into the power point as a backup when I ledge. ...


Guess I don't know what ledged is cause I'm lost. It sounds as if you have built an anchor and have moved away from it to belay but have the anchor rope running though a piece closer to you.

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#28495 - 04/23/07 03:32 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: mworking]
dalguard Offline
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The "ledge" is above the knot. You have to be careful to clip one strand of each of the legs or you could end up in a situation where you're not clipped in at all if one leg blows. It actually gets you closer to your anchor, not farther away, since you're clipped higher up on the cordelette. Wish I could find a picture somewhere to show you but if you use a cordelette you could look at it the next time and imagine clipping one strand from each piece above where you tied the knot and I think you'll see what I'm talking about. If you don't use a cordelette then it's a moot point.

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#28497 - 04/23/07 04:12 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
mworking Offline
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I don't often use a cordelette, but I think I understand now. You clip one strand from each piece to the knot rather than the knot itself. The purpose being to shorten the effective lenght. I would guess you tie the knot high the as well. The exra piece you mentioned before was to help ensure you stayed on the ledge.

I am not anti-cordelette, but I don't often use a cordelette becuase I have never been very happy with the results of my equlization. But early rejection resulted in little practice.

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#28498 - 04/23/07 04:31 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: mworking]
paulraphael Offline
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Loc: New York, NY
the ledge is also useful for avoiding a big clusterf___ at the powerpoint. it's an easy place for the second(s) to clip into, or if your climbing alpine, to clip in your pack, etc..

but i'd prefer the powerpoint for the belayer's main tie-in.

if you need to shorten the thing in general, there are better ways to do it (tie a bigger knot, etc.)

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#28505 - 04/23/07 07:56 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
nerdom Offline
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Registered: 09/07/01
Posts: 2483
Loc: Davis Sq., MA
 Originally Posted By: paulraphael
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
I was being grumpy last night, sorry. Anyway, the material you should use for a cordalette is Bluewater Titan. This is based on testing http://www.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/High_Strength_Cord.pdf which I'm not going to pretend I understand.


What I took away from that (and other tests, including the ones J. Long did with Sterling Ropes) is that 7mm nylon is the best material.

It loses much less strength when knotted than any of the high tech cords, and is also essentially immune to fatigue--the constant weakening of the fibers from being flexed under load. All the high tech cords are depressingly vulnerable to fatigue.


And it is also fairly cumbersome. 5.5mm spectra is really light and compresses to a pretty small wrap. And the difference in strength is not enough to concern me. As for durability, the stuff is pretty cheap, about $15-$20 per cordalette. I'm guessing you can easily get a solid year's use of that. What's $20 a year? The real issue with it, as I recall, is weakening due to loading the strands over an edge. So don't load the strands over any edges!
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#28507 - 04/23/07 10:20 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: nerdom]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
aren't the people decrying the cordelette now for being non-equalizing the same people who have decried the cordelette forever for being . . . whatever? The same people who clove-hitched because it didn't require a separate piece of gear and was just more "trad"?

Well, I can only speak for myself here, but I sense that I just might be one of the shifty paradigm shifters Dawn is complaining about. Personally, I've never been a fan of cordelettes and have generally found them to be superfluous. This has nothing to do with being against fads, being more rad or trad or having a tad bigger nads. I usually tie in with the rope, but my tie-in looks pretty much like a cordelette. I've posted pictures in response to questions about how to do this on rockclimbing.com. I almost never just clove hitch a bunch of stuff together, so I plead not guilty, your honor, to the charge of hypocrisy.

My rope-only anchors suffer from the same equalization issues as the cordelette, and I've never made any bones about it. I tried for a while to speak of fixed-arm anchors, all of which have the same equalization issues, but I gave up on that terminology after it became clear no one else was going to use it. Note that I recently posted a few basic suggestions for cordelette deployment that bridge the gap between paying no attention to equalization to having some simple strategies that could be part of a foundation of informed usage. I would hardly be doing this if I had concluded that fixed-arm anchors are dangerous in general.

RG, are you now using one of those more complicated rigs that requires more gear or are you still clove-hitching? And if you're clove-hitching, do you believe you're getting better equalization that way?

Mostly I'm still constructing rope anchors, which are, as I hope I just explained, equivalent to cordelettes in the (non) equalization departement. The complicated gear-intensive rigs from the sliding-X thread are a testimony to human ingeniousness, but I'll never use one of them. I was fortunate to be able to have Mal Daly make up a version of Trango's Alpine Equalizer for me that I named the Geekqualizer. Pictures of it have appeared on various sites including this one. Anyone hoping to detect trad feet of clay need look no further than this, a total sell-out to the dark side of gimmicry. I swore I would try to use it on every climb to see how practical it is to deploy in the field, but so far I haven't done very well. Early results suggest to me it involves more fussing than I want to indulge in.

I almost am getting the feeling at this point that people are being told option A is not good when there isn't a better option B.

I think you're right, when it comes to anchors with three or more pieces.

RG, this isn't aimed at you directly.

Not to worry, even if some it some of it is. You're entitled. And to recycle a quote from Hell's Angels chief Sonny Barger on alleged police brutality, "it's nothing---I've been hurt by experts."

But it seems to me that anyone who ever thought a cordelette yields 33/33/33 load distribution is woefully unaware of the basics of physics. I'm not talking PhD stuff, just things about angles that all leaders should appreciate.

YOur hypothetical non-Ph.D.'s are also laboring under the misapprehension that 3 X 33 = 100. Might this be the Heisenberg Uncertaintly Principle in a new guise? But seriously, there are basics and there are basics. The comments I made a few years ago, which seem to be one of the things that woke up the equalization monster, apply to the substantial failures of equalization that occur when the pieces are all in the same vertical crack and so all arm angles are zero.

The truly amazing thing about this whole discussion is the almost complete state of ignorance climbers enjoy. For every propeller-head like me spouting Hooke's Law and the equations of simple harmonic motion, there is a bunch of young and old fogies proclaiming the old methods have worked just fine and there's nothing to think about. They never tire of confusing the low probability that anyone's belay anchors will ever be seriously tested with the fact that the methods being used are adequate. Nonetheless, I sympathize with Dawn having to deal with know-nothing safety nazis telling her that her methods are unsafe. Considering the general state of ignorance we live with, anchoring technique looks as much like astrology as science, and we'd all be better off if the religious fanatics on both sides of the debate turned down the volume so the rest of us could hear ourselves think.

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#28515 - 04/24/07 12:58 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
talus Offline
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Have the guys over at Sterling done any tests on 2 gear placements "equalized" -vs- 3? It seems that the load between 2 pieces would be more evenly distributed than 3 pieces using a cordelette.
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#28518 - 04/24/07 01:24 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
empicard Offline
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Loc: LI, NY
rg, is it safe to assume you mostly "swing leads?"
when leading in blocks or doing all the leading yourself, i find anchoring with the rope becomes a hinderance.
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#28519 - 04/24/07 03:11 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
Smike Offline
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Registered: 05/01/01
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Loc: in your backyard
And so it goes..

I think that in the ‘general’ sense this way or that way with anchors all fall into the “sufficient” category as long as they are not breaking any obvious rules. (i.e. using only one piece, lots of slack in the system, using 2mm cord etc….) The rest is beyond sufficient and is splitting hairs.

When something inherently danergous is throw out into the climbing community and used at large it usually surfaces (sometimes with unfortunate events) pretty quickly and becomes one of those things you don’t do, or avoid altogether. (no arguing over the American death triangle, or short tails on the Euro death knot)

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#28522 - 04/24/07 05:30 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
dalguard Offline
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 Quote:
They never tire of confusing the low probability that anyone's belay anchors will ever be seriously tested with the fact that the methods being used are adequate.

Let's not discount that completely. Climbing is an inherently risky sport and your chances of dying by total anchor failure are miniscule compared to your chance of dying by having a piece pull during a lead fall, for example. You're probably right that the risk is so low because FF2 falls don't happen often, but that's not a bad thing either. FF2 falls are to be avoided for many reasons. The failure points include the rope, the gear, the belayer, and the belayer's connection to anchor. They almost always result in injury to both the leader and the belayer, even when the anchor holds. But they're easily avoided and we all know better. Building an anchor that's guaranteed to hold a FF2 fall every time you build one might not really be the right answer, even if it were possible.

To me, this whole cordelette brohaha is similar to the belay loop failure brohaha. It just makes more sense to concentrate our attention on the ways we're really likely to get hurt and stop giving each other the evil eye over minor differences in style.

 Quote:
My rope-only anchors suffer from the same equalization issues as the cordelette, and I've never made any bones about it.
I suppose you get the benefit of a dynamic connection but it must make life difficult if you're not swinging leads. For myself, I recognize that in the event of a FF2 fall, the failure of the piece I'm redirecting through would likely cause either anchor failure or belayer failure. I'm careful about that redirection piece and I'm careful about not falling on the anchor, but that doesn't mean it's not ever going to happen. But the way I belay, the cordelette doesn't even come into play until the shit has already majorly hit the fan.


Edited by dalguard (04/24/07 05:31 PM)

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#28526 - 04/24/07 07:33 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
Dillbag Offline
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Registered: 05/02/06
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Loc: "The Town"
 Quote:
brohaha


Can't help it... Sorry... It's brouhaha...
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#28527 - 04/24/07 08:36 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
empicard Offline
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 Originally Posted By: dalguard
the cordelette doesn't even come into play until the shit has already majorly hit the fan.

how's that?
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#28528 - 04/24/07 08:41 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
Dillbag Offline
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Registered: 05/02/06
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Loc: "The Town"
Ummm... Cause...

 Quote:
the way dalgaurd belay(s)


Duh!
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#28529 - 04/24/07 09:43 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Dillbag]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Have the guys over at Sterling done any tests on 2 gear placements "equalized" -vs- 3? It seems that the load between 2 pieces would be more evenly distributed than 3 pieces using a cordelette.

You would think. Actually, I think all their testing was done on two-point anchors, but I would have to check at home to be sure about that. My memory is that cordelettes (meaning fixed arm anchors) with equal-length arms don't do as well as you'd expect. In addition to the fact that folks can't tie them perfectly, the way in which the knot emits slack as it tightens is a source of inequality in loading that is hard to predict and replicate.

Once the arms are of unequal lengths, physical theory tells us that the ratio of arm tensions will be roughly the inverse of the ratio of arm lengths (this would be precisely true if the pieces are all in a vertical line), and so very unequal arm lengths will lead to considerable disparity in the load on each piece, no matter how perfectly tied the rig is. It is my understanding that such testing as has been done has confirmed at least the rough outlines of these predictions.

when leading in blocks or doing all the leading yourself, i find anchoring with the rope becomes a hinderance.

I certainly don't want to unearth the cordelette are/are not useful arguments, but there is no question that they make life much simpler when a single person will lead every pitch, either for part or all of the climb.

Building an anchor that's guaranteed to hold a FF2 fall every time you build one might not really be the right answer, even if it were possible.

I completely agree, but I think there are many people who aren't willing to hear this. So here's a hypothetical question: if you understand that your anchors can't always withstand the ever-so-rare factor-2 fall, then what kind of probability of failure are you comfortable with, remembering that the event itself is so unlikely. 1% ? 5% ? 10% ? I suspect, with nothing but gut feelings to back it up, that 5% of gear anchors wouldn't withstand a factor-2 fall.

I just set up such an anchor a few days ago. Three small nuts and, I think, a blue alien. No opportunity for anything better. Each nut was well-placed, but they were small (not brassies). The leader had to traverse straight right off the belay on a vertical wall, with no additional pro available for about 10 feet. If a fall happened before the first pro was placed, the initial impact would have had a lateral component that could initiate a cascade failure. This anchor had all the ingredients, but of course we'll never know whether it was one of the 5% or not. I suspect it might have been.

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#28533 - 04/25/07 02:38 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
dalguard Offline
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 Quote:
So here's a hypothetical question: if you understand that your anchors can't always withstand the ever-so-rare factor-2 fall, then what kind of probability of failure are you comfortable with, remembering that the event itself is so unlikely. 1% ? 5% ? 10% ? I suspect, with nothing but gut feelings to back it up, that 5% of gear anchors wouldn't withstand a factor-2 fall.

Sounds generous to me, depending somewhat on where and whether by gear you mean no trees or pins either. If a FF2 fall is so unlikely that most people don't experience one in their climbing career and the chance of anchor failure is only 5%, that's a really rare occurence. I'd be comfortable with that.

It would be nice to believe that we know when an anchor-busting fall is likely to happen but I'm guessing they're usually real accidents in the "oops" sense.

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#28534 - 04/25/07 02:40 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
dalguard Offline
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 Originally Posted By: empicard
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
the cordelette doesn't even come into play until the shit has already majorly hit the fan.

how's that?

If you redirect. If you belay off the anchor or your harness, the situation is different.

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#28541 - 04/25/07 04:52 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: talus]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Still in response to the question from Talus, I went home and dredged up the following commentary, based on the Sterling tests of a cordelette on two anchors.

In principle, in a fixed-arm system with all pieces in a vertical line, arm tension is inversely proportional to arm length. So if one arm is double the length of a second arm, the tension in the first arm will be half the tension in the second arm. These results are simple consequences of the assumption that the rigging material obeys Hooke's Law, but are strictly valid only for the situation when all anchor pieces are in a single vertical line.

Now predictions based on idealized behavior may or may not be observed in practice. In the field, the arm lengths can never be perfect, and even if they were, the way in which small amounts of slack may or may not be released by the knot is unknown. Moreover, neither my simplistic formulation nor the Sterling drop tests consider the effects of arms radiating from the power point at various angles.

In the Sterling drop test, the long arm was about twice the length of the short arm. Ideally then, the load measured at the long arm should have been about half the load measured at the short arm. This ratio was apparent in about half the trials, but way off in the other half. The lack of exactitude isn't suprising when one looks at the discrepancies from 15% to 35% in the loads obtained from equal-armed cordelettes, which indicate just how hard it is to actually tie functionally equal arms, even when there are just two anchors.

What I get from the combined theoretical and experimental results is that equalization is unobtainable in principle when the arm lengths are unequal, but in any case the climber's best efforts to tie a correctly proportioned fixed-arm rig will nonetheless lead to unpredictable and perhaps significant inequities in load distribution.

I have gone so far in the past to suggest that for fixed-arm rigging, you should probably assume that each piece will get the full load in turn. This rather bold assertion turned out to be more appropriate than I imagined, with 6 of 15 attempts at unequal fixed-arm rigging ending up with more than 80% of the load on one piece.

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#28544 - 04/25/07 05:33 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Cornell Climber Online   content
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Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 63
I would feel much more comfortable with a decision to use/not use a cordalette if I understood the mechanics of a cascade failure. Does ripping the first piece absorb some of the energy of a fall?

Imagine a simple two piece anchor with cordalette. Leader takes a factor 2 fall. Because of different arm lengths and knot slippage, one anchor piece absorbs 80% of the energy of the fall and that piece fails. Does the remaining piece now have to absorb 20% of the energy of the fall, or 100%, or something between? I understand there is a bit of extension when the first piece fails, but I don't think it is enough to significantly increase the total force of the fall (imagine a 20' fall with 10' of rope, the extension in the above example can't be more than a few inches).

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#28547 - 04/25/07 05:57 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Cornell Climber]
rg@ofmc Offline
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I would feel much more comfortable with a decision to use/not use a cordalette if I understood the mechanics of a cascade failure. Does ripping the first piece absorb some of the energy of a fall?

This is one of the $64,000 questions. The answer depends on how much recovery the rope can achieve in the moment between the impact that extracts the first piece and the impact on the second piece. This has been debated for years, with creditable arguments on both sides but virtually no experimental data that I know of. Although I can't locate the data right now, I recall that some of the Sterling drop tests suggested some energy absorbtion may have taken place.

For two-piece anchors with unequal arms, it seems to me that the Equalette is a superior method and not at all hard to set up with cordelette materials. But for three-piece anchors, I think Dawn's comments about the unsatisfactory nature of the options still holds.

I understand there is a bit of extension when the first piece fails, but I don't think it is enough to significantly increase the total force of the fall (imagine a 20' fall with 10' of rope, the extension in the above example can't be more than a few inches

I think the extension issue may be more complex this argument and the Sterling tests suggest. The reason is that fall energy of the belayer has to be absorbed by the belayer's tie-in; the amount of rope out to the leader doesn't matter. If the extension in the rigging is significant in relation to the belayer's tie-in, or if the belayer has made what I consider to be the mistake of anchoring with low-stretch materials rather than the rope, then it seems possible to me that the effects of anchor extension could be significant.

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#28549 - 04/25/07 06:24 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
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Loc: CT
 Quote:
Does ripping the first piece absorb some of the energy of a fall?
My understanding is that it depends somewhat on when and how the piece fails. If the piece blows instantly because it sucked, then it probably absorbed nothing and if it blowing adds extension or distorts the angle of pull for the remaining pieces in a bad way, then it did more harm than good. But if it slowly dragged through the rock, deforming itself or the rock as it went, there's no extension in the anchor, and the angle of pull doesn't change, such that the load is gently transferred from piece A to piece B, then it did more good than harm.

Obviously reality lies somewhere in the middle.

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#28556 - 04/25/07 08:27 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Mike Rawdon Offline

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Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc

In principle, in a fixed-arm system with all pieces in a vertical line, arm tension is inversely proportional to arm length. So if one arm is double the length of a second arm, the tension in the first arm will be half the tension in the second arm. These results are simple consequences of the assumption that the rigging material obeys Hooke's Law,

<snip>

This rather bold assertion turned out to be more appropriate than I imagined, with 6 of 15 attempts at unequal fixed-arm rigging ending up with more than 80% of the load on one piece.


Hookes's Law may represent rope behavior fairly well. Or maybe it doesn't. As we talk about the relative effect of using non-stretchy cordage, consider that, as a limiting case for ZERO stretch, the arm with slack in it will take ZERO load. That is, irrespective of which leg is long or short, the taut leg bears the total load. And as you pointed out, it's hard to tie a perfect knot. Again, this model represents a limit, and I think Hooke's represents the other extreme. I suspect , as Dawn said, that reality lies somewhere in the middle.

AS for the test data, Hooke's suggests a 2:1 distribution i.e. 67:33 %. So 6 out of 15 drops were 80% on the shorter strand. Once again, I don't expect real numbers to match up to the mathematical model, and the difference between 67% and 80% isn't going to keep me awake at night. Our ability to assess placement strength is nowhere near this good anyway. ("Will it hold 6.7 kN or 8.0 kN??")

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#28562 - 04/26/07 12:05 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Mike Rawdon]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Hookes's Law may represent rope behavior fairly well. Or maybe it doesn't.

Most of the evidence I've seen, and some other I've been told about, suggests good representation, especially if one also introduces some kind of damping effect.

As we talk about the relative effect of using non-stretchy cordage, consider that, as a limiting case for ZERO stretch, the arm with slack in it will take ZERO load. That is, irrespective of which leg is long or short, the taut leg bears the total load.

This is true for the pieces in a vertical line, but not in general in other cases.

And as you pointed out, it's hard to tie a perfect knot. Again, this model represents a limit, and I think Hooke's represents the other extreme. I suspect , as Dawn said, that reality lies somewhere in the middle.

I don't understand what the common phenomenom is that has these two "extremes" as limiting cases, and so I don't understand what the middle is the middle of.

AS for the test data, Hooke's suggests a 2:1 distribution i.e. 67:33 %. So 6 out of 15 drops were 80% on the shorter strand. Once again, I don't expect real numbers to match up to the mathematical model, and the difference between 67% and 80% isn't going to keep me awake at night.

We agree that the difference between 67% and 80% load on a single strand of an unequal two-arm anchor is within the type of variation one can expect from the uncertainties of tying up the rigging as well as the failure of real materials to behave like ideal springs, and I'm glad you're getting proper rest. But Talus asked about cordelette two-point rigging being more or less equalized, and I don't think anyone would say that 80% or more of the load on one strand occurring in half the unequal-arm trials is anywhere near equalized.

Our ability to assess placement strength is nowhere near this good anyway. ("Will it hold 6.7 kN or 8.0 kN??")

I wonder how reliably we can tell the difference between a 4 kN placement and an 8 kN placement. As far as I know, John Stannard was the first, last, and only person with this type of knowledge, and he didn't have to contend with the much more mysterious holding properties of cams.

The fact that we aren't good at estimating real holding powers is an argument for trying to find better equalizing methods, not for ignoring them. Or at least for understanding how to manage the imperfect methods we have in the most effective way.

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#28564 - 04/26/07 01:14 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Dillbag]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
Something I've been curious about is the effect of f2 falls on the belayer. Since evidence (and common sense) show that belay devices slip after 2 or 3 kn, with the amount of breakhand force people can typically create, then this can add up to a lot of rope slip. In the especially frightening event of a long f2 fall, the high forces could be sustained enough to pull yards of rope through. Without burly gloves, how would someone hold on at all?

It's yet another reason for the leader to get that first bomber piece is SOON. but i wonder how much rope slip to expect even in a short fall right onto the anchor.

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#28565 - 04/26/07 04:06 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
MarcC Offline
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Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: paulraphael
Without burly gloves, how would someone hold on at all?
They couldn't.
 Quote:
but i wonder how much rope slip to expect even in a short fall right onto the anchor.

Enough to burn your flesh.
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#28566 - 04/26/07 01:22 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: MarcC]
socialist1 Offline
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Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 147
Loc: New Brunswick, NJ
What about screamers?

It seems screamers either at the pieces or between your connection to the anchor (assuming you belay off the harness) would be a viable way of making an anchor more likely to hold a factor 2. Granted, screamers will introduce some wild extensions in your setup but if anticipated and arranged properly should be helpful. Thoughts?


Ross

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#28567 - 04/26/07 01:39 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: socialist1]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
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Loc: CT
 Quote:
Without burly gloves, how would someone hold on at all?

This is why some of us redirect. The redirection point takes a lot of force off the belayer but transfers it to the anchor. Less likelihood of belayer failure/injury but more likelihood of anchor failure. There really is no perfect answer.

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#28579 - 04/26/07 06:12 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
Dillbag Offline
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Registered: 05/02/06
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I got one...


The leader must not fall....? How is that for your perfect answer?
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#28581 - 04/26/07 06:33 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Dillbag]
fallenglass Offline
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or at least the leader must not fall before getting his first piece in

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#28605 - 04/27/07 01:52 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: fallenglass]
empicard Offline
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Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
When I first started climbing, I kept hearing about the disaster that would ensue if the climber "fell on the belay." I kept thinking, "shit, that would hurt, a climber landing on my head?" It wasn't until later that I finally understood what it meant, and what a factor 2 fall implied.
2 things I do to avoid this situation, is carry a runner with a locker on it. It often gets used on the first peice after a belay anchor. Also sometimes I double up that first peice ala Eli's article. I also carry at least one screamer for when that placement is suspect.
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tOOthless

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#28610 - 04/27/07 03:09 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Eh... Call me cavalier but I find the locker on a sling to be overkill and really freaking annoying.

If I'm on terrain that I'm sketched or think I may fall (yes of course a fall could happen anytime) I don't want to be futzing around with the locker... I'd rather get the clip done and climb the hell out of there.
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#28611 - 04/27/07 03:09 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Dillbag]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
fair enough.
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tOOthless

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#28876 - 05/04/07 04:50 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Something I've been curious about is the effect of f2 falls on the belayer. Since evidence (and common sense) show that belay devices slip after 2 or 3 kn, with the amount of breakhand force people can typically create, then this can add up to a lot of rope slip. In the especially frightening event of a long f2 fall, the high forces could be sustained enough to pull yards of rope through. Without burly gloves, how would someone hold on at all?

As for slipping, I think 2-3 kN may be too low, except perhaps for a Reverso, which has one of the lowest braking forces around (too low, in my opinion, to be safe, but that's a whole 'nuther dust-up). I suspect Connally's 4 kN estimate may be too low as well for many of the modern devices. And there's a pretty wide variation in grip strength too.

Anyway, I sat down and did a few calculations, the results of which are pretty simple. Here are some ball-park figures, with L denoting the amount of rope out when the fall occurs.

braking force = 2 kN, rope running = 1.3 L

braking force = 3 kN, rope running = .7 L

braking force = 4 kN, rope running = .4 L

braking force = 5 kN, rope running = .3 L

braking force = 6 kN, rope running = .2 L

Please note that these have been changed from a general result of .5 L, which occurred as the result of an arithmetic error. An interesting conclusion is you really lose a lot if your braking device provides significantly less than 4 kN of braking force.

(Caveat: my calculations still need to be checked. If anyone wants to, I'd be happy to send you a .pdf of them.)

As for the gloves question, the answer is that a belayer exposed to a hard fall, not necessarily anywhere near a factor 2 onto the belay, will experience slipping. Serious burns and/or loss of control are a very real possibility, and I think there has been at least one such instance in the Gunks in the last several years.

As is usual with such things, people will say they've been belaying for years and never had the rope slip. This is because most climbing falls are pretty trivial, and friction in the system reduces what the belayer experiences. But if a longish fall happens in a low-friction situation, the ungloved belayer is gonna be toast in more than the figurative sense.

In my opinion, gloves make no less sense than a helmet, but climbers are governed in many cases by fashion as much as by rational evaluations, and gloves have never been in fashion. (I wear fingerless gloves, which protect the palms and primary finger gripping surfaces, but would likely result in some burns to the fingertips. The trade-off is for dexterity handling the ropes and gear.)


Edited by rg@ofmc (05/04/07 07:06 PM)
Edit Reason: Arithmetic error.

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#28879 - 05/04/07 05:13 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Having caught a couple big whippers, I never belay a leader outside without gloves now. Even if the rope did not slip, it would then suck your palm into the belay device and make you wish for a simple burn instead. I feel that I could not allow fashion/laziness to prevent me from catching someone who depended on me. A small plus is that I get less rope gack on my hands while rapping and belaying.
Catching a gym lead is a tiny, tiny bit of the force you can experience on a gear popping, heart stopper outside.

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#28887 - 05/04/07 07:21 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
An addendum to the previous post on factor 2 falls onto the belay. You only get the braking force offered by your device if you lock it off when the fall happens, and however obvious this may be, there can be a serious problem with any ATC/tube-style device:

the locked position requires bring the braking hand up to the chest, not down to the hip.

Because of this, it is prudent to begin belaying the leader using the palm-up pinch-and-slide hand orientation, in which case you will be automatically locked off if the leader falls onto the belay. (Mentally rehearsing the fact that you will not drop your hand to the traditional braking position is a good idea here.) Once the leader has a good piece in, you can change to whatever hand orientation you prefer.

Although I don't personally like redirecting the leader's belay through the belay anchor, this potential braking problem is one of the arguments for doing so.

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#28899 - 05/04/07 09:10 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
 Quote:
the locked position requires bring the braking hand up to the chest, not down to the hip.


Call me a n00b or something... I just don't get what you're saying here...

Sounds rather... well... the opposite of what I've always done...

Hand down to "lock"
Hand up to "lower"
?
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#28905 - 05/05/07 02:28 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Dillbag]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Sounds rather... well... the opposite of what I've always done...

...which is why there is a potentially catastrophic problem.

What you normally do is predicated on the leader's rope running up after it exits the belay device. If the leader falls directly onto the belay, the leader's rope will, of course, be running down after exiting the belay device---the whole device will have pivoted to face downwards towards the fall. If you bring your brake hand down too, then the belay device becomes inoperative and you are trying to catch a factor 2 leader fall with just a rope looped through a biner on your harness for friction.

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#28907 - 05/06/07 07:49 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Allenperry Offline
member

Registered: 02/11/03
Posts: 195
Loc: Reading, Pennsylvania
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Sounds rather... well... the opposite of what I've always done...

...which is why there is a potentially catastrophic problem.

What you normally do is predicated on the leader's rope running up after it exits the belay device. If the leader falls directly onto the belay, the leader's rope will, of course, be running down after exiting the belay device---the whole device will have pivoted to face downwards towards the fall. If you bring your brake hand down too, then the belay device becomes inoperative and you are trying to catch a factor 2 leader fall with just a rope looped through a biner on your harness for friction.


And you also have to factor in to that scenario the fact that you, the belayer, are going to have to make that transition while being ferociuosly yanked from your stance and being spun 180 degrees, with your belly facing out and downward. Not to mention the massive weight around your waist \:o

Who says belaying isn't an art form?
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#28908 - 05/06/07 08:00 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Allenperry]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
And if you end up upside down, then you're back to needing to pull up to apply the brake. It's a dynamic situation.

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#28909 - 05/06/07 10:34 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
So we all know these things happen. Who here has actually caught a F2 fall? or taken one? D-elvis? i know you went whipping past your belayer, was that a full on F2?
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tOOthless

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#28910 - 05/06/07 11:30 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I've caught one real factor 2 fall and around 10 - 20 practice falls, with a weight, of about factor 1.5. The practice falls had the rope going through a carabiner but no other sources of friction in the system. All of these were years ago and with a hip belay.


Edited by rg@ofmc (05/06/07 11:32 PM)

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#28911 - 05/06/07 11:46 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Allenperry]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
And you also have to factor in to that scenario the fact that you, the belayer, are going to have to make that transition while being ferociuosly yanked from your stance and being spun 180 degrees, with your belly facing out and downward. Not to mention the massive weight around your waist.

Three comments:

1. The point of my earlier remark is precisely that the belayer does not have to make a transition. By beginning with the palm up pinch and slide tactic, the braking hand is in the right position if you just leave it in place. (The belayer will have to face the transition issues if the leader's pro pulls, however.)

2. Until the leader places good pro, the belayer ought to postion themselves either sideways to the rock or facing out to that the won't be spun 180 degrees. (Even worse, if facing in, would be getting the leader's rope over your shoulder.)

3. The belay device ought to be clipped through the harness belay loop and the knot(s) anchoring the climbing rope(s) to the belayer's harness, so that the force of a factor 2 fall is quickly transferred to the anchor and is never really applied to the belayer's waist. This backs up the belay loop for those who may be paranoid about such things, but primarily it prevents the harness tie-in points from being subjected to extreme opposite forces.

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#28926 - 05/07/07 02:27 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
I've caught one real factor 2 fall and around 10 - 20 practice falls, with a weight, of about factor 1.5. The practice falls had the rope going through a carabiner but no other sources of friction in the system. All of these were years ago and with a hip belay.
If you're going to catch FF2 falls with a hip belay, you need more than a pair of gloves. Like leather underwear. That must have hurt.

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#28928 - 05/07/07 02:43 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
What you normally do is predicated on the leader's rope running up after it exits the belay device. If the leader falls directly onto the belay, the leader's rope will, of course, be running down after exiting the belay device---the whole device will have pivoted to face downwards towards the fall. If you bring your brake hand down too, then the belay device becomes inoperative and you are trying to catch a factor 2 leader fall with just a rope looped through a biner on your harness for friction.


Ok... I get what you were saying now. Thanks for the explanation.
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#28948 - 05/08/07 01:37 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
If you're going to catch FF2 falls with a hip belay, you need more than a pair of gloves. Like leather underwear. That must have hurt.

Ooooh, leather underwear, my favorite. I was just waiting for someone to ask...but of course when ya got brass balls, leather undies are a conceit.

Moving on.

The real-life outdoor F2 catch really wasn't that bad. Little if any rope slipped, not enough to notice. Didn't even crease the leather intimate apparel. I was driven from a standing position down to my knees. The leader fell past a narrow ledge and the rope went over the edge of the ledge, and this may have provided some extra friction. The rope was 11mm, easier to grip hard and providing more friction. On top of that, I suspect a properly set-up hip belay might offer more friction than some modern belay devices.

The practice catches with the weight were another matter. We expected the worst, prepared for it, and weren't disappointed. We wore gloves and---forget the leather accessories---padded our hips with an empty canvas pack tied around our waists. The falls simulated leader falls through a single overhead piece, and we were flung violently up and then jerked back hard by the anchor.

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#28957 - 05/08/07 03:27 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
BillH Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Maryland
RG's mention of the belay tester brings back memories of how, as I high school kid, I learned to belay in my parent's yard: hauling 150+ pounds of iron weights up into the huge Oak tree in, getting set up in a hip belay with tie in and some extra padding, and then waiting for my [sister/father/climbing buddy] to drop the weights. I wold get yanked around pretty good, but never droped my iron climber. It gave us not only practice letting a little rope slip (a la Arnold and Wexler, Belaying the Leader) but also a good sense of the forces with which we could be confronted on the rock in a bad fall. The experience made me a true believer in belay gloves, but more importantly very aware of the need to think out the possible magnitudes and directions of the forces that may act on the belayer on the rock. When our sport gave up the rule that "The leader must not fall," it was replaced by "The belayer must not fall." I would add to that, "and not get slammed against the rock and knocked senseless." Bill
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#28991 - 05/09/07 01:13 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Allenperry Offline
member

Registered: 02/11/03
Posts: 195
Loc: Reading, Pennsylvania
On the subject of high factor falls: Would it be advisable to keep the anchor and tie-in point much higher, perhaps several feet above your head if possible? And making sure the belayer is tied in with the rope to the anchor?

Would this not allow the leader to increase the possibility of getting a piece in at or near anchor height, and decrease the difference between fall height and rope length?

In another scenario: What difference would it make if the first piece was the anchor, but was clipped in with a Yates Screamer?
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#31286 - 07/18/07 02:51 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Allenperry]
rickcee Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 248
Loc: central Jersey
Hi - back to cordalettes . . . the conclusion is, option ' A' is shaky , option ' B' no better ?? When I was climbing I used a cord in a tied off loop around 3 anchors > good pic. in Mellors ' rock climbing' book , pg 115 . still consicdered good to go ?

PS - actually I was just at EMS last sat. noticed a spool of 5 mm spectra - it's still listed in my campmor catalog as well ( maxim tech - 6 meters, $22.) Was slightly considering getting, thou I was aware of the noted testing, mention that 7 mm nylon's stretch is a good thing.

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#31299 - 07/18/07 02:16 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rickcee]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
More like option A is fine and so is option B. Some people enjoy analyzing the nuances. The rest of us just keep climbing like we always have. I don't understand your description (tied off loop around 3 anchors) but if it was in a book by Mellor I'm sure it's fine too.

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#31311 - 07/18/07 04:53 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rickcee]
Climer Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
I still use the tech cord and have for years. I couldn't imagine that the tiny bit of stretch in a 7mm cord compared against no stretch in the tech cords would do you any good in the real world. Sure, in the lab it might show a little difference but if that tiny bit is the difference between your anchor blowing or not, the anchor placements were bunk in the first place.

Climer

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#31330 - 07/18/07 08:35 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Climer]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
This is probably going to sound irrelevant and/or overly picayune to many people, but...here's the reason to use a stretchy cordalette:

It seems that the only way to have a shot at some kind of anchor equalization with a cordalette is to have all arms of the cordalette approximately the same length. A long arm develops lower loads and destroys equalization, no matter how carefully the cordalette is tied. Long arms are unavoidable when three pieces are in the same vertical crack, but of course many other trad anchor configurations can have a piece significantly further from the belay than the others. A very simple way of minimizing the "unequalizing" effect of a long arm is to interpose a low-stretch sling on the distant piece so that the cordalette arms become more or less equal, but this only works if the elasticity of the cordalette is considerably greater than that of the sling.

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#31337 - 07/18/07 11:09 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Climer Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
Rg i am not arguing the validity of your point but to extend my thoughts on this

Extending a placement(say with a sling) to a cordalette is common practice. Not for equalization but convenience. Most of my cordalettes are nowhere near long enough to reach out to a really far piece anyways. I use the tech cords also for convenience. Less bulk. Some would argue that it is stronger but that is just another example of hairsplitting so common to technical discussions of climbing gear and rigging.

I read the discussion on the other site for a few pages then my eyes got blurry and most if not all of the post here and I still come to the same conclusion. Rigging a anchor with a thisolette instead of a thatolette really means squat in reality. Oh I would not argue that in a lab one may look superior to the other but the fact is, properly rigged, anyolette is bomber.

The “lab” is a controlled environment. It needs to be for accuracy. As far as lab testing of a thisolette goes you are still only looking at 1 single piece of the protection chain. Anyone can see that there is no real way to test all the different forces and scenarios of a climbing fall in the field. Even if you could, you would have to test so many different conceivable scenarios to get concrete data that it would be next to impossible. It does come to the point in time where enough is enough. Don’t get me wrong, testing and critique are an essential part of knowledge and in the vertical world they are undeniably relevant, just not to the point of the ridiculousness or the splitting and resplitting of a hair. It can bring the “lab” to the point of being a liability instead of an asset.

True equalization without extension with the current methods are impossible. But is true equalization really necessary? Does each leg of a whateverolette really need to share the load completely equally to be bomber? Heck no...If the placement of the piece connected to each leg of the cordalette can withstand the max force that it should/could receive...you are golden. Using any configuration of rigging to make more secure already sketchy placements is a crap shoot any day of the week. In theory it can be done but why bother? In theory, any and every anchor can blow given the right criteria. With all the ways to avoid that situation is a be all end all perfect way to build an anchor with absolutely no chance in hell of ever failing really necessary?

At some point in time we as climbers need to say enough.... it is good already and cast off on the next pitch. Does it really matter in the end what your olette is made of? Tech, 7mm cord, or webbing?

Man that was a ridiculously long reply
Climer

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#31339 - 07/19/07 12:49 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Climer]
fallenglass Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/01/03
Posts: 276
Loc: cornwall
it may matter if your anchor options are very poor and you need equalization.

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#31340 - 07/19/07 01:06 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: fallenglass]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
 Quote:
Rigging a anchor with a thisolette instead of a thatolette really means squat in reality. Oh I would not argue that in a lab one may look superior to the other but the fact is, properly rigged, anyolette is bomber.

This should be the definitive answer to any further iterations of this question.

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#31342 - 07/19/07 02:35 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
Man how did this thread get up off the mat? I thought it got the 10 count while ago....

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#31352 - 07/19/07 04:35 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Climer, your arguments have been made and responded to over and over already, so there is little point in rehashing arguments that have been laid out clearly and in detail. You don't buy those arguments, which are probabilistic in nature, although everything climbers do for safety is based on a (gut) estimate of probabilities.

Oddly enough, your characterization of laboratory results suggests that much much more can go wrong than the tests indicate. And the claim that controlled lab experiments are worthless because they exclude possible real-life effects would negate practically our entire body of scientific knowledge and all the results that have come with it. In any case, the prospect of many more possible ways for things to head south hardly supports a rejection of extremely simple procedures that are neither time-consuming nor gear intensive that will raise the probability of anchors performing as expected.

In any case, I was not recommending any thisolette or thatolette in my post. I'm not even a fan of olettes myself. I was only indicating that there are rational and entirely practical reasons to use a stretchy cordalette rather than a stiff one.

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#31364 - 07/19/07 07:48 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
Spiderman Offline
Site Supporter

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 178
Loc: Long Island N.Y.
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
 Quote:
Rigging a anchor with a thisolette instead of a thatolette really means squat in reality. Oh I would not argue that in a lab one may look superior to the other but the fact is, properly rigged, anyolette is bomber.

This should be the definitive answer to any further iterations of this question.


Can i just run with this quote.

Weather I use the rope or a cordelette this whole thread has been splitting hairs.
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#31367 - 07/19/07 07:59 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
Chas Offline
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Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Just going back a page. RG@, how often do you think a TRUE FF2 occurs. When I was climbing on Calavaras Dome a few years back, I had the unfortunate joy of falling just as I was placing my first possible piece of gear on a 4th pitch of a climb, and unfortunately the first place was 15ft above the anchor (meaning I did a 30fter, but in reality it was really a 35fter. I really doubt that was a real FF2 fall even though in theory it should have been

And yes, I'm probably the MOST dangerous person here, since I use a web-o-lette, since when I climb, I often lead all the pitches, or in places like Paradise Forks, o Cookie Cliff, leading to let others top-rope a route.

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#31374 - 07/19/07 10:31 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Chas]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Chas, if you fall before placing a piece, its a factor 2 fall. (Please do not quibble about the effects of taking in slack...)

Such falls are exceptionally rare, which accounts for the fallacy of the statement that we don't read about anchors failing so there's no reason to try to improve them.

As for being the most dangerous person here by virtue of using a webolette, that comment is part of an argumentation technique that attempts to disqualify a point of view by casting it as extreme. Now there are people out there proclaiming doom and desolation if we don't follow their preferred approaches, whether it be the wearing of hard hats, the use of rappel backups, the orientation of the belayer's palm, the placing of a multidirectional piece at the beginning of every pitch, the redundancy of every aspect of the belay anchor, the knowledge of the most arcane and far-fetched self-rescue techniques, the use of anything other than the figure-eight knot for tying in, and so on.

I'm not one of those extremists. The folks who climb with me will testify that I haven't commented even once about their anchors, whether constructed with the rope, stretchy cordalettes, stiff cordalettes, or a combination of some or all of these. I think that most anchors, viewed as distributed systems with a one-piece-at-a-time failure mode, are ok for the applications they are used for.

On the other hand, this discussion seems to me to present another aspect of the argument, with the real extremists on the other side. I didn't even recommend anything, I just explained why a person might choose to use a stretchy cordalette. That choice, coupled with a few seconds of adjustments in certain cases, will improve the reliability of one's anchors. Is this really an occasion for a diatribe on the inability of experimental science to ever provide results of practical value? Gimme a break, all I'm saying is that this is a way to reduce the probability of failure of your anchor with virtually no cost in terms of time, complexity, or gear.

But trust me, I won't tell your mama if you don't listen.

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#31383 - 07/20/07 02:14 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Climer Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
I, as a member of the climbing community, do very much appreciate all the effort that the “geeks” put into the cordelette issue. I am no way jumping on Rg and completely respect the points that he has made here and went as far to point it out in an earlier post that none of his points are factually incorrect.

Rg- it is not my point that things going wrong makes the lab tests inaccurate, it is the fact that the lab test themselves are so woefully incomplete that their relevance at this point is at best, highly questionable.

I thought of starting another thread on the topic of “lab” testing for climbing gear but I figured that since it is directly applicable to this thread (much as I hate to continue this thread) and recovering the ground to get to this point would be painfully repetitive, here shall be the place for my thoughts on this.

Far from me pissing on the body of scientific knowledge, I have always agreed that lab data is a crucial and necessary component serving the climbing community. Testing the product and rigging technique strengths in a lab as opposed to in the field, where the lives of fellow climbers as the ante, is a no brainer to even the most anarchistic of thinkers. Lab data, to be accurate in any way, needs “controls” placed on it..Putting the blinders on to be as accurate as possible in a specific test..Elimination of variables to better compare sample-a to sample-b. It is how it is done and the reason that lab data can be considered acceptable science.

A problem does arise when someone looks at these results and makes recommendations based on specific test data. The same data that HAD to exclude the actual forces and variables applied to a climbing rigging technique for “accurate”scientific testing. This is the reason why these recommendations can be so hard to swallow by the climbing public. The conclusions drawn are based on something that actually does not happen, nor could it, at least not with the climbing systems we currently use. It is in this situation that the data, and especially the theory and recommendations derived from it, becomes so very much less relevant.

Maybe we should just find the guy who thought up SRENE and beat the crap outta him.
CLimer


Edited by Climer (07/20/07 02:28 PM)

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#31385 - 07/20/07 03:30 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
RG@ Just giving you a rough time... (sorry; with postings inflections aren't transmitted and its hard to recognize kidding...)I appreciate your points of view, especially since they are not in any one extremist camps.

I am also mocking those that are in the safety extreme camps, since I love it when they tout that they are super safe, and do stupid things. Such as when they claim that the helmet they were wearing saved their life the last time they smacked their head on the wall after getting their feet messed up with the rope (but thats a separate issue and lets not get sidelined....)

My only point on my FF2 fall is that given the slip in the system, belay device, belayer being moved......, I doubt it was really that high (sorry for quibbling). If Shell (my belayer) was using a grigri, it might all be a different story.


Edited by Chas (07/20/07 03:30 PM)

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#31386 - 07/20/07 04:27 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Chas]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: Chas
My only point on my FF2 fall is that given the slip in the system, belay device, belayer being moved......, I doubt it was really that high (sorry for quibbling).

To continue the quibbling .... you still had a FF2 fall - all that other stuff you mention was involved in dissipating the force of that factor 2 fall. So while the anchor may not have seen the full force of the fall (assuming you and your partner weren't dumb enough to belay directly off the anchor), those forces were still present at the time of the fall.
_________________________
- Marc

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#31388 - 07/20/07 06:15 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: MarcC]
GOclimb Offline
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Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
To continue the quibbling - it's likely that *had* his partner belayed directly off the anchor, the forces on the anchor may actually have been smaller! (no pulley effect).

GO

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#31389 - 07/20/07 07:21 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: GOclimb]
mworking Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
No pulley effect occurs if you don't belay directly off the anchor and don't clip the anchor as your first piece.

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#31394 - 07/20/07 08:24 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: mworking]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Yah, you're quite right. Hadn't thought about that instance.

GO

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#31404 - 07/21/07 01:00 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: GOclimb]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
He said he moved the belayer, which implies a reidirect to me. But redirection is a different argument.
 Quote:
The folks who climb with me will testify that I haven't commented even once about their anchors, whether constructed with the rope, stretchy cordalettes, stiff cordalettes, or a combination of some or all of these.
From what I hear, this is true, and kudos to you for it. As our common friend once said to someone we were about to share a rap with: I don't care what knot we use as long as we don't have to talk about it.
 Quote:
I just explained why a person might choose to use a stretchy cordalette.
Which is actually the first useful piece of advice I've managed to glean from all of this. As you know, I object to one method being debunked without a better one being provided and I've yet to hear why any non-lette option is better than any-lette option (or even convincingly why one lette option is better than another). If a stretchy lette can really make a difference, well, that's an easy substitution. Are you saying that simply nylon vs. tech cord is really going to make a measurable difference in stretch for the distances involved? I don't like the bulkiness of nylon (why all of us who choose tech do, I'm sure) but I need a new a cordelette and I could perhaps be convinced.

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#31406 - 07/21/07 05:08 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
As you know, I object to one method being debunked without a better one being provided and I've yet to hear why any non-lette option is better than any-lette option...


Whack-o-lette issues:

95% of the time they offer only extra complexity.

They're more time consuming.

You get to lug around an extra 20 or 30 feet of cord.

They don't offer appreciably more "safety" or "security".

They're a pain in the ass.
_________________________
- Marc

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#31409 - 07/21/07 09:21 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
Though I don’t normally use any-ollete, but I have to admit I bought into the stretchy argument long a go. Now though I am having second thoughts as to the actual benefit of a stretchy vs. non-stretchy.

Will there will be so much tension created in the short length of an ollete loop as it stretches, before any real equalization occurs, that there will be little benefit to having the stretch at all.

My thinking right now is that unless the anchor is truly equalized, the force a second piece in an anchor will see will still look pretty much like it would if no stretch were to occur. Sure the force will be over a very slightly longer duration. Sure it will have very slightly lower initiation force and a slightly lower peak but right now I wonder if there rally is enough difference to worry about.

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#31413 - 07/22/07 03:24 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: MarcC]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
These debates about 'o-lettes get meaningless when people assume they're a panacea for all circumstances. If you look at them as a versatile option than can help a lot of the time, things get a little more clear. They especially make sense on long routes where you plan to lead in blocks.

My partner and I have been field testing a method that we like more than anything else we've seen or tried:

http://www.paulraphaelson.com/downloads/acr.pdf

We've been using it at the Gunks all season, and just spent eight days at the Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming using it on alpine rock routes. The idea is to maximize speed and versatility. At the gunks we use it at just about every belay (trees, bolts, blocks, gear). In the mountains we used maybe half the time; the rest of the time opting for even more speed by just throwing a sling onto a horn and calling it good. In none of these circumstances would we have considered the more elaborately tied contraptions that people have photographed in their living rooms.

At any rate, Jim Ewing at Sterling Ropes has done a few preliminary pull tests and gives it the thumbs up. Will Gadd likes it and plans to field test it in the Canadian Rockies as soon as his new kid lets him get out of the house. If anyone else wants to try it out, we'd love to get your feedback.


Edited by paulraphael (07/22/07 03:33 PM)

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#31421 - 07/23/07 01:38 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
Nice work. I bet JL would have included your version if youd gotten it to him on time. Looks like a top candidate for best O-lette to me!

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#31430 - 07/23/07 02:57 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: mworking]
GOclimb Offline
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Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Nice solution, and beautiful presentation!

GO

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#31432 - 07/23/07 03:13 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: GOclimb]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Looks like it addresses the concerns very well. Please post up again in a few months to let us know how it goes and any limitations you might encounter.

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#31451 - 07/23/07 08:17 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
Thanks for checking it out.

JL has seen it; he gave it a cursory 'looks good, get people to try it' response ... his eyes are probably glazed over from all the insane ideas and pics people have been sending him.

I'm hoping to get more people to try it. No doubt some of you geniuses could find some more efficient ways to use it than we already have. If you have a cordelette lying around you just have to add a $3 ring.

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#31453 - 07/23/07 09:14 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
chip Offline
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Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
At a cursory look, the only concern that I would have is when I want a 4th piece of pro, at which point I would have to rig it with clove hitching two pieces off of one loop and decrease the dynamic equalization or sliding X two pieces together first. For a big route where time really could be an issue, this looks good.

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#31455 - 07/23/07 09:49 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
paulraphael Offline
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Loc: New York, NY
That's certainly true, but I don't know of any faster way to tie four pieces together (at least in a way that does a halfway decent way of distributing the loads).

In general, when I've had to use four or more pieces in an anchor, it's been when there's a really small or sketchy feature that I've had to frig the grear into. So I'll have a couple of marginal nuts or small cams right next to each other. those are often good candidates for clove hitching onto one arm of the anchor, so they each take about half the load that the other pieces take.

You could also throw a sliding x onto them, but I haven't yet been inclined to do that. In places like the gunks good gear is usually available; in the mountains i rarely have time for that kind of thing.

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#31469 - 07/24/07 03:45 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
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Loc: CT
What's the advantage of it over a plain old sliding X?

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#31474 - 07/24/07 07:11 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
rickcee Offline
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Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 248
Loc: central Jersey
Hi - just noticed - P.R. - there may be a similar item , hard to tell from photo :
trango ' alpine equalizer' ( bentgear.com )
your proposal does look interesting.

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#31475 - 07/24/07 07:59 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rickcee]
quanto_the_mad Offline
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Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Looks similar, may work similar to some extent, but the Trango AE has more parts. It has two rings and two fixed, sewn loops, thus you actually have to buy the AE. The benefit ACR is that it's just your cordalette with a steel ring. It can still be used the old way as needed, or you can untie and remove the ring. I don't think the Trango AE is as flexible.
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#31477 - 07/24/07 08:58 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
D75 Offline
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Posts: 293
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RG, an FF2 fall requires a free fall. So it would not occur only before placing first piece, but rather only before placing first piece and not hitting anything on the way to the same distance below where you started.

ACR looks interesting!

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#31478 - 07/24/07 09:19 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
Chas Offline
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Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
He said he moved the belayer, which implies a reidirect to me. But redirection is a different argument.
 Quote:
The folks who climb with me will testify that I haven't commented even once about their anchors, whether constructed with the rope, stretchy cordalettes, stiff cordalettes, or a combination of some or all of these.
From what I hear, this is true, and kudos to you for it. As our common friend once said to someone we were about to share a rap with: I don't care what knot we use as long as we don't have to talk about it.
 Quote:
I just explained why a person might choose to use a stretchy cordalette.
Which is actually the first useful piece of advice I've managed to glean from all of this. As you know, I object to one method being debunked without a better one being provided and I've yet to hear why any non-lette option is better than any-lette option (or even convincingly why one lette option is better than another). If a stretchy lette can really make a difference, well, that's an easy substitution. Are you saying that simply nylon vs. tech cord is really going to make a measurable difference in stretch for the distances involved? I don't like the bulkiness of nylon (why all of us who choose tech do, I'm sure) but I need a new a cordelette and I could perhaps be convinced.



Naw, my belayer was facing me looking up, and the next minute she was shoved around as the rope and I went flying past her (good thing for REALLY steep climbs.

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#31480 - 07/24/07 11:16 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: quanto_the_mad]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: quanto_the_mad
Looks similar, may work similar to some extent, but the Trango AE has more parts. It has two rings and two fixed, sewn loops, thus you actually have to buy the AE. The benefit ACR is that it's just your cordalette with a steel ring. It can still be used the old way as needed, or you can untie and remove the ring. I don't think the Trango AE is as flexible.


Right. And another thing with the AE is that the powerpoint is sewn in place. Because of this, any extension limiting knot that you tie will stop the whole thing from self-equalizing. It just becomes a cordelette. The ACR's powerpoint floats free, so you can tie a couple of different types of shortening / limiting knots in one of the strands without interfereing with the way it works.

This might not make much sense from my description, but if you play with it for a minute you'll see what I mean.

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#31481 - 07/24/07 11:30 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: dalguard]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
What's the advantage of it over a plain old sliding X?


The whole project started by examing the sliding W (basically cordelette that's left untied). I liked the simplicity of the W (and have met people who use this setup). But there are a few limitations that I wanted to address:

-the outer strand of cord binds over the inner strands, because they're all piled into the same carabiner. this can cause a lot of friction. It's likely that the friction is proportional to the load that's on powerpoint, so it could easily interfere with the anchor's ability to equalize.

-there's a possibility of the carabiner being loaded across the gate or far off axis. There's even a slight possibility of the cord running over sharp edges at the base of the gate and getting damaged.

-you have to remember to put a twist in the cord when you clip the carabiner, or you get massive extension if one of the outer pieces blows. This is just like what you have to do with a sliding X, but with the W, there are so many strands going through the biner that it's almost impossible to tell if it's been set up right from visual inspection.

That little ring in the ACR addresses all these things. It's basically a refined, more idiot-proof sliding W.

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#31486 - 07/25/07 05:00 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Dawn, the reasons for using a 7mm cordelette as opposed to tech cord or webbing mostly have to do with achieving better equalization. (If you are tying together pieces, any one of which would be plenty good enough, then equalization is not much of an issue.)

Stretchiness helps to mitigate the effects of legs not tied the exact correct length (they never are), leg length made incorrect by the (unpredictable) results of knot tightening, and large arm angles---up to 120 degrees between outer arms is ok with a 7mm cordelette.

In combination with spectra webbing, a stretchy cordelette allows one to reduce otherwise unavoidable load inequalities resulting from very unequal leg lengths. The low-stretch webbing is used on the pieces furthest from the power point in order to make the stretchy arms of more nearly equal length.

(Those who have read my earlier posts in this thread will note that this appears to represent a change of opinion for me. To some extent, it is a change in opinion, but my original comments about the relative unimportance of stretchiness were really aimed at self-equalizing systems, not fixed-arm cordelettes. Unfortunately, my writing did not reflect that.)

As far as tensile strength, the tech cords have no advantage over 7mm nylon in loop strength, the reason being that knot efficiencies in tech cord are much lower. Even in the single strand strength department, it takes about 200 bending cycles for the tech cord strength to fall at or below that of 7mm nylon, which doesn't deteriorate at all after 1000 cycles.

On balance, the only advantage tech cords have over 7mm nylon is their lower weight and bulk, otherwise they are inferior. But lower weight and bulk matter, and it is ultimately up to the climber to decide whether the trade-offs in equalizing ability and resistance to wear favor nylon or dyneema.

Paul, until your contraption can be drop tested with load cells on each of the equalizing arms, I think you ought to mention in your .pdf and in any other place you post that theoretical considerations suggest that the friction of the turns of rope around the ring and biners may nullify the hypothetical ability of the rig to equalize loads.

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#31488 - 07/25/07 12:43 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
paulraphael Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Paul, until your contraption can be drop tested with load cells on each of the equalizing arms, I think you ought to mention in your .pdf and in any other place you post that theoretical considerations suggest that the friction of the turns of rope around the ring and biners may nullify the hypothetical ability of the rig to equalize loads.


We do mention this, and we're waiting to get some drop tests done, but it's no minor feat. Jim Ewing plans to include it in his next batch of tests, which might not happen for a while.

My assumption watching the thing in use under combat conditions is that most of the time it will distribute loads reasonably well (somewhat better than a sliding x) and that some of the time it will distribute them poorly (cord getting twisted and gnarled up, the incoming storm looking more threatening than a factor 2 fall, etc). And it's my strong assumption that it will distribute loads better than a tied cordelette, in any circumstance.

I definitely look forward to seeing a test with load cells, though I believe the results will only be meaningful when compared to other riggings tested in the exact same way. I think this whole anchor building endeavor is more about seeking artful compromise than perfection.

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#31525 - 07/26/07 12:11 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Climer Offline
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Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
"Jim Ewing plans to include it in his next batch of tests"

With all these tests that have been done I was wondering if someone can post a link to the data or results or whatever? I can't seem to find any documentation on them. Has it even been made public? Will it? It would just be very informative to the climbing public of just how different these riggings test out at.

Oddly enough, I see Sterling is still selling tech cord for use as a cordelette even though it is "INFERIOR". I am sure Jim relayed his test results to the proper departments at Sterling(ie legal) warning them of the obviously inferior and dangerous characteristics of their product. Shouldn't be long before they pull it anyways then the non-"stretchy" cordelette will fade into the past like all the other hazardous climbing products have.

Time to sharpen the knife to split yet another insignificant hair
CLimer


Edited by Climer (07/26/07 12:13 AM)

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#31528 - 07/26/07 04:51 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Climer]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
 Originally Posted By: climer
Oddly enough, I see Sterling is still selling tech cord for use as a cordelette even though it is "INFERIOR". I am sure Jim relayed his test results to the proper departments at Sterling(ie legal) warning them of the obviously inferior and dangerous characteristics of their product. Shouldn't be long before they pull it anyways then the non-"stretchy" cordelette will fade into the past like all the other hazardous climbing products have.


Congratulations on a festival of willful misrepresentation and cheap shots.

Here are some of the references you asked about:

Data on tech cords:

http://www.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/High_Strength_Cord.pdf

Three and four-point cordalette equalizing data:

http://www.caves.org/section/vertical/nh/51/Multi-point%20pre-equal%20anchors.pdf

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#31536 - 07/26/07 03:00 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
I want to mention that Jim has conducted these tests on his own time, as a service to the climbing community. He's deserves our appreciation for all the hard work. His and Long's tests are a preliminary investigation into something we all want to know more about; they aren't official or conclusive and may or may not have anything to do with Sterling's policies.

And I don't think anyone's said that if you build an anchor with tech cord, yer gonna die. Tests and some common sense just show that nylon offers significant advantages. You might still prefer the high tech stuff for the weight and bulk savings ... Just make sure you understand the tradeoffs.

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#31550 - 07/26/07 09:00 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Climer Offline
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Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
Don’t let the sarcasm fool you. This is an internet discussion forum and it is hard to get a read on tone. That aside I feel it should be known just how very much I respect and appreciate Jim's and all the other people's efforts, including ALL those here that have put in their time. For those who have trouble with my writing style or attitude...tuff tomatoes.

I have already seen all these old tests along with pull tests of tech type cords vs "stretchy" cords vs webbing. I was looking for THE test results Jim did. I mean are they in JL's book? All the hoopla going on comes in no small part from the information gleamed from these tests. It could go a long way in helping the climbing public at large make clearer what all the jazz is about and better substantiate all the "theory" put forth on the issue.

CLimer


Edited by Climer (07/26/07 10:26 PM)

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#31553 - 07/26/07 09:22 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Climer]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Yes, the tests are in JL's book.

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#31557 - 07/26/07 10:21 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
CrackBoy Offline
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Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 2435
Loc: Republic of Davis
i like the way that looks paul. i might switch my cordallettes over to that, though that actually means i need to climb
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#31560 - 07/26/07 11:52 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: CrackBoy]
irisharehere Offline
Site Supporter

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 1658
Loc: Danbury CT
I know the feeling Mitch! I rigged an ACR in my study last night, it looks nice.......now I have to find someone to climb with so we can test it......
_________________________
I didn't spend nine years in Evil Graduate School to be called "Mr Irish", thank you!

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#31561 - 07/27/07 01:41 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: irisharehere]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
Something I should mention in that info file is that it works best with supple cord. The Sterling 7mm that I found at EMS actually works well; the skinnier, pink 7mm they're selling at R&S is kind of stiff and didn't work as smoothly when I tried it.

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#31563 - 07/27/07 02:50 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Climer, Jim Ewing's test data is also posted on SuperTopo. I don't have a link; you'll have to find it yourself. But remember that his tests were confined to two-point anchors. The comments I made in answer to Dawn's question had to do with cordelettes used, as is typical, for three-point anchors, and those comments were based, in part, on the two links I provided and which you claim to have already seen.

Nothing I said in the post you chose to distort had anything to do with Jim Ewing's work, another reason why your sarcasm is misdirected.

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#31567 - 07/27/07 12:30 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
rg, have you seen any tests done anywhere on dynamically equalizing 3-point anchors? like what we've been wondering about ... drop tests with a load cell on each arm?

i've just gone through my mess of links and pdf files and don't see anything like that. it might be a complex enough project that no one's taken it on yet.

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#31571 - 07/27/07 01:54 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
GOclimb Offline
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Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
I have been following this from the get-go, and have not seen any such tests. Jim may or may not be planning to do so in his next round, (he's excited, Sterling's building him a new tower!) but I won't speak for him.

GO

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#31615 - 07/27/07 08:15 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Climer Offline
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Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
"But remember that his tests were confined to two-point anchors"

You mean to tell me that all this nonsense has come about based on tests done on cordelettes on a 2 point anchor system? Now that is insane.

The tests That RG posted have been around a long time along with several others you could find on various sites stating various rigging/cord strengths and the test criteria to boot. Old news.

Climer

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#32431 - 08/23/07 03:33 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
tokyo bill Offline
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Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 793
Loc: Tokyo
Has anyone been playing further with the ACR system that paulraphael suggested? I've got a trip to Yosemite coming up, and some time to play with this system and get fast at deploying it between now and then.

Before investing the time, however, I'd be eager to hear whether further use or testing by anyone has turned up anything new. (Paul, have you been continuing to use the system at the gunks and/or elsewhere? If so, how has it seemed?)

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#32435 - 08/23/07 12:33 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: tokyo bill]
irisharehere Offline
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Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 1658
Loc: Danbury CT
I used it as an anchor for solo-aiding a route a few weeks ago - liked it alot. It'll probably find its way onto my harness for the rest of the year....

Irish
_________________________
I didn't spend nine years in Evil Graduate School to be called "Mr Irish", thank you!

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#32440 - 08/23/07 01:58 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: irisharehere]
crackers Offline
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Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
paul used it out in the wind rivers a few weeks ago. and they're still alive...;)

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#32446 - 08/23/07 04:31 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: crackers]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
yeah, chris and i used it all week at the cirque of the towers. sadly, no factor 2 falls to report on, but it was fast and easy every time we used it. including vertical cracks which we don't see much of at the gunks.

we actually used it less often in the mountains than at the cliffs ... about half the time at the cirque the terrain was easy enough that we just threw slings over rock horns and kept moving. but we used the acr almost every time we built gear anchors.

still no drop tests, formal or informal. but on a related note chris did a drop test on my green death alien last week, with no other pieces between him and the ground, and somehow lived to tell about it.

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#32470 - 08/24/07 05:26 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
tokyo bill Offline
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Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 793
Loc: Tokyo
Thanks for the replies. Maybe I'll put one together and start playing with it a bit.

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#32482 - 08/24/07 02:41 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: tokyo bill]
paulraphael Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
cool. let us know what you think.

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#32529 - 08/25/07 02:01 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Eddie Offline
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Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc






now i just joined this thread and have not read all 7 pages. BUT from what i see in the above photos is that this seems to look good if a single piece breaks. BUT if the red dyneema sling is cut then bye bye climber! this seems to be a terrible set up just for that reason. why have 3 pieces fo gear and then basically hook it to have it rely on one sling? that is the same as using one piece IMO!

eddie
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#32531 - 08/25/07 03:21 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
Eddie, a couple of answers to that. first, we know from history that the chances of one or two hand-placed pieces blowing are very good. the chance of the rigging material in an anchor getting cut is very very low. I've only heard of one case of this happening, and it was due to a disasterously constructed 2-piece anchor, which forced the sling to slice across a long arc of sharp rock when one of the two pieces blew. it's such low probability for webbing or cord in a normally built anchor to fail, that it's wasted attention to put too many resources into backing that up.

however, you can backup such an anchor easily by tying a backup knot with the rope onto your strongest piece. it takes just a few seconds.

my reservations about Alpine Equalizer-type contraptions is about versatility. i'm sure they work well, but i don't want to have to buy and carry a specialized gizmo that's really only designed to handle 3-piece anchors. I think Richard's invention that you show in that picture is a definite improvement on the original trango product, which has greater limitations.

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#32533 - 08/26/07 12:18 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Eddie Offline
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Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: paulraphael
Eddie, a couple of answers to that. the


paul,
basically when i learned leading one of the most important thing impressed on me was when you constructed and anchor you assessed it with an "if you cut one place what would happen?" question. this cord fails that! in the end as far as i am concerned this system is faulty and i would not use it and would never EVER want to be jugging on it or being belayed from it! you yourself has admitted that you have HEARD of a case of webbing breaking! should that not be good enough! if it CAN happen it will! and as you have pointed out it has! interesting!
your next sentence really strikes a cord with me. "that it's wasted attention to put too many resources into backing that up." WTF. if you can waste all that time building a 3 f#$@ing piece anchor how could it be a waste of resources to back up a cordellet? are you F%$#ing kidding me? this game is played by the BACK EVERYTHING UP" mantra....well when i played it it did!
now you may be thinking what an ass i am....well an ass i may be! BUT you should reassess exactly how you are gambling and what the price is, for "an anchor getting cut is very very low". last time i checked low odds happen everyday! ever notice that with super low odds some one always wins the lottery?
if people are going to climb on my rope then they WILL back EVERYTHING up! or i rope solo! at least then i know what kind of safety my belayer subscribes to!

double eddie eddie
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#32534 - 08/26/07 12:44 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
rg@ofmc Offline
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Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I've found that it is not worth arguing about this. Everyone has their own comfort level, and for some people this involves a mantra that cannot be violated. In any case, Paul already pointed out that any equalizing anchor is easily and rapidly backed up, so the whole thing is a non-issue.

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#32538 - 08/26/07 02:33 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
Eddie Offline
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Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
I've found that it is not worth arguing about this. Everyone has their own comfort level, and for some people this involves a mantra that cannot be violated. In any case, Paul already pointed out that any equalizing anchor is easily and rapidly backed up, so the whole thing is a non-issue.


yeah yeah yeah! but why not just build that from the beginning? that is the only real statement i have about it.

as for being a mantra?!?!? i am not sure? back everything up.....
is that a mantra that can be violated? i did not realize i was so naive about anchor building! i really have no problem with simple small anchors....but lets not make building crappy anchors acceptable. built it right, backed up and make it safe. how is this a non issue? why all the extra cordallet building??

e


Edited by Eddie (08/26/07 02:40 AM)
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#32541 - 08/26/07 02:56 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
Ale Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 10
 Originally Posted By: Eddie
if it CAN happen it will!


Keep in mind that doesn't matter how much you back everything up, accidents are still possible. And thus, according to your philosophy, they will certainly happen....

If one feels more comfortable backing up everything also the shoe laces is ok for me. But please don't pretend the others to share yours phobiae!

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#32542 - 08/26/07 02:57 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
dalguard Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
The ironic thing about all this cordalette debunking is that I've mostly given up on bothering to build equalized anchors. I just plug in some pieces and clip them willy-nilly and call it good. At least I used to string them all together in some semblance of an equalized something-or-other but now I figure why bother and just clip in with my daisy (OK, it's a PAS for you daisy-haters).

If I know I'm leading the next pitch too, I'll build a power point, but most of the time my partner gets up there and I mumble, "um, I'll tie you off" or point him at the best piece.

Since learning that a cordalette only equalizes whatever-percent, I've decided 0% works OK for me.

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#32543 - 08/26/07 11:51 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Ale]
Eddie Offline
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Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: Ale
 Originally Posted By: Eddie
if it CAN happen it will!


Keep in mind that doesn't matter how much you back everything up, accidents are still possible. And thus, according to your philosophy, they will certainly happen....


yup! now you got it!


[/quote]
If one feels more comfortable backing up everything also the shoe laces is ok for me. But please don't pretend the others to share yours phobiae!







[/quote]

yeah! okay. if i have a phobia then okay. you all seem to be missing the point! you do not need to use a crappy poor idea and badly used piece of extra gear! that is all. build a good anchor and follow the "rules" of good anchor building. it should have redundancy. you all seem to be saying that i am crazy and have phobia. i would like to see your anchors....OH! you all clip the bolts!

i have no time for this.
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#32545 - 08/26/07 03:19 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
Ale Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 10
No no, I see your point.
It's just that sometimes there are issues that are not obvious or even counter-intuitive:
a beginner with little theoretical knowledge may feel more comfortable with a short fall close or very close to the anchor than with a longer fall at the end of the pitch!
One may feel safer doubling the cordelette or tying in knots to make it "cut-proof", even though the risk of a cordelette failure is far far smaller than the probability of having a car accident along the trip to the cliff and, at the same time, larger risk may come from the bad anchor equalization...

There isn't necessarily a correspondence between feeling safe and being safe.

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#32547 - 08/26/07 04:42 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Ale]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Whenever these equalization discussions come up, I can't help but be reminded of this picture from Yosemite Climber, captioned "Belay anchors, Sea of Dreams":

Yosemite Climber, George Meyers, 1979, pg. 67. Photo: Dave Diegleman
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#32554 - 08/26/07 10:15 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: MarcC]
Eddie Offline
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Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: MarcC
Whenever these equalization discussions come up, I can't help but be reminded of this picture from Yosemite Climber, captioned "Belay anchors, Sea of Dreams":

Yosemite Climber, George Meyers, 1979, pg. 67. Photo: Dave Diegleman


yeah! that is a classic! a friend of mine almost talked me into that climb! then i came to my senses! i would have liked to do it but i am not sure i could do all those A4s......somehow i always get the A3+ and A4 pitches! the hook or book pitch kinda said it all!

the photo reminds me of the famous RURP anchor by bridwell.
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#32571 - 08/27/07 02:36 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
retr2327 Offline
member

Registered: 06/14/07
Posts: 108
"WTF. if you can waste all that time building a 3 f#$@ing piece anchor how could it be a waste of resources to back up a cordellet? are you F%$#ing kidding me? this game is played by the BACK EVERYTHING UP" mantra....well when i played it it did!
now you may be thinking what an ass i am....well an ass i may be!"

I just hope you always wear two climbing harnesses . . . .

After all, we've all heard of one failing.

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#32574 - 08/27/07 02:58 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: retr2327]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
Eddie, I think you're wise to ask "what would happen if ______ breaks" ... it's irresponsible not to. But it can lead you on wild goose chases if you don't also consider the likelihood of something breaking.

John Long speaks about this pretty eloquently in his new book, pointing out that the goal isn't redundancy; it's a safe anchor. Redundancy is one of many tools we use to make an anchor safe, but it isn't always required in every part of the system. Long notes that a 747 aircraft, which has many double and triple redundant systems, still only has one left wing. If that wing were to fall off, everyone on board would die. But this isn't seen as a safety flaw, because the wing is so over-engineered that the chance of its failure is insignificant in light of other dangers.

Likewise, we routinely climb with just one rope, one harness, one belay/rap device, and one locking biner. failure of any of these things in many cases would turn us into a stain ... but we don't insist on redundancy here because most of the time the chances are so low as to be irrelevant.

The chance of a nut or cam popping out is pretty good--so we usually throw in a few of them. The chance of your rigging cord failing? Probably less likely than your rope getting cut ... it's right in front of the belayer, usually sheltered, not winding around over sharp flakes etc.. But if you still feel you need to back it up, go ahead. It takes a knot in the rope and five seconds of your time.

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#32578 - 08/27/07 03:27 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
also, if you ever climb long routes or anything in the mountains, you quickly figure out that speed can be more important to your safety than the usual boy scout rules.

insisting on everything being redundant right down to your spare adult diapers can be ridiculous when it might actually be safer to climb 4th class, or to simulclimb with running belays, or to go completely unroped.

probably 90% of my rappels in the mountains have been off a single, non-redundant piece or rock feature. most alpinists i've talked to say the same thing. is this dangerous? yes. is it more dangerous than running out of time or running out of gear? not even close. an example of how understanding the big picture is more important than memorizing the rules.

here are a couple of anchor pictures from our last trip, taken to torment some of our more dogmatic friends:

http://www.paulraphaelson.com/downloads/anchors/anchor1.jpg
http://www.paulraphaelson.com/downloads/anchors/anchor3.jpg

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#32579 - 08/27/07 04:13 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Climer Offline
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Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
For all the less experienced climbers (or those just learning) out there looking at these photos in pauls post of these "anchors"...This is a great way to get killed. People die like this every year and there is no good reason for it.

I have to make the assumption that these are rap "anchors"...For that purpose and only that purpose these are adequate(only barely) and only if there aren't other options.

If they are belay anchors...Don't post that nonsense where some kids can see it. It might be alright for you but the majority of the climbing community would shun that nonsense like they would a leper with the plague and pussing wounds sharing a soak in the hot tub with ya. There are a hell of alot more options in doing "long routes or routes in the moutains" that stuff like this.

Climer

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#32580 - 08/27/07 04:21 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Climer]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
those were anchors on 4th class terrain, on big ledges where there was no f2 fall potential. built so the belayer wouldn't fall off a cliff if a rock pegged him on the head.

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#32581 - 08/27/07 04:27 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Climer Offline
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Registered: 05/13/00
Posts: 348
Thank you. You had me worried for a second there


Climer

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#32592 - 08/27/07 07:11 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Climer]
BillH Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Maryland
What Paul says above makes a lot of sense to me. Techniques and devices don't make us safe. Safety comes from good judgment as to when and how to use and not use them.

But even with good judgment, one must remember that in a mountain environment absolute safety just doesn't exist. We are always having to balance and weigh risks. Even on cliffs like the Gunks where time is not a real factor and the possibility of getting caught on top at night is not a big deal, one may have to weigh the need for a fully equalized anchor that consumes three useful cams. If you have one bomber anchor at a belay point (e.g., a 10" diameter, healthy tree), you may acutally make your party less safe by backing up that anchor with 2 or 3 more pieces the leader may need to be safe on the next pitch.

Similarly, does the back up provided by an auto-block on a rappel outwiegh the possibility that the added complexity might cause an exhausted, benighted climber to rig in improperly to the rappel rope? I recently had occasion to worry about this very issue on a night-time decent at Seneca. Both of my climbing partners use auto-block; I don't. Watching them rig their rappels in the dark by headlamp with extension slings and the auto-block gear made me worry they might get confused and mess up. All ended well: we tripple-checked each set up except that of the last climber down, but that was I, and I use the simplest set up of the three of us.

My point is not to re-start argumnts about equalized anchors, auto-blocks or any other particular device or techinque. Rather it is that in the mountains (or even just on the cliffs) there is no "safe" zone in which we can hide from all risk no matter how religiously we follow the techniques in the books. Rather, we are constantly trying to reduce our exposure by selecting the techniques that strike the best balance of risks for a particular situation. In doing so we ought remember that whenever we spend time and effort employing techniques that do not increase safety (e.g., backing up a bomb proof anchor) we are really reducing our safety margin by expending time, energy, attention and gear we may need to deal with a real hazard later.
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#32611 - 08/28/07 01:26 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: BillH]
learningtolead Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 981
Loc: a wanna be kerhonkson-er
die thread, DIE!

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#32613 - 08/28/07 02:14 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: learningtolead]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
NEVER! Man alive has this thing gone on well beyond it's expected mileage.

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#32749 - 08/31/07 12:00 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: chip]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
This is the funniest thing I have seen here in a looong time. I hadn't looked at this thread yet, in it's months and months and months of life. finally this morning I decide to get rid of the little red numbers next to it and I click on it to see just what the hell is so interesting about cordalettes, and the first thing I see is Molly wishing it to die! Priceless dude!

RR

P.S. Pauls anchors look fine to me. Shit, they're bomber. Once you start rapping off of one brass nut then you shoulkd start to worry. I slung horn is a righteous anchor indeed in the hills. Now his face s another story entirely! Don't shop THAT thing where children may see it!!!


Edited by RangerRob (08/31/07 12:06 PM)

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#32752 - 08/31/07 02:43 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: RangerRob]
paulraphael Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
my face was pretty before chris rapped off of it on the previous pitch.

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#32986 - 09/11/07 12:10 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Eddie Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: paulraphael
also, if you ever climb long routes or anything in the mountains, you quickly figure out that speed can be more important to your safety than the usual boy scout rules.

insisting on everything being redundant right down to your spare adult diapers can be ridiculous when it might actually be safer to climb 4th class, or to simulclimb with running belays, or to go completely unroped.

probably 90% of my rappels in the mountains have been off a single, non-redundant piece or rock feature. most alpinists i've talked to say the same thing. is this dangerous? yes. is it more dangerous than running out of time or running out of gear? not even close. an example of how understanding the big picture is more important than memorizing the rules.

here are a couple of anchor pictures from our last trip, taken to torment some of our more dogmatic friends:

http://www.paulraphaelson.com/downloads/anchors/anchor1.jpg
http://www.paulraphaelson.com/downloads/anchors/anchor3.jpg


paul,
i am not talking about alpine climbing or hard aid lines. i understand and i have climbed in those situations. i know that at times EXPERIENCED climbers need to make very serious decisions about safety, and sometimes the text book is thrown out. I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THOSE TIMES!!!!!

the bottom line is this design is inherently flawed! that is all. IT IS A BAD BAD BAD DESIGN!!!! as i keep saying IF you are going to build a 3 piece anchor there is NO NEED to put that piece of shit on the end of it. it would take longer to get it out and hook it up that it would to just use the original 3 piece anchor CORRECTLY! that is all. build a 2 piece anchor and do it right and be done. fuck the extra piece and that PIECE OF SHIT bad design cordelette! that is what i am saying! you people keep missing the point. IT IS A SHITTY DESIGN that takes more time energy and gear than doing it "correctly" from the begining. that is all. leave that shit at home already.

stop telling me that you all can do it lighter and faster in the mountains and on aid routes. i am not talking about that. why don't some of you get on some hard aid with me and i will show you some genuinley scary shit.....that is "basically" safe by all your definitions! i am sure my fat ass can still do it! any one for several bashies, hooks , and rivit holes in a row? but do not fret....i will build you a good anchor i promise.

one last time for you that have trouble with this THIS CORD IS A TERRIBLE TERRIBLE DESIGN WITH INHERENT FAILURE POTENTIAL THAT BEGINNERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE!!!! BAD IDEA!

eddie

ps RG, it is not a moot point rather a simple explaination of a piss poor idea you are trying to pass off as good. it sucks. do it right already.
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#32987 - 09/11/07 12:19 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
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tOOthless

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#33001 - 09/11/07 03:02 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
paulraphael Offline
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Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
Eddy, with all due respect to empicard's brilliant animation, it's possible that if you repeat your point several more times, even more emphatically and with more hyperbole, it might, by the sheer force of your increasing blood pressure, become true.

It would at least be an interesting experiment.

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#33008 - 09/11/07 04:57 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
Eddie Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
okay. you guys are right. i am going out to buy one of these....they are the end all cure all. what was i thinking?
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#33010 - 09/11/07 05:11 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
There ya go Eddie. Doesn't conformity feel soooo good!

RR

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#33013 - 09/11/07 05:34 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: RangerRob]
Eddie Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: RangerRob
There ya go Eddie. Doesn't conformity feel soooo good!

RR


you will be assimilated. resistance is futile......
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#33015 - 09/11/07 05:56 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
Has Eddie done the impossible? Has he killed this thread?

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#33018 - 09/11/07 06:52 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Smike]
paulraphael Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
now that the thread is dead i have no more reason to go on. a brand new Trango Alpine Equalizer(tm) is wrapped around my neck, and equalized to the chandelier, the smoke alarm, and the fire sprinkler. just wanted to say thanks for all the laughs before kicking the stool out from under.

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#33019 - 09/11/07 06:57 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: paulraphael]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
the thread is dead! long live the thread!
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Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#33847 - 10/18/07 03:53 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: empicard]
TrippleB Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 34
Loc: NY
I climbed out at Lost City 2 weeks ago, and noticed some cordelette techniques used by some others climbers who later told me they had adapted their techniques from this forum.

The climbers remarked that the sliding-x was the ONLY safe way to use a cordelette because using an 8 knot increases the "impact force" on the remaining gear if one piece were to fail.

In 1 of their 2 setups (sigh, lost city gym camping...another thread for another day) they had the rope directly over the climb (with the climb not wandering left or right the impact on the anchor would always be in the same direction) and all three cams were fairly close to each other.

In this situation there is no need for the sliding-x or some sort of dynamic equalization. If one of the 3 cams or even 2 were to fail the "re-equalization" of the rope would be minimal (less than an inch if at all) due to the fact that all the gear was either on or very close to the direction of pull. In this setup or in any setup where the gear is all in-line or very closely in-line to the direction of pull the 8 knot is excellent and probably better. In the event of failure the other two pieces would take the weight without any dynamic movement in the system. Whereas the "x" would yield a drop (till the loop catches) and exert more force on the "re-equalizing" system.

The second setup really struck me. In this setup they had 3 perfectly equalized pieces (albie,t despite being in-line, using the "x" again), and had a backup piece quite a distance away. Now the equalized 3 cam setup and the backup where equalized to the rope via a sliding-x. To compensate for the great distance, a runner was attached to the 3 cam system then clipped to the cordelette, and the cordelette was clipped directly to the backup

The problem here (aside from some other things apart from this topic) is that the entire system, despite having 4 good pieces, was heavily dependant on only 1. If the backup were to fail the anchor would have effectively dropped 6 feet (distance of the cordelette loop...it was an abnormally large cordelette for TRing aparently). Aside from the shock load this would produce, the climber would drop that distance. An unessessary risk for a TR climber.

Again here, failure would result in minimal lateral shift, making re-equalization onto an 8 a better option.

I see more and more people using the sliding-x for TRing, and for pitch anchors than ever before. In my experience and education the "x" is good when 1) you need to move side to side at your anchor, and 2) when the failure of a piece would result in a re-equalization that would leave your remaining gear unequlized. The later is common, but not all setups will yield an unequalized system if part of the system fails.

The advantage of the "X" is that in the event of failure or lateralshift you will always end up with an equalized system. The disadvantage is that your "tie-in" point will drop, and any drop produces additional forces.
_________________________
TrippleB, because TripleB just doesnt look as cool.


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#33867 - 10/18/07 08:58 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: TrippleB]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
People with a poor grasp of load fundamentals and anchor assessment can be expected to mis-apply things they read about on the Internet. Unfortunate but all too true.

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#33869 - 10/18/07 09:14 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Mike Rawdon]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
Who stuck the defibrillator on this thread?

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#33871 - 10/18/07 09:33 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: TrippleB]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
For the forces involved in top-roping, I don't see why a good old-fashioned tied cordelette isn't just fine. Much of the lengthy debate about anchoring methods was driven by the unlikely but not unheard-of catastrophe of total anchor failure when the leader falls directly onto the belay. There isn't much need to transfer those ultimate exigencies to mellow top-roping loads.

Nonetheless, just for the record, if you have three pieces in a horizontal crack linked with a tied cordelette and either of the outer arms fails, the load is not redistributed, it is applied entirely to the middle piece. The other outer arm will only be loaded if the middle piece also fails. For very large loads, this sets up the possibility of a cascade failure, in which each piece fails in turn at something near the total load, rather than their being and equalization of the load. These considerations really aren't (or shouldn't be) relevant to a top-rope anchor.

The sliding-X and other dynamically adjusting anchor set-ups are by no means the "only safe" way to rig. For the type of cordelette set-up described above, the tied cordelette typcially loads the center piece with half the total load, with the rest distributed to the outer arms. All of the sliding systems aimed at three-point equalization have so much friction that it seems possible that the three-point sliding systems are ultimately no better at equalization than the tied cordelettes. (Unfortunately, the resolution lies with drop tests that no one has done yet.) And as for the hybrid systems involving a two-point sliding-X or or improved variant like the equalette, they too load one of the pieces with half the total load and so are not clearly better at distribution than the tied cordelette, although they still retain the advantage or orientablility (again not of much concern for most top-ropes.)

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#34167 - 11/05/07 12:08 AM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Smike]
Eddie Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
 Originally Posted By: Smike
Who stuck the defibrillator on this thread?


har har har! it was not me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#34190 - 11/05/07 07:25 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: rg@ofmc]
paulraphael Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 321
Loc: New York, NY
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
For the forces involved in top-roping, I don't see why a good old-fashioned tied cordelette isn't just fine.


Toprope anchors seem like a situation where the cordelette really shines. If the route doesn't wander, you don't need much in the way of dynamic equalization. And the monstrous redundancy of a cordelette is comforting when you consider that no one is up at the anchor to watch how it behaves when loaded.

At a belay anchor, you have a belayer standing there. If the anchor gets loaded in a funny way by the second or by the way the belayer hangs, and it starts rubbing against a sharp edge, you can do something about it. Any unpredicted problems like this at a toprope anchor could go unnoticed for too long.

I've been the proponent of a self equalizing version of the cordelette, but I use the old fashioned version more often when setting up TRs.

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#34195 - 11/05/07 08:56 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: Eddie]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
 Originally Posted By: Eddie
har har har! it was not me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It was this time!
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