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#32574 - 08/27/07 02:58 PM Re: cordelette-attention RG [Re: retr2327]
paulraphael Offline
enthusiast

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
enthusiast

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
enthusiast

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
enthusiast

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
enthusiast

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.
_________________________
Bill Hutchins
Hutbill@comcast.net
http://www.reliclife.blogspot.com

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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: 2675
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: 3764
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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