Top Anchors on routes

Ask. Answer. Discuss. Any bolting related issues.
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:05 pm

You could quite easily add a maillon to the lower hanger in the picture I posted.

All this makes me glad I trad climb...
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NatureBoi
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by NatureBoi » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:53 am

Old Smelly wrote:I must say thanks guys :thumright

Nic it seems you have got good working knowledge of these things and your input is very helpful. Thanks Justin and the others for your input too.

So is there some way of getting those type of chains and rings on the top of the routes rather than a piece of chain shoved over the thread of the bolt and held in place by a nut? How could we go about trying to standardise top anchor systems to be the best they can be? How do the bolters decide what method to use? Is there someone who could start a national standard? Or even a forum where bolters could agree?

Lastly how do I irritate the bolters who read the forum enough to get them to respond to this thread. Do I need Ebert to be rude to them or something? :jocolor:
ARF has a system in place and an obligation to conform to the EMP that was formed with CapeNature.
All new routes need a permit. You only get it if you adhere to the rules, failure to do so will result in you not being able to bolt another route till you correct your indiscretion.

An application looks like: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_hfvm ... sp=sharing

Hardware requirements: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E00 ... RCwNg/edit

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Justin » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:23 am

Thanks, so rings it is.

From the Hardware document:
Addendum C: Lower Offs

Only Double or single RINGS are to be used as lower-offs. 1) The rings allow climbers to put a bight through the rings which is the safest way to clean. 2) There is less wear on the rope 3) less wear on rope contact point as rings revolve, more so if you use double rings. 4) Lastly less chance of rust settling in due to constant movement of the rings.


Cormac: Any preference from ARF on the lower off placements? (side by side, unequal, other)
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:42 am

Personally I would rather see another hanger on the top bolt and then one could have decent chains that take carabiners and maybe a few from the right hand hanger, that could be brought together to a ring or not. That way draws could be clipped to the chains and only the last person to lower off would need to use the ring (or run the rope through the bottom chains if there was no ring).

What I need to understand is if the current idea of one higher and one lower bolt would be better off equipped with equalising chain and maillon combinations and if this would be the best practice. And then like I said how would one convince the current people who equip routes that this is the way top go.

Any suggestions (maybe a national set of bolting guidelines or agreements)
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by NatureBoi » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:00 am

Justin wrote:Thanks, so rings it is.

From the Hardware document:
Addendum C: Lower Offs

Only Double or single RINGS are to be used as lower-offs. 1) The rings allow climbers to put a bight through the rings which is the safest way to clean. 2) There is less wear on the rope 3) less wear on rope contact point as rings revolve, more so if you use double rings. 4) Lastly less chance of rust settling in due to constant movement of the rings.


Cormac: Any preference from ARF on the lower off placements? (side by side, unequal, other)
I go with side by side, equal loading/ wear on the anchors. But sometimes the rock determines where the anchor should go. Actual rock failure should be the biggest concern , combined with competency of installer and the materials used.
Also where is the proof that side by side causes rope kink, or is it just a feeling. There could be many variables that could affect it, thickness of rope, coatings, fiber lay up, path of rope fall from lower-off's to ground, etc.

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Justin » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:19 am

Xenomorph wrote:Also where is the proof that side by side causes rope kink, or is it just a feeling.
Next time you are in Montagu, climb some of the routes to the left at Ramset where the anchors are side by side and you will see.
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Keith » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:28 am

Wow, is this the case of the "kink alarmists" versus the "kink denialists"?

From the Edelrid website http://www.edelrid.de/en/pro-tips/

"...anchors where the rope has a 90° bend and runs through two separate anchor points. Such anchors (or lower-offs) are often found in the USA, where it is common practise to rappel from the anchor. This type of anchor arrangement can often lead to twists and kinks when a loaded rope runs through it, for example, when lowering the leader. If the rope is then loaded again, for example by a second who also takes frequent rests on the top-rope, then permanent kinks and twists may be caused. Your rope might be left looking like a curly party decoration and would certainly no longer be suitable for climbing. This is why if you have two anchors at the same height it’s import to extend one of them, for example with a quickdraw." [emphasis mine]

As Willem points out, one must abseil to avoid kinking. This is a right pain in the arse and can be avoided if the equipper (1) offsets the anchors (which has additional benefits) or (2) uses a longer chain.

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by deSouzaFrank » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:56 pm

Justin wrote:Here is a pic of new top anchors installed recently 'Up North
The bolt in that close up pic. Sorry to go back on that. I'm just curious as to whether I'm seeing it correctly here, as I'm doubting myself seeing as no one else is seeing this.

A fine crack running in a bend, from the bolt hole, to the crack that has been there before the bolt.

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:37 pm

deSouzaFrank wrote:A fine crack running in a bend, from the bolt hole, to the crack that has been there before the bolt.
Nope, looks like a slight edge as Justin said
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by deSouzaFrank » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:45 pm

wow. dont i feel like a doos for not reading proper and making a comment on a pic that is clearly labeled "crack close to bolt" "bolt crack"
sorry nic and justin. Ill be sure to read a little more, before posting next time.

i was refering to this pic
sorry again
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:12 am

I was looking at some more routes where the new top anchors are two seperate ring bolts at different levels yesterday. Somehow it still does not do it for me. A few Maillons or chain links to allow one to clip equal length draws would just make it seem so much more logical to me. I wonder if everyone else who uses that crag also wonders about the new top anchors or does it only bother me?
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Justin » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:29 pm

deSouzaFrank wrote:i was referring to this pic, sorry again
No stress, with the number of pics loaded, its easy to confuse between conversations!
Old Smelly wrote:I was looking at some more routes where the new top anchors are two seperate ring bolts at different levels yesterday. Somehow it still does not do it for me. A few Maillons or chain links to allow one to clip equal length draws would just make it seem so much more logical to me. I wonder if everyone else who uses that crag also wonders about the new top anchors or does it only bother me?
There must be a mechanical / scientific answer to this the equalised / non equalised.

Below are a few more examples of top anchors from Truitjieskraal.
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Andy Davies
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Andy Davies » Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:48 am

Hi all:

1 - Use of non-qualified lower off chain / rings is unacceptable. I get nervous when I hear the words cost effective. Builders warehouse is where you buy gardening equipment. Mountain Mail Order etc is where you buy climbing equipment.
2 - Two bolts with a single ring is not the greatest. The single ring will wear and after a few years could fail.
3 - Staggering lower offs is done for 1 reason only: so only the loaded anchor wears from the rope abrasion. Good qualified corrosion resistant anchors will not fail for many many years due to environmental effects.
4 - Maillons and biners wear very quickly [especially aluminum biners] as the rope runs in one spot. Rings wear VERY slowly as the rope runs in different spots all the time.

To summarise the best lower off is:

a] 2x anchors [mandatory]
b] qualified anchors & rings [mandatory]
c] separate rings [very preferable]
d] 1 loaded 1 not [preferable]

If you have any specific questions for me please feel free to email me. I may not check this thread regularly.
AndyDavies

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:24 am

Andy - are you saying that the chains and rings should not equally share the load?

Just a comment about the last photo - I would extend these anchors with Maillons and maybe rings on the end - what is the value in running a rope through a ring if all it achieves is pulling the second bolt in a horizontal direction?

Once again, could someone please explain why the anchors that look like that could be acceptable, when according to conventional logic two bolts with chains running to equalised rings would load better - due to the angle of pull on the bolts and the fact that the load is shared so the bolts would last longer. Surely the thinking should follow that form of conventional logic - equalise the load and put it at an angle that loads the anchors correctly instead of all this single anchor side loading stuff... hmmm...

Why in trad is equalising and load direction so important and then with bolts it seems like none of that thinking applies. I smell a fish...
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:16 am

Sharing the load is not important for top anchors whatever your logic says. They are many times stronger than they need to be therefore we can move away from the load sharing concept and look at fatigue and usage cycles.

Running the rope a ring under load wears it out. Not appreciably per usage cycle but over time certainly. Staggering the anchors vertically ensures that only one of the top anchors (which is more than strong enough) gets loaded and only one gets worn. That way you still have and unworn backup anchor.

Using the top anchors creates fatigue, again not appreciably per usage cycle but over time certainly, nothing lasts forever. Therefore having the anchors staggered vertically means that only the top anchor experiences fatigue and you have a lower un-fatigued anchor as a backup.

Therefore it is better to stagger the anchors vertically than horizontally.

Equalization of trad anchors:
Trad anchors are a totally different kettle of fish to sport climbing top anchors. We have good data for how strong glue in anchors or expansions are in different types and hardnesses of rock. For trad anchors, your guess is as good as mine. Data suggest that a good placement with a reasonable size nut or cam could be as strong as about 7kN. For rescue we work on about 5 for a good placement. I'm not talking gear strength here, but how much force it can take before popping.

We are really bad at equalizing trad anchors properly:
We fail to estimate the degree to which rope stretch affects the distribution of load on each anchor point.
The number of strands of rope going to an anchor affects the degree of loading.
The type of rope going to each anchor affects the loading.
Using slings rather than rope for some of the points affects the loading.
The angles the rope makes going into the master point affects the loading.
Moving the master point after tying it affects the loading.

Are you still sure that your trad anchor is equalized? I'm not. Since we have all this uncertainty in our anchor, we go for overkill and build an anchor with multiple points, try to distribute the load as evenly as possible and hope that we don't take a Factor 2 directly onto the belay. Then we pack it up and carry on climbing.

In summary: Sport anchors get lots of usage cycles and fatigue, so we have an unused, un-fatigued backup. Trad anchors might take one heavy fall so we build a multi-point anchor, distribute the loading as best as we can and hope it doesn't get used, so there are few usuage cycles and little fatigue, no unused backup required
Happy climbing
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:15 am

Hmmm Really...I am afraid that my logic is also based on conventional theory of loading of anchors http://www.chockstone.org/TechTips/Equalise.htm

even random people think this is the norm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_FE2x4r9DM :thumright

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/f ... or.404103/

https://books.google.co.za/books?id=MET ... rs&f=false

https://books.google.co.za/books?id=7U2 ... rs&f=false
Books have it in them (note the bit about 2 bolts)

https://books.google.co.za/books?id=Gwy ... rs&f=false

some more well known publications:
http://www.climbing.com/skill/bolted-toprope-anchors/

Oh and Petzl can never be wrong!
http://www.petzl.com/en/Sport/Installin ... gEgFN-qpBc
:alien: :mrgreen:

which implies that equalising is the norm and that your theory that one anchor bolt is sufficient and strong enough is just that - a THEORY!
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:11 pm

Old Smelly wrote:Hmmm Really...I am afraid that my logic is also based on conventional theory of loading of anchors http://www.chockstone.org/TechTips/Equalise.htm
Trad anchor so not relevant
Old Smelly wrote:even random people think this is the norm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_FE2x4r9DM :thumright
Random you tube guy, not relevant, talking about top roping. Not anchor placement
If you actually read the forum rather than just googling things, you would see that the thread relates to the american death triangle and as we have already repeated established in this thread, vertical staggering reduces this possibility.
FYI, the sliding X doesn't work, there is so much friction around the carabiners that it stays put. The second picture on the right has the angle at the master point close to 90 degrees, which means that you are close to putting 70% of the load on each anchor, so the whole thing is now carrying around 1.4x the load of your climber. Is that better or worse than 100%?
Old Smelly wrote:https://books.google.co.za/books?id=7U2 ... rs&f=false
Books have it in them (note the bit about 2 bolts)
Trad anchors again.
Every anchor at different heights
Old Smelly wrote:some more well known publications:
http://www.climbing.com/skill/bolted-toprope-anchors/
Top rope anchors, not bolt placement advice
Old Smelly wrote:Oh and Petzl can never be wrong!
http://www.petzl.com/en/Sport/Installin ... gEgFN-qpBc
:alien: :mrgreen:
All the bolts/pitons/anchors are at different heights

Right that's it, I'm out
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:52 pm

I must apologise for seeming to not appreciate your input Nic, merely that I still find all this contrary to most conventional wisdom - and I am not picking a fight...

but then again most of those did actually show 2 bolt anchors being equalised notwithstanding your comments... which was my point!

Ok the first one shows carabiners but clearly implies a 2 bolt anchor (in trad we are meant to use 3 anchors) :thumright

With the random guy - the top roping is exactly what we do when we lower off and top rope our new partners...

ETC. so though you have responded and explained away a few as trad anchors you couldn't really have been serious as you know that 2 attachment point anchors should not happen in trad and that if you read those articles there is an inference that we are talking about 2 bolt stances...

In none of those instances was their any proposal that one should load only one of the anchors...

So though I am not arguing that the "new" way is not correct, I am puzzled as to why up until now the equalisation and angle of loading was important and is now classed as irrelevant. Who the *!@$ suddenly decided that there was a new way and that everyone else must embrace it? Are we the only ones in the world who think a single bolt for top anchors is sufficient?
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by BAbycoat » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:24 am

@OS,

These anchors can be used in three situations:
(1) To toprope other climbers
(2) To lower after cleaning the anchors, and
(3) For a multi-pitch stance.

For (1) feel free to equalize however you want to.
For (3) equalization highly recommended (just like trad anchors)
(so far, no break with conventional wisdom).

IMHO the vertical alignment of bolts relates only to (2), where it reduces both wear on the rings and twists in the rope.

No, SA isn't the only one to do it - see the Edelrid site. I know of vertical anchor placement in Germany, Sicily and Malaysia ... and probably many other places in the world.

PS - to Keith, Nic and others in the know. Can anyone explain WHY two 90 degree bends cause the rope to twist, but one 180 degree bend does not?

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:58 am

Thanks for that Babycoat - good points and some clarity - I think.

I did apologise to Nic for seeming to not accept his explanations but I think it is clarity for the normal average climber that I seek, so that even if they are not willing to say that they don't understand the uneven anchors I am pretty sure they don't. To me it is clear that if such "advancements" are taking place then there should be some form of good reference explaining all this...

For most climbers loading one anchor of uncertain strength is NOT as logical as sharing the load between 2 - that is why I have pushed to see why one would suddenly decide that a single anchor is good enough when it goes against conventional teaching and wisdom.

I also find it a little high handed to say things like "of course one anchor is strong enough" when one should always be circumspect about such assumptions, even in Engineering terms. Besides this I do accept that a single bolt could be of a Factor of Safety of 10 for a 100 kg climber being lowered off on it. So the struggle then must lie with the assumption that every bolt is a good bolt. I get that if one anchor is not good then why should the other one be, but here I also think some logic applies that (not like the stats that were referred to) that if the one anchor has become bad over time that the other may not have and so your security is in fact 50% better in this case. Twist this any way you like I would like to know that should one anchor fail the other would hold (and preferably without the scary jolt that would come from the uneven anchors option.)

So what then are the advantages of the uneven anchor option? The rope twisting thing and the possibility that you may only need to replace one hanger at the end of it's lifespan. To me these are dubious advantages, but as Babycoat has stated I am welcome to equalise for top roping or for other times I feel it is necessary.

So when I go around re equipping these new anchors with glued closed maillons, chains and rings am I going to be thanked or cursed by the very bolters who are doing all this good work for us?
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:41 am

Ok, after this I really am out.

It is all about what happens in a failure of one of the bolts in the stance. With two bolts level there will still be a shock loading on the remaining bolt even if you equalize them perfectly, the load will go from 50% to 100% suddenly. Shock loading is unavoidable.

Using bolts and rings wears them out, you can't possibly argue with that.

With two bolts at the same level, both of the bolts will have experienced wear and tear and will not be in mint condition. If one of the bolts fails you will have some shock loading on the other bolt that is not in mint condition and is the only thing between you and a ground fall if you are top roping or cleaning.

With two bolts staggered vertically, the lower bolt will be in mint condition, having never had wear and tear and will be in a better state to hold the slightly greater shock load.

Lastly, as you keep incorrectly asserting, I have NEVER said only one bolt at the top, I have always said two bolts, but only load the upper one.
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:51 am

Thanks Nic and good points! I appreciate that you are getting tired of this as particularly from your viewpoint my assertions of the norm are irrelevant. I get it.

As you say I am incorrectly asserting that this is a single anchor - which it is until the time of failure - and generally equalised systems share the load (even if they both end up taking 70%) the whole time. So the assertion that you are not proposing a single anchor is untrue - just that it is backed up in a way that is never really recommended in climbing circles - a sudden and quick shockload!

I do understand what you are getting at. I am just uncertain as to why this is preferable to sharing the load between two anchors - other than the aforementioned twist thing and the deliberate loading of one anchor which is a dubious advantage.

Once again on the apologising side I must also say that I understand that you are experienced in mountain rescue etc. and respect that. It just seems to me that the moment we start saying that our general practice is single anchors with shockloaded backups we are so far from the SRENE ideal or any version of that and saying that it just doesn't apply to bolts is such a vast generalisation that I doubt it is valid assertion! Why would we recommend that for every day use people use a single loaded point system and then in a trad or rescue system resort to completely over the top redundant safe systems?

Back to my last question - are the bolters going to get upset if I go around making their anchor systems equalise?
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by BAbycoat » Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:31 am

You've asked how this is different to trad.

Firstly, trad anchors are for top-roping and/or multi-pitching. As mentioned earlier, you can/should equalize vertical bolts in these situations ... in which case vertical anchors result in slightly smaller angles and less loads than horizontal bolt placements.

Next, as Nic's already explained, in a trad anchor there is very little dynamic component in the system (this accident is a gruesome, extreme example). Similarly for rescue anchors.

Remember that we are only talking about lowering here. The rope to your belayer on the ground gives significant elasticity to the system, as does the inevitable give in any belay. So, trad system has no elasticity, sport situation has elasticity. Plus, you'd never use a trad system for lowering and cleaning a climb.

Nic's also explained that, in practice, trad and rescue anchors are rarely perfectly equalized - so they will experience a little bit of shock loading if a piece blows.

Additionally, the probability of a single bolt failing is much less than a single piece of natural pro failing.

All-in-all the benefits of vertical (vs horizontal) anchors are lower wear and less twist. They are deemed to outweigh the costs of a small possibility of a small shock load. So that's why people prefer vertical bolt alignment.

In practice, a lot depends on the rock where the anchors are bolted. If there's a solid block of rock at the anchors on a well-frequented route, vertical anchors are the way to go. But sometimes the rock features (cracks, bulges, etc) mean that horizontal anchors are safer than vertical.

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by BAbycoat » Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:44 am

Back to your last question - are the bolters going to get upset if you go around making their anchor systems equalise?

- In general, the bolter knows what they are doing and why. If they wanted it equalized, they would have done so already.
- Also in general, simpler systems are safer than complex systems, as they have fewer modes of failure. So why make it more complicated?
so yes, chances are the bolters will get upset.


Speaking specifically for myself, there's a good chance of pissing me off if you put mailons on any anchors I bolted:

1. Galvanic Corrosion. (You seem to already know about this). If your mailon is dissimilar to my bolt, one will corrode preferentially. If it's the mailon, then the mailon becomes unusable ... and at the same time blocks the bolt. And because it's glued, I have to come back another weekend with a hacksaw, to remove your "improvement". Like this fine work on some anchors I replaced
KaCP1.jpg
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If instead the bolt corrodes preferentially, then the bolt is unusable ... and I have to come back and re-rebolt. Which is even more of a ball ache. Here's an example from Taiwan - double anchor failure (yes, you read that correctly!)
110899824_medium_0b7924.jpg
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2. Uneven wear. Andy has already mentioned that rings wear evenly. Mailons wear unevenly and hence faster, so have to be replaced sooner. Which is a mission because they are glued (see 1 above)

3. Rope orientation. Chances are that the anchors are already set up to feed smoothly. If you use an odd number of mailons, you'll probably mess up the orientation of the rope. putting more friction (and probably more twists) into the rope.

How not to upset me

A. Use one ring, plus an odd number of mailons (i.e. an EVEN total number of additional links) all of the same metal as the existing anchor. But you should probably talk to the bolters first.

B. Find a ring or mailon that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Attach it to the anchor using "software" (i.e. rope/sling/tat). The flex in the soft link means you don't screw up rope orientation. Because there's no metal-on-metal contact, you don't get galvanic corrosion. And when the link or the "software" show signs of wear, everything can be cut off.

C. (preferred) Instead of going climbing, spend the weekend reading all Nic, Andy and Keith's words of advice. Condense them into a single page document so that other "normal or new climbers" know why the anchors are staggered vertically and when they could/should equalize.

D. (much preferred, if somewhat unlikely). Instead of climbing, work overtime or get a job at Steers. Use this extra income to purchase anchors with integrated chains and rings (see Justin's earlier post, and comment on cost). Donate these anchors to the kind people who are already re-bolting.

(Note: I wasn't involved in the Chosspile bolts .. though some of the other contributors may well have)
Last edited by BAbycoat on Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:17 am

Thanks for that Babycoat. Great input.

Pray explain your pseudonym?
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:31 am

Oh and why would I save up for chains - your implication being that I should not be climbing - which I do find a little offensive- when the bolters are using "free" bolts and chains to make these unequal monstrosities that despite your protests no regular climber will understand?

You see it is not about what you (Babycoat), Nic or any other so called knowledgeable person say is right that counts for anything, it is about how useable these unequal rings are when a "normal" climber gets to them with 2 equal length quickdraws in their hands!

Notwithstanding anything that has been said the "normal" climber is now presented with a conundrum.

They "know" they should equalise and they can't. They can't even equalise their tethers. So to them it is a "#%$@" system.

No matter how much you tell me to go work and do other stuff to improve all of that the reality is that if something is being bolted with MCSA money then every MCSA member has a right to question the anchor system.

Now I don't know who bolted Chosspile's new rings either - so this is an entirely hypothetical discussion to try and elicit a best practice or at least get some public understanding about these anchors. Nic's comments are appreciated, as are everyone else's. I had hoped to get some good answers from the forum and I think some have been made.

As to whether this is the ideal system I am unsure. Whether climbs should be equipped like this or with equalised rings is a good question.

As to who pays for this - maybe I don't need a job at Steers - maybe I already pay for most of the bolts. Do you?
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

Warren G
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Warren G » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:10 pm

Personally I find it amazing that people send so much time talking/fussing/worrying about anchors and yet happily lead out with a single bolt separating them from the ground. I can name many routes with a single bolt protecting an otherwise deadly fall.

Justin: For the record I think your anchor replacement story above tells us 2 things:
1. You haven't decided what system you like.
2. You are happy to place the anchors, but less keen to remove the old ones.
I think it is awful- to repeat myself- AWFUL this business of more than two bolts at anchors. Old bolts/anchors should be removed as absolutely as possible, and ASAP rather than leaving hideous studs in situ. You're proud enough of your work to advertise that you have 5 bolts in the anchors you maintain?! You live in Montagu and guide these routes daily, please take some pride in your office!
Sandbagging is a dirty game

deSouzaFrank
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Real Name: Frank de Souza
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by deSouzaFrank » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:01 pm

On a far less pissed off note.

I'm finding this topic very interesting, and has had me thinking. Ive been practicing the whole SRENE principle ever since I learned of its existence, and excepted it as logical, found confidence in the anchor, and have my nerves calmed as I go over the four factors of SRENE.

So now here is this "new" way of anchorage. At first I though what the f... but, as Warren said. We run it out with only one bolt protecting us, and as it's only the first bolt, very little rope has been paid out as compared to the amount of rope paid out at the top of the route. I mean what would the factor fall be on a 0.5m fall devided by say 20+m. Minuscule.

Is a minuscule factor fall ok on just one bolt? Little scary, too me any how, to put factor fall and one bolt in the same sentence.

I'd really like to see more of this "debate". Really interesting, and very keen to learn more about these "vertical" anchors. For now, I'm still a little in the SRENE camp, just cause it's what I've been taught and understand completely.

BAbycoat
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by BAbycoat » Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:49 am

@OS

You seem more concerned with practical use of the bolts (i.e. do newbies know how to use this setup) than the theoreticals of the setup (i.e. is it better in the long term). That's a fair comment.

I think your concern better addressed by writing a user manual for newbies than by installing mailons. (Apologies if my sarcasm became acerbic or insulting).

@Warren

My rule-of-thumb is one bolt to protect a dangerous fall, two bolts to protect a deadly fall. Anything else is poor bolting. Valid for anchors (discussed here) or runners (as you mention).

Anchor replacement is good, replacement with sustainable materials is better, removal of old bolts is best. Let's not make best the enemy of the good. (Plus, Justin's not the only one who can remove the old bolts - so can anyone climbing in Montagu).

@FdS

As mentioned before, we're only talking about lowering. For Toproping or multi-pitch anchors I'd still recommend slings/cord/rope/etc.

I found a good description of SRENE here. Applying it to this case,
S - bolts are plenty strong
R - two bolts are redundant
E - Equalisation can be bad, because spreading the load means that both bolts wear. That's what we're trying to avoid.
NE - The setup is not NE. But bolt failure is very low probability. And, given the small Fall Factor, it's low impact too.

(Don't get me wrong - SRENE is awesome. But in the particular case of lowering, it has limitations).
Hope that helps.

@OS (again)

>> Whether climbs should be equipped like this or with equalised rings is a good question.
A question best raised directly with the bolters, not in a general forum like this. Because I have the time and inclination, here's my own comparison of four different systems (with Fixe equipment as an example)
A. Two rings aligned horizontaly
B. Two rings aligned vertically
C. Inline chains
D. One chain anchor and one rings aligned vertically
ABCD-comp.jpg
ABCD-comp.jpg (38.37 KiB) Viewed 1569 times
My measures for anchors are:
Redundant - if a single piece fails, will another piece hold?
Equalised - can the system be equalised for (T)oproping, (L)owering, (B)oth or (N)one?
Load - how much of the load passes through each component
Wear - how much wear does each piece experience?
Flexible - can I adapt the system to install on the rock features available?
Cost - how expensive?
Twist - does it twist the ropes?
ABCD-rate.jpg
ABCD-rate.jpg (31.19 KiB) Viewed 1569 times
Overall I think that D is best, at almost twice the price. Thereafter B, A and then C.
PS - slightly off-topic, answers to other questions.

1. In the spirit of "no taxation without representation", MCSA members should have a say in the use of MCSA funds. That's best raised with your section GenComm.
2. I contribute to the ARF and I've replaced anchors with Thaitanium out of my own pocket. Yes, I pay.
3. Pseudonum is an old University nickname, when I was the youngest of my group.

Old Smelly
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Re: Top Anchors on routes

Post by Old Smelly » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:12 am

Thanks again Babycoat for all your input. :) And the titanium bolts...

My apologies to everyone if I seem to be rehashing your answers over and over again. I do also think your input is valued by those who read the forum.

I also feel that the people doing the anchors are to be thanked for all their efforts. :thumright I am certainly not trying to start a nitpicking session where we criticise everyone's anchors. This is about understanding the top anchors and finding out the best possible way to use them.

As an aside (maybe read wild goose chase) - are we going to consider in the long run that we cannot keep banging in new sets of anchors and chopping the old ones? Is there a sustainable solution? Do we even need to replace top bolts of we can get just the rings to wear and the bolts themselves do not corrode?

And then a Parthian shot - when we lead climb we fall to the last bolt - but we KNOW that the other bolts are below us as backup (they would have to fail in a cascade for us to hit the deck) -so the first clip is the most "dangerous" - BUT when you toprope off the top anchors or even abseil off them then they are typically the only thing preventing one from hitting the deck. SOOO even though the top anchors are only experiencing static loading the cost of them failing is much higher. Besides this the lead bolts only get loaded occasionally, the top anchors every time - so the story that we put our trust in single anchors all the time is nonsense! As is the claim that we can blindly trust a single bolt because it must be strong... :pukel: You just don't know it's history...I certainly would not presume even a shiny new looking anchor is 100%

This was interesting...http://www.climbing.com/climber/built-to-last/
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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