Clip-in anchors

What your instructor never taught you. Continuing your education and learning from others. Climbing safety topics and accident/incident discussions.
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XMod
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Clip-in anchors

Post by XMod »

Whilst I too am shocked by the recent tragedy at the Hole, and am loathe to use this horrid event to raise this issue, I feel I must do so again.

Please, please can we give serious consideration to installing proper clip-in sport anchors in future at the more popular crags and not abseil anchors. These would eliminate the need to untie(!!!!) the rope and clean the anchors. This process is so obviously prone to human error and we have now seen the consequences of that.

Yes there is a vast difference in the initial cost - we would need to access sponsorship to cover it (insurance companies??). Remember the biners are replaceable and specifically designed to handle the wear of repeated lowering - the abseil rings are neither replaceable nor of a material that is meant for high wear situations.

Please, ARF / MCSA, bolters (this time Im being as polite as I can - yes I fumbled the ball horribly last time I raised this subject by being rude - my sincere apologies for that) give this issue some very serious consideration - finding extra funding is a small cost compared to a human life.


BAbycoat
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by BAbycoat »

100% behind you here, Greg.

@MMO - as the local distributor of Raumer products, can you advise the availability and costs of
Raumer A316 Wiregate and
Raumer A316 Maillon

I'm prepared to sponsor 4 of each so that 2 sets of anchors can be converted to clip-ins (subject to ARF's approval, of course). The intention of this is to give a practical example of the monetary costs and safety benefits of such a set-up - and hopefully to support a more informed discussion thread.
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Hann
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Hann »

Good suggestion. Thanks Greg.

I'll sponsor 4 too.
Thus making 2 more routes safer.

@MMO
Considering that I live in Stellies, can I make EFT and you hand it to ARF?

This tragic accident, and the suggestion by Greg naturally brings forward some questions.

Firstly:
Is this type of accident a regular occurrence?

Secondly:
If many lower-off anchors are replaced with the 'biner type: will climbers "unlearn" safe cleaning methods?
Thus creating a higher risk of similar accidents on routes with regular ring-type anchors?
Perhaps, should the 'biner type anchor become the standard, climbers will be extra aware/careful when faced with regular ring-type anchors.

Thirdly:
@ Greg, ARF & MCSA bolters
Greg,
You say that you have raised this topic before.
Why was it not taken further?
Was it financial implications only?
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Wes
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Wes »

Thanks for raising this, Greg

I feel that if ARF is going to implement this, then we need to think very carefully about which routes we are going to use these type of anchors on. We dont want it on routes that are top roped by a lot of newbies. It seems that most climbers in this country still just top-rope off of the anchors rather than quickdraws. We seem to be too laze to climb the route a final time to clean. :( This is something we need to change by teaching new climbers correctly.

My point is this, that we dont want these type of anchors wearing out, even thought the may be hard wearing, as they are expensive. Select carefully which routes are to get these type of anchors.
Andy Davies
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Andy Davies »

Hi all - ARF takes all constructive suggestions seriously. I am not keen for us to make decisions based on a forum discussion, but will take the suggestion away and mull over it with any interested parties. If you want to be part of this discussion then please email me at andydaviesclimber at gmail. [please don't make commitments you can't keep - we are a tad tired of backseat drivers]

However for now, please note that we cannot design away all climbing risks. Tying in, belaying, abseiling etc can all result in death or injury. Climbing is a dangerous sport and we need to all be vigilant and safe at all times.

Regards
Andy Davies
for Anchor Replacement Fund
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proze
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by proze »

Hann wrote:Is this type of accident a regular occurrence?
No. How many have you heard of vs how many people climb? Locally, it's the accident at The Hole and last year's at Boven, AFAIK. I've read of a few in the US over the last few years. So it's a tiny percentage of "clean and lowers" performed.

Like Babycoat asked, how much do the stainless biners and quick-links cost? It'd be important to loctite them properly otherwise they'll be stolen.
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

Wes wrote:My point is this, that we dont want these type of anchors wearing out, even thought the may be hard wearing, as they are expensive. Select carefully which routes are to get these type of anchors.
The way Greg has it, these would be replaceable, since they would be attached by a maillon, which removes my objection to this type of anchor entirely.

Also as an aside (I guess that the Wes here and on the accident report are one and the same) it would appear as if he were cleaning in the manner that you suggest and somehow failed to complete it properly. I use this method myself when I can and had always viewed it to be one of the safer methods. Just goes to show that it is the little things that think we can do in our sleep that make the difference.
Happy climbing
Nic
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Turtle
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Turtle »

We have something similar in stock right now that BAbycoat is refering to.

We have the FIXE SS Clipgate in stock, selling for R128(long) or R115(short) that includes a SS dogbone of sorts. We use them in the gyms as the long term option. You can just remove the dogbone, all actually very cheap for what you're getting.
http://www.fixehardware.com/shop/carabi ... carabiner/

Then on the mailon side, Rapide has a SS 8mm option going for R145ea.

But, we also have the Raumer Glue-in clip in stock going for R180ea. Looks like the pic below but has a glue in bolt instead of a hanger:
https://www.mountainmailorder.co.za/ind ... uctId=3198

To import new stock will affect the price for next time. And it takes quite some time to bring in new stuff, so feel free to email info@mountainmailorder.co.za your requests and we will see what we can do. All I have for now is current prices, things like duties, tax and shipping makes it impossible to garuantee a price now, but we can maybe give a ballpark price to aim at if needed.
:thumleft:
Old Smelly
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Old Smelly »

mmm Proze...2 in the last year in SA and multiple times in the States in the last few years is a LOT actually!

The real point is the one that was made by Hann - do we make it easier for people to just clip and then in fact exacerbate the situation for people when they meet chains or rings (or unequal P bolts :pukel: ).

You can't say it is inexperienced climbers BUT most likely those who have lost focus, are tired or are careless.

Nick is the one from S&R he should know that it is "best practice" and "systems" that protect the tired and careless.

What do I mean by this;

1. People should be consistent in their method of cleaning i.e. use a well practised and well thought out method.
2. Even if it is a routine the climber must remain mindful by doing checks and verifying the checks. This means stopping and affirming that you have done what you think you have done.
3. The system should be belts and braces in its redundancy. By this I mean that you have the rope through the draws, your own tethers and that you tie in and check before removing any of the other parts of the system. This obviates using the draws as you attachment point as this clearly removes safeties without replacing them.

I recommend that only 2 cleaning methods are taught; (and that these are adhered to religiously)

The petzl method where one clips in, goes onto your tethers and then pulls up slack, passes it through the chains and then ties a figure eight on a bight and clips to ones belay loop with a locking carabiner. Once this is done your original tie in to your harness is undone, the loose end of your rope is pulled through the rings, the system is tensioned and checked and the quickdraws and your tethers are removed. This method can only be used if the rope can be passed double through the rings.

and then the more conventional method;

Arrive at anchors, clip rope into quickdraws, attach tethers, check tethers, pull up slack after quickdraws, tie a figure eight on a bight, use a locking carabiner to attach it to your belay loop, untie your original tie in knot, feed it through the anchors, tie in again, remove the locking carabiner & knot, check the belay takes up, remove the quickdraws and the tethers.

Why are these good methods?

1. The climber never goes off belay
2. The tethers are independent and only removed once the climber is taken up on the rope again.
3. The system is redundant and can be seen to be redundant at all times. If one has ropes dangling below it is hard to see how they are routed to your harness. If they run through the draws in front of you it is obvious that you are supported or not.

To me this is a good repeatable way of cleaning. Pedantic and methodical it may be but if followed there is a lot less chance of error.
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

Your second method does make the climber go off belay if they were not leading or climbed through the draws (back climbed), i.e. the route is clean of draws below the top anchors. That being said with some small top anchors (chain links etc) it's not possible to push a bight through and you cannot avoid going off belay (potentially)

With reference to tiredness/loss of focus: The only thing that can overcome that is training and frequent practicing. You must also strive to avoid confirmation bias where you see what you want to see rather than what is there. There was a recent accident in a SAR training due to confirmation bias. The setup was checked, it appeared to be correct when in fact it was not. Subsequent to that we have instituted hands on physical tug checks of connections to add a physical confirmation of the visual checks. We also strive to reduce complexity so that systems are as easy to check as possible.
Happy climbing
Nic
BAbycoat
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by BAbycoat »

Locally, it's the accident at The Hole and last year's at Boven, AFAIK. I've read of a few in the US over the last few years
Add another which a friend of mine had the misfortune to witness in Malaysia. I suspect this is more common than we admit.

@Turtle - The Fixe link is plated steel, which isn't appropriate for outdoor installations. And the Raumer product is a non-replaceable glue-in. I'm specifically interested in the products referenced earlier as they form a replaceable set and will be made from the same steel as the current ARF glue-ins.

@Andy - Totally agree with your sensible sentiments. I'll drop you an email.
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tygereye
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by tygereye »

Fatal road accidents can happen when people lose focus.
Fatal climbing accidents can happen when people lose focus.

Be careful not to become complacent on the rock.
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justin
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by justin »

Top anchor quick clips do wear down quickly and even faster at popular crags. If installed keep in mind that they will need to be replaced within 5 years (give or take) depending on use.
In comparison, rings last almost a lifetime!

(and in case anyone asks - in my opinion, the (typically American) practise of abseiling down from the top of a route to avoid wearing the chains adds more danger to the procedure... this was the lead up to the accident in Boven last year).

The quick clip anchors at the Steeple are wearing well. They are also really fast and easy to use. I reckon that they will wear out and need to be replaced in the next two years or so (they are +-6 years old).
Top roping through the top anchors obviously speeds up the wear.

Once the steel biners (in the image below) are worn I will cut them off and use the rings as top anchors.


Image
Above: Quick clip anchors at The Steeple
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Wes
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Wes »

Justin wrote:Top anchor quick clips do wear down quickly and even faster at popular crags. If installed keep in mind that they will need to be replaced within 5 years (give or take) depending on use.
In comparison, rings last almost a lifetime!

(and in case anyone asks - in my opinion, the (typically American) practise of abseiling down from the top of a route to avoid wearing the chains adds more danger to the procedure... this was the lead up to the accident in Boven last year).

The quick clip anchors at the Steeple are wearing well. They are also really fast and easy to use. I reckon that they will wear out and need to be replaced in the next two years or so (they are +-6 years old).
Top roping through the top anchors obviously speeds up the wear.

Once the steel biners (in the image below) are worn I will cut them off and use the rings as top anchors.


Image
Above: Quick clip anchors at The Steeple
Justin, why are these mounted with the gates facing the rock? Is that the recommended method? Or is it the only way they can be mounted?
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justin
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by justin »

Wes wrote:Justin, why are these mounted with the gates facing the rock? Is that the recommended method? Or is it the only way they can be mounted?
That is how they came (factory must have put them together incorrectly!?). Be nice to have them opposing.
They were donated by CityROCK
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XMod
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by XMod »

Ive been offline so apologies for this late follow-up / reply.

Firstly Hann: This discussion was not taken further earlier partly because I opened the subject by being way too casual and quite rude, which offended some people - counter-productive, my bad. :( These anchors are prohibitively expensive - but then cost is relative.

These accidents are a, thankfully, rare occurrence (any death is one too many) - but having launched myself into space and only just grabbing a handy jug :shock: after making exactly this (what we assume occurred - rope not threaded through anchors) mistake when tired, I have given this subject some thought!

This is the anchor Im talking about. IMO superior to any other anchor.
Image
http://www.raumerclimbing.com/eng/prodo ... inav=0-7-c

Please note (Justin) the type of anchor Im suggesting is the Raumer Sport anchor. Lets dispel some misconceptions:
1: The biners on the the Raumer anchors are NOT regular steel biners - they are made of a an alloy specifically chosen to handle wear and tear and are 'as tough as nails'. Far harder wearing than the Raumer rings, they are made of the same alloy used for crane hooks - nuff said.

2. This alloy is not completely impervious to rust and will exhibit some surface corrosion. It was chosen for its toughness and an acceptable resistance to corrosion in a marine environment. Yes the presently-used rings are better at rust resistance - but are not nealy as wear resistant.

3. The Sport anchor sets do not feature a Maillon. The biner hangs off a ring which connects it to the glue-in bolt (IE they are the same as the ARF rings but with a biner instead of the large ring). They are difficult to steal due to a solid rod that closes off one end of the biner - you would need tools to bend this rod and remove the biner - apparently even then its a bit of a struggle.

4. The biners (as a seperate entity) could conceivably be used in the long run to replace the larger rings on the existing ARF anchors when those wear. This wear is happening already on a few routes where the ring sits in a way that it does not readily rotate - localising wear in one spot (Please spin the rings a little when cleaning routes - it will make them last much longer). Spererate biners could also be attached to single ring anchors (Seans ones) with a Maillon - NB:PLEASE DO NOT use any old biner for this purpose. Use only the Raumer biners. NEVER attach a regular aliminium biner to anchors with a stainless steel maillon - the biner will corrode extremely quickly creating a death trap.

5. The biners are replaceable.

Summary:
Drawbacks:- The cost - very expensive. The gates on the biners are a bit stiff to open (they are that way for safety). The gates only face outward (for ease of rope entry) so are not opposed - with the stiffly-sprung gates this is a something of a non issue however.
Advantages:- No untieing of your lifeline - to me this is such a glaringly obvious point in favour. Quick turnaround on routes - no cleaning anchors. Replaceable equipment (rings are not). Higher safety factor - 40 Kn breaking strain!
Last edited by XMod on Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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XMod
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by XMod »

As regards procedures for cleaning - yes there are safe ways of doing it - BUT anyone can make a mistake at any time. The more complex the procedure the more chance there is of human error. I have 30 years of climbing behind me and yet I still completely missed the step of threading the anchor. Mistakes happen.

Please be safe everyone!!
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Warren G »

I don't think it fair to blame infrastructure for human error: the existing system for cleaning of steel rings or chain is widely practiced with extremely low accident to repeat ratios.

Having said this clipping chains are very convenient.
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by mokganjetsi »

had an instance this weekend where a newbie was top-roping, unclipping draws as he went up. the top anchor was with leave-in biners and as he got to the top we had to remind him not to unclip the last two biners on the route - a threaded rope would have been safer in this instance.

one thing missing in the discussion is the belayer's responsibility to act as a back-up checker for the climber. keep your eyes on the climber - try and see what they are doing and insist on a "check-take" before they can go off safety. if both climbers and belayers assume co-responsibility for the climbers safety, accidents would be near eliminated.
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by justin »

mokganjetsi wrote:had an instance this weekend where a newbie was top-roping, unclipping draws as he went up. the top anchor was with leave-in biners and as he got to the top we had to remind him not to unclip the last two biners on the route - a threaded rope would have been safer in this instance.
100% safer! As a climbing guide who takes newbies and first time climbers out - I almost always thread the rope through the top anchors. In all other cases I use a draw with auto-locking biners.
**In the area and on the routes where I work, when a top anchor is worn I replace it.
mokganjetsi wrote:one thing missing in the discussion is the belayer's responsibility to act as a back-up checker for the climber. keep your eyes on the climber - try and see what they are doing and insist on a "check-take" before they can go off safety. if both climbers and belayers assume co-responsibility for the climbers safety, accidents would be near eliminated.
Yes and no. It can be of help but: very often the route is too high to see what is going on, the belayers view may be obstructed, you may be belaying someone new (who has a different technique).
The belayer can advise/try and help/request a double check, but they cannot be held in anyway responsible for what you (the person changing over at the top anchors) do up there.

You and you alone are ultimately responsible for your own safety.
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mokganjetsi
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by mokganjetsi »

Justin wrote:You and you alone are ultimately responsible for your own safety.
agree justin. what i'm trying to punt is that belayers take their role more seriously than just feeding rope & catching the fall; the general way in which belayers are lax in their role is alarming - being distracted with music, conversations, eating, lying down while belaying etc. there is a contract of tremendous trust between climber and belayer, which implies some form of "assumed responsibility" (as opposed to liability) on the part of the belayer :thumleft:
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justin
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by justin »

mokganjetsi wrote:
Justin wrote:You and you alone are ultimately responsible for your own safety.
agree justin. what i'm trying to punt is that belayers take their role more seriously than just...
I agree with Mok :thumleft:
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Hann
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Hann »

mokganjetsi wrote: belayers are lax in their role is alarming
Yes, to my knowledge South African belayers do have a bad reputaion.

That said:
It would be interesting to know what the frequency of belaying accidents are.

Especially "atc" type device vs. "grigri" type device.
Then also the gym belay accident frequency vs. crag accident.

Assuming that belay practice is much more relaxed at a crag than in the gym.
And assuming that a gym has much more distractions.

Does anybody have such data?

I know WSAR records accidents and cause.
Do gyms do the same?
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Turtle
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Re: Clip-in anchors

Post by Turtle »

Hi Hann

WRT recording accidents, I cannot vouch for other gyms, but CityROCK has a stringent incident report proceidre. Every accident is looked at very carefully, we have cameras, and also(usually) have plenty of witnesses etc. It seems sadly that most of our accidents have happened with incorrect GriGri use. People also don't realise that e.g. the walls at the Cape Town branch is actually not very high, so you are closer to the ground than almost any outdoor crag - before you know it the floor will interfere with your freefall... in a bad way.
On that note, every anchor, quickdraw, redblock and rope gets inspected and noted from time to time, making the gym an unlikely place for equipment failure. This should be standard for all ''artificial'' walls everywhere, imho.

:thumleft:
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