Author Topic: Natural Well 25.3.2012  (Read 5005 times)

Offline Amata

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Natural Well 25.3.2012
« on: March 26, 2012, 08:40:10 pm »
Well the trip leader decided he wanted me to have more time with a fullsize rack before Mystery this past Saturday (280ft? close to 300 single pitch, ~85meters) despite doing the prereqs so on Sunday I went with Brian and Billy to Natural Well, a 195ft (~60m) single pitch. To date the largest single drop I've done. Also with all my rigging study lately (I've done Hooper's rigging twice, a very simple rig job, once with an appropriate size rope so tensionless, and then second time with our 200ft rope so double what we needed and so I did a midline rig, and doing 3:1 and Georgia (1:1) haul rigs) I got to rig it so kinda first major pit rig for me =) The trip turned out to be slightly more than I bargained for though...

So we get there about 9am after signing in with the park (it's on state park ground so we sign in with the rangers) and start I start rigging. Tensionless around our rig tree, with some bandanas tied to it so hikers/trail runners dont trip on our rope (it goes right across the - aptly named - Natural Well trail). Knowing I wanted to do more tandom climbing I added a Alpine Butterfly midline to clip in a pigtail  for lip crossing and it served nice to tie in the upper rope pad to as well.

Tensionless and alpine butterfly bit:

Natural Well_0002 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

The two rope pads, there is a "platform" of rock about 8-10feet down so there are basically two lips to get over.

Natural Well_0003 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

Brian, being the most experienced of us three, rappeled first. One of our radios was busted so we used whistle calls instead. We only had one-way communication on the radio for some reason one would only receive not send. Not a big deal - open air pit no waterflow so could yell too we just decided to practice the whistle calls.  :)

Entrance shaft:

Natural Well 13 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

Once he was off-rope Billy went down. Then Billy climbed back up, with me laughing as he tried to get over the lips, forgetting to pop off his chest roller he got a bit caught up and struggled like a no0b would so of /course/ I had to give him flack for that! It's just as fair - we give each other shit all the time here so I had chance to get even :P

Billy coming back up:

Natural Well 10 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

Then I went down, it went nice and smooth as expected. The reason we always had someone up top was that it is 1) rigged across the trail and 2) to stop idiots (you know, people who would try to pull up the rope and take it, or cut the rope, or whatever) so it left someone up top to deal with any hikers or runners that happened our way to ensure our line was safe to get back out.

On the climb up I tried to take some photos on rope but even with the weight under me (I tandomed top) and Brian helping stabilize or when I stopped in a constricted area to wedge to stabalize my own spin, it was rough. Got a couple decent/good ones though:

Looking up with about 100ft left to climb

Natural Well 14 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

Looking back down with Brian under me (that's not the bottom to the right of Brian, it's down the dark hole you can only barely see)

Natural Well 15 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

After back up top, Billy wanted to rappel it again so off he went. I decided I wanted to bounce it again as well so I headed down after him. I called I was down, and getting back on to climb back up. Billy had never tandomed so put him on the bottom (also, I prefer top, with a cmi foot ascender weight below me holds me in proper position without any effort on my part :P ) there were hikers up top we could hear Brian talking to someone so I just started up. A bit up and all of a sudden SNAP. fuuuuuuu....k

My foot ascender busted. The webbing piece that goes around the bottom of the foot just totally snapped. Shit. I'm on a single bungie ropewalker (so I have a handled upper ascender connected to my halfround, a chest roller instead of a chest harness, my croll is at my knee bungied to me to move up when I step up and it has a waste teather for safety, and then the cmi foot ascender on my other leg). Without the cmi foot ascender, I'm doing a crappy basically Texas system all the way up.

Luckily I practice gear failures and think a lot about what-if situations. Lots of options here but nicest would be to put the cmi back into use. Took a small Prusik untied it and used it to tie around the cmi and used it as the bottom webbing peice. It didn't keep it as stable or as low on my foot, as such pinched my leg and put my foot a bit looser so funky angles a bit, but it wasn't too sucky and only like 170ft to climb with it. Finished a bit sore but without much extra effort and a lot better than Texasing it! I could have made a Mitchel with my QAS and a prusik too if I had wanted, which may have been more comfortable on my foot but eh this worked fine and was a simpler fix. =) I even transferred onto the pigtail fine (which, I was going to practice last vertical practice and ran out of time, but I was more experienced between Billy and I so I just did it for the first time dangling basically 200ft in the air haha! it was easy though, just like passing a knot but moving to a different rope rather than above the knot).

Transfering on to the pigtail =)

Natural Well_0094 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

And I'm successfully out even with the janked system haha

Natural Well_0099 by Sunguramy, on Flickr


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Online Fulk

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 08:44:29 pm »
Sounds like a brilliant trip – but a couple of big P-anchors on the edge of the lip would do it for me! :thumbsup:

Offline Les W

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 08:52:51 pm »
It is another country, isn't it...  :-\
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Offline Amata

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 09:27:22 pm »
LOL I thought some of you might like seeing how we do it here in TAG  :thumbsup:

We use anchors sometimes...I've heard stories of some very iffy ones haha. AFAIK we dont have any standards for setting anchors or anything of the sort so you kinda just have to trust whoever set them maybe even 30 years ago or more did it right...I know our rigging styles are rather different. Nice 11mm PMI MaxWear Pit Rope...rope pads, find a nice tree, toss the rope and go!  ;D
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Online TheBitterEnd

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 09:43:56 pm »
I'd be freaked by the thought of that wall collapsing  :o
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Offline Burt

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 10:04:16 pm »
 :clap2: nice one Amy.

Didn't understand a lot of the tech speak, y'all, but i get the drift.
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Offline Amata

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 10:40:36 pm »
I'd be freaked by the thought of that wall collapsing  :o
I'm sure it is just as stable as the hollow tree we rig to  :lol:

No it's ok the tree and the wall are both stable.
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Offline Brains

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 10:56:13 pm »
Looks a good trip, next time you here I think we will train you in bolting tho'  ;D

Offline Roger W

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 11:36:15 pm »
Nice hole there!

Handy having a tree nearby to tie your rope to, though.  Can't always find one in Yorkshire!
"That, of course, is the dangerous part about caves:  you don't know how far they go back, sometimes... or what is waiting for you inside."   JRR Tolkein: "The Hobbit"

Offline Alkapton

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 11:36:40 pm »
Amy...  Never heard of cmi before.  So I'm supprised your foot ascender is ribbed and not spiked like petzl pantin. Do you know if they make ribbed chest and hand jammers? I like the idea of a jammer that will slip under shock rather than strip the sheath off the rope.  Presumably you will experience quick breaking while the jammer is slipping.  I don't think people here know of ribbed jammers.
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Offline mmilner

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2012, 12:20:49 am »
I don't think people here know of ribbed jammers.

Gibbs Ascenders? They're ribbed and I have two still working fine after over 20 years of light use!  8)

Don't think you can get them these days though. I've also used them for self-life-lining while climbing in the Peak District.

Natural Well is an awesome shaft by the way!

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Offline owd git

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 01:06:19 am »
Thanks Amy :clap2: :clap2:
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Offline Amata

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 01:33:46 am »
Amy...  Never heard of cmi before.  So I'm supprised your foot ascender is ribbed and not spiked like petzl pantin. Do you know if they make ribbed chest and hand jammers? I like the idea of a jammer that will slip under shock rather than strip the sheath off the rope.  Presumably you will experience quick breaking while the jammer is slipping.  I don't think people here know of ribbed jammers.
You mean instead of teeth in the cam the ribs? No, CMI foot ascender has teeth just like the pantin. The difference is the CMI is a bit bulkier and like a croll or handled ascender, etc will "lock open" by flipping that little lever over.  The thing that broke is the strap that goes under the foot not the ascender itself. I think there was a thread about the same part of a pantin breaking recently.

CMI hand ascenders have short conical teeth instead of long slanted shark teeth like the Petzls so you may want to look into them. They downclimb MUCH easier and are MUCH easier on the rope. They also have a lifetime guarantee so it will be the last ascender you ever have to buy. http://www.cmi-gear.com/catalog/ascenders/index.asp Kong ascenders also have a similar design with not as aggressive of teeth.

Gibbs ascenders have ribbed cams instead of teeth. You can still get gibbs these days =)


Looks a good trip, next time you here I think we will train you in bolting tho'  ;D
I would love that actually, here bolting is very random. Some places have bolts (like, Mystery does) but (and this is my understanding) there you have bolting standards and such, here there isn't. I've heard some really funny horror stories of bolt jobs here... I'd love to learn how to properly bolt there are places it would come in handy I'm sure.



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Offline Burt

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 08:42:26 pm »
CMI is a brand name similar to petzl, edelrid etc. Although you don't see a lot of it over here, it does trickle through. I've got a CMI double wheel trolley for use on my zipwire. It works fine. 'Nuff said.
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Offline Joe90

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 11:52:06 am »
That looks like a cool hole there. i like the black and white shot coming back up!  :thumbsup:
As for the trees, they are huge! You would be lucky to find a tree here worth tying too, so its all bolts, threads or trad gear for us here.
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Offline Alkapton

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2012, 01:42:56 pm »
Since my name is Gibbs I guess I must try a Gibbs ascender sometime.
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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2012, 02:14:39 pm »
Hi Amy, two points for you:
1) What's at the bottom of this spectacular-looking hole?
2) I think I understand the theory of tensionless rigging – I think it's that you wrap a rope several times round a  tree, for example, and clip the free end into the rope that leads to the hole, in order not to lose any strength in the rope by tying a knot in it. OK?
But why? If you're using thick heavy rope with an ultimate breaking load of  – what 3000+ lb ? – then what does it matter if you tie a knot and still have an effective breaking load of, say, 70+% – or > 2000 lb?

Offline Amata

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2012, 11:33:28 pm »
It helps keep the apropriate  safety ratio when tandoming or triple climbing,(3on rope at a time), uses no additional gear for the rig, and it helps in rescue situations.

As to the bottom of the pit there is about 1500 ft of passage tall canyoning from what I understand but this day there was rattler in the way about 40 ft from the drop.
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Offline Joe90

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2012, 06:24:20 am »
Coming out of a cave here just as you come over the sloping top of the second to last pitch there is a beam of sunlight that comes down from a hole in the roof, it lands perfectly (depending on time of day) in the narrow walk away from the pitch head. Sitting nicely curled up in it was a saw scaled viper, These rub parts of there body together when threatened and sound a little like a rattler. We couldn't turn back though so had to climb over it which made it really pissed off! Down a cave isn't the kind of place you want to get bitten by anything like that.
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Online Alex

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2012, 01:26:17 pm »
Rattler eh, thats a hazard we won't come accross here! Nearest we get is frogs - there was in the main Lost Johsn streamway it dived away before we could rescue it from the cave.

We do also get rather large bats but you only see them moving around after midnight as they are nocturnal. I found this out last weekend in King pot as tried using my head as roosting perch lol. Its wingspan must had been about a foot tip to tip did not realise they got that big! First one I had seen moving about in Yorkshire, I am not normally underground late, I am normally in bed at 2am (was an evening start)

I also saw a smaller one roosting 50m off the floor in DeathHead in a crack, right behind where the rope went up. (did not shine my light at as I had turned it off anyway at this point being in daylight)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 01:36:39 pm by Alex »
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Offline Amata

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2012, 04:00:14 pm »
LOL yeah this is the American south...Things you will find in a cave/on the way hiking to a cave:

Rattlers, copperheads..copperheads in particular can be rather aggressive...would NOT want to step over around or near one hah! And then the spiders, brown recluse and black widows most common poisonous ones. Not to mention the pesky things like chiggers (make you itch to the high heavens) and ticks (ew ew ew, best case find them before biting in, worst case find them after and it was a dear tick and need to worry about lyme disease).

But lots of cool wildlife too...lots of bats of various species (tricolours, little brown, big brown, gray, etc etc), cave adapted crawfish, various salamander species some very brightly coloured. :D

Mainly I run into ticks and copperheads though, Copperheads live in and around rocky areas so if you have a rocky spot there are copperheads around. Carry a walking stick to poke ahead of you so you dont step on one traipsing in the woods :P in-cave only an issue near the entrances (they'll sit and try and catch bats flying out and such) and in open-air pits that they somehow make their way or fall into and then just live there.

When rappelling one of the jobs of the first one down (besides the standard making sure rope reaches the bottom and then untying the stopper knots and padding any areas that are needed to stop rope rub) is to check for snakes!
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Offline Joe90

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2012, 06:14:51 pm »
From what I understand here its not the venom of the brown recluse (violin spider) that will cause you grief but the necrosis you can get from it. But really they aren't aggressive things. Nor are the black widows here, not sure about in the states.
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Online Fulk

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2012, 08:06:58 pm »
Joe90:
Quote
From what I understand here its not the venom of the brown recluse (violin spider) that will cause you grief but the necrosis you can get from it.

I guess that, if you get bitten, that's a bit of an academic difference. :lol: :lol:

Offline Joe90

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2012, 08:13:43 pm »
Depends if you look at what will hurt you straight away or in a few days time...... The brown recluse you have here you generally don't even notice you've been bitten for a while. Well that's the same with many spiders. Especially this one here though.
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Offline Amata

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2012, 09:38:41 pm »
LOL you'd know...feeling like you are being stabbed is kinda a clue :P Swelling and necrosis starts happening within hours usually.
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Offline Joe90

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2012, 04:05:21 am »
Nice, yours must be more potent than the ones we get here. Ours arnt too bad.
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Offline Joe90

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Re: Natural Well 25.3.2012
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2012, 02:31:58 pm »
Sorry didn't mean to seem blunt earlier I was running out for work haha.
I only say this because last year my boss got bitten on the leg by one when she was asleep in her sleeping bag and didn't notice it till the next day when it was obvious. Up in the mountains and a long way from hospital it got pretty bad before she could get it treated and the necrosis was pretty bad by the time treatment was available. Amputation at the knee was considered. Fortunately it was saved and not necessary.
Yours may be different, of course.
I was under the impression with most spiders you generally don't notice the bite until much later on.
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