Garlands Pot anchors

DCA

Well-known member
The anchors at Garlands Pot in Giants Hole received an informal inspection this week whilst I was there for a couple of hours running a BCA Vertical Leader training course. Two separate issues were noted and details are given below. This also prompted a proposal for other improvements to the anchors of this pitch. Changes to anchor layouts in such established areas are rare, so we wanted to be open about what we plan on doing here.

Issue 1 (red arrow)
The right hand anchor for the 'usual' Y hang at shoulder height is a DMM which was installed in 2002. The resin has shrunk and the anchor has some slight rotational movement and has therefore been flagged for replacement asap. The hope is to install a new BP anchor higher than the original to raise the Y hang a little. Use of the roof anchor above the ledge still provides the highest Y hang rigging, but most cavers seem to rig to the pair of lower bolts, so if we can improve the height of the hang here we will.

Issue 2 (green arrow)
The anchor at this location is a PECO anchor. These were the initial replacements for the DMM variant when they ceased to be produced. For various historical reasons the use of the PECO was abandoned by BCA and it was thought that any that were installed had been removed already. This anchor has had many years of use without any issues, but now it has been identified as one of the batches that were recalled, we will remove it and replace it with a BP anchor when we deal with issue 1.

Proposal 1 (yellow arrow)
Far out from the Y hang is another DMM resin anchor. This is for rigging a Y hang way out from the ledge to give a drier hang in times of increased water flow. The problem is that to safely access or use this resin anchor, an old 8mm Spit has to be used. This Spit (the yellow anchor in the diagram) is rusty and probably doesn't even take a hanger plate any more. To allow safe use of the far DMM anchor, it is proposed to remove or replace the Spit with a new BP resin anchor. Cavers would then have the option of rigging a Y hang further out if necessary, or to avoid other rigging already in place on this busy pitch.

Proposal 2
Below the Spit and far right DMM anchor, roughly 1/3rd of the way down the wall, is another historic Spit. This was in place for a deviation (or maybe a rebelay?). The state of the Spit and attached hanger plate has deteriorated due to the constant moisture, and we intend to remove this. A caver has placed an alternative deviation anchor, consisting of a concrete screw on a hanger plate, near to the Spit in recent years. Although this screw looks in good condition, it is not an anchor that will remain safe for the long term and will also be removed. DCA could place another BP anchor in this area to act as a deviation if there is the desire to have one here. We are open to hearing caver's opinions on whether this would be desirable, or if by completing proposal 1, we eliminate the need for a deviation anchor at all.

Cavers should note that anchor replacement work will be taking place in the area over the coming couple of weeks. I'll post here when we pick an exact day. You'll still be able to rig Garlands during the work, but may have to make use of different anchors to normal while we are there.
Pete Knight, DCA Projects and Equipment Officer

Screenshot 2023-11-13 124139.png


DCA does not undertake a program of regular anchor inspections, but we do generally keep an eye on heavily trafficked sites and of course will respond to direct requests for anchors to be checked if cavers notice any issues. Cavers should check any anchor they intend to use and details of how to do that for BCA resin anchors, and how to report defects, can be seen on the DCA website here: https://thedca.org.uk/equipment/anchors/.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
I assume the green arrow anchor isn't strictly required if you use any of the drilled threads further back, but you need to remember to bring extra for for that?

I would support DCA should they choose to replace all the indicated anchors. A deviation might be useful as well, although it might also just give an extra obstacle on a pitch people get stuck on all the time anyway...
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
The Green arrow will be one of the two in the cubby hole between the drilled threads and the Y hang on the main pitch, this serves the purpose of splitting the traverse into: i) getting down the steps from the drilled threads and ii) getting to the pitch head. These bolts are frequently used, I'm sure some experienced cavers will even bin off the drilled threads in favour of these for a backup.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
Currently the drilled threads aren't on either the DCA topo or the CCPC topo (although they are mentioned on the CCPC topo) anyway so they don't officially exist anyway. If you are a visiting caver, you'll just bring what the topo says.

If you only bring the 15m rope described on the CCPC topo I assume you can't use them - is the 20m from the DCA topo long enough to use the threads? I'd like to see the threads on the 'official' topo even if it's just an option.
 

wellyjen

Well-known member
Currently the drilled threads aren't on either the DCA topo or the CCPC topo (although they are mentioned on the CCPC topo) anyway so they don't officially exist anyway. If you are a visiting caver, you'll just bring what the topo says.

If you only bring the 15m rope described on the CCPC topo I assume you can't use them - is the 20m from the DCA topo long enough to use the threads? I'd like to see the threads on the 'official' topo even if it's just an option.
The CCPC topo rope length isn't enough to use the drilled threads. They got mentioned, as they are useful if you are taking novices to give a longer traverse line for them to clip in to, while they are close to the pitch head. If you are taking novices, it was assumed you'd have familiarised yourself with their position and the extra caving string needed beforehand.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
(re-reading, I sound too harsh on the CCPC topo, so apologies)
If you don't live in the area, familiarising yourself with a pitch head before you arrive is difficult... I have certainly led many trips down caves I'd never been to before (probably some when I wasn't very experienced myself!) with newer cavers. If I only had the DCA topo, I wouldn't know to bring extra rope and might not be able to rig onto the threads, which would make me sad. The CCPC topo lets me know that there are threads, and I'd just bring a 25m rope instead of a 15m rope to make sure I had enough rope to reach them. The more information, the better, then people can make their own choices...

And thanks to everyone who installs anchors and/or draws up topos which has let me get down far more caves than I would have done otherwise :)
 

Pete K

Well-known member
Currently the drilled threads aren't on either the DCA topo or the CCPC topo (although they are mentioned on the CCPC topo) anyway so they don't officially exist anyway. If you are a visiting caver, you'll just bring what the topo says.

If you only bring the 15m rope described on the CCPC topo I assume you can't use them - is the 20m from the DCA topo long enough to use the threads? I'd like to see the threads on the 'official' topo even if it's just an option.
It is our intention to include the threads on the updated topo when this work is completed. Some of the DCA topos were simply copied into Inkscape from previous versions we used to print in the handbook when we moved to the PDCi and we're aware that a few are out of date and need a review. Not enough volunteers for all the jobs! Do keep pointing out omissions or errors though, we'll get them on the to-do list.
 

wellyjen

Well-known member
It is our intention to include the threads on the updated topo when this work is completed. Some of the DCA topos were simply copied into Inkscape from previous versions we used to print in the handbook when we moved to the PDCi and we're aware that a few are out of date and need a review. Not enough volunteers for all the jobs! Do keep pointing out omissions or errors though, we'll get them on the to-do list.
You'll see a similar thing on the Crewe rigging guide. The style of the Giant's Hole topo looks very similar from the first in 1994, hand drawn to the current one, done in Inkscape, as the tendency is to base it on what is already there, rather than start from scratch. Likely that the Crewe topo will also be updated, once the DCA upgrades are finished. Would make sense to give the option of extra rope length to use the drilled threads.
 

wellyjen

Well-known member
If you only bring the 15m rope described on the CCPC topo I assume you can't use them - is the 20m from the DCA topo long enough to use the threads? I'd like to see the threads on the 'official' topo even if it's just an option.
You'll see differences in rope lengths between CCPC and DCA topos for the same pitch. The earlier drawn Crewe topos have a reputation for needing careful rigging to arrive at the bottom. Tight traverse lines; just enough rope in the loops at rebelays. If we measured 22m of rope used when derigging, then 22m went on the topo, rather than rounding it up to 25m. On later ones, we've been more generous, but a lot of the earlier parsimonious lengths are still there. I suspect that the DCA are a bit more generous and round up to the nearest 5m or so.
 

Pete K

Well-known member
An update on this work. We will be doing some anchor installation work at Garlands on Monday (20th) and I might pop down Sunday to start removing the old Spit and wobbly right hand Y hang anchor, but it will still be possible to rig Garlands. Ideally use the left hand anchor and the one in the roof to rig your Y hang from if could please.
 

Pete K

Well-known member
Myself, Fabian and Nige were out at Garlands Pot today. There are new anchors in now but they won't be properly cured or tested until the weekend. I still need to remove one of the old DMM ones too. All the new anchors are tagged up as "do not use". A descent of Garlands is sort of possible from other anchors, but it might be best to leave the pitch alone for a few days until we've properly finished the work. We will of course let you know here when we're done. I have already prepped a topo ready to go online ready for the weekend, I just need to measure the new rope lengths for it before it is published. And yes, I've included the drilled threads to the new topo.

The replacement/installation did not go exactly according to the plan in the first post above, as there were other factors that became apparent when we started mocking up potential Y hangs and mother nature didn't provide a lot of good rock in that wall. That said, what we have ended up with should still be an improvement over the original rigging. We hope you're happy with the final result, we spent over an hour debating and mocking up the various options before we even touched a drill. Re-bolting Garlands felt very much like touching up the paint on the Mona Lisa - lots of pressure not to mess it up!
 

DCA

Well-known member
The work at Garlands Pot has now been completed and all the new anchors have been tested. Thanks to Rich Crane for the assistance with the testing. For full details and more photos, please see the post on the DCA website:
We hope you like the new rigging.
Pete Knight, DCA Projects & Equipment Officer

Garlands new anchors 11-2023 (6).JPG

PB220070.JPG
 
Gosh look at that beautiful textbook rigging...
A loop to clip into, a deviation to keep you away from the water...
Has Garlands pot ever been rigged like that before lol!
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
Gosh look at that beautiful textbook rigging...
A loop to clip into, a deviation to keep you away from the water...
Has Garlands pot ever been rigged like that before lol!
Yes?

There are plenty of caving instructors using it who will do excellent rigging, and since deviations previously existed people will have used them.
 
I don't remember it being so deep. Does the 20m on the sketch include the rigging?

The last time I looked down from the top it did look deeper than I remembered though. I think some of the rubble pile has washed away over the last 30 odd years. I think we used 2x25 ft ladders to the natural threads and had quite a lot of it left over at the bottom.

It may seem an odd question re the depth, but I don't often visit well known places so rigging topos etc. don't exist.
 
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