Author Topic: Would you...  (Read 1641 times)

Online Madness

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Would you...
« on: November 30, 2019, 11:06:56 pm »
...abseil a 50m drop if your only anchor was a stainless steel wire rope with swaged eyes passed around a bombproof formation. The swaged eyes have stainless steel thimbles. The eyes are secured with a bright zinc plated Maillon, which is also used for threading the rope for a retrievable abseil. Swages/ferrules are aluminium.

We've all seen a aluminium krab decaying on a stainless anchor. So, what's happening on the inside of those swages/ferrules where aluminium and stainless steel are in contact?

I'd be interested in peoples opinions .

Offline Greg Jones

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2019, 11:24:13 pm »
Initially I would have said yes, but once I realised that you were talking about something that had been in the cave a while then maybe not. I'd rather cut a metre off the rope.
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Online nickwilliams

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2019, 11:36:02 pm »
Stainless wire rope should be swaged with copper ferrules, The rest of the system should all be stainless with no dissimilar metals in contact with each other.

Having said that, if the swage is properly done it should not have any cavities where water can penetrate and there won't be any electrolytic corrision if there is no water.
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Online Madness

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2019, 08:04:10 am »
It's the fact that you can't tell what's happening on the inside of the ferrule that concerns me. Is it all turning to mush from within?

Offline blackshiver

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2019, 05:55:22 pm »
I have a plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel.

Online droid

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2019, 06:11:24 pm »
My attitude was always: if in doubt, don't use.

Unless I *had* to.... :'(
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Online Madness

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2019, 10:13:01 pm »
This is not a hypothetical situation. The only detail I changed was that the cable is around a tree and not a formation. It's the main abseil off High Tor in Matlock Bath. The thread about the recent abseiling accident brought it to mind.

For those who have never done this abseil, it's feels exposed and committing. The last thing you want to worry about is the integrity of the anchor, especially when passing Castellan Cave.

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2019, 11:00:03 pm »
It's the fact that you can't tell what's happening on the inside of the ferrule that concerns me. Is it all turning to mush from within?
Simple answer - yes in time.
It's the main abseil off High Tor in Matlock Bath.
Don't DCA publish a list of items they keep under their care?  It is not immediately findable on their web site however.


Online Madness

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2019, 08:13:11 am »
Don't DCA publish a list of items they keep under their care?  It is not immediately findable on their web site however.

It's not a caving anchor, but a climbing one. DCA will have nothing to do with it. I don't think the BMC install or maintain anything, so I suppose it's down to individual climbers to check/maintain. Trouble is, I suspect most climbers see this big stainless steel wire rope to abseil from and just assume it's bombproof.

Offline paul

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2019, 12:04:57 pm »
BMC do install abseil anchors, for example at Harrisons Rocks near Tonbridge Wells, which is BMC owned. High Tor is managed by Derbyshire Dales District Council so I doubt that in this case it was installed by BMC.
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Offline Addy

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2019, 12:34:56 pm »
... and those BMC installed  anchors at Harrison's, High Rocks, and Bull's Hollow, along with the anchors installed by Bowles Rocks are regularly checked. They are also intended for Top-Roping and not abseiling (which is banned on the sandstone outcrops).

The BMC have also installed anchors and many other quarries and I suspect they are regularly checked as well...

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Offline RestingCaver

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2019, 04:29:39 am »
The single point of attachment issue is the biggest one for me.

Offline Roger W

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2019, 12:18:33 pm »
The OP does refer to a "bombproof" point of attachment - later identified as a tree.  I presume the said tree is fairly firmly set in the ground.

I must admit that the idea of being in free fall down a cliff face and followed by a large tree attached to me by a length of rope doesn't altogether appeal to me...
"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"

Online markpot

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2019, 09:23:56 pm »
I have....quite a few times(abbed off the anchor in question).i know where mad is coming from and have asked the same question myself. Single ab points,trees ect are regularly accepted as bomber as descents from climbs.i cant think of another in the peak that uses a strop like this.most are bolts or rope/tat/tape.Derbyshire dales are firmly against any form of bolts placed at the location.i had discussions with the ranger a few years back and was met with a frosty reception.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2019, 04:20:10 am »
I have....quite a few times(abbed off the anchor in question).i know where mad is coming from and have asked the same question myself. Single ab points,trees ect are regularly accepted as bomber as descents from climbs.i cant think of another in the peak that uses a strop like this.most are bolts or rope/tat/tape.Derbyshire dales are firmly against any form of bolts placed at the location.i had discussions with the ranger a few years back and was met with a frosty reception.

There are quite a few similar anchors around in places like Cheddar (I think) and Tremadog. Lyon Outdoor stainless wire strops are swaged with copper.

While it might appear to be a 'BMC installed anchor', the BMC takes a very different line on responsibility for anchors in general in climbing (in that they don't take any). Obviously they are careful on the few sites they do own, but the vast vast vast vast majority of climbing anchors (including resin anchors) are placed by individual climbers. Even those that the BMC may have funded will not generally be installed by them, but by individual climbers, and the BMC will not take responsibility.

The BMC very clearly place responsibility for using any fixed aid of any time on the individual user. They have a 'bolting handbook' but it is guidance only, and while they obviously recommend against certain anchors and encourage good practice they do not pretend to, or even try to, control bolting activities in the UK. They would I think see this as anathema to the strong culture of consensus and individual responsibility in mountaineering and climbing. Personally I am always surprised that BCA institutions seem to want to take responsibility that they don't need to, but hey ho...

There are probably as many resin anchors on the Isle of Portland alone than in every cave in the UK I suspect (if not more). Caving is a tiny niche for anchors.

Offline mikem

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2019, 08:39:29 am »
Is the strop still same as 2009?: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rock_talk/ab_point_on_high_tor-350008

Fitted since 2005: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/rock_talk/bolts_on_some_trad_crags_-_for_belays-143341

If you are worried about it, put a slightly too long sling around the tree & send the heaviest person down first to test it, second abseiler "should" be okay to go without the back up then!

From UKClimbing:
Quote
In my local area(Swanage and Portland) the majority of bolts are glue-in staples. There are literally (how many?) hundreds of them. Some of them have been in place for nearly 20 years. I can think of only one occasion when one has failed resulting in a fall(in the early years of bolting before the staples had a 'kink' in them.)

So the odds of one of them failing are very very low( at least in my mind!).

However I am aware that 5 staples have come out in the last 2 years(as the result of an outward pull from the rope when lowering). Make of that what you will...

I NEVER lower off a single staple(always clip into both when threading the rope too). And try to eliminate any outward pull when belaying(by standing as close to the rock as possible)

Also: https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/the_dorset_bolt_fund_-_fund_raising_rebolting_and_bolt_failures-9714
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 09:10:27 am by mikem »

Online markpot

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2019, 02:11:18 pm »
Or replace it for one ?

Offline mikem

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2019, 02:25:54 pm »
It's standard practice on multipitch abseils to back up for all except the last person, so you don't leave too much kit behind.

Online markpot

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2019, 03:55:11 pm »
Sorry mike,but backing up is not standard practiece.it may be for you,but not everyone,on every ab point on every climb. Individual assesment of the anchor before use,by the  individual/indiviuals is standard practice and if you choose to back it up so be it. My point was why not replace the strop if it is in question for the sake of 20 quid.a good deed done for all.The date of i installation can be logged publically and anyone who uses it can make an educated judgement.

Offline mikem

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2019, 05:09:21 pm »
I thought you meant replace the strop with a sling - which have snapped on more than one occasion after people used somebody else's that had been left through UV.

Yes, replacing it with another strop would be sensible if you're there again & worried about it - or post on a climbing forum to get more info about how long it's actually been there. Lots of climbers were lamenting the fact that nobody seemed to walk down nowadays, but not having been there I couldn't comment on the relative merits.

& I didn't suggest that it was normal to back up on most abseils, but it is a sensible precaution on anchors you aren't 100% on...
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 05:23:15 pm by mikem »

Online markpot

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2019, 04:12:12 pm »
I'd look up the defanition of standard practice :coffee:

Offline mikem

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2019, 06:21:53 pm »
I said on multipitch, where you have to abandon some of your equipment to create the belays...

Online markpot

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Re: Would you...
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2019, 08:13:43 pm »
If it was standard practice to abandon equipment on multipitch climbs, no one one would climb the routes and near all climbers would be bancrupt given the price of kit nowadays. I climb single and multi pitch routes on a weekly basis in multipul locations around the uk with abseil decent.cant remember the last time i left some kit behind.genrally speaking the climbing community, as said above look after there own anchors,and if anchors are in question are replaced before or during an ascent ,at cost to the ascentionist, so kit doesnt have to be abandonded.