Author Topic: A question of cave leadership ?  (Read 11582 times)

Offline graham

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2009, 09:07:31 pm »
Alex

Whilst I have no reason to doubt your professional opinion on these matters, I believe that the stats, which doubtless Glenn will have at his fingertips, will show you that the failure rate for P hangers in UK caves is actually very low indeed.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2009, 09:13:55 pm »
Is it also not the case that there hasn't yet been a proven anchor failure in Rhino Rift? (a failure of the rock around the furthest anchor on p1 [since removed], admittedly, but not a failure, per se, of any anchor).

Doubtless, as Exsumper points up, the inexperience of those who place them (presumably throughout the country), combined with the wrong humidity levels, is why UK cave-placed eco hangers are rubbish.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 09:23:37 pm by cap 'n chris »

Offline graham

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2009, 09:23:49 pm »
Chris, I would hold that it counts as a failure of the installation as placing an anchor in poor rock is, by definition, poor installation.

I agree that it is exceedingly difficult to ascertain the exact condition of our caves' limestone in every position in which a bolt placement is required. Alex would, I am sure, use this to support his contention that they are unsuitable for this particular application. I, however, would now look at the body of experience of their use that has been built up in this country to demonstrate that they have proven their suitability in use.

I do find it interesting that he found French installations to be more successful as Alpine rock has a tendency to be frost-affected and wholly unsuitable for just about any sort of anchor.
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Offline exsumper

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #53 on: May 03, 2009, 09:31:23 pm »
Thank you for your reply graham, I think from your response to burts comments we may be on a similar wavelength, I admit my initial comments on the forum were a little harsh, but that's probably because I had just discovered Ukcaving on a late night surfing session and a was a little tired and emotional at the time. However I still believe my comments about qualifications, being no substitute for experience and sound  judgement are correct. As for andy's comments I'm afraid i'm guilty of resserecting an old quarrel  just for personal entertainments sake.Who's perfect?. Although the statistics Glenn can supply me with are no doubt correct, (who compiles them and for what purpose). I feel that my original professional  opinion is still valid, If the anchors were not installed correctly at the time, we shall see more episodes of bolt failures and cave closures in the years to come.
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Offline exsumper

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2009, 09:43:09 pm »
Graham
I have climbed and caved extensively on the continent, I think your comment on frost damage has no validity,I have found most of the resin anchors placed on french routes more than satisfactory. My whole point all along is that you shouldn't give certificates of competence to individuals, who do not have high levels of experience, be they bolt installers or cave leaders. Nuff said.I have no interest in supporting any of my contentions, my only interest is and always has been the safety of individuals who take part in outdoor pursuits in the mistaken belief that they are being taken into a dangerous environment by some one who  is highly experienced and knows what their doing.
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Offline exsumper

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #55 on: May 03, 2009, 09:50:47 pm »
Cap,n Chris
Its impossible to debate with someone who believes that the removal of an anchor that has failed and is unsafe is not a failure of the anchor, in addition my sources inform me that that was not the only one.
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Offline graham

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #56 on: May 03, 2009, 09:53:48 pm »
Hi Alex.

It is indeed very easy to be intemperate on the web and it's probably not a good idea most of the time. That said, I am still interested in your comments about bolts as I feel that our experience of this particular product is now pretty damn good now. The stats that I mentioned are compiled by the BCA equipment committee who keep records of all installations and of their regular inspections. The data on CSCC placed bolts, for example, can be found here. You can see that there are quite a number of bolts on Mendip. the failure rate is, as I said, really quite low. Yes, over time there will be other failures as wear takes its toll, but the regular inspection schedule should hopefully mean that they are not catastrophic.

No scheme can be perfect mate, but it's difficult to think of a better way of dealing with this issue in UK conditions. Peppering pitch heads with 8 mm spits was certainly unsustainable.

And, about to post, I see you have made some additional comments. I accept what you say about French installations, my own experience is relatively limited and is mainly non-Alpine anyway. I am not sure you are right about people who place bolts, as to instructors, I have my own thoughts, but some of them are best not aired on a public forum.

And another reply, sorry about this. I was present when a lot of the post RR testing was done on Mendip. It is incorrect to say that there were more failures, despite what your sources might say.
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Offline Stuart Anderson

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #57 on: May 03, 2009, 10:04:20 pm »
However I still believe my comments about qualifications, being no substitute for experience and sound  judgement are correct.

You presume one precludes the other.
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Offline exsumper

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2009, 12:38:37 pm »
Hi Graham
I take your points on board, I think we both have our positions and deep down I dont think they differ much I will keep to mine and respect yours. It has been interesting, but I think I'll finish now and go and do something else. I dont think further correspondence will be of much use to either of us.
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Offline Glenn

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #59 on: May 04, 2009, 01:00:19 pm »
Hi Alex,

You wrote: "I opposed the training scheme proposed for their use in British caves then, because In my experience I found there was a high failure rate even using them for non critical applications, by my employees (professional construction operatives)until they built up a good level of experience in their use .  Therefore I didnt think they would be suitable for installation in cave conditions in safety critical situations by non skilled persons after a weekends training course."



There are several thousand ECO Anchors installed in UK caves and we have not had a single catastrophic failure - fact. Anchors that are reported "loose" are inspected and tested and where necessary replaced. The fact that a "loose" anchor is very, very difficult to remove reinforces the strength of the system. Your comment on the quality of the installer misses the point that the correct training is vital, and I believe that the fact that we have not had a catastrophic failure proves the quality of the training.



You wrote: "Although the statistics Glenn can supply me with are no doubt correct, (who compiles them and for what purpose)."



Every ECO Anchor placed in the UK is recorded (including date of installation, who installed it and resin batch number) It's part of the system - which incidental, is the envy of the caving world, something I believe all UK cavers should be proud of. Further, the anchor system is subject to continual and ongoing testing to ensure that it remains absolutely bombroof - and that testing is managed by an industry professional.  



You wrote: "If the anchors were not installed correctly at the time, we shall see more episodes of bolt failures and cave closures in the years to come."



The experience to date suggests you are wrong. Rhino Rift was not a catastrophic failure, it was reported loose and the appropriate action taken.



You wrote:"They are excellent anchors, but they have to be installed by skilled personnel and conditions have to be perfect. From my alpine climbing days and foreign caving exploits , I have found the french installations have been most successful, I note you cave in the vercors maybe you could shed some light on the subject"



I must be missing something. You have been critical about the BCA ECO Anchor system which (as I hope I have explained) is a coordinated system with a proven track record, yet you state "french installations have been most successful". THERE IS NO COORDINATED ANCHOR PROGRAMME IN FRANCE - for caving or climbing (NB: I am not including via ferrata here). Anchors in France (either for climbing or caving) are installed by any Tom, Dick or Pierre with no training and to no standard. Yet you are happy with this?

I suspect you are just trolling and this is probably the last time I will post on this thread - life's too short. All the information on the BCA ECO Anchor programme is available on the BCA web site.

Cheers,

Glenn  

Offline menacer

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #60 on: May 04, 2009, 05:42:49 pm »
What an excellent, well presented post, based on fact and suppported with evidence. Very informative. Thanks Glenn  :thumbsup:
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Offline langcliffe

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #61 on: May 04, 2009, 05:50:46 pm »
What an excellent, well presented post, based on fact and suppported with evidence. Very informative. Thanks Glenn  :thumbsup:

Absolutely - most refreshing after some of the bull shit.

Offline El Agreb

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #62 on: May 04, 2009, 06:30:57 pm »
I would agree with the previous comments as well.

Though the french reference may be a trifle harsh. Their approach may be different to that in the UK but both the FFME and FFS ( equivalent perhaps to the BMC and BCA) do have policy/policies or "Charte" regarding fixed equipment. The coordination perhaps exists at departmental level rather than National. Fixed equipment (fortunately) is much scarcer in the region in which I cave but the equipment that does exist "officially" is funded (and listed http://cds31.free.fr/pdf/tr2005.pdf ) by the department and installed by cavers that are trained to the highest levels of the french system which involves to the best of my knowledge a minimum of 4 weeks of assessment and is far harder to achieve than its counterpart in the UK.

Still it is always best to treat all fixed equipment with suspicion whether you know its pedigree or not!


Offline Glenn

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Re: A question of cave leadership ?
« Reply #63 on: May 05, 2009, 01:39:57 pm »
I would agree with the previous comments as well.

Though the french reference may be a trifle harsh. Their approach may be different to that in the UK but both the FFME and FFS ( equivalent perhaps to the BMC and BCA) do have policy/policies or "Charte" regarding fixed equipment. The coordination perhaps exists at departmental level rather than National. Fixed equipment (fortunately) is much scarcer in the region in which I cave but the equipment that does exist "officially" is funded (and listed http://cds31.free.fr/pdf/tr2005.pdf ) by the department and installed by cavers that are trained to the highest levels of the french system which involves to the best of my knowledge a minimum of 4 weeks of assessment and is far harder to achieve than its counterpart in the UK.

Still it is always best to treat all fixed equipment with suspicion whether you know its pedigree or not!



Hi El Agreb, thanks for that. I made the comment "THERE IS NO COORDINATED ANCHOR PROGRAMME IN FRANCE - for caving or climbing" because I had not seen any references to a coordinated anchor programme in any of the French caving magazines I see, and none of my French caving mates are aware of such a programme (and likewise for the few French climbers I know). And, there is no sign of such a programme on the ground (so to speak - well not in the Vercors anyway). Do you have any links for further information? And anyway, at the time Alex was climbing in France (I think he has said he had to give up caving in the '90's) I believe my comment would still be valid. Incidently, my French caving mates are full of admiration for what has been achieved in the UK.

The BMC have an anchor policy (the BCA Equpment Committee have links with the BMC Equipment Committee), but as far as I know it is yet to be implemented - any climbers able to comment?

Cheers,

Glenn

 

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