/ Single point of failure anchor

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Kemics - on 29 Oct 2012
Is this acceptable? There's a crag near me which has a belay/lower off that is shared by lots of routes. (the anchor is a giant rock stabilisation bolt) It has an ever evolving melee of tat, tape, biners and mallions. I was thinking of ways to tidy this.

As the anchor is a thread I was thinking of threading a length of chain with an abseil ring. I was going to connect the ends with a D-ring/half circle Mallion and add two lower off rings to this (which could then be replaced if they get worn). However, this would be a single point and if any part of the chain or linkages got damaged and broke, it would be a clean 50 meter drop. Material would be Fixe A304 Stainless Steel.

Mark Reeves - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Kemics: It might be worth going to your local BMC area meeting and getting a discussion going. They might if the concensus is in you favour help contribute to installing it.
AJM - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Kemics:

I looked at your post, thought "earl of Perth" and then checked your logbook...

What's wrong with a dirty great big loop of rope - say 11mm static or something, although I'm pretty sure almost any thick rope would do - with a big Mallion or lower off ring on it? Probably easier for climbers to judge its safety, since it's a familiar material, potentially cheaper, and will last for ages. It's the way they equipped the fixed belays in the pass atop things like left wall etc, so it's clearly a workable solution.
remus - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to AJM: Is anyone really going to struggle working out whether a dirty great piece of chain is a suitable anchor? I would have thought it was pretty self evident. Chain would also last significantly longer than rope, assuming suitable materials are used and it doesn't get stolen.
scott titt - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Kemics:
If it is strong enough then it is strong enough, just another single point of failure like... the rope, the knot, the harness loop, the belay device, the crab......you are probably getting my drift!
Many sport routes have a chain with a ring joining two bolts. In the end it is the choice of the climber to use it or not as they think fit.
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Monk - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Kemics:

I was thinking something similar, although I was wondering about a swaged cable. The cheapest might be a single piece of 11mm static rope and a maillon or glued steel krab (as on the tree above Nightmare). I think there is a case for the ab anchor above Suspense to be improved too - last time I was there I noticed a groove being worn into the rock behind it, which is causing ropes to be harder to pull down and increasing the wear every time people descend. I meant to mention it previously, but forgot. Is there an easy, single place we can make suggestions to the Steering group?
AJM - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to remus:

Now? Of course not. Ten years down the line, when it's old and worn and looking a bit worse for wear, who knows? Tat will appear next to anything given enough time. In general though unless someone is going to take responsibility for maintaining it I don't see a benefit in having a big fixed thing like a chain over something that any climber could easily replace should they feel it's time to do so.

From memory I also don't know how big the gap behind the anchor is so whilst I am pretty confident you could get some thick rope through, whether you could get a chain of a similar size to the one on Gimmer, say, through it I don't really remember. I seem to recall most of the tat was like 5-6mm stuff, which implies to me that the gap isn't really that huge. Perhaps cable like the one round the tree at High Tor would be better if it's in a constricted location.
remus - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to AJM: Fair points. I guess it comes down to whether the increase in life span is worth the significant inconvenience of replacing it when it does eventually wear out.
Kemics - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to AJM:

I had a good look at the anchor and I'm pretty sure there's room for 3/8" chain. There's a fair bit of clearance round the back.

I'm not sure on the exact lifespan but i'm pretty sure marine grade stainless would be good for 10-20 years? My only problem with static is that the sheath starts to look tatty relatively quickly (months not years) and so people add their cord/tat to it and the process starts again. Yeah it's not the end of the world by any means. I just thought the buttress would be a good candidate for a slightly more permanent solution. Particularly as there's 10-15 well travelled lines and they all share two anchors.

The only reason it really bothers me is the first time I climbed there I saw people threading their ropes (through the actual anchor/over the top of the tat) which meant that when they pulled their ropes, it could have really damaged the tat.
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mattrm - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to Kemics:

Definitely worth bringing up at the next area meeting IMHO. I think a piece of chain will wind some folk up. Wouldn't bother me, but I'm sure someone would get upset.

However personally, I'd just re-climb the route with a suitable piece of tat, cut all the existing crud and put the new tat in. If it's a good/popular route, I'd try and make the effort to climb it every so often, putting a new piece of tat and stripping the crud each time.

I know of a couple of routes near to me which will be getting similar treatment next time I climb them, as I thought at the time 'ohh that tat is awful' and now a year later it'll be even worse.

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