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Anchors, rebolting, and developers on single pitch routes: request from a crabby old lady


Original Post
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

First, a great many thanks to all of you who put up routes, and even more thanks to those who are out there replacing old hardware.

A great many routes were put up many years ago, and are in need of replacement hardware. As you do those, in cases where it is feasible and within local ethics to do so, would you consider placing anchors a half foot to a foot lower, when they are at shoulder height or higher on an "average" climber? A forced dyno or yarding on the rope to the anchors is... disappointing, at best.

This alone would be appreciated by all the non-average bodies coming into climbing, and perhaps, a few aging FA's as well!

Thanks, Helen

The Pheonix · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 60

No problem I'll let them know... ;-)

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Well, in theory, they should be re-using the old hole or just drilling the hole wider and/or longer. Otherwise, it depends on other factors such as local rock qaulity, "flushness" of the surface (to minimize surface prep), horizontal/vertical orientation, etc.

Shitty as it may be for us with negative ape indexes, climbing wasn't made for us. having things easily reachable for people <5' is lower on the priority list than other factors. Try making a stiffy long draw

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793
eli poss wrote: Shitty as it may be for us with negative ape indexes, climbing wasn't made for us. having things easily reachable for people <5' is lower on the priority list than other factors. Try making a stiffy long draw
I don't agree with you on this one (though the stiffy is good advice). While there are times where rock quality or a ledge dictates less than ideal bolt placement, generally speaking, bolts that are placed too high are due to developers not paying attention or not thinking about shorter folks. The gentleman that taught me to bolt (and he is over six feet tall) used the following general rule for bolt and anchor placements: from the good stance, he makes all hangers reachable with the tip of his elbow. Done this way, even a 5 foot tall climber can make all the clips without having to do some stupid (and sometimes dangerous) lock-off to hang the draw. Obviously this doesn't work on ground up routes, but anything sport or rap-oriented should have zero issue with this standard. And before anyone screams "that's not feasible!", I submit to you that this gentleman has been climbing since the 70's and has FA'ed literally 1000's of pitches around the country (ground up, top down, sport, trad, run out, deranged, dirty, splitter, etc), so if he can do it, so can others.

In short, folks should take Old Lady H's comments to heart for not just anchor replacements, but rebolting (and new-bolting) in general for any route that isn't reusing the old hole.
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

So, another "all things for everyone" thread....Where's the limit? What if someone is 4'6" ? or is 5' the new standard ?

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793
john strand wrote:So, another "all things for everyone" thread....Where's the limit? What if someone is 4'6" ? or is 5' the new standard ?
Jebus dude. Its called a "general principle", not a hard and fast rule. You take the "general principle" and then you employ good judgement to apply it to the situation at hand. Nobody is telling you what to do or kicking your dog. The above is similar in spirit to using good judgement when placing hardware. Use the "best available hardware" is the general principle. You then employ situational awareness. Is it an alpine route in the Karakorum? Okay fine, use a machine bolt to overcome that blank section. Putting up a route at Shelf? Use SS.

I've seen your posts here on MP, you're a sharp guy, use your best judgement and see this post for what it is :)
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

You said it "best judgement"..If a clip is out of reach,,,well,,sorry but whatcha gonna do ? rebolt everything ?

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,120
Old lady H wrote:... consider placing anchors a half foot to a foot lower, when they are at shoulder height or higher on an "average" climber?
If the problem in your area with the fixed hardware having been placed too high to reach is mainly with the top anchors - (an odd state of affairs), then ...

It's not clear to me why you need to get some expert route "developer" to solve this for you, or need any special drilling tools or bolt hardware.

simply Hang a length of chain down off the existing anchor. Attach the chain to the anchor with a quick-link. No tools required, just your fingers.

. . (It's still smart + social to talk with experienced local route-developers first, but no need to force them to purchase the hardware and do the actual work).

Some climbing stores in your local city or on the web - (also every hardware and home improvement store) sell steel quick-links and lengths of steel chain.

Some quick-links and chain have their manufacture and distribution overseen by a recognized climbing organization you might feel you can trust. Or you might just buy non-climbing-specific hardware with a rated load say like 5 or 10 times the expected Top-Roping climbing load (so like 1500 lb or 700 kg should be more than sufficient).
. . If your climbing area worries a lot about visual impact, it's easy to spray-paint (with like non-glossy Rustoleum) the chain and quick-link before installing.

For which kind of material to purchase, first check if your climbing area might be exposed to special corrosion, and if so follow the guidelines of the best local experts you can find. Otherwise ...

Galvanized / zinc-plated steel hardware (for external-visible components of the anchor) is used in many USA climbing areas. Choosing Plated Steel over Stainless-Steel for an external chain and quicklink has the advantage of either matching the metal in the underlying invisible-buried-in-the-rock (unverifiable) bolt (if the old bolt is also Plated Steel) -- or acting as a "sacrificial anode" to delay corrosion in the underlying invisible bolt (if the old bolt is Stainless Steel).

--> Putting Stainless-Steel quick-link and chain over an old Plated-Steel bolt will tend to accelerate the (unverifiable) corrosion of the (non-visible) bolt.

Anyway if you find that your chain and/or quicklink gets corroded after a while, you can just replace it with another one. No tools needed the second time either (unless you let the corrosion get to the point where you can't unscrew the old quick-link).
. (Note that Plated-Steel hardware is designed to get somewhat corroded on its visible outer surface -- that's the "sacrifical anode" process).

Ken

P.S. Some USA climbing areas (notably the Gunks) have routinely for many many years placed two short chains on each top anchor -- hanging from each of the (two horizontally-even-level) bolts.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Seth, nothing she is requesting would result in anchors that are too low. If you are 6'4, don't place anchors that you have to stretch for...pretty simple.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
J. Albers wrote: I don't agree with you on this one (though the stiffy is good advice). While there are times where rock quality or a ledge dictates less than ideal bolt placement, generally speaking, bolts that are placed too high are due to developers not paying attention or not thinking about shorter folks. The gentleman that taught me to bolt (and he is over six feet tall) used the following general rule for bolt and anchor placements: from the good stance, he makes all hangers reachable with the tip of his elbow. Done this way, even a 5 foot tall climber can make all the clips without having to do some stupid (and sometimes dangerous) lock-off to hang the draw. Obviously this doesn't work on ground up routes, but anything sport or rap-oriented should have zero issue with this standard. And before anyone screams "that's not feasible!", I submit to you that this gentleman has been climbing since the 70's and has FA'ed literally 1000's of pitches around the country (ground up, top down, sport, trad, run out, deranged, dirty, splitter, etc), so if he can do it, so can others. In short, folks should take Old Lady H's comments to heart for not just anchor replacements, but rebolting (and new-bolting) in general for any route that isn't reusing the old hole.
Good point. As a short climber myself, I was taught to just suck it up and deal with it if I couldn't reach a bolt from a stance. The old saying goes, "there are tall climbers and there are strong climbers". Regardless, this only applies bolts not re-using the old hole, and all efforts should be made to re-use the old hole.
Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610
J. Albers wrote: The gentleman that taught me to bolt (and he is over six feet tall) used the following general rule for bolt and anchor placements: from the good stance, he makes all hangers reachable with the tip of his elbow.
Tai Davore?
J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793
Muscrat wrote: Tai Davore?
Ha ha! No, it wasn't Tai, though Tai has put up some very nice routes (though probably a pretty small fraction in terms of the number routes comparatively). I'll leave this gentleman unknown and respect his privacy, but if you really want to figure it out, I will give you a hint: folks are able to climb at Jailhouse because of him. A lot of this guys routes aren't even really known because he doesn't publicize anything. For example, he climbed a crap ton of stuff at Farley Ledge way back when, but now his routes have been re-FA'ed (often with a lot more bolts) because he was doing things with the ethic of the day (i.e. ground up with minimal and often scary gear) so nobody probably even knew he had been there. Luckily this guy is a super good sport and doesn't care at all and is just happy people are enjoying the cliff. City of Rocks, Yosemite backcountry, northern CA, east coast, Wyoming, etc etc. from 5.2 to 5.13, the guy is truly prolific and yet probably amongst the most kind and awesome people you will ever meet. Sh*t, maybe you have met, the guy is always out climbing something!
Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,772
Old lady H wrote:As you do those, in cases where it is feasible and within local ethics to do so, would you consider placing anchors a half foot to a foot lower, when they are at shoulder height or higher on an "average" climber? A forced dyno or yarding on the rope to the anchors is... disappointing, at best.
I try to bolt routes to accommodate the more diminutive folk amongst us. Help to have a climbing partner that is a fair bit shorter (and I do in some/most cases, I'm over 6' tall).

Shoulder height on someone who's 6' tall shouldn't really be well out of reach for a shorter person (unless they're a little people...ha ha). I'm probably more at head height or so if I'm bolting from a clipping jug on a steep line. A lower angle face on, say, a friction route...then I'm still shooting for a spot that's a good foot lower than I can reach comfortably.

Replacing hardware is tough, as, hole-for-hole is the mantra and no one really wants to muss with someone else's placements (especially without some contact with said FA'er).

All that said, if I'm doing a route that pushes me and especially if I drill it on lead, all bets are off in the interest of my self preservation (ha!). Sometimes when the seas are a bit calmer I'll go back and move a placement.

Something that speaks to having FA info in a guidebook (or a website), is, that some folks are super good at bolt placement and some aren't so much. Its really hard to accommodate everyone and it could be that its not just reach but clipping stances that can be wildly different between climbers.

If you're speaking to top anchors only, then, yeah, maybe they can be extended a bit.

Cheers!
1Eric Rhicard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 8,230

I am 5'6" and try to put them at my wrist. Anchors should be pretty easy to reach. A wicked stiffy as we call them is a must for old school routes and really short people. I used to sell them as EQs. Equalizers, but you can make one with flexible PVC and a runner.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
john strand wrote:So, another "all things for everyone" thread....Where's the limit? What if someone is 4'6" ? or is 5' the new standard ?
Respectfully, please re read my post. You're a good guy, with a bazillion more climbs than I have lifespan left to get in, and I think you must have misread or perhaps misinterpreted.

I specifically mentioned the many areas with decades old hardware, put up BITD. Now needing to get swapped, and I also said, when feasible. Which allows for decisions about reusing holes.

If, the anchors went in at shoulder height or higher, on an average or tall person, then they are being clipped perhaps at shoulder height for the majority of climbers.

What is the loss of safety or ethics to an average height climber if those anchors are clippable at waist to chest height?

Thanks, John.

Best, H.
Loganator · · blue van, on the highway to no · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 240

Anchors placed for multi-pitch routes need to be set high. Low anchors, when using a (nowadays standard?) Guide mode ATC for belaying up the second, should be as high as possible so that the belayer has an ergonomic amount of space to pull rope. assuming an equalized belay with an acute angle, puts your master point lower down than most chain ends. I feel like my tendinitis developed as much from repetitive motion from belaying as climbing often and always. just my 2cents...

Tzilla Rapdrilla · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 840

If you are less than 6' tall you should carry a couple of stiffys for those hard to reach clips. In most cases there are multiple clipping spots on routes at each bolt placement. When I bolt, I reach up and tap a spot that I can reach and I'm 6'1". Personally I hate stepping onto a ledge and clipping a bolt at shoulder height that doesn't do much except keep me from falling onto the next bolt below the ledge after I break my ankles. There are even commercially produced stiffys now.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Loganator wrote:Anchors placed for multi-pitch routes need to be set high. Low anchors, when using a (nowadays standard?) Guide mode ATC for belaying up the second, should be as high as possible so that the belayer has an ergonomic amount of space to pull rope. assuming an equalized belay with an acute angle, puts your master point lower down than most chain ends. I feel like my tendinitis developed as much from repetitive motion from belaying as climbing often and always. just my 2cents...
This. If you will be belaying from the anchor (multipitch; not just clipping and getting lowered), then the anchor should be high enough so that the masterpoint is still around head height.
J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793
Tzilla Rapdrilla wrote:If you are less than 6' tall you should carry a couple of stiffys for those hard to reach clips. In most cases there are multiple clipping spots on routes at each bolt placement. When I bolt, I reach up and tap a spot that I can reach and I'm 6'1". Personally I hate stepping onto a ledge and clipping a bolt at shoulder height that doesn't do much except keep me from falling onto the next bolt below the ledge after I break my ankles. There are even commercially produced stiffys now.
Tod, I love all the routes that you put up (I really mean that, thanks man), so please don't take this the wrong way, but your DH crew are amongst the worst offenders in this category. I can't tell you how often I have gotten to a clipping stance at DH and thought "damn I'm glad I am reasonably tall". If there is a ledge than the solution is to put two bolts to keep the climber off the ledge instead of one that only works for tall people. Just set up the route so that you mantel, then clip the bolt that "any" height person can reach and then consider the next bolt placement that protects the ledge. Yes, I understand that this means more hardware, but oh well, thems the breaks. Telling short climbers that carrying a stiffy is mandatory is sort of lame. Carrying a stiffy for old school routes is one thing, requiring short climbers to essentially carry a stick clip for modern routes is unnecessary.
s.price · · PS,CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,348

The route was created to be what it is. To most developers it is a form of art dictated by the rock and how it climbs. The challenge is there. Why change it?

My wife is 5'1" and figures out her own beta.

Lady H, you have it in you!

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871
J. Albers wrote: In short, folks ...
Nice touch.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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