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Personal Anchor System - Rappelling


Original Post
Adam G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

This past weekend I was doing some mock leads / rappels on the ground with a friends and we had a slightly different understanding about using your personal anchor system while rappelling.  

We both use a double length nylon runner as an extended rappel and personal anchor system.  He is accustomed to clipping his locking carabiner into the rappel rings where as I am accustomed to clipping mine into a bolted anchor.  He explained to me that I wasn't being redundant.  I was under the impression you shouldn't clip carabiners to rings because it can create wear and tear.  

In this video the instructor uses the rings for her self anchor system -

Any clarification would be great. I hope this isn't a loaded question!

Chris Reyes · · Montclair, NJ · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 40

When I first started I was instructed to never put metal things where rope goes and have kind have stuck to that, maybe more out of habit than anything else.

I don't honestly think it matters. For the minute you're on the rings on a locker the wear on the rings will be minimal, and the "burrs/gashes" that were used to justify the no metal-on-metal policy I was taught aren't going to happen from bodyweight on 2 rounded surfaces. Maybe if you shaved the internal bend of your locker into a knife blade...and then bounced and that's ignoring the fact that the rings are probably steel and your 'biner is probably aluminum.. 

If there's any reason to not clip the rap rings, it's because you're on a busy rap station and taking up the rings with your sling is either a dick move, or impossible because someone's rapping.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

If you're at a hanging or semi-hanging rap station, you attain redundancy by connecting the two bolts with a draw. I don't clip the rings because it will slightly interfere with threading the rope through them.

Wilson On The Drums · · Woodbury, MN · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 940

Most climbers, and almost all pro-climbers that I have watched on video, do not take redundancy into account when anchoring. Many times a clove-hitched rope or a single quick draw is sufficient for anchoring. So what's best to clip into, the bolts or the chains? I think this can simply be answered on the material. Many routes in the Black Hills of SD will have "climbing rated/manufactured bolts/hangers" like Fixe or Metolious, but will have hardware store chain links as the chains. If this is the case I clip the bolt hanger. 

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162
Adam G wrote:

 I am accustomed to clipping mine into a bolted anchor.  He explained to me that I wasn't being redundant.

It would be good if you clarified what you mean by "clipping into a bolted anchor."  Do you mean just clipping your tether to one of two bolts?  To both bolts?  Are the two bolts connected to each other via a chain, or do they have two separate rap rings?

Different people have different takes on this, but I don't like hanging from a single bolt during a rap.  As such, if the bolts are not connected to each other (via a chain, rap tat, etc.), I will clip my tether to both of them or clip them together (with a draw or whatever).  Not everybody does this, but that's probably where your friend is coming from.

I was under the impression you shouldn't clip carabiners to rings because it can create wear and tear.  

I don't think this is a realistic concern.

Good on your for trying to protect the fixed gear, but an aluminum carabiner should be totally acceptable to clip to rap rings, especially for a scenario where you're just hanging from it statically for a minute while you rig a rap.  Carabiners are not that hard and don't have any sharp edges, so they shouldn't tear anything up.

Adam G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

thanks y'all this was super helpful 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

While I understand that "hardware store chain" probably comes in all sorts of different grades/qualities, it does amuse me that folks think that just b/c it didn't come from Fixe or some other "climbing company" that such chain is scary and potentially dangerous.  I suspect the reality is that the people who buy such chain for NON-climbing use e.g. rigging, towing, construction, subject it to MUCH higher loads than anything a rapelling climber would ever generate.  In other words, rap chains are probably the LEAST severe application that chain ever sees in use.

Chris Fedorczak · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

As others have said, this isn't really a wear issue or a safety issue (although I'd definitely clip into more than one bolt for redundancy).

I go through the bolts so that when I setup my rappel and weight the rope it doesn't trap the lockers on my PAS. 

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90
Chris Fedorczak wrote:

I go through the bolts so that when I setup my rappel and weight the rope it doesn't trap the lockers on my PAS. 

This. Much easier to stay organized if you clip the bolts. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

The one downside to clipping the bolt hangers is that some can be a PITA to fit your carabiner in along with the chain connector.  This can especially be a pain to unclip.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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