Rappelling vs Lowering Ethics at Specific LA Crags


Original Post
Evan Gates · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

I'm looking for info as to whether I should rappel or lower at my local crags:

Tick Rock

Malibu Creek

Saddle Peak

Echo Cliffs

I'm not looking to argue the merits of one or the other, just want to know what's expected/accepted locally.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Hi, depends on the anchor......     At ECHO and Malibux- for instance- always RAP from those original cold shuts, we don't want those to wear out now do we?

Malibux ....   when you find those Steel Biners... lower.... its not that difficult to change those out every few years. 

You can lower from any type if a changeable end is provided. 

I don't think there is a common ethic- just do whats best for the anchors. 


AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

You can lower at Tick Rock. Just try not to toprope through the anchors. 

Chris Dunn 510 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Guy!!!:) sent you a pm earlier.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Chris... sent a e-mail to you. 

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,267

Evan...regarding locally accepted practices for getting off from a route RAPPELLING is the preferred method regardless of the anchor type.. When a weighted rope (climber being lowered or TRing) is pulled through an anchor greater wear occurs then when one rappels and pulls a rope without the weight of a climber on the rope running through the anchor. Those tiny grit particles that adhere to the rope cause a lot of wear when a climbers weight is applied. Rappel when possible.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Ben .... Respectfully.  The steel biners and the Mussy hooks that have been installed in the last decade are there to be lowered from....   its faster at the busy places. 

any climb that has not been equipped with these and have the OLD style cold shut, or chains, or the style of top anchors you use (fixie ring thingies) should have the last climber down using the rap. 

And always TR through your own gear. 

 


Bowens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 60
Benjamin Chapman wrote:

Evan...regarding locally accepted practices for getting off from a route RAPPELLING is the preferred method regardless of the anchor type.. When a weighted rope (climber being lowered or TRing) is pulled through an anchor greater wear occurs then when one rappels and pulls a rope without the weight of a climber on the rope running through the anchor. Those tiny grit particles that adhere to the rope cause a lot of wear when a climbers weight is applied. Rappel when possible.

Are you speaking for SoCal communities?

Also, if (as discussed above) the anchor has removable/replaceable hardware (quicklinks, steel carabiners, etc), then what is the harm of lowering through that hardware?  When the replaceable hardware wears out...replace it?

Chris Dunn 510 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Guy Keesee wrote:

Chris... sent a e-mail to you. 

My e-mail might be acting up, message has not been received:(

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,267

With all due respect...just because the hardware is removable and/or replaceable doesn't dictate that it should be lowered on and abused.  Rappel off the hardware and it will last longer and necessitate less frequent replacement, especially in high traffic areas. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
Benjamin Chapman wrote:

With all due respect...just because the hardware is removable and/or replaceable doesn't dictate that it should be lowered on and abused.  Rappel off the hardware and it will last longer and necessitate less frequent replacement, especially in high traffic areas. 

Actually, that's exactly what it does dictate if it's hooks. Those of us who put that hardware up specifically intended for users to lower off of. 

Ney Grant · · Pollock Pines, CA · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 1,005

The other item that can dictate hooks is whether it is only one pitch or not.  We recently put up a two pitch "sport" route but used ring anchors because you should not climb above hooks, though perhaps by definition that isn't a sport route. For nearby one pitch routes we used stainless steel Fixe sport anchors (expensive ) or the fat mussy hooks, with the expectation that folks would lower off of them.  

ConradS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0

I respect all the above posters for their contributions to routes and ethics....BUT, climbers should do what is most safe for them.  You and your climbing partner should use whatever techniques you feel most confident with. Last thing anybody wants is another climbing accident. Anchors can be replaced, lives can't. 

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

With all due respect...just because the hardware is removable and/or replaceable doesn't dictate that it should be lowered on and abused.  Rappel off the hardware and it will last longer and necessitate less frequent replacement, especially in high traffic areas. 

Ben, the TS specifically said he did NOT want to engage in broader lowering ethics, he was looking for beta on specific crags.  The AMGA has officially endorsed lowering as the preferred method of cleaning single pitch anchors and it is accepted (and expected) at most major sport areas today.  Recommending people always rappel is outdated.

Thomas Raben · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Yea rapping is the preferred method, minus when those nice, new mussy hooks are in place. 

But please, please TR through your own gear!!!! There are so many horror  story old-style anchors at malibu and echo. *shudder*

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,948
Thomas Raben wrote:

Yea rapping is the preferred method, minus when those nice, new mussy hooks are in place. 

But please, please TR through your own gear!!!! There are so many horror  story old-style anchors at malibu and echo. *shudder*

You may prefer rapping, but there is literally not a single local crag where "rapping is the preferred method". I think it is misleading to tell people otherwise.

Keep your eyes open for worn anchors and 'cold shuts'. Rap from these.

The real issue here is top-roping through the anchors. Not lowering. 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
Alex Bury wrote:

Keep your eyes open for worn anchors and 'cold shuts'. Replace these.

Fixed that for everybody 

S. Lucas · · CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 5
Evan Gates wrote:

I'm looking for info as to whether I should rappel or lower at my local crags:

Tick Rock

Malibu Creek

Saddle Peak

Echo Cliffs

I'm not looking to argue the merits of one or the other, just want to know what's expected/accepted locally.

Malibu: Mostly Rap Rings and some Cold Shuts (like private hooks) if I remember correctly. These types of anchors the climber should RAP off. With shuts it is't out of the question to lower off, but most of them get worn down to the point that Rapping is the safer option to preserve the gear and/or save your rope/life. Access Fund now recommends these being replaced with a different type of system. Mussy Hooks are satisfactory to lower off. The kind people that put them there will tell you that. 

Saddle Peak: Most if not all are Rap Rings at the top. Whenever it's it's closed Rap Rings, there's no debate: rap off. If you know your pal is going up after you, leave some lockers on the hangers or chain and you can lower from there and save a rappel. While it's possible to put your gear in the rap rings, it's not always the first recommendation because the metal on metal can cause barbs over time in the Rap Rings, which damage rope when pulling it through the rings. 

Echo: Has a mix of everything. Scary worn-out shuts, rap rings and mussy hooks... God bless the people who do any anchor replacement here; it's seen abuse and really needs attention. IMHO Mussy Hooks are the most preferred sport crag anchor: easily replaced, quick to lower off, safe. Rap rings: always rappel off. Scary worn-out shuts: rappel or avoid completely, ha. Mussy Hooks: enjoy the ride and thank the folks that put them there. 

In the greater LA basin, as with many places, top roping should always be done on one's own gear, never on fixed anchors. At Owens, the folks that put up the mussy hooks will sometimes say, "go ahead and top rope on those mussies, we replace them regularly." I don't think that is the case with these crags, so it's best to alway use your own gear for TR. 

Evan: Thanks for reaching out to your community and showing a concern for these measures. Unfortunately, in the past I have witnessed folks abuse fixed gear and show poor ethics. It's really a matter of safety as much as courtesy. As others have mentioned, rapping vs. lowering depends on the type of anchor as much as any crag etiquette. 

Hopefully this helps. I'd also check the information made available by entities like Access Fund and American Safe Climbing Coalition. They have a wealth of info on their websites. 

I haven't been to Tick Rock in ages but I'm sure someone can weigh in on what's there. 

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,948
Mark E Dixon wrote:

Fixed that for everybody 

Indeed!

It's worth pointing out though that the OP very likely may not have the experience to replace them himself. In fact, most climbers do no not...so it's also worth saying that if you don't know what you're doing, don't monkey around with the bolts.

But as Mark pointed out, replacement is the actual answer. It's pretty amazing how bad anchors get (Malibu and Echo in particular).

Considering that heavy use is required to wear anchors out, one might assume that such well trafficked areas would have a congruent community of active bolt replacers and maintainers. Apparently this is not he case.

More should be done to encourage people in the community to step up and make things right. I am not totally innocent here as I do have the skills and am somewhat local. I use the excuse "well I live in Ventura County" to shirk duty (I do plenty of anchor work out here).

Let's step it up. 

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
Evan Gates wrote:

I'm looking for info as to whether I should rappel or lower at my local crags:

Tick Rock

Malibu Creek

Saddle Peak

Echo Cliffs

I'm not looking to argue the merits of one or the other, just want to know what's expected/accepted locally.

There's a lot of bad and outdated advice on this thread.  Lowering is the standard practice for all of the mentioned areas.  The old advice of always rap to save the anchors is outdated and unsafe.  Please keep some quicklinks/rings/mussy's/steel biners, or whatever your preferred anchor material is in your pack to replace worn anchors.  It is easy, it is inexpensive, and it leads to safer climbing all around. Even replacing worn coldshuts isn't a complicated process.

S. Lucas · · CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 5
Alex Bury wrote:

Indeed!

It's worth pointing out though that the OP very likely may not have the experience to replace them himself. In fact, most climbers do no not...so it's also worth saying that if you don't know what you're doing, don't monkey around with the bolts.

But as Mark pointed out, replacement is the actual answer. It's pretty amazing how bad anchors get (Malibu and Echo in particular).

Considering that heavy use is required to wear anchors out, one might assume that such well trafficked areas would have a congruent community of active bolt replacers and maintainers. Apparently this is not he case.

More should be done to encourage people in the community to step up and make things right. I am not totally innocent here as I do have the skills and am somewhat local. I use the excuse "well I live in Ventura County" to shirk duty (I do plenty of anchor work out here).

Let's step it up. 

Personally, I would do anchor maintenance here but I simply do not have the experience... yet. Self-education only gets you so far. But if someone wants to school me on expansion bolt replacement, we can ride my rope (literally, not figuratively). 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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