Rappelling vs Lowering Ethics at Specific LA Crags


Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
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. 

You'd have to be a pretty big idiot to not understand how to replace most anchors.  Yes, there are some that may require a bit more knowledge, but the vast majority simply require unscrewing a quicklink and screwing it back shut.  If you know how to lock or unlock a standard locking biner you can replace a whole lot of anchors.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
smlucas Lucas wrote:

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). 

You almost never have to replace the bolt to update an anchor.  Sure there are times when it would be a good idea, but that doesn't mean that you can't replace the worn components of the anchor.

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,873
Ken Noyce wrote:

You'd have to be a pretty big idiot to not understand how to replace most anchors.  Yes, there are some that may require a bit more knowledge, but the vast majority simply require unscrewing a quicklink and screwing it back shut.  If you know how to lock or unlock a standard locking biner you can replace a whole lot of anchors.

I don't consider that anchor replacement. That is anchor maintenance.

Anchor replacement would involve, well you know...replacing the anchor! 

But Ken's advice of keeping some quick links on hand is great, and not mentioned upthread (I don't think...).

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
Alex Bury wrote:

I don't consider that anchor replacement. That is anchor maintenance.

Anchor replacement would involve, well you know...replacing the anchor! 

But Ken's advice of keeping some quick links on hand is great, and not mentioned upthread (I don't think...).

Well, I guess it depends on what you are considering to be the anchor.  Obviously you aren't replacing the whole anchor if you don't replace the bolts too, but as far as the specifics of this thread are concerned, we are talking about the portions of the anchor that wear.  Fortunately, you don't wear out the bolt due to lowering, so it doesn't need to be replaced due to the issues being discussed in this thread.  Obviously bolts do need to be replaced due to corrosion or other issues, but those issues don't come about due to lowering off of a route.  Because of this, I think in the context of the thread it is safe to assume that by anchor we are referring to the portions of the anchor that wear out due to lowering through them.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
smlucas Lucas wrote:

In the case of Rap Rings that are fixed to the hangar... 

The majority of the anchors in these areas are cold shuts or rap rings (that are NOT connected through a quick link, they are directly attached to the bot hanger). 

If it was as simple as replacing a quick link, these anchors would be updated long ago. 

Wow, think outside the box a little bit.  In the case of a rap ring that is fixed to the hanger, all you have to do to update the anchor is attach a quicklink to the hanger.  It really is as simple as that.  There is no reason that the old ring needs to be removed at all as the quicklink will hang lower than the original ring.  The best option for this type of anchor (that doesn't require removing the hanger) is to add two quicklinks and a rap ring.  This generally fixes the other issues associated with this crappy style of anchor  as it will allow the two anchors to come together so that the rope doesn't get all twisted when lowering through them or pulling the rope.

Cold shuts are quite prevalent in these areas as you mentioned, and they do require a bit more to be updated, but it's still not rocket science and it still doesn't require replacing the bolt.  To replace cold shuts you will have to remove them from the bolt and replace them with a hanger + lowering setup.  The biggest thing to consider is that you may need to tap the bolt further into the hole for it to engage the hanger, and you need to make sure that you don't overtorque the bolt when tightening it.   

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
smlucas Lucas wrote:

In the case of Rap Rings that are fixed to the hangar... 

The majority of the anchors in these areas are cold shuts or rap rings (that are NOT connected through a quick link, they are directly attached to the bot hanger). 

If it was as simple as replacing a quick link, these anchors would be updated long ago. 

We don't have many cold shuts around here, so I can't intelligently comment about managing those. 

But for anchors with rap rings, it's easy to add two 3/8 inch quick links to each ring and you have created a replaceable system for about $4. Using mussys adds about another $6, $10 total  

If everybody at the crag rejuvenated one such anchor a year, the problem would be solved. 

We also don't have the same corrosion problems here that some crags do, so plated quick links are adequate. If you need stainless, the price goes up. 

Edited to add- Ken's solution is even better. 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
smlucas Lucas wrote:

"Wow, think outside the box a little bit." 

Is that seriously how you talk to people? Thus concludes why I don't get information from forums... bye bye   

What are you talking about? 

This is great information from Ken and you are too delicate to receive it? 

Seriously?

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
smlucas Lucas wrote:

"Wow, think outside the box a little bit." 

Is that seriously how you talk to people? Thus concludes why I don't get information from forums... bye bye   

I'm sorry if I cam across as rude (I know, rule number 1), but it is really quite infuriating how lazy some climbers are, and how simple it really is to keep our anchors safe.  In general, (I'm not singling you out here) I feel like climbers love to have any excuse as to why they can't help with simple tasks like anchor maintenance, so I'm sorry that I was taking my frustration out on you. 

As Mark said above, If every climber updated just one worn anchor a year there would be absolutely no issues with worn anchors anywhere in the world.

Stefan Figgley · · CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 5
Ken Noyce wrote:

I'm sorry if I cam across as rude (I know, rule number 1), but it is really quite infuriating how lazy some climbers are, and how simple it really is to keep our anchors safe.  In general, (I'm not singling you out here) I feel like climbers love to have any excuse as to why they can't help with simple tasks like anchor maintenance, so I'm sorry that I was taking my frustration out on you. 

As Mark said above, If every climber updated just one worn anchor a year there would be absolutely no issues with worn anchors anywhere in the world.

I do my part to pack out garbage, learn local ethics, travel in small groups, and be a respectable member of the community-- I'm anything but lazy. Obviously some information I have received from people that do anchor maintenance differs from your suggestions, so in that light I felt it more responsible to not try and perform these tasks myself without someone who has one it before. That's just being wise. If I thought I had the proper tools/knowledge to maintain/replace anchors, I'd be out there right now. 

Ken, apology accepted. I'm always trying to glean good information. But I don't think it's always a case of laziness. There's simply a lot of conflicting information on this topic, so I'm sure there are people who want to pitch in but simply have too many unanswered questions and don't feel qualified; such as myself. Packaging information with vitriol ins't exactly inspiring. 

To the other gent's inquiry: no, I am not delicate. I just don't make inflammatory/rude/toxic forum posts to strangers, not my style. Call me a delicate softy all you want. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45
Ken Noyce wrote:

I'm sorry if I cam across as rude (I know, rule number 1), but it is really quite infuriating how lazy some climbers are, and how simple it really is to keep our anchors safe.  In general, (I'm not singling you out here) I feel like climbers love to have any excuse as to why they can't help with simple tasks like anchor maintenance, so I'm sorry that I was taking my frustration out on you. 

As Mark said above, If every climber updated just one worn anchor a year there would be absolutely no issues with worn anchors anywhere in the world.

I think ignorance (for lack of a better term) is more of a factor than laziness.  I'm sure most people would love to do their part to keep anchors safe (nothing worse than getting to the top and encountering a worn rap ring), but either don't feel confident/knowledgeable or that it's their place to do so.  Can't you see where this could become problematic?  What if somebody attempts to do maintenance but doesn't know what they are doing and gets themselves (or someone else) killed?

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
sm Lucas wrote:

I do my part to pack out garbage, learn local ethics, travel in small groups, and be a respectable member of the community-- I'm anything but lazy. Obviously some information I have received from people that do anchor maintenance differs from your suggestions, so in that light I felt it more responsible to not try and perform these tasks myself without someone who has one it before. That's just being wise. If I thought I had the proper tools/knowledge to maintain/replace anchors, I'd be out there right now. 

Ken, apology accepted. I'm always trying to glean good information. But I don't think it's always a case of laziness. There's simply a lot of conflicting information on this topic, so I'm sure there are people who want to pitch in but simply have too many unanswered questions and don't feel qualified; such as myself. Packaging information with vitriol ins't exactly inspiring. 

To the other gent's inquiry: no, I am not delicate. I just don't make inflammatory/rude/toxic forum posts to strangers, not my style. Call me a delicate softy all you want. 

Isn't snowflake the current term? :-)

Thanks for packing out garbage, etc. 

I'm pretty sure you'd find adding mussy hooks or quick links pretty easy. 

We should really have a sticky in the sport climbing forum describing how to do it. 

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,873
Ted Pinson wrote:

I think ignorance (for lack of a better term) is more of a factor than laziness.  I'm sure most people would love to do their part to keep anchors safe (nothing worse than getting to the top and encountering a worn rap ring), but either don't feel confident/knowledgeable or that it's their place to do so.  Can't you see where this could become problematic?  What if somebody attempts to do maintenance but doesn't know what they are doing and gets themselves (or someone else) killed?

Good point.

If you read through this thread, I think you can see how we end up with worn out anchors at our crags.

We have folks on hand with the skills. But a general lack of leadership and mentorship, combined with infighting and a smattering of negativity, makes sure the problem will persist.

A conscious and assertive effort should be made to bring the entire community into the fold. 

Some folks have the skills to replace rusty 3/8ths inch bolts with fat 1/2 inch stainless ones. But as mentioned above, it does not take any expertise to drop a couple quick links onto a suspect anchor. Everyone can do their part.

Lets keep it positive and be encouraging to those willing to help! I am confident that this is a problem that can be resolved as a community. SoCal climbers and crags deserve only the best and most safe anchors available.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45
Mark E Dixon wrote:

We should really have a sticky in the sport climbing forum describing how to do it. 

Please do!  Can you imagine if this were part of your average gym to crag transition class?

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
Ted Pinson wrote:

I think ignorance (for lack of a better term) is more of a factor than laziness.  I'm sure most people would love to do their part to keep anchors safe (nothing worse than getting to the top and encountering a worn rap ring), but either don't feel confident/knowledgeable or that it's their place to do so.  Can't you see where this could become problematic?  What if somebody attempts to do maintenance but doesn't know what they are doing and gets themselves (or someone else) killed?

I just love this argument, but I'd like to hear any way that someone could get someone killed by doing anchor maintenance, cause I just cant think of how it could happen using any of the methods provided below where removing the hanger/chain/coldshut from the bolt isn't required.  This means that any climber can safely maintain the vast majority of anchors out there.

Let's just talk about the various types of anchors that are out there and how to address them when they are worn:

Chains attached to bolts (no hanger): Easiest thing to do, add a quicklink with or without a rap ring.  Best thing to do if you have the experience, add a hanger as well.

Chains attached to a hanger: Add a quicklink with or without a rap ring or replace the chain.

Rap ring, mussy hook, or carabiner Attached to quicklink: replace the worn component.

Rap ring attached to hanger: Easiest thing to do, add a quicklink to the hanger.  Better thing to do, add a quicklink and a rap ring attached to the old rap ring or add two quicklinks and a rap ring attached to the hanger.  Best thing to do, replace the hanger with a modular hanger/link/lowering setup (this requires a bit more skill and is not recommended if you don't know how to do it).

Coldshut: This is the most difficult and should be left to someone who at least understands how bolts work and how to replace a bolt, but basically, you just have to remove the coldshut from the bolt and replace it with a modular hanger/link/lowering setup.

I'm sure that I'm not addressing every anchor type here, so if anyone has any others that need to be addressed let me know and I'll address them.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234

I'd add that often you need to add two components, e.g. two links or a link and a hook, to prevent rope twists. 

It is better to orient links so that gravity keeps them closed. 

And I think wrench tightening is a good idea for the same reason, so that they don't accidentally open. 

dino74 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 10

Adding lowering quicklinks is easy but please make sure they are oriented in the correct position. The quicklink "hole" is parallel to the wall and not facing into the wall. I was at Holcomb this last weekend and someone added lap links to some routes. This wasn't done recently because they appeared aged and worn. Good intention but they were all out of phase by 90 degrees and caused some rope twisting.   

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
dino74 wrote:

Adding lowering quicklinks is easy but please make sure they are oriented in the correct position. The quicklink "hole" is parallel to the wall and not facing into the wall. I was at Holcomb this last weekend and someone added lap links to some routes. This wasn't done recently because they appeared aged and worn. Good intention but they were all out of phase by 90 degrees and caused some rope twisting.   

Exactly! That's why you sometimes need to add two of them. Or a steel ring or some second component.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
dino74 wrote:

Adding lowering quicklinks is easy but please make sure they are oriented in the correct position. The quicklink "hole" is parallel to the wall and not facing into the wall. I was at Holcomb this last weekend and someone added lap links to some routes. This wasn't done recently because they appeared aged and worn. Good intention but they were all out of phase by 90 degrees and caused some rope twisting.   

Good point (both you and Mark).  Yes, you always need to make sure that the link hangs perpendicular to the wall, not parallel with the wall.  This can be achieved either by using two links, or attaching the link one link higher in the system (when possible like with a chain anchor).

Alex Bury · · Ojai, CA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,873
Mark E Dixon wrote:

Exactly! That's why you sometimes need to add two of them. Or a steel ring or some second component.

Now we are getting somewhere!

Two quicklinks per bolt is important. One per bolt can kink the rope or even pin the line making pulling the rope difficult or impossible.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

I'd be more than willing to buy a bunch of quicklinks and update them when I see that if someone here with more knowledge wants to point me to the right hardware. It's always been my understanding that you shouldn't just pop cheapo Home Depo stuff onto climbing anchors so let us know what's the right thing.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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