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Cable instead of webbing question


Original Post
Ice4life · · US · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 330

Just curious, if I had a bunch of cable, and a bunch of swedges, and a bunch of red and blue loctite. Wouldn't cable last longer than webbing and be easier to blend in? Is it more expensive, harder to work with, just plain heavier, or just mainly used on challenge courses, that people don't use it for certain applications. I understand it's not the best for direct on trees, but garden hose would ease the damage to be that if what cord or webbing would do.

Thoughts? 

ClimbingOn · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 405

If you put garden hose around the cable, this will create an environment for moisture. Additionally, we would not be able to visually inspect the cable.

I know of a few cable anchors and I consider them major eyesores. Stick with neutral-colored webbing.

Max Rausch · · Monterey, CA · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 125

Ice4life wrote:

  Is it more expensive

Yes

, harder to work with

Yes

, just plain heavier

Yes

, or just mainly used on challenge courses.

Thoughts? 

More Yes.

Personally cable around a tree, with or without garden hose sounds like a terrible idea. I bet a rubber hose would rub and wear more into tree bark than webbing. I always carry a knife and bail webbing. 

Jon Po · · Mahwah, NJ · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 165

Swage not swedge! As in "Patrick Swagey" Webbing is much easier to inspect, replace, and is nicer to the tree! Leave the steel cable to the riggers!

Ice4life · · US · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 330

It could be at the base of a big boulder, not just a tree, but didn't think of the moisture in the hose thing. Just figured it's used in industrial side of things, and challenge courses everywhere, if someone had extra, then it would wear as fast on super travelled routes or routes always in the sun.

I wonder how challenge courses deal with hose covered wires and moisture. I saw it on low ropes, not the high ropes that I can recall. where I guess a fall from a foot wouldn't be to horrific, but wasn't really covered in the course I took years ago. Or if it was I forgot.

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,254
t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

I’ve seen a few cables anchors and don’t think they look any more or less displeasing than webbing. 


I think the reason you don’t see it more often is the weight of cable and the tools required. Much easier to bring webbing or even a power drill and wrench than the necessary equipment for cables. 


I don’t think the arguments about it being hard to inspect are valid. Clear tubing is very easy to get. While susceptible to corrosion, I’d still wager in most cases a cable would out last webbing by a significant margin.


Cant say anything about the trees. Whether rope, cable, or webbing, they always look pretty fucked up if it’s a high use anchor. 


This makes me really curious about people who put up VF routes. 

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,763

Don't use cables. What happens is that they stretch and start twisting, then the whole thing becomes a twisted mess. Not to mention that a strand here or there breaks and you get little (rusted) metal needles that jab you.

At least with anchors that see a lot of heavy use.

If you want anchors around trees, just use old thick static rope. It lasts forever and can easily be inspected.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 347

I've seen cable used effectively on some routes around here for tree anchors, they can  also be good for rock threads.  You get the kind already encased with translucent rubber and use 3-4 cable clamps to secure.  It's no more damaging to trees than webbing from what I can tell and can be a better option on sharp rock threads that would normally fray tat. Swaging would be impractical IMO and would make future replacement more difficult.  Best to talk to your LCO before doing something like this and have some knowledge about how to properly install it.  An excellent option for a long lasting anchor is to thread tubular webbing around static rope and form a loop with a double fisherman's.  The webbing is very effective in absorbing the uv rays and protecting the static line from fraying.  Be sure to use large rap rings or quicklinks to prevent the rope from rubbing on the webbing when you pull it. 

Ice4life · · US · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 330

I also have cable clamps that don't need to be swaged. Easy to remove with blue loctite. Either way just was curious, but all god points that I've thought about and didn't think about. 


Not to sure the cable splitting is an issue with clear rubber tubing on it. I worked on a high use, very high use, high ropes course and we didn't have any splintering issues after repeated use. And that was litterly every day use with probably 50-60 people on an average day, with maybe 100 on a busy day for almost a year.


Not planning on going crazy with this stuff. But had some wierd shit laying around loom guess I'll build a buddy a zipline for his kid.

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,685

On a new, somewhat remote crag, I've used cable, though not around a tree, but it involved much of the same gear. It's been less than a year, so I don't know how well it will age. So far though, no problems. Nothing at all like what Greg above has experienced.

The cable was 3/16", threaded through a 1/4" hole in the rock. One end was swaged beforehand, the other has a clamp. So, replacing it requires only a wrench and a replacement cable.    

On trees, we have used galvanized chain or just webbing. Cable through loose tubular webbing might work as well, but I haven't tried it. It sure would be lighter than chain and last longer than webbing by itself (given that you are not relying on the webbing's strength). If the webbing is loose enough, you may be able to slide it around to inspect much of the cable visually, and certainly could check it by feel.

In general, if we don't try new things, we cannot progress. So, if you find an inconspicuous spot, don't cause much damage, and can thoroughly test it out, come back and remove if needed, then go for it. 


Mark LaPierre · · spencer, MA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 70

Ok if cable is so poor explain 

Via ferrata routes all over the world



Ice4life · · US · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 330

Mark LaPierre wrote:

Ok if cable is so poor explain 

Via ferrata routes all over the world



And with that mic drop I think ingot my answer. I'll pick something wierd and not so well known and try it, see how it goes.

Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35

Is there any data on the reduction of webbing and/or static line with various lengths of exposure to UV?  I would assume yes so maybe someone can link it.  To me the inspect-able argument is moot because I would think most people would have no idea how much strength is lost in webbing, cord, or static rope, certainly not with any correlation to how faded it is.

Others probably have different opinions but I find that webbing rarely gets removed expect in places like Eldo with dedicated stewards like Mr. Greg.  People come up to an anchor, question the integrity of the existing webbing, and just add more webbing.  I've seen my fair share of anchors that are 10+ different pieces of cord or web knotted together, a myriad of rap rings and leaver biners, and some strands are starting to rat's nest making it a pain to actually use and way more of an eye sore than a bit of steel.  Yes steel will eventually rust, but I would assume galvanized steel would last much longer than webbing in direct sun exposure and if the corrosion is that much of a concern just get SS cable.


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

My only concern with using cable would be potential loss of strength due to a sharp curve or bend. Webbing and cord are far more forgiving when it comes to a tight bend than steel cable. Too sharp of a turn and you can lose most of the breaking strength. Now on the other hand, depending on how strong the cable is, that may or may not be an issue.

If you're using a cable with a breaking strength of 7000lbs and its strength is reduced by 70%, that still leaves you with 2100lbs which is way more than anybody, even a really big fat dude, should be generating on rappel. 

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 347
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

DrRockso wrote:

The one you posted and also with this guy 

you have a thimble preventing the radius from becoming too tight. From what I could gather from the original post, it seemed like the guy was planning on using a DIY setup which may or may not include the use of a thimble like this. Once again, there's a good chance that even with a significant strength reduction it would still be plenty strong for a rap station.

But it's still important to be aware of the strength reduction as most climbers only think about strength reduction in the context of knots (because webbing and cord are far more forgiving in this matter than steel cable).

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348

Personally I'd try to skip webbing anchors altogether and just install a bolted rap station. It’s far safer, stronger and visually appealing than shit tons of brightly colored webbing wrapped in a giant loop around a flake or whatever. The whole “natural anchors only” argument really loses merit when the method of “natural” anchor selection involves using tons of webbing bright enough to be seen from several hundred feet away.

Ice4life · · US · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 330

eli poss wrote:

The one you posted and also with this guy 

you have a thimble preventing the radius from becoming too tight. From what I could gather from the original post, it seemed like the guy was planning on using a DIY setup which may or may not include the use of a thimble like this. Once again, there's a good chance that even with a significant strength reduction it would still be plenty strong for a rap station.

But it's still important to be aware of the strength reduction as most climbers only think about strength reduction in the context of knots (because webbing and cord are far more forgiving in this matter than steel cable).

I wasn't talking about permadraws...


I was talking bout having a little bit left of cable from a high ropes course, lifeline diameter, some swags and cable clamps and time on hands thinking of what to do with it.

Think of when a natural webbing anchor would be used and replace webbing with a wrap around of cable, left frequency in changing it, no tat, clean, and have the same lifespan as a bolt or longer.


The tube came into play for trees, to protect the tree from the bare cable, just slip a tube over a strand of cable. The tube would just be a sheath to the cable so the tree wouldn't loose all it's bark and potentially die.

Taylor Spiegelberg · · Lander & Sheridan, Wyoming · Joined May 2012 · Points: 935

20 kN wrote:

Personally I'd try to skip webbing anchors altogether and just install a bolted rap station. It’s far safer, stronger and visually appealing than shit tons of brightly colored webbing wrapped in a giant loop around a flake or whatever. The whole “natural anchors only” argument really loses merit when the method of “natural” anchor selection involves using tons of webbing bright enough to be seen from several hundred feet away.

PREACH! This will open up a can of worms but I rapped off some sketchy shit on trade routes in the Wind's this summer... Big, ugly, old red webbing clusters. Two stainless bolts with rings would have been much more appealing and would not have "ruined my wilderness experience."

Taylor Spiegelberg · · Lander & Sheridan, Wyoming · Joined May 2012 · Points: 935

Also, in Hyalite a few years ago, a webbing anchor around a shit tree failed and a dude fell like 40 feet into the snow. He's still kicking, but a convenient bolted anchor at the top of that pitch is probably high on his christmas list...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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