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Webbing though the Anchors?
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Sep 13, 2016
I'm a newb looking to affirm some observations I made of other newbs...

I was at a wall that is frequented by newcomers because of its easy top rope access and easy pitches. Perfect really for learning some basic skills. All routes are bolted top rope and managed by a county park.

While there, I saw someone rig a top rope anchor by running two lengths of 1" webbing through the 2 bolted anchors, tying each length off with what I assume was a water knot but without carabiners. The 'master point' was a sliding X. The rope was then run through the sliding X without benefit of 'biners.

My thoughts:

- The webbing passed directly through the bolted anchor isn't such a great idea. The sharp edge could cut the strap fairly easily. They should have clipped a 'biner to the anchor and then used their runners.

- Passing the rope through the sliding X master point without a 'biner would create much friction, heat and other bad things that could be easily avoided by adding 2 opposed 'biners.

Am I on the right track?
Tim Lau
From Hendersonville, NC
Joined Jul 21, 2016
0 points
Sep 13, 2016
Running a top rope directly through the webbing anchor, without carabiners on the masterpoint, is a death wish. FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
15 points
Sep 13, 2016
Yea that's borderline suicidal, if you see them again please say something thebmags
Joined Jun 5, 2013
105 points
Sep 13, 2016
Pics or it didn't happen!!

Seriously though.. what frank and bmags said. You're definitely on the right track. Even a couple of steel quick links from HD would be an immense improvement on what you described.
Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Joined Sep 13, 2006
390 points
Sep 13, 2016
Rope on webbing.... they are honestly lucky they didn't die that day. If you have any way to contact them, or try to contact them, I would say something because it won't be too long before their luck runs out. Maybe post something on your local forum and hope the information finds them. Cassidy Thomas
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jul 3, 2016
30 points
Sep 13, 2016
Yikes! You are on the right track indeed! Jordan Moore
From Berthoud, CO
Joined Feb 9, 2011
5 points
Sep 13, 2016
Rope can melt through nylon webbing over the course of a single lowering. If they continue this practice it's only a matter of time before someone decks.

Webbing directly through bolt hangers isn't great either, but their luck may last longer with this one.
Em Cos
From Boulder, CO
Joined Apr 21, 2010
0 points
Sep 13, 2016
Really scary stuff. They were lucky not to get killed doing that. Nick Sweeney
From Spokane, WA
Joined Jun 8, 2013
572 points
Sep 13, 2016
That's what is known as a Darwin's Anchor. If after rigging that you couldn't see the problem, perhaps it's for the best of the species that you go ahead and climb on it.


In all seriousness, though, for the application they are using it, that is incredibly dangerous. There are situations where someone might use a similar setup for RAPPELLING, but this is different because:

1) They are usually using specially designed bolt hangers that are designed for feeding soft goods and rappelling (if these are not and are instead "normal" sport bolts, doing this will trash your stuff)

2) You do not have a weighted rope running across it under tension (this will literally burn through the webbing) and

3) You only have a single person's weight, not a belayer + climber and the force multiplication that occurs under a slingshot top rope belay setup.

Even then, I would still prefer my rope run through carabiners or rap rings compared to a sling, but it's not dangerous to do this when rappelling. For TR, that is a death trap.
Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
40 points
Sep 13, 2016
Tim Lau wrote:
I'm a newb looking to affirm some observations I made of other newbs... I was at a wall that is frequented by newcomers because of its easy top rope access and easy pitches. Perfect really for learning some basic skills. All routes are bolted top rope and managed by a county park. While there, I saw someone rig a top rope anchor by running two lengths of 1" webbing through the 2 bolted anchors, tying each length off with what I assume was a water knot but without carabiners. The 'master point' was a sliding X. The rope was then run through the sliding X without benefit of 'biners. My thoughts: - The webbing passed directly through the bolted anchor isn't such a great idea. The sharp edge could cut the strap fairly easily. They should have clipped a 'biner to the anchor and then used their runners. - Passing the rope through the sliding X master point without a 'biner would create much friction, heat and other bad things that could be easily avoided by adding 2 opposed 'biners. Am I on the right track?


Webbing through bolt hangers, not a problem. This has been done for many years all over the world without failures due to the hanger cutting the webbing.

Rope through the webbing however is almost certain to cut through the webbing with a single lower and there have been many deaths due to this throughout the years (I can think of at least one in the last year).
Ken Noyce
From Layton, UT
Joined Aug 12, 2010
1,912 points
Sep 13, 2016
thebmags wrote:
Yea that's borderline suicidal, if you see them again please say something



I offered them 4 carabiners and suggested they re-rig. I was dismissed.
Tim Lau
From Hendersonville, NC
Joined Jul 21, 2016
0 points
Sep 13, 2016
This was on "Left at the Y" at Rocky Face

It's an easy 5.2 that only reaches about 30ft.
Tim Lau
From Hendersonville, NC
Joined Jul 21, 2016
0 points
Sep 13, 2016
FWIW about 10 years ago or so just as we got the base of a route a person was being lowered after top roping the route. About five feet from the deck he dropped with the rope coming down right after him. They rigged the TR just as the OP described. His lowering burned through the rope.

For the OP, webbing through anchors is not any big deal. That was the norm before chains. A rope through webbing or perlon is a big no-no. Even for rappelling unless the rap station is a one off as even pulling the rap line can cause enough friction to cause issues (though for the next parties).

When clean up a rap station rats nest of webbing sans a knife is fairly easy to do by using a piece of webbing to burn through the other webbing. I have done that several times. It is also a really good demo to do with new climbers. It makes a great impression on what not to do.
Allen Sanderson
From Oootah
Joined Jul 6, 2007
1,115 points
Sep 13, 2016
When I see incorrect stuff mostly I keep it to myself because it is usually not an immediate safety issue.

If you see someone toproping directly through webbing... say something.

If they wont listen, tie some webbing to a nearby tree and use a piece of cord to saw through it right in front of them.
Rick Blair
From Denver
Joined Oct 16, 2007
163 points
Sep 13, 2016
kennoyce wrote:
Webbing through bolt hangers, not a problem. This has been done for many years all over the world without failures due to the hanger cutting the webbing. Rope through the webbing however is almost certain to cut through the webbing with a single lower and there have been many deaths due to this throughout the years (I can think of at least one in the last year).

+1
JK-
From SLC
Joined Nov 3, 2012
0 points
Sep 13, 2016
Thanks all.

I knew the rope/master point was the real problem, but wasn't clear if the webbing through bolted anchors was as well. Now I know!
Tim Lau
From Hendersonville, NC
Joined Jul 21, 2016
0 points


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