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markwebster

R&D newbie close call, anchors needed?

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Christine and I had a nice time climbing cocaine connection - R&D 5.6 (Icicle buttress, Leavenworth) Saturday. At the top, we continued up to Bob's wall and I was halfway up the 5.8+ on the right side of Bob's when a newbie came running up to the climb and said his buddy was stuck on a ledge 60 meters down R&D. The crack was too hard, and or the rope was stuck and his buddy had untied from the rope and was "hunkered down", blowing his whistle and waiting for a rescue. This guy had hiked down the trail on the left side of Icicle buttress and yelled at his unanchored friend to stay put, help was coming.

 

We bailed and took our rope and gear down to the top of R&D. We'd actually passed the girl and her two newbies on the route and were wondering what had taken them so long to top out. The girl (the only leader) had slung a cordelette around that largest bolder on the sloping ramp at the top of R&D and was preparing to rappel with two ropes down to her newbie friend.

 

She'd wanted to anchor to the tree 80 feet up slope, but it was too far away as the ledge he'd stopped on was exactly 60 meters down, and change.

 

I think there should be bolts there. Not a rap station, but a couple bolts for a situation just like this. I could have belayed her down to the horizontal crack 50 feet down, and she could have built a rap anchor there...but in rescue situation...it seems like the top is a safer place.

 

I tied off the tree 80 feet up and tied a figure eight in my rope at the boulders, which she used as a rap anchor. But if we'd not been there, things would have become much more complicated, her being the only person with experience, and no anchors...unless you count that big boulder on the sandy slope.

 

She took a verizon cell phone down, and we had one on top. She rapped down, tied her newbie in and climbed up below him, Chistine and I belaying both of them while the other newbie chattered on about how marvelous it all was, and had we been to Yosemite? For one of them, it was their first time climbing outside. I guess he figured he could just walk off if it got too hard...yikes!

 

Scary stuff, and alls well that ends well...still, I really thing bolts up there would make things safer.

 

Let the flaming start!

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Flame on.

Have you heard of Darwin?

 

Sorry. I know this could happen again and again but I have not seen or heard of it before. I guess I wouldn't rantt and rave since it is a classic newbie route but my opinion is that the bolts are not needed.

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Funny you should be the 1st to reply. When I read the OP my thought was, 'Glad I climbed the route with Bug my 1st time.'

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Stuck rope: untie, hunker down, blow whistle, wait for rescue... sounds about right to me.

Why couldn't dude climb the rope? Self rescue man! Otherwise, I'd bet my left... the local rescue team has a standard - practiced routine for rescues on this particular piece.

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She mis-assessed her partner's ability to do the climb, and to follow directions....and her own ability to lead effectively.

 

No amount of fixed anchors can overcome poor judgment and mis-assessment....though it's possible that a set of bolts in a particular place could have taken the sting and some risk out of this situation. Perhaps the near-epic was what she needed to develop more judgment and hopefully more skills.

 

 

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People die on bolted anchors too. Sounds like a good opportunity for them to grow and learn, good you were there to pull their asses off Mark.

 

I'm gonna have to remember to bring a whistle, thats trick:-)

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I think there should be bolts there. Not a rap station, but a couple bolts for a situation just like this.

 

What situation? The one where you need to rappel down to rescue someone? Bolts would be more convenient, sure, but I don't think that boulder is considered unsafe. As far as I know people have been evaluating it as safe and anchoring to it for a long time...

 

I think these guys could have gotten in over their heads on many other routes. Many routes have pitches longer than half a ropelength. How many routes are going to need "rescue bolts"? I guess I don't really understand your reasoning.

 

Also, not to kick anyone when they're down, but IMO that crack on R&D shouldn't be too hard for anyone to get up on toprope. Whatever sketchy business they did to get him off the rock was surely harder and more dangerous than him just sucking it up and climbing. Or even using a pair of prusiks to aid past the hard part. I'm sure the pair learned a lot from this, and hope they apply it effectively the next time they go out.

 

bad judgment -> experience -> good judgment

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Stuck rope = hunker down, but STAY TIED IN!!!

 

And fuck the whistle. Someone already went for help, your whistle is just making a scene.

 

There is inherent risk in climbing. One risk is that your rope may get stuck and you may spend a few hours on a ledge TIED IN to the stuck rope, waiting for help.

 

The moral of the story is, at a minimum, all newbies should know that they stay TIED IN until directly told to untie by someone who knows what they are doing.

 

It wasn't mentioned, but the belayer should probably know how to escape the belay so they can go for help if needed.

 

More anchors would have made this a little easier, but not any safer.

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Flame on.

Have you heard of Darwin?

 

Sorry. I know this could happen again and again but I have not seen or heard of it before. I guess I wouldn't rantt and rave since it is a classic newbie route but my opinion is that the bolts are not needed.

 

+1 on the Darwin.

 

It's a busy route, someone was bound to come by at some point and help out. They really shouldn't have been in any real danger for long. Better to wait it out than rap off that bolder. Or she could have set up a "rap", but downclimbed it with a prusik for safety (only weighting the rope if she "fell") to the crack, set up a solid anchor a few feet down and rappelled off of that.

 

Anyways, sounds lik a lesson learned for them (I hope)

 

 

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I think not climbing where you're not capable and not relying on the ingenuity of others would make it even more safe.

 

maybe someone told them it was "easy" and they'd be fine there. now they know differently.

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in high traffic newbie areas, what could a couple bolts hurt? There are already no bolts anywhere on route (if you don't count cocaine connection start). Using that logic, should the bolts on saber ledge be removed? You don't rap there, they are just convenience/safety bolts.

I can see the darwin logic. But when I was thinking about how we could have found his body, because she couldn't get down soon enuf, darwin logic would be cold comfort to his mother.

 

Whatever though, I know I'm in the minority.

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in high traffic newbie areas, what could a couple bolts hurt? There are already no bolts anywhere on route (if you don't count cocaine connection start). Using that logic, should the bolts on saber ledge be removed? You don't rap there, they are just convenience/safety bolts.

I can see the darwin logic. But when I was thinking about how we could have found his body, because she couldn't get down soon enuf, darwin logic would be cold comfort to his mother.

 

Whatever though, I know I'm in the minority.

 

How many bolts are you going to put in to make it "safe"? It's a trad line, and properly so. Lots of features. Easy to build gear anchors. Ledges. Sitting belays. Low-angle.

 

This may be a "high-traffic newbie area" but it is still a multipitch trad line. It's climbed by beginner multipitch trad climbers, to learn beginning multipitch trad. You shouldn't climb R&D if you don't know how to place trad gear. You shouldn't go on this route if you don't know how to build a gear anchor. You shouldn't go on multipitch routes if you don't know self-rescue. This is a case-in-point.

 

I still don't understand your reasoning and don't think you've explained it very well. For adding bolts to an easily-protectable trad route, if the best argument you can come up with is "what could it hurt", then, I think no. No bolts.

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I think bolts could be used around there. Yeah, there's that boulder on the sloping sandy ledge. Probably bomber, but then a bunch of dead Mounties probably thought the same thing near Sharkfin Tower. There's a sapling about 10 feet beyond the boulder that's dying too. Often there's a cluster there as parties pass each other, and having bolts could make things more manageable.

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I think bolts could be used around there. Yeah, there's that boulder on the sloping sandy ledge. Probably bomber, but then a bunch of dead Mounties probably thought the same thing near Sharkfin Tower. There's a sapling about 10 feet beyond the boulder that's dying too. Often there's a cluster there as parties pass each other, and having bolts could make things more manageable.

 

That the boulder might not be a safe anchor IS a reasonable argument...

 

edited: I should say MIGHT BE, not IS

Edited by counterfeitfake

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Next time pack the wing suit:

 

wing_suit.jpg

 

At least that is self reliant.

 

I would agree with a rescue team putting in bolts if they are repeatedly on mission in a given area. I disagree with climbers putting in bolts just in case they need them. Bolts are not the answer :noway:

Take your climbing seriously, your life depends on it.

Edited by Mikester

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On the other hand...

"....I have an old reference that says an "average" granite has a density of about 166.5 lb. per cubic foot, or about 2.6 times what the same volume of water would weigh."

As I remember, that block at the top of R&D is about 4x4x3 which makes it 48 cubic ft or 7992 lbs.

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