Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wrong so many different ways

They left their wires, complete with Wild Country booklet.

An 8MM rope run around a tree. This is a climbing rig for kids.

Anchor around 90 degrees, includes cam
The blue ropes in the background are one Sterling climbing rope.

Gen 1 Friend, barely getting a grip.

#2 Friend

Leave the booklet littering the ground so someone else can figure out how to put your harness on.


  1. I just saw that second photo down (the '8mm rope') posted on 'Unbelayvable', and looked it up here to try to find more info. This 'rope' actually looks very much like the 7mm cord I use for my cordelette, and I'm betting that's what it is. Here's the comment I left there:

    I think you are greatly downplaying the severity of this situation:

    First, top-roping directly around the tree is not only recklessly destructive to the tree, but very harmful to the rope. The abrasion against a rope while being loaded can be severe, especially with such a thin rope. And it's not just rubbing against the tree, but the rock in several places.

    Second, I think I recognise this 'rope'- It looks just like the 7mm cord I use for a cordelette (www.rei.com/product/767613)- This is not a dynamic rope, it's a mostly static cord nowhere near strong enough to be safely used for climbing, even with a proper setup with a master point. It's sold in precut 30' lengths, which is probably why two of them are tied together with a double fisherman's knot. In fact, there are probably several more sections tied together out of the frame of this photo. Which brings me to my next point..

    The knot has several big problems. First, it weakens the cord which is already not strong enough to be appropriate for use as a rope. Second, the knot is moving with every climb, rubbing against the rocks, ground, tree.. who knows how that could affect the knot while it's being loaded. Especially since the knot is out of sight, and doesn't even have stopper knots (normally stoppers aren't necessary with a double-fisherman's, but in this situation, would make this insanely reckless behavior slightly less insane..).

    And finally, for icing on the cake, the cord is twisted around itself several times. This friction reduces the ability to belay effectively, and puts additional wear on the 'rope', although the weak point is still at either the knots, belay device, or one of the sharp points where it is abrading itself.

    It seems what happened is that some jackass saw the price of a real climbing rope, then saw the cordelette for only $14.75, and figured he could tie a couple of those together, save a bunch of money, and it would be just as good. He probably read the 10.2kn rating, without any understanding of dynamic forces, and the weakening effects of sharp angles, knots, belay devices, etc, and figured it was plenty strong enough. Sadly this individual did not win a Darwin award himself before he was able to successfully breed, and now he is endangering his children and killing trees.. I wish people like this could be banned from climbing areas, until they can prove that they've received thorough training and even more thorough slapping..

  2. Out of curiosity, how often do you confront the people who do extremely reckless things? I know that given the sheer volume of absurdity you clearly see, and the amount of negative and hostile reactions you must get, it would be pretty hard to confront and educate people every time. And many of the things you post are merely dumb anchors, but not necessarily very dangerous.

    But for the anchors that are egregiously reckless, especially when children are involved, and the ones that are destructive to trees, I know I would feel compelled to confront the people, if nothing else for my own good conscious, regardless of how hostile I think the reaction would be.. I'm just curious how you handle it.

  3. Could all be true about the rope. It was in use, and there was a big crowd of adults and kids, probable no older than 12. Questioning authority there isn't likely to turn out well. I didn't see a way to take an adult aside and talk about it. Frankly, I'm working on interacting with people more, a lot of reactions aren't great. Some of that is Washington, where everybody knows best, and nobody listens anymore. Some comes out of the gyms where safety isn't a concern beyond belaying "correctly". The local club runs weekly open climbs. It is almost impossible to keep people from stepping on the rope. When you call them on it, they look at you like you'e crazy, and the next climber promptly does it again. We've got a complete breakdown in communication, new climbers aren't really learning.

    1. That's really fucked up.. I'd be curious what you learn from confronting people more. My guess is that it's most effective to suppress your natural reaction of screaming "What the fuck are you doing you lunatic, you're going to get someone killed!" And gently but firmly point out that what they're doing is very dangerous.. Even if their ego prevents them from responding well, it plants a seed of doubt, and I think there's a good chance they'll look into it more later on, and perhaps reconsider.

      Thanks for the response.