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brutusofwyde


Apr 6, 2006, 2:54 PM
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Cordelette Horror Stories
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Already referenced in the Cordelette thread:
Tahquitz

My own, from a trip report on Banzai! on Calaveras Dome:

Pitch 6

Em arrived, thrashed, sweating and breathless. Quick walk
up the ramp to our new belay station, and I headed out across
a scary, crimping, poorly protected traverse to a crack our
topo called A2.


Sawblade flakes pluck at the rope. The sun blasts down. No
time for screwing with aid placements and the constant gardening
they would require. I take a deep breath, will the shaking in
my bones to subside, and determine to free climb the pitch.


Sweat trickles down arms shaking from fear as I climb the
serrated dikes and free-crimp-lakeyshegged past the A2 grungy
placements, pawing the edge of the crack, point-toeing up the
serrations in a teetering, balancy gibbet- dance until I pull
into a belay slab with flared grungy placements and set up an
elaborate redundant, equalized, and backed-up anchor system
utilizing three cordelettes and 8 pieces of protection.


I hoist the haul bag off Ems anchors, then, stressed for
time with too many tasks, feeling like a one legged-man in
an *ss-kicking contest, belayed Em across the sawtooth-flake
traverse below.


Kerr-PiPing!!


I look across at the hauling anchors, to find that a piton and
a cam have ripped out of the crack, leaving a stopper in a flared
horizontal placement, a sawed-off piton, and a back-up to the
other cordelettes holding the bag.


Em, having completed the traverse, starts jugging the
fixed line and cleaning the remainder of the pitch, as
I quietly set an additional cam, pee my pants, get out
the bolt kit, and start to drill.

*******************************************************

The setup: the piton was tied-off, in a shallow crack in line with the direction of pull. The Cam, a .5 camalot, was in a poor, flared, shallow placement. The pieces were connected directly to the Cordelette, both pieces simply popped out of the cracks.

I obviously didn't trust several of the placements in this belay, which is why I set up sach an extensively redundant system. I didn't drill immediately because I was on an established (albeit rarely ascended) route. I did drill after two of my eight placements failed, tossing ethics to the wind this time in favor of safety.

Brutus


tradmanclimbs


Apr 6, 2006, 4:36 PM
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Does not sound like the cordelete was at fault. just crap gear.


brutusofwyde


Apr 6, 2006, 5:08 PM
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Crap gear was definitely an issue. But had it been equalized would it have held? was the failure in part due to sequential loading?

OTOH, the three cordelettes enabled me to have each power point connected to each of the most solid-looking pieces, which were somewhat equalized using sliding Xs backed up with fixed-length slings.

They were definitely the best option available at the time without drilling.

Any other Horror Stories out there?


patto


Apr 6, 2006, 5:39 PM
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This is a case of the cordalette not equalising properly if there was good equalisation along 8 pieces then It likely wouldn't have popped.
However don't blame the cordaletter when it was clearly your gear at fault. Why was your gear so crap in the first place? We are not talking high loads here.

Cams generally opperate on the priciple that if it is good for a 10kg pull then it is good for a 1000kg pull as long as the rock is good. Did you even test that cam with a tug???? I can't see how the cam was decent at all. The piton was clearly useless too.

Even with perfect equalisation, the forces on the pieces in a large fall will probably approach those that the pieces saw in that case.

The problem here was the gear.


brutusofwyde


Apr 6, 2006, 6:00 PM
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Did you even test that cam with a tug???? I can't see how the cam was decent at all. The piton was clearly useless too.

The piton was not clearly useless. It was the best placement available in that location. I never pretended it was bomber. The placements quality was why I used such extensive redundancy.

Did I even test the cam with a tug??

What am I, a moron??

Of course I tested each and every of the 8 placements with a big jerk.

Perfect equalization between 8 pieces???

What are YOU, a moron??

Why was my gear so cr#p in the first place?

To find out, go climb the route. Banzai on Calaveras Dome, in California. I can guarantee you woun't have to stand in line. Should be a piece of cake for someone like you.

Scr#w it.

Should have known better than to post any of this. Thought someone might learn from it, rather than instead trying to teach me how to climb. Silly me.

Remind me never to climb with you.


patto


Apr 6, 2006, 6:28 PM
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In reply to:
Did you even test that cam with a tug???? I can't see how the cam was decent at all. The piton was clearly useless too.

The piton was not clearly useless. It was the best placement available in that location. I never pretended it was bomber. The placements quality was why I used such extensive redundancy.

Did I even test the cam with a tug??

What am I, a moron??

Of course I tested each and every of the 8 placements with a big jerk.

Perfect equalization between 8 pieces???

What are YOU, a moron??

Scr#w it.

Should have known better than to post any of this. Thought someone might learn from it, rather than instead trying to teach me how to climb. Silly me.

Remind me never to climb with you.

Sorry, I thought I was stating the obvious. The fact that you were up there with a drill indicates that you are a far better and more experienced climber than me. I wouldn't want to try to teach you how to climb.

However gear did pull at very low loads so, moron or not, it does indicate there was a problem with gear.



(But I'm happy to tuck my head back into my shell in this thread, lets see what others think.)


scotchie


Apr 6, 2006, 6:46 PM
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Hey Brutus. Don't let one dumb post discourage you. I think it's an interesting topic.

I don't think there is any anchor setup that I would trust to string together a bunch of crap placements. Sure it's hypothetically, statistically possible. But the margin for error is just too small for comfort, and there are too many things that can go wrong in the real world. I realize that sometimes you have to do the best you can with what's available. But I still wouldn't put much faith in weak anchor points.

I didn't see anywhere in your post that the cordelette was unequalized at the time the pieces popped (although you did mention part of the pitch was a traverse). I've never seen it happen, but it should be possible, even in a perfectly equalized anchor, for a weak piece to pop out while the stronger pieces still hold.

Take the following example: 4 pieces are tied together with an equalized anchor, with strengths of 1, 3, 4, and 1 respectively.

1 3 4 1 <-- Pieces
\ \ / /
\ \ / / <-- Anchor (Cordellete, sling, whatever)
\\ //
||
|| <-- Rope
||

Say a fall of force 8 is placed on the anchor. The force on each piece is 8/4 = 2 (assume the angle between the slings is close to 0 to make the example simpler). The pieces with strength 1 will pop. The other 2 will remain.

A subsequent fall of force 8 will put a force of 8/2 = 4 on each anchor point, pulling out the strength 3 piece and possibly leading to anchor failure.

Glad to hear that you got back safely. I'm sure the next party will appreciate your bolt!


curtis_g


Apr 6, 2006, 7:48 PM
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Hey Brutus. Don't let one dumb post discourage you. I think it's an interesting topic.

yea...uhm one dumb post? ill defend that.

he was very righteously criticizing the fact that we all clicked on this expecting to read about how his corelette broke or failed or tangled or burned through or melted together or ....

but all we got was some guy telling us how he climbed a route and there was some cr@ppy aid pro. not much to do with a cordelette at all. i mean, you guys even said, if the cordelette was equalized well this probably woudn't have happened. so whatever. the other possibility was that there was just bad gear.

...well you place a cam in a chossy flaring crack and you shouldn't expect it to hold much.


jimdavis


Apr 6, 2006, 8:27 PM
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if the cordelette was equalized well this probably woudn't have happened.

Have you read JL's posts in the sliding x thread yet? You might want to if your gonna use the words "cordelette" and "equalized" in the same sentence...that is, unless it's to say that "it's not possible".

Cheers,
Jim


pyrrhonota


Apr 6, 2006, 8:41 PM
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I am constantly amazed how nitpicky and angry people get on this site.


jakedatc


Apr 6, 2006, 8:54 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
if the cordelette was equalized well this probably woudn't have happened.

Have you read JL's posts in the sliding x thread yet? You might want to if your gonna use the words "cordelette" and "equalized" in the same sentence...that is, unless it's to say that "it's not possible".

Cheers,
Jim

I was about to tell brutus about that.. Patto has read all the threads and still does not believe it. So his comments must be taken with a grain of salt.

my thoughts brutus.. if you had another system like the AE style or equalette style then i don't think it could have been worse. All depends on how the extension would mess you up. I wouldnt have figured that by reading about an 8 point anchor they would realize conditions weren't ideal.. but hey maybe some people like using half their rack making things 200kn


bmapple


Apr 6, 2006, 9:01 PM
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Perhaps that's what he's trying to say...


bhilden


Apr 6, 2006, 9:02 PM
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I would second the analysis that it was bad gear and not the cordellete that was to blame. If you have bad gear you can equalize the heck out of it but, it is still bad gear. How bad was the gear in this situation? Two pieces pulled on a minor static load. Do you really think that those two pieces would have held a dynamic load (like the leader on the next pitch falling!) if they had been equalized?

There is a reason that this kind of stuff is tested in a controlled environment. That is so good, reliable data can be collected. Anecdotal stories don't really provide the data necessary to make an informed decision.

Bruce


jackscoldsweat


Apr 6, 2006, 10:01 PM
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but all we got was some guy telling us how he climbed a route and there was some cr@ppy aid pro.

the above may be the funniest comment in the entire thread.

Brutus...forgive them...they know not what they do....

ROFL

JCS


jimdavis


Apr 6, 2006, 10:03 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
if the cordelette was equalized well this probably woudn't have happened.

Have you read JL's posts in the sliding x thread yet? You might want to if your gonna use the words "cordelette" and "equalized" in the same sentence...that is, unless it's to say that "it's not possible".

Cheers,
Jim

I was about to tell brutus about that.. Patto has read all the threads and still does not believe it. So his comments must be taken with a grain of salt.

It's all good...hopefully more people will "see the light" once John's book goes into publication and the tests get released in detail.

Oh well...
Jim


dwebster


Apr 7, 2006, 8:26 AM
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This is a case of the cordalette not equalising properly if there was good equalisation along 8 pieces then It likely wouldn't have popped.
However don't blame the cordaletter when it was clearly your gear at fault. Why was your gear so crap in the first place? We are not talking high loads here.

Cams generally opperate on the priciple that if it is good for a 10kg pull then it is good for a 1000kg pull as long as the rock is good. Did you even test that cam with a tug???? I can't see how the cam was decent at all. The piton was clearly useless too.

Even with perfect equalisation, the forces on the pieces in a large fall will probably approach those that the pieces saw in that case.

The problem here was the gear.

Dooood, you're missing the whole point and the results of the testing that was done on the cordalette. Cordalettes do NOT equalize EVER. Maybe the cordalette was not the problem in this case but that can not be ruled out as you have done. If a dynamically equalising system had been used brutus would have been no worse off but quite possibly have been better off.

Cams that are good for 10kg are good for 1000kg?!? What comic book did you get that out of? You have no way of knowing with 100% certainty that the rock is good or that your single cam, peg, nut.... won't fail. If your statement is true then we all could be building one piece anchors. If you believe this then please do the rest of us a favor and be sure to wear your splatter proof suit to make clean up easier.

The point you are not getting is equalisation WILL INCREASE the likelihood of an anchor holding whatever load it may receive or in other words WILL DECREASE the peak load each piece will receive. You can't argue against this fact.

Man, you just make too many wild assumptions to be taken seriously.


csproul


Apr 7, 2006, 8:56 AM
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This is a case of the cordalette not equalising properly if there was good equalisation along 8 pieces then It likely wouldn't have popped.
However don't blame the cordaletter when it was clearly your gear at fault. Why was your gear so crap in the first place? We are not talking high loads here.

Cams generally opperate on the priciple that if it is good for a 10kg pull then it is good for a 1000kg pull as long as the rock is good. Did you even test that cam with a tug???? I can't see how the cam was decent at all. The piton was clearly useless too.

Even with perfect equalisation, the forces on the pieces in a large fall will probably approach those that the pieces saw in that case.

The problem here was the gear.

Well, no sh!t the gear was bad. That's why he had so many pieces in. Sometimes in the real world you don't get good gear. The point here is that the cordalette does not equalize well, so with bad gear a better equalizing system will reduce the load seen by the individual pieces.


reg


Apr 7, 2006, 9:07 AM
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Did you even test that cam with a tug???? I can't see how the cam was decent at all. The piton was clearly useless too.


Scr#w it.

Should have known better than to post any of this. Thought someone might learn from it, rather than instead trying to teach me how to climb. Silly me.

no no no - i'm learin - plz continue to post - i find this stuff very interesting! thanks for the detail


dirtineye


Apr 7, 2006, 9:51 AM
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Brutus, you know that if you sort though a few million apples, one or two will have a worm.

I'd ream the d!psh!ts a new one for you, normally, but today I'm feeling odd.

Man I hate the thought of anchors that are fine as long as nobody falls on em. That's good you drilled.

But back to your anchor and cordolettes, one time I had a bad anchor situation, and I put in a sh!tload of pieces too, set a couple of extra personal anchors, and had a good stance. I was on double ropes, and didn't use a cordalette, rather I used multiple loop knots in each rope to get the same effect as having two cordalettes. My situation was not nearly as bad as yours though, and nothing pulled, but it took me a long time to get enough gear in to be happy. My partner weighted over 200 ponds, LOL, at least he didn't fall.

We were also not in a traversing situation like you were in, thank god, cause that would be much harder to set a good anchor for.

I think these situations are the ones where you are glad you draggged a wide rage of gear with you, including a bolt kit.

Maybe that is the most notewrothy thing about all this anchor nonsense-- if you are going to go where nobody or few have gone before, you'd better be prepared for anything.


tradklime


Apr 7, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Crap gear was definitely an issue. But had it been equalized would it have held? was the failure in part due to sequential loading?

For those that seem to be having trouble comprehending, this is the point trying to be made. It is possible that dynamic equalization could have made a difference in this situation.

For all you cordelette lovers, as long as you have perfectly bomber pro you can use whatever you want. While your at it, skip the cordelette and the redundant pieces, because it's all superfluous, right?

I recall a story by someone who no longer posts on this site of a situation where they were jugging (I believe) a rope that was attached to a cordelette anchor between a few pins. The person said they could feel the rope shifting and they ascended, but later determined that he was actually feeling the sequential failure of the pins. The result was anchor failure, a long fall, and some broken bones. That's all hear-say on my part, perhaps someone recalls the story and could find a link to post it.


schveety


Apr 7, 2006, 10:10 AM
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OK, I am not trying to defend the cordelette here as I have read the sliding X posts and am thoroughly convinced that cordelettes aren't necessarily the best instrument for equilization. However, if you're going to post to a Forum called "Cordelette Horror Stories", maybe you should point out that you are "assuming" the cordelette was at fault, but that it could have been just plain shitty placements. Speculating on what the problem was is plain stupid, you'll never know if equalization would have helped the pieces hold or not. Same with the Taqhuitz thread - they still don't know what happened with those guys......


tradmanclimbs


Apr 7, 2006, 10:18 AM
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We don't doubt that the cordelette does a lousy job of equalizeing. personaly just have not seen a solution that does not require a truck load of gear and an engineers degree. Most of the sliding things that have been shown would suffer total failuer if one strand of the master point was cut. I will be stoked if you guys come up with a kiss solution that does not invole specialized equiptment. One of the things that made a cordelette so successfull is that you can use it for slinging chockstones, slinging trees, cut it up and make threads out of it, etc. Still don't feel that really bad pro equalized is worth trusting your life to. just like throwing a screamer on a bogus screw dose not change the fact that the screw hit air and is worthless!!


schveety


Apr 7, 2006, 10:19 AM
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Allowing me to add something, before I get torched. I don't believe speculation is always stupid, without it, we would never learn anything from these stories. But I don't think it's okay to blame it on the cordelette without knowing for sure what the cause was. If pieces failed on bomber placements.....then you might have something...


csproul


Apr 7, 2006, 10:41 AM
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Allowing me to add something, before I get torched. I don't believe speculation is always stupid, without it, we would never learn anything from these stories. But I don't think it's okay to blame it on the cordelette without knowing for sure what the cause was. If pieces failed on bomber placements.....then you might have something...
If the pieces were bomber then a cordalette would have been fine! That's kind of the whole point.


schveety


Apr 7, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Hey csproul, no shit sherlock, if you read all the posts you would have got what I was talking about. I meant that failing pieces were because of a) shitty placements (given they were the only placements available), b) unequal forces due to the cordelette, c) a combination effect, or d) none of the above. NOW, if he had bomber placements with a cordelette and some of the placements popped - we might be able to assume that the pieces faililng were most likely due to the cordelette..........duhhhhhh

edited to add: you obviously have not read the sliding X post in the trad forum which points out that the cordelette is not necessarily the best even for bomber placements because it doesn't necessarily equalize forces. Even bomber gear on factor 2 fall can rip if they're not backed up and equalized with other pieces.....

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