Worst rap anchors you've ever used


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Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Between the Depths of Despair & Heights of Folly
Aug 13, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
Agree, Riska's anchor must have been one of the worst.
For me, after decades of dreading raps and their anchors, I now find myself transitioning to an understanding that there's more than one way to skin that kat.

Meat anchor, as long as he can do the down climb, we're golden.

Typical Death Valley NP Canyon anchor. If ya got building materials, why knot use 'um? (DV Cerberus Canyon)

What's with this? Slotting a pebble yet using a rap link? Yes, we used it.... (DV Helios Canyon)

Sleeping Beauty anchor (this seems like it turning into a trip report, but it's happened over so many years!?)(DV Bad Canyon)

I say Bomber! She says, Really? (DV Bad Canyon)

And we'll end for now with my favorite (KNOT!) rap anchor. We're deep into Shinumo Canyon, below Navajo Nation lands on our way to the Colorado River in the latter stages of a canyonering/packraft trip in Grand Canyon NP. We've gone down way to many raps to think about escaping to the side (although I'm sure its possible with much effort). And I'm faced with this.

Think that's enough for now......


Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
Aug 13, 2013 - 09:43pm PT

Trad climber
Aug 13, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
I think your nine lives are just about up.

Trad climber
Benicia, CA
Aug 14, 2013 - 01:02am PT
Was back in 1988 and I was climbing at the Weeping Wall at Suicide in Idyllwild. We heard something like rockfall in the gully to the right of the wall. We went over and this guy had fallen and snapped his leg off above the ankle, bone jutting out of the skin. Clark Jacobs came over and helped to stablilize him and then they sent a copter up from El Toro Marine Base in Santa Ana. By that time the S & R showed up and we put him in a litter and they hoisted him up and carried him off to Loma Linda Hopital. We determined he had been rapping off an old aid piece, a RURP I think and his partner was anchored in also, but his fall was not so bad, just banged up. I went to see him at the hospital the next day and was pissed because I wanted some coffee as I had to drive to LAX, but they didn't sell it at LL as it's an Adventist hospital. His dad sold all his gear at a swap meet in Santa Monica the following weekend.

Personally, I once rapped off the knot in an 1-inch tubular webbing runner (mine) slotted in the crack on a climb called "On the Road", because it was too hard and I was to cheap to leave a stopper.
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Aug 14, 2013 - 01:07am PT
Great photos Anxious,

People should practice rapping as smoothly and with as little force on the rope as possible.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 14, 2013 - 01:18am PT
Anxious, that last anchor was bomber! The plant was still alive!

I remember BITD... there I was during the autumn in the last century I had to tie off to a dead leaf......



Aug 14, 2013 - 01:37am PT
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 14, 2013 - 01:55am PT

I'm amazed that all you Darwinians are still climbing!

Aug 14, 2013 - 02:04am PT
Life gifts the unenlightened!
Vic Klotz

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Aug 19, 2013 - 12:06am PT
Sacherer Cracker, a sling around a chockstone. The sling slipped out as the chockstone turned while weighting it. I probably had that look that people get just before they die, and don't understand why?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:36am PT
I was attempting to put up a new route with Galen Rowell and Peter Croft west of Mt Russell. I led 100 feet and the rock was horrid so we called it. No real great cracks to build a bail anchor (or maybe i was just being young and cheap) so i just slung a low-profile horn. I rapped to the ground, flicked the rope, and the "anchor" sling came off the horn and fell back to earth with the rope.

Leave no trace!

Trad climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:32am PT
My partner and I were descending off the Dolent in the Italian Alps when the snow slope ended at a very large Bergschrund. We cut a snow bollard in the slope. The snow was hard but the warm temps were a big concern. Being my first bollard we just looked at it for a few minutes while discussing if it was big enough and deep enough to hold each one of us for the 40 foot overhanging rappel. If the bollard failed there was a icy tomb waiting below in the schrund. It worked. My first and only rappel from a snow bollard....thank god.

A friend envited me to do a canyon in Death Valley. When he showed me the rock pile rap anchor photos I had serious reservations. Looks like Russian Roulette to me. I'll stick to hiking in Death Valley if the rap anchors are just rock piles.
Anonym Astmatiker

Ice climber
Trondheim, Norway
Sep 13, 2013 - 01:20pm PT

On this north face
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Nov 9, 2013 - 05:28pm PT

The fact that they were 25 years old made their brand and diameter irrelevant! It was still scary.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 9, 2013 - 05:49pm PT
An anchor is, by definition, perfect if it doesn't fail.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 9, 2013 - 05:55pm PT
^^^ That's what I tried to tell my mom when I handed her my report cards.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 9, 2013 - 05:59pm PT

Trad climber
Kingman, Arizona
Nov 9, 2013 - 06:13pm PT
Don Gonthier, Clif Edwards and I wrapped a single piece of 9/16" supertape around a clump of elderberry stalks to get off the top of the alpenjager on Crown Point.

I guess I was around for the height of bolting hysteria at Smith, and saw many incarnations of fixed anchors that were "supposed to be" safe to rap from, but people would TR right through the oversize bolts or chain anchors. Some of those things were down to an 1/8" of original material.

At a place called Devil's Punchbowl in California, we clipped and rapped from quite a few buttonheads and 1/4" bolts, with the old leeper hangers, but honestly, they seemed pretty good. Didn't matter, that's all that was there.

A few little slot canyons I've poked around in here in AZ have really nice stainless hardware, but the bolts are placed 3" apart. What's up with that?
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Nov 9, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
nice stainless hardware, but the bolts are placed 3" apart. What's up with that?

I rapped off 2 nice stainless bolts that were very close together on the very edge of a bolder coming down from Shagadelic a few years ago. It seemed like it would be easy for a crack to form in such a place. I wanted to sling the boulder but it was too big. I hate sh#t like that.

Anchors can be bad but I think I almost rapped off the end of our rope coming down from Sickle Ledge in the 60s. I was just enjoying the beauty of everything and not really paying attention to what I should have and then noticed the anchors I had passed about 10 feet above me!

Scariest rap anchor was one I had to put in during a night retreat off the Rostrom in 68. It was the last rap before the halfway ledge and I could find nothing except this weird 4" bong placement in an awkward corner pounded straight up. Worst part was having to go back up the rope in the morning to get the rope down. I was dead tired when I put it in during the night, and now I was just going to be dead!

Social climber
Colorado Plateau
Nov 20, 2013 - 12:09am PT
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