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General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
New anchors at Araps - What do you reckon? 8-Jan-2017 At 8:56:56 PM simey
There are a couple of recently installed rap anchor / lower-off thingys above the first pitch of Penny Dreadful (11) at Mitre Rock, as well as at the top of the mega-classic Mari (17) on Central Gully Right Side.

My understanding with the Penny Dreadful anchors is that it allows people to do the first pitch and then either lower off, or rap, so they can then repeat the other easier pitches leading to that ledge. Whilst I think this is admirable in some ways, I also feel that it eliminates the requirement to build a natural anchor on what is one of the best introductory multi-pitch routes at Arapiles. My thinking is that if climbers want to repeat the other single pitch routes then they can simply build their own natural anchor and rap off that each time before ultimately topping out on the very pleasant grade 6 finish.

The mega-classic Mari already has abseil anchors only a few metres away, so descending wasn't exactly a chore, although a lower-off certainly makes life more convenient, particularly as building the anchor there did require a bit of thought.

My concern however is that Arapiles is one of the best cliffs to learn how to lead on trad and building natural anchors is part of that process. The difference between having lower-offs on the harder routes and not on the easier routes is that frequently on the harder routes you don't have a partner who is interested in seconding the pitch, so it makes more sense if the leader can lower-off in those situations.

I am keen to hear what other people's thoughts are regarding these particular additions. I personally feel they are over-stepping the hazy line that is Arapiles climbing. I will happily use lower-offs as soon as I see them, but I am very aware that rigging belays on natural anchors is a skill that doesn't want to be completely eliminated from Arapiles climbing, otherwise you could end being pretty useless if you venture further afield. However I have placed plenty of rap anchors and retro-bolts at Arapiles too.

I am simply keen to know what other people think of these particular additions. And do we want lower-offs appearing above all the moderate and easier routes?

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