Outdoor Adventure

A Field Test of Albaklov Anchors for Rappelling

Guest Blogger, Shaun Parent: Shaun has developed rock and ice climbing areas in the North of Superior region since 1980, totaling more than 150 ice climbs. He has authored some 10 climbing guidebooks to the region, including his most well known guidebook, The North of Superior Orient Bay Ice Climber’s Guide. He has been called “The Pioneer of Rock and Ice Climbing in Northern Ontario”. Shaun runs the North of Superior Climbing Company from his office and B&B in Batchawana Bay.

We tested the field strength of Albaklov Anchors on a local icefall in Batchawana Bay. The following are a series of 6 (Six) photos showing our field test of the Albaklov Anchor using a 6mm prussik rope. We simulated, that the climbers were rapping down to this ledge and had too short of a rappel rope to make it to the bottom. They were 20 feet off the deck, and they had to decide if they were going to down climb or forfeit a prussik rope to make an Albaklov. It is always good idea to carry a spare length of prussic rope which can used in this type of situation. In this case they decided to forfeit a prussik rope, construct an Albaklov and rappel down. Most likely it was the correct decision as neither of them had ever down climbed before, even on a top rope. Had one of them attempted to down climb, and fell to the ground, the situation would have become extreme. The climber in the photos was testing the strength and holding power of one of the Albaklovs before making another 2 sets to rappel off.

Two Albaklovs set up so that the rappel rope is run through both loops and equalized. In the photo the climb is attached to the Albaklov with their daisy chain.

Climber constructs a test Albaklov using 2 20 cm ice screws. He clips in to it with a sling and pulls in an attempt to break the icicle. He is on the rappel rope as a safety measure.

Climber begins to cut the icicle in order to test its strength, and to determine what size of icicle will hold his body weight for a rappel.

A view along the axis of the climbers sling. Notice the size of the icicle, which is still holding his body weight. He continues to jump and pull out on the icicle in an attempt to break it.

Notice how small the icicle is. It continues to hold his body weight.

Climber finally is able to break off the icicle. It has a diameter about the size of a Canadian loonie one dollar coin. The icicle started out the diameter of a climbing helmet.

Happy in knowing that a small icicle can hold his body weight, the climber builds 2 Albaklovs.
He runs his rope through both 6mm cords and then rappels to the bottom of the climb to the awaiting climber.
I have completed over 100 rappels using the Albaklov method, and always use 2 independent cords around 2 separate icicles. It is best to try these out yourself on the ground level first!

Justin and Anna learning about Albaklov Anchors on an ice fall in Batchawana Bay.

For more exciting Ontario outdoor adventures, visit www.ontariotravel.net/outdoor

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