JellyFish retrievable abseiling anchor

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Full name: Tim Vollmer
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JellyFish retrievable abseiling anchor

Post by T2 » 16 Jul 2019, 14:22

Personally, I'm a huge fan of the "ghosting" approach to canyoning that comes out of the US. The concept of aiming to leave nothing behind and not modify canyons in any way has encouraged a whole range of new tools and techniques. While much of the world, Australia included, seems to want to "dumb down" their canyons, in Utah the focus is on upskilling, working together, and developing new gear to make things simpler and safer. As a result, some of the most technically challenging canyons around are done without any modification to the natural environment.

I've just seen this new tool on the Canyon Collective website. It's been developed by the same guy who makes the Smooth Operator (fiddlestick-style retrievable anchor) and Sqwurel descender. It's a very niche tool, aimed at solving a very specific problem. Essentially, it's about creating a fully retrievable anchor where there is a narrow crack (here we'd usually jam in a log or rock, and then leave a sling).

I haven't seen it in action, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone who was extremely experienced, but as someone who likes thinking about quirky solutions to canyon problems I find it quite interesting. (On a side note, if you are really keen to try it out, I do have access to an industrial sewing machine.)
I have had this idea for well over 6 years now and have been using it occasionally in canyon. The JellyFish is a releasable / retrievable choke stone anchor. (yup I wrote choke stone and not chalk stone - potato potato). The idea for the JellyFish was to solve that problem where you have a great place for a choke stone anchor but can not find any rocks. The JellyFish allows you to make your own rock from rope and use it like a choke stone then get the whole system down when you are done.

We have used this mostly on explorations where we want some extra options in our toolbox. Most trade routes do not have a need for this type of anchor although there are spots in trade routes that can benefit from it. One example is the next to last drop in Montezuma Canyon on Ticaboo Mesa. Traditionally a Sandtrap is used at that drop but often is difficult to retrieve as it gets stuck in a constriction. Its always a bit of stress wondering if the trap will pull through well. The JellyFish shines in this location as it is easy to set up, holds well and pulls like butter.

I added a page to to show off the JellyFish and show the basic use of it. There is also a page showing you how I make them. I assume others may have better ways to use and or make the JellyFish. If you do I would love to hear about it.

Since the JellyFish is not a tool that is needed in most trade routes and only occasionally comes in handy when exploring or trying to ghost, there is limited demand for it. I had in the past entertained the idea of producing and selling these on BG Gear. However, the limited instances of need for the JellyFish and the need for what some would call "expert judgement" have me second guessing sales as it would not be worth the liability. But! The idea is pretty novel and I feel it worth sharing as there are those who may benefit from such a tool. I have been meaning to get this done and shared with the community for a few years now and finally did it.

If you want more info about the JellyFish, head over to and check out the JellyFish page. Or if you want to make one check out the how to make a JellyFish page.

The image attached to this post is how the JellyFish is set up. JellyFish is wedged in a crack (represented by the plywood fixture I made) with a ball of rope wound into a ball around a PVC pipe. The orange rope is the rappel rope attached to the tentacles of the JellyFish. Once everyone is down, the light colored rope is pulled on which pulls the pipe through the JellyFish then begins to unravel the ball from the inside out. After all the rope is pulled out of the JellyFish it pulls the fabric from the crack and it all comes down.

Here is a youtube vid on how to set up and use the JellyFish.

Just felt like sharing and getting this project off my plate.
Enjoy the Jelly!
JellyFishBasicHow08.jpg (95.58 KiB) Viewed 36671 times

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