Climber Built Anchors on a Wall

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Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 7, 2012 - 08:42pm PT
This spot, the top of the first pitch of Native Son (photo by Tom Evans) is a totally climber built anchor, a rarity on walls these days.

It was all cams in absolutely bombproof rock! I had probably nine cams tied up in three sets of three. Cheyne jugged off the bottom three, I hauled off the middle three and the top three backed up the whole affair. None of the cams were too small, mostly medium and a few big ones. It was a bit of an awkward belay, being all hanging close to the corner but it was sure fun to have built it and used it (not to mention it's airy position).

Credit: Tom Evans
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 08:47pm PT
Here a mostly climber built anchor on Lost In America. There were three good 3/8" bolts to the right but they were a bit close together. We were bivying here and I like to have the bags hanging just past the end of the ledge. I placed these cams and moved them up and down till they equalized the load onto each other.

Credit: Mark Hudon
MisterE

Social climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 08:48pm PT
Very classy, Mr. Hudon, very classy.

Edit: How do you like the Dragons?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 08:53pm PT
The Totem cams? Dang! When you really needed something to stick, they were the go-to cam!
Bowser

Social climber
Durango CO
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:10pm PT
Not too fond of the biner to biner.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 09:14pm PT
Biner to biner? What is going to happen?
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:17pm PT
Not too fond of the biner to biner.

Do tell. I've been wanting to hear the argument against it. Most people when pressed will say, "It's just... you know... bad"
ncrockclimber

climber
The Desert Oven
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:20pm PT
In this case, the argument could be that there is a 3 point load on one of the carabiners. That being said, I would have NO ISSUE with that anchor.
froodish

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:27pm PT
I wouldn't have any problem trusting that anchor either, but aside from a possible three way load mentioned up thread, if shifting/twisting is a factor, they can pretty easily unclip. That said, I clipped many a bolt with a biner-on-biner arrangement before QDs became popular an never had them unclip.
Googlymoogly

climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:31pm PT
In this case, the argument could be that there is a 3 point load on one of the carabiners.
Since the direction of pull is really only 2 directions I wouldn't say it counts as tri-loaded. So as you said, not a big deal.

I always thought part of the idea was that metal to metal could get cross-loaded easier however this does seem to be one of those rules every climber has heard and that classes tend to teach but it never is really supported with a reason.
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:37pm PT
That quickdraw chain linking all three pieces could be cleaned up with a sling equalizing them instead.

Just sayin'.
MisterE

Social climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:39pm PT
This guy is killing the walls in great style, and you want to pick apart his anchor?

Get real, people.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 09:43pm PT
That quickdraw chain linking all three pieces could be cleaned up with a sling.

Yes, but would it be increase your safety by a significant factor or would your improvement basically be a non issue?

Is there anyone who would refuse to sleep hanging from this anchor deeming it "unsafe"?
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:47pm PT
Not with the three 3/8" bolts nearby!
Ljohnson

Social climber
The land of ice, snow and rocks
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:49pm PT
A wall anchor built from 3 cams and 2 QD's, for hauling only, backed up to two bolts by the rope clove hitched to biners.
Simple
Efficient
Bomber
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
Hell, if I had three or four more cams as good as those further up the crack and no bolts, I'd be happy as a clam and sleep like a baby!
ncrockclimber

climber
The Desert Oven
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
I would sleep on that all night long!
WBraun

climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:52pm PT
Way homo!

Ya should have yarded out the 3 bolts and belayed on the cams only .....

:-)
hairyapeman

Trad climber
Fres-yes
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:52pm PT
I've hung from less! I'd trust it....but secretly clip into one of those bolts with my daisy while I sleep!
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:53pm PT
This guy is killing the walls in great style, and you want to pick apart his anchor?

He's the one flaunting his anchor and asking for input . . . whatever Mr. Eeeee.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:56pm PT
I've had a single 1/4 inch bolt backed up with a few heads. It was kind of spooky.

This whole convenience anchor mindset that throws three fatties at every belay is kind of dumb, IMO. It changes the route big time.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 09:57pm PT
Yes, flaunting to get a discussion going!

At least it's climbing, eh?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
My first hanging bivy ever was completely from pitons we had placed.
WBraun

climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
Climber built anchors on a wall is a sub world like talking about hysteresis in analog comparators years ago.

I built one once with 11 pins equalized around an expanding flake and hauled off of it.

The second ascent got there and went into a WTF happened here.

They blasted in 2 bolts immediately, LOL ..... I don't blame em .....
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
To flaunt is human it has been said . . . nobody said this was a negative quality.

Thank you for all of your contributions to climbing and the sharing of your experiences.
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:14pm PT
You ARE most Definitely going to die..... eventually.

But dont let that slow you down, you;re on an old man roll!

KEEP IT UP!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
Kalimon, I was taking it lightly! I understood what you were saying.
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:17pm PT
Hud Peace Now!
MisterE

Social climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:18pm PT
I'm sorry too.

Just pointing out that this isn't RC.com - my bad...
Enthusiast

Sport climber
Port Townsend WA
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:29pm PT
Bomber pro, hope you had fun hauling
crunch

Social climber
CO
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:31pm PT
Jeez, climbers these days. Wusses.

South Face of Watkins, Sheraton ledge, after sunset, circa 1983. Led last pitch to the big ledge. A big party of sleepy japs were draped all over the ledge like seals flopped on a beach. Could find no worthy cracks. I placed a slider nut in a parallel, expanding crack for hauling (yes it opened a bit when the crack widened a tad as I began pulling) while my partner jumared on a Chouinard skyhook. Nothing else. To be fair, the edge the hook was was so perfectly formed that it could have been the model for Yvon's design.

Funny, that might have been the last route we did together.....
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Nov 7, 2012 - 10:50pm PT
hey Mark I quickly went through one of your vids lately and you said something about the DMM Revolver... can you remind me quickly where you find that piece useful? it seems awfully niche

and yeah, yer gonna die for sure with biner-on-biner action
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 7, 2012 - 11:07pm PT
Anywhere you want to reduce the drag. I use it when I'm feeding my ropes into my rope bags and when I need a redirect for lifting the bags or anything else heavy.

On Iron Hawk, I needed to move my fully set up ledge, I think I wanted to move it to a higher bolt. I created a quick 2:1 with some cord, redirected the cord down through the Revolver to a sling I could stand in, applied some weight and lifted the ledge up to it's new position effortlessly.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Nov 7, 2012 - 11:15pm PT
I generally use a #3 camalot and call it good.




Skot433

Big Wall climber
Corona CA.
Nov 7, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
I'd sleep very comfortably on any anchor Mark built
mountainlion

Trad climber
California
Nov 8, 2012 - 12:16am PT
TFPU Mark!! Really cool seeing it done especially on such a nice looking line! I'm actually able to learn from stuff like this and improve. Keep it coming please.
Bowser

Social climber
Durango CO
Nov 8, 2012 - 12:18am PT
I just said I was not fond of it.

His anchor is bomber. But if you post it, you are asking for comments.

I was taught 20 years ago buy a long time hardman that it was not good to link biner to biner. I guess it is something that has stuck with me.

I think his reasoning it that if the biners somehow twisted against each other there could be an issue. Plus it takes another link out of the system.

TB
micronut

Trad climber
Nov 8, 2012 - 01:26am PT
Sexy set-up Mark. Very clean. Did you end up placing anything for an upward pull when the leader took off? What's your thought on that? Do you always try to rig an upward piece. Sometimes on long trad routes I get lazy and dont, especially if I'm standing kinda flat footed on a little ledge or something. Bad form probably. Whats your protocol on walls?
nick d

Trad climber
nm
Nov 8, 2012 - 01:43am PT
So Bowser, if I understand you correctly; the system is better with MORE links?


Not sure I can buy that, good buddy. The fewer the better in my book.
Fewer links, fewer to fail.
bigwall shitter

Social climber
the wild west
Nov 8, 2012 - 02:21am PT
Credit: bigwall shitter

I wonder if this one was good for a upward pull?
Silver

Ice climber
Nov 8, 2012 - 09:10am PT
Whe I did the Muir it was mostly build your own. In fact it all used to be build your own. I see it has evolved from build your own to here's three bolts enjoy.

Hudon like I have said your not only one really good climber your smart and that is the full package.

I hope to rack up with you one day. Did I mention I hurt haul,bags when I haul them. 225 baby no bag is to big for this large capacity hauling machine.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Nov 8, 2012 - 09:21am PT
I'd get a good night's sleep off that sweet set-up (assuming I didn't have to change my shorts because of the yawning void below me...).

There's a difference between a biner-to-biner set-up like Mark's (which is in a completely static arrangement), and clipping a draw to the biner of a piece while leading.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 8, 2012 - 10:08am PT
Thanks and yes, posting this to generate discussion and learning (on all sides, I want to learn too!)
Scott, no this was just for the ledge, Max belayed over on the bolts in the morning.
Roger Brown

climber
Oceano, California
Nov 8, 2012 - 10:56am PT
Flanders and I climbed the West Face Rt. on El Cap. a couple weeks ago. After the second pitch, most of the anchors were climber built when Doug ran out of rope. 70 m ropes were used. We climbed it wall style. 2 days fixing, 4 days on the route.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 8, 2012 - 11:09am PT
In the spirit of commentary, here's something I think a person could learn from Mark: Given a crack with continuously good placements, move the gear to effectively distribute the load, rather than placing the gear and then trying to accommodate the placements with improvised rigging.

As for biner-on-biner, it is, as with any "safety mantra," it is a good idea for it not to be a mantra but rather based on actual issues that need to be avoided. The old (very old at this point) prohibition about biner-on-biner came from the days long before quickdraws when climbers sometimes used two and even three biners on a piece (piton in those days) to alleviate rope drag. In those cases, it was found, unfortunately from hard experience, that during a leader fall the biners could twist enough for one to open the gate of another and so completely detach. It isn't at all easy for this to happen; you need the impacts of a diagonal fall and appropriate rope motions. This is how Mark Powell severely broke his ankle, an injury that changed the course of his climbing career and created lifelong health problems for him.

None of the dynamics of a leader fall are present in an anchor that is simply being loaded---even if a piece pulls---as long as the rigging does not involve discredited sliding X's or analogous "equalizers." In such cases, the dynamics that might produce biner unclipping are not an issue and there is nothing the matter with clipping biners to biners, as long as the process does not impose an outward load on any of the gates.

The only thing about Mark's anchor I would have adjusted is that two (I think) of the gates appear to be against the rock; if that is accurate I think I would have flipped those biners.
Prod

Trad climber
Nov 8, 2012 - 11:19am PT
Is there anyone who would refuse to sleep hanging from this anchor deeming it "unsafe"?

Yep, my wife. I find it best not to argue with her....

Prod.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 8, 2012 - 11:31am PT
NINE cams?! What were you thinking of, man? Three should have been enough. He he.

More seriously, the only concern one could possibly have about such a belay would be in a violent storm, where the the anchors are repeatedly loaded and bounced around. Cams have some tendency to move in that situation. Also in earthquakes.
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
Dec 11, 2012 - 11:47pm PT
Credit: thekidcormier
-Bomber anchor for a 3 man bivy

Bivy anchor
Bivy anchor
Credit: thekidcormier
-crap I got my lead line stuck behind the porta ledge!

Equal Eyes, Equal Lies, Equalize!
Equal Eyes, Equal Lies, Equalize!
Credit: thekidcormier
Testing out upward pull on my lead anchor before dismantling my cleaning anchor during my rope solo OnSight of the South ArÍte

philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Dec 12, 2012 - 12:02am PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#181703

Bolt anchors? We don''t need no steenkin' bolt anchors!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 12, 2012 - 12:07am PT
I didn't realize "building" your own anchor was so rare and such a big deal.

The few times I climbed EC, the rarely seen thing was a bolt at a belay.


No harnesses, no cams, no portaledge, no cell phone, no El Cap Pics, no crowd in the meadow, no other climbers on the wall, no Yosar, no helmets, no headlamps, no sunglasses, no flags, no beer ....


No wonder I didn't do more walls.

wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Dec 12, 2012 - 01:27am PT
Hmmmm. Climber built anchors? Never heard of 'em.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2012 - 10:44am PT
That's the way it is these days, Kevin, "convinience" anchors are standard. Aside from that, people aren't confident enough in themselves and their gear to trust themselves building their own anchors. I'll bet if all truely unnecessary 3 3/8" bolt anchors were gone, big wall ascents would drop by 50% or more.
I was telling a buddy of my first hanging bivy, in hammocks, hanging from pitons we had placed and he was simply aghast!
That skill set has mostly vanished, the walls are a different place than they were in our time!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 12, 2012 - 11:02am PT
I forgot to add - no beta


Wall climbing seems to have changed more than just about every other facet of climbing, in its methods anyway. Stands to reason that an activity so involved with equipment would do that.

I don't mean to dis "convenience anchors". About the only routes I think shouldn't have them are routes done first with very few bolts or no bolts whatsoever. A route like that makes a strong historical statement, IMO, but routes that have bolts on them already, especially lots of bolts, I can't see the problem with more to make belays and retreats safer and easier.

Wall climbing is such a gear and bag fest that bolts are more than just convenient, it seems. Especially when everybody wants to lay around for most of the climb on a candy ass portaledge with a teddy bear and a beer : )

Only in the world of climbers would convenience ever be a bad thing
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Dec 12, 2012 - 11:34am PT
I think the most valuable aspect of convenience anchors is the increased safety. I love climbing hard and scary sh#t (why? I couldn't tell you), but I also have a mindset that the belay should be the "safe place." I am all for building anchors when and where it realistically makes sense, but the 2 copper head and #1 LA belay just sounds stupid to me. But, I wouldn't be too put off by poor gear and 1 3/8" El Cap is often overkill, 3-4 (or more) 3/8 at every belay is a bit crazy.


On the flip side though, those fat anchors make speed climbing much safer and more feasible. Although, it could still happen without them, for sure.
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Dec 12, 2012 - 11:37am PT
Ahh, that does remind me.

How about this great anchor!

Far out of earshot, we put the whole haul and myself onto this bad boy...
Far out of earshot, we put the whole haul and myself onto this bad boy.
Credit: hoipolloi

Let's just check this piece out...
Let's just check this piece out...
Credit: hoipolloi
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2012 - 12:57pm PT
Kevin, remember when the whole description in the guide for the upper corner on the Muir was two sentences?
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
Dec 12, 2012 - 01:45pm PT
Look at this mess my friend nick put together... I'm surprised he didn't die!

Good lord!
Good lord!
Credit: thekidcormier

Fish Boy

Social climber
Squeamish
Dec 12, 2012 - 09:47pm PT
Looks good to me.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 12, 2012 - 10:51pm PT
Fortunately the wire on wiregates can handle the load of a silent partner...

The rest does not matter.

Guangzhou

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Dec 12, 2012 - 11:31pm PT
I think it was Mark above who commented on bolted belays and how less climbers would do walls if they were not there.

I have to agree. Some of the guys I climb with bounce all over on two bolt belays but barely weight a gear belay.

Eman
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 12, 2012 - 11:34pm PT
I love my gear and it loves me..

SERIOUSLY???? people fear gear belays?

Guess they never pulled bolts out by hand.
ryankelly

Trad climber
el portal
Dec 13, 2012 - 12:04am PT
Anyone else with photos of hauling on gear belays?
Fish Boy

Social climber
Squeamish
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:53am PT
I hauled on that one last page. And self belayed :D
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
Dec 13, 2012 - 02:09am PT
Belay 7 on Muir
Belay 7 on Muir
Credit: thekidcormier

I hauled gear bag on the left two and 300lb of kit on the PowerPoint on the left, my portaledge in the Center, lead line anchored of to jug on the right, and(out of frame) parters ledge anchor.

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