Anchor Building Question

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Tobe

Trad climber
Ames, IA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 21, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
So today I was climbing and I started talking to a guy at the gym about multi pitch anchors and now I'm confused. Basically he told me my way of building an anchor is unsafe and "yer gonna die!!!!!!"

I learned to build an anchor in this manner:
-Plug 2-3 pieces of gear or clip existing bolts
-Run a cordelette through the pieces or bolts, and tie them off with a figure 8. (like how you would tie an overhand knot)
-Clip in to the master point directly or with a sling depending on the situation
-Belay second from the master point, or from a secondary belay anchor. (i usually go off master point for simplicity sake)

I have also used three slings to make an anchor as well.

He said my anchor was bad because the master point will not equalize as my body moves, but I cant think of a time where my body moved a significant amount while anchored.

His way was like this:
plug gear or clip bolts
clove hitch the pieces/bolts with the rope
clove hitch locking biner to harness and belay second from the body.

That doesnt make any sense to me, it doesnt seem any more dynamic than a "standard" anchor and i feel like belaying a second from your belay loop would be awkward.

Was this guy an idiot or am i gonna die?

thanks
-ST
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Feb 21, 2013 - 05:40pm PT
You're fine.

Climbing is about managing risk, not eliminating risk. Climbing theorists like to get their panties in a bunch.

No reason to belay off a secondary anchor, waste of resources.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Feb 21, 2013 - 05:46pm PT
Tobe - go to the stoney point thread- around 1340 -1360 watch Pyro's videos,look at the knots he's using setting up a top rope.
mhay

climber
Reno, NV
Feb 21, 2013 - 05:51pm PT
When I first started climbing self-equalizing was the hip thing to do. Then at some point it became pre-equalized, which is what you currently do. Apparently, the hip new thing has gone full circle back to self-equalizing. However, that is not what guy-in-gym is talking about. Cloving a bunch of pieces together does not self-equalize, so tell him to piss-off. But the part about you dieing is correct. So go climbing while you're still here.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 21, 2013 - 05:55pm PT
Remember SRENE

Anchors must be:

Solid
Redundant
Equalized
and have No Extension if one of the redundant components fail

If you don't have ALL of these 100% PERFECT (especially the last two), yer gonna die.

But the most important skill in anchor building is believing you know enough so that you can tell others that they are "unsafe."

WBraun

climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 06:04pm PT
No reason to belay off a secondary anchor, waste of resources.


Not true.

I've done it numerous times according to time and circumstance.

There are times when it's preferred and or necessary.

I'll be at the cookie again tomorrow, show up, and I'll make a million different anchor variations for ya.

Only one million though and no more .....


Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Feb 21, 2013 - 06:10pm PT
You're way is fine Tobe, and not much different than what your critic recommends. Instead of using cordalette your critic does a static equalization with the rope using clove hitches.

Your way uses more gear, but is for all intents and purposes the same. If any part of the anchor rips then there will be some extension and shock loading to the remaining anchor points.

Self-equalizing anchors are just a myth, or an unattainable ideal. There will always be some extension involved.

Just remember... "Place thy protection well lest the ground rise up and smite thee".


the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Feb 21, 2013 - 07:47pm PT
When I was starting out a guy told me NOT to belay off my harness I should always redirect off the anchor lol.

Unless you are dealing with sketchy placements most anchor methods are usually fine. Cordellette, Clove hitch the rope, sliding X, etc. I prefer not tying in with the rope because its a pain when you swing leads and it makes self rescue more difficult.

Belaying the second off your harness might mean less force on the anchor in a fall but to me that's usually outweighed by the ability with a redirect to easily hold a fallen second, easier to belay, and easier to self rescue.

Unfortunalty these know it all types make it harder to speak up or be listened to when people actually doing something wrong.
jstan

climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 07:50pm PT
Finally!

A thread on anchors.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Feb 21, 2013 - 07:52pm PT
I'll be at the cookie again tomorrow, show up, and I'll make a million different anchor variations for ya.

Call in sick, get in your car and be there in the morning. This is a very one time chance.

Edit: good opportunity.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Feb 21, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
So today I was climbing and I started talking to a guy at the gym

Well there's your problem!!!!

You're fine don't listen to this guy.

I think the main thing as others have said is to learn the basics of what makes a "safe" anchor and know how to apply it to any situation you face.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Feb 21, 2013 - 08:30pm PT
Tobe,

Run, don't walk to the Cookie. You got the old man now to show you the ways. You just short cut about 30 years off the learning curve.

Arne

edit-and it sounds like you mostly got it figured out anyway.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 21, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Solid
Redundant
Equalized
and have No Extension if one of the redundant components fail

If you don't have ALL of these 100% PERFECT (especially the last two), yer gonna die.

Are you nuts?? I'll take solid and redundant, thanks. Have you actually climbed anything serious in your life?

Oh, the first two fwiw.
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Feb 21, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Ames, IA?

Man, the trolls run wild here these days.
ruppell

climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 10:00pm PT
Are you nuts?? I'll take solid and redundant, thanks.

Yep. That whole shock load idea has been dis-proven for a while now. Sliding X is simple and bomber.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 10:14pm PT

Freeze it in place.Bomber.
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 21, 2013 - 10:24pm PT
No simple answer to this question.
You have to set up your anchors best suited to the situation are in.

Werner is right. It's good to know many different ways to set up anchors.
10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Feb 21, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
Troll or not, I don't really care.
On multipitch, I would plug in a piece for an upward pull.i.e., when the second gets to the anchor, clip him in to your anchor, and the anchor used placed for the upward. That way he won't get pulled up if you take a leader fall
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Feb 21, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
A single blue camalot is and always will be equalized.
QITNL

climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 10:54pm PT
I grew up in Iowa and read every mountaineering book in our little public library (there were maybe a dozen) so I say we cut the kid a break. That was around the time Nixon got re-elected. I know I don't have a vote.
WBraun

climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
QITNL

You got my vote .....
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 22, 2013 - 05:02am PT
Tobe, both the cordelette and the rope-only methods are fine. After being the standard in the U.S. for a quite a few years, I sense more and more people ditching their cordelettes and just anchoring with the rope. There are advantages and drawbacks to each method, and if you do some searching you can find heated arguments about which is best.

The one thing I'd say for sure is that anyone who tells you "yer gonna die" as a result of choosing one of these methods over the other doesn't know what they are talking about. The mark of experience is being able to use either method, or both combined, when they are appropriate. Most of the time both will work.

Here is a fast and effective method for using just the rope:



I am somewhat surprised, at this late date, to see the concept of equalization still promoted. It has become increasingly clear, both for theoretical reasons and as the result of a growing body of tests, that equalization is not practically achievable in the field. A rough rule of thumb for three-point anchors seems to be that one of the anchor points is likely to get half the load or more.

The appropriate concept is load distribution, not equalization. Of course, you do your best to direct the load equally to your anchor points, but understand that it ain't gonna happen. This makes it more important to have all anchor pieces solid, since one of them is very likely to get a majority of the load. The idea that you can put in a bunch of questionable pieces and "equalize" the whole mess so that it achieves suitable strength is a fantasy, which is not to say that sometimes, hopefully rarely, we are obligated to depend on something like that.

What is most important is to protect the belay from the effects of a leader fall directly onto it. Here again their are various strategies and arguments you can peruse on the web. I don't think there is any disagreement about the fact that a really strong protection point, close to but independent of the belay anchor, is the ideal situation. As with other ideal practices, this isn't always achievable.

It is extremely rare to hear of the failure of a belay anchor, but it does happen. Almost all belay anchors are good enough, but understand that almost none are tested by severe events, and most experienced climbers have never had their anchor-building techniques and strategies subjected to a major impact.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 06:46am PT
Are you nuts?? I'll take solid and redundant, thanks. Have you actually climbed anything serious in your life?

I climbed the purple route in the corner, next the the orange one!!!111


Kris,

There are things out there, on the internet.

People call them "trolls"




jopay

climber
so.il
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:06am PT
This whole anchor building thing rears its head on practically every climbing related site and is debated ad nauseum, and what I find amusing is that starting in 1983 as I did, one could scarcely find any pertinent info concerning anchor building let alone equalization, and now we debate it and argue whats best, whats worse, here's my diagram etc. I purchased Freedom of The Hills volume 4 when I started and there was no anchor building that I recall or equalization. I remember quite well when a climbing mag ran an article describing the magic X, and later I learned to tie a double bowline that could be equalized, I don't know exactly when the cordellette thing gained such widespread use, maybe in the last 10 years or so.But somehow we survived without such knowledge and I did a fair bit of ground up trad, and managed to get up Colorado multi pitch.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:38am PT
The reason there will always be debate about anchors is that many are built, but few are ever tested to spec.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:39am PT
In the end we all fall back on the simple systems that lack equalizing perfection. Least fussy and safest is just tying in with the (dynamic) climbing rope itself. Virtually no one dies from a using a standard overhand-tied cordalette in spite of it's load-distributing imperfections. It's quick and easy so it remains the norm for many folks.

Although there has been vast experimentation with anchor set-ups and there are actually some solutions to the SRENE challenge.. what RGold says is true:
"equalization is not practically achievable in the field."



JTM

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:40am PT
Virtually no one dies [...]

Good enough for me!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:44am PT
Virtually no one dies walking to the curb to get their mail.. but it does happen. People will always figure out ways to kill themselves. Add ropes and knots into the mix.. ticking time bomb. ;)

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:45am PT
Tremendous post rgold, that's a new way of thinking of anchors for me. I've always been an equalizer. I get confused easily by diagrams like the one you posted but I understand the idea that belayer and belay point are on independent pieces. I never did that and always equalized, with this huge cordalette I would carry for that purpose. The reason not to tie a string of clove hitches in the lead rope was that they wouldn't be equalized.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:50am PT
I agree- nice one RGold. It's seems effective.

I'm a fan of just using the rope. There's a bunch of different ways to do it.

Don't need no stinkin' cordalette.

WBraun

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:52am PT
the reason not to tie a string of clove hitches in the lead rope was that they wouldn't be equalized.

On a string of vertically placed pieces they would be equalized.

There's a different technique for every circumstance.

Having only one size fits all is n00b ......
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:58am PT
I've seen rgold's photo a few times before.

I still can't decide if it represents engineering elegance or some Rube Goldberg troll.

"rgold" ... is that a hint?

;-)



Ok...I know it is legit, and it I do not doubt that it is a good system. But at first glance it does look a little bit complicated. I think another photo showing an actual climber at an actual belay using the system would help illustrate this method in practice.

apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:06am PT
"There are things out there, on the internet.

People call them "trolls""


It's funny that troll-threads regularly get called out, but that doesn't stop anyone from posting anyway, as though it was a genuine question.

Why do people do that? It's not as though the OP is going to come back and glean your wisdom...mostly, they're probably just sitting there laughing robustly.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:11am PT
Thanks Werner, I'll have to miss the anchor demo at the cookie and a lot of other things because I'm trapped in Washington DC. Let's say you're anchor is in a vertical crack, three pieces in a row. rgold is saying that equalization doesn't work and one piece will take all the load anyway. If that's true you could hang off the lowest one, and belay off the highest one, and the middle one is the backup.
WBraun

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:12am PT
apogee

At a certain point the troll becomes totally irrelevant in a subject matter like this.

He's not even in the picture anymore if he's a troll.

The thread then just evolves around the interested individuals and takes a life of its own apart of silly posts like you have just made.

Never underestimate the world around you.

If you do! "You're a stupid American" ......
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:13am PT
Just remember:

Equalized and NO extension.

None, never!
locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:14am PT

"Your a stupid American"...


Grammer Police...

"You're"...




Now about that "Stupid American" stuff...

LOL!!!...

;-)






apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:15am PT
Irrelevant...

Excellent word, Werner.
TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:19am PT
So can someone break down the belay swap procedure when using the rope for anchors? I love the idea but haven't used it because I lead and my girlfriend follows and I cant figure out how to get her on the anchor and me off the anchor and ready to climb without it turning into a clusterf#$k...

-Tye
D'Wolf

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:43am PT
Tye -

There is no "breakdown". Just don't do it. As has been previously stated it is good to know multiple methods and techniques, and to use them as appropriate to the situation.

When I do all the leading I do not use the rope to construct my anchor; doing so complicates the leading process and slows things down. It can be done but it is slower in the end and presents the possibility for error. I will use the rope if swinging leads that don't have "rope stretcher" pitches or if leading single pitch routes. If doing all the leading, I use a cordelette to distribute the load. Other times, I use components of both together.

Multiple methods; multiple techniques. No single method is appropriate for all situations...

Cheers,
Thom
DanaB

climber
CT
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:01am PT
Jim Titt from Munich posts here once in a while, but for some reason, much more often on RC.Com. I couldn't find the posts/threads, but he presents some very convincing evidence a) against the sliding X, b) the impossibility of equalizing, and c) the dangers of extension shock loading. He has acccess to testing equipment and the knowledge and experience for using it sensibly, and he also has, I believe, access to the German Alpine Club's extensive data base on testing ropes and anchors. He did some very interesting tests on equalizing loads with the rope, slings, and cordolettes. He found that when using a cordolette with three legs, if there was even a tiny bit of difference in the length of legs - a difference no one could see or feel - then the loads to each leg were grossly disproportionate. So if you are using a three-leg cordolette, you are essentially anchoring from one piece. Which is fine, of course, it really is. All of this anchor discussion makes many people impatient, but it is just a way of learning to use the tools sensibly. I certainly don't spend a lot of time agonizing over the anchors I build. Good pieces and good rock - after that, in most cases what you do doesn't matter too much, e.g., I would never use the sliding X but I wouldn't go nuts if one of my partners did

TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:08am PT
Wolf-

Yea. That is kinda what I was thinking but I thought mayhap there was something I was missing that made it clean and quick, like maybe clove hitching to additional biners or something like that... but yes, cordellete all the way... and maybe the occasional rope anchor at the last pitch...
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:11am PT
Tye, if you are not swapping leads it gets difficult to use only the rope. Someone may pipe in with a method that works that I'm not aware of, but most of the time that scenario is going involve a cordalette or equalized slings for her to clip into. At that point you are probably going to be clipped into it too negating the rope-only method.

Edit to add:

If there is a large enough ledge, the hubby and I sometimes just untie and swap rope-ends when there is only one leader (providing it can be done safely of course). That way the rope is already flaked correctly negating the rope clusterf*#k and a lot of time is saved.

climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:12am PT
rgolds setup is a lot easier to understand if you just do it. Go try it starting at step 1 and work your way through. You will find it very quick and simple to do and pretty obvious when building it.

It is automatically set up for swapping leads. If you don't plan to swap leads a cordallette or other non rope only anchor may be preferable but is still not absolutely necessary.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:20am PT
John Long taught me many years ago (through one of his books) that my anchors should be able to handle an upward pull.

I don't see how that would work in rgold's diagram.

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:21am PT
If there is a large enough ledge, the hubby and I sometimes [...]

The second part of that sentence was not as interesting as it could have been.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:25am PT
...Take a nap?

...swap..er.. something other than rope ends?

;)

locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:39am PT


"the hubby and I sometimes just untie and swap rope-ends when there is only one leader"...

Dangerous!!!...

I actually did it one time and started leading having forgotten to tie back in...

LOL!!!...

TRUE!!!...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:41am PT
Solid
Redundant
Equalized
and have No Extension if one of the redundant components fail

Does this apply to a boot axe belay too?
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:43am PT
Unless you're on a pretty bolted anchor, mostly the solid anchor elements don't line up in a textbook way.

So I tend to custom make whatever the situation calls for, keeping basic principles in mind rather than a formulaic anchor strategy:
 if any piece blows, is it going to cause something else to blow and/or shift things enough to screw me?
 is the anchor solid enough and conveniently placed to redirect the belay? or do I need to supplement the anchor with my body position and belaying off my waist to absorb shock? if I don't need to do that, try to save arm strength by redirecting belay and using body weight to pull up rope slack.
 are we swapping leads or do I need to quickly re-rig to lead next pitch?
 do I have enough/right pieces left for robust anchor placements, enough biners, etc... is the next pitch a rope stretcher?
 are we running out of time, just need something fast even if it's not the most perfect possible solution (but still needs to keep us alive)


Every belay is like a minor variation on a basic freshman physics problem.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:52am PT
Dangerous!

Well, I did ad that "providing it can be done safely" disclaimer. Obviously there's always ways to UN-safe any procedure.

I actually did it one time and started leading having forgotten to tie back in...

Yeah.. Let's get real.. I'd be willing to wager that's happened to many of us leaving flat ground. Look at the up- side.. At least if you forget to tie back in on multi-pitch you'll be dead instead of maimed for life if you fell off.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:20am PT
Bombproof gear tolerates just about any construction method.
locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:32am PT

THREAD DRIFT:


IMHO untying during a multipitch climb is NOT a real GUD habit to get into...

And that's "Getting real", in my opinion...

;-)




EDITED:

If you're climbing with a partner unwilling or unable to swap leads...

IMO it's SAFER to just go ahead and deal with the cluster fuk rather than untying...

labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:46am PT
"IMHO untying during a multipitch climb is NOT a real GUD habit to get into..."

Agree locker. Always has made me nervous but admit I have done it plenty. I have often been the only leader or not done the leading at all. Using a separate cord for making the anchor works better for me in these situations. Follower comes up and clips to master point, flop or re flake the rope and go.
Erik
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:54am PT
Having only one size fits all is n00b ......

Priceless truth...
ruppell

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:06am PT
John Long taught me many years ago (through one of his books) that my anchors should be able to handle an upward pull.

I don't see how that would work in rgold's diagram.

Substitute one of those nuts for a cam. Problem solved.
locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:12am PT



Multipitch climb and your partner UNTIES at every belay (and expects YOU to do the same???)???...



Is it SAFER to do on a TWO PITCH climb than on a 10, 12, 15 pitch job???...



FUK THAT!!!...




Get a new partner or stick with SINGLE pitching...

LMAO!!!...

Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:26am PT
USE CAMS INSTEAD OF NUTS AND ALL ANCHORS ARE BOMBER!!!!1111
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:38am PT
I like to keep it simple enough to be quick about it, but not so simple as to piss off my partner when he arrives at the station.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:56am PT
Kris,

There are things out there, on the internet.

People call them "trolls"

Sorry Dave. I thought the op might be a troll, but I though you were being serious. My bad.

...Going back in my hole now.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
no matter OP troll or not , it was very interesting and informational posts on the tread and analysis especially I like rgold answer..
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
+1 for not untying from the rope. The idea gives me the creeps. Anyone ever drop anything while climbing? Maybe if you have to do this once in a while but if you make it part of your routine I think you're asking for trouble.
ruppell

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
USE CAMS INSTEAD OF NUTS AND ALL ANCHORS ARE BOMBER!!!!1111

Trolling I will go. LOL

When did that ever get said? My answer to your question was using a cam makes it multi-directional. Bomber is another thing all together. You can have bomber anchors made from just about anything. You can also have totally bunk anchors made from just about anything. Ever see some one TR'ing off a dead tree? I have. That anchor was crap even though it was a 30ft tall tree with a 20 inch diameter. Hope this clears up the issue for you. lol
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:31pm PT
Sorry Dave. I thought the op might be a troll, but I though you were being serious. My bad.

I actually don't think the OP is a troll, but I guess I've just read too many anchor threads over the past twenty years. Either way, he'll be fine with what he's doing.

Every anchor is a small engineering project. There are various requirements - it must hold in different scenarios, it most be simple enough, facilitate switching leads, whatever. Some requirements are contradictory (e.g. the equalized and no extension), some are subjective, and many involve actual physics and measurable quantities that most people are not good at assessing intuitively.

With any engineering design there are tradeoffs. You can have more of one characteristic, less of another - but no design gives 100% of everything. We all have our preference for what requirements are more important and often must balance these with our partner's preferences as well.

Very few anchors in the field are actually tested beyond body weight. My guess is that less than one in ten-thousand "trad" anchors are subjected to the extreme forces of a direct fall (fall factor two) or even a hard leader fall that pulleys the belayer upward.

So all of our anchors "work" because usually they are built well, but also because they've never really been subjected to the hard test.

The collective knowledge on these anchor threads is lots of anecdotal evidence, but little real-world scientific data.

It's the failures that are interesting and, fortunately, those are very rare.





Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
Engineering project, or like rebuilding a muffler with duct tape and a coat hanger. Make the best of what's there. The clock is ticking, your parter is putting on his shoes, hurry up man, what the hell is he DOING up there? OK that should work OFF BELAY! Whoa this stopper is totally useless, what was I thinking. I should move it. UP ROPE! lol.

I know what you mean about upward directionals, the only serious fall I ever caught pulled me up off my feet and hard against the anchor, which was luckily made from cams in a horizontal crack. But then again, my partner outweighed me by about 2 to 1.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
Yup. Every engineering project also has a schedule.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:49pm PT
So all of our anchors "work," because usually they are built well but also because they've never really been subjected to the hard test.

Very true. I've been an active climber for 40+ years, except for a few breaks to mend up. I can't think of a single time I've been in a situation where a belay anchor really got tested, such as in a factor two fall.

I can think of one time when I thought that the entire system would likely fail were I to fall, and that was due to a route finding problem - a mistake on my part - which put my partner and I in a very grave situation. On that day it was not the anchor which was tested...
Manjusri

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
To each his own but I find switching ends is faster than restacking esp. if the belay is awkward or climbing in a party of three, and safer than flipping the stack. Getting shorted by a tangled rope on a dicey runout is one of my least favorite things.

On the other hand, I always consider tying in to be serious business and the partner check is not optional. I guess I just don't see that big a difference between untying on multipitch or single-pitching. Either way you need to be confident in your team's ability to connect to the rope.
ruppell

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 01:45pm PT
To each his own but I find switching ends is faster than restacking

Stack the rope through a two foot sling attached to the anchor. This has a few advantages. You don't have a mess of rope dangling over you tie in. If you are swapping leads stack long to short. If you will be leading the whole thing stack short to long. It's a great way to keep clutter to a minimum.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Feb 22, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
I like to keep it simple enough to be quick about it, but not so simple as to piss off my partner when he arrives at the station.

That gave me a good chuckle!
locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 03:28pm PT

"I guess I just don't see that big a difference between untying on multipitch or single-pitching."...


I'm missing something here and for some reason can't figure it out at the moment...
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Feb 22, 2013 - 03:31pm PT
Maybe the difference between untying on the ground and untying seven pitches up??? :)
locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 03:33pm PT


Fuk!!!...

THAT'S IT!!!...

LOL!!!...

;-)

BlueWing

Boulder climber
SCV, Ca
Feb 22, 2013 - 04:10pm PT
Hey Frumy ... I saw your vid for tr w/ clovehitch and fig8 using one 30 ft cord ...
Used it at top of S-Crack, I felt ok w it ... plz ck these pix and let me know what u think ... I think my rig was ok but room to improve.
Anchor is very lg boulder ... the three web slings are 30 ft and just barely wrap the base of it to tie off.

Credit: BlueWing
[photoid=291
Credit: BlueWing
Credit: BlueWing
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Credit: BlueWing
Credit: BlueWing
Credit: BlueWing
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 04:16pm PT
"I guess I just don't see that big a difference between untying on multipitch or single-pitching."...

Go do a 30 or 40 pitch climb, throw in freezing conditions and check back with us on that.
BlueWing

Boulder climber
SCV, Ca
Feb 22, 2013 - 04:57pm PT
first, allow me to disqualify my thoughts and opinions on the grounds of my relative lack of experience ...
that being said ...
For me, the most adrenaline I could handle was Monkey Face, Smith Rocks, Eastern Oregon ... so then, I would naturally disagree w stuff like highball bouldering ... and again, what do I know, proper gear and proper use of it is a higher priority than climbing ability and technique. Your ability and technique will improve much faster if you have the confidense that comes w solid protection.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 05:04pm PT
It's Pyro's video. I've never set pro for S crack. Top roping you can take your time doing what ever you want. Can't see what you are anchored to except the root of the bush.

Leading multi pitch climbs it usually needs to be done fast & with as little gear as possible.

I have caught long hard leader falls, with a climber 60+ lbs. heaver than me. Never had a piece of gear come out.

Bob Kamps used to hip belay me with one piece in. Usually because he had run out of gear.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 22, 2013 - 06:04pm PT
A couple points...

The guy I started climbing with told me: "For the belay anchor, put in a bomber piece and back it up with a better one. There's not much point to a backup if it's weaker than your main anchor." All we had then were nuts, and of course the fixed pins. I don't think there was a single bolted belay or rap station anywhere at the Gunks back then (the only bolts I recall were lead pro on Arrow and Thin Slabs.) Two nuts with the load as evenly distributed as one could arrange was our practice then and there was often a pin which took care of upward pull. We always built the anchor with the rope as we were always swinging leads.

Cam placements are stronger when the cams are loaded, as opposed to being shock loaded. When I have a belay with cams in the setup I try to arrange it so I have some body weight on those pieces so they are already generating some outward force on the cam lobes should they become suddenly loaded.

When placing cams on the lead for pro, the further out you are on the rope, the more the load in a fall takes place on a curve as the rope stretches and absorbs impact. So make sure if you can that your first piece or two off the belay - when there is very little rope in the system to absorb impact - are really good. Think of them as part of the anchor system as much as lead pro.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 22, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
John Long taught me many years ago (through one of his books) that my anchors should be able to handle an upward pull.

I don't see how that would work in rgold's diagram.

The diagram illustrates one instance of a procedure. You can use the same system for any number of pieces, oriented in any possible way, assuming you have enough rope to do it with.

If you want to clip to an upward directional with what has already been rigged in the diagram, clove the strand marked "free strand" to the power point (at (3)), extend down and clove to the directional, tightening the cloves so that the directional is held snugly in place.

An anchor set up in a horizontal crack usually does not need a directional.

One thing suggested above that I don't like is assuming cams in a vertical crack will reorient and stay in for an upward pull. You've got a complicated moving system with some cams compressing and some cams extending, the coefficient of friction is probably reduced to the sliding rather than the static value, and the cam might move to a less opportune position. It might work, but I don't think its a good thing to bet the farm on.

At least one authority believes upward directionals are questionable: see the section Upward Pull Pieces and Their Necessity in http://www.chauvinguides.com/Anchoring.PDF. Unfortunately, the author has misunderstood the statics; the "bad angle" illustrated is not bad because it isn't relevant to the direction of the anticipated loads.
FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
I only use clove hitches when I first get to a belay station, & I'm in trouble, to take myself off & start to set up an anchor system. From then on everything I tie into is with a figure eight on a bite --- & the clove hitch come out & a Figure 8 goes in, but that's just me.
If Ksolem says different I'd listen to Ksolem -- He is one of the most experienced climbers you are ever going to hear from.
I know he's right about your second piece needs to be better than your first, if your first fails.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
Here is better advice on anchors:

If you are questioning your anchor and the leader is questioning the moves and the gear above the belay, it's time to back off.

People over complicate this sport.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:15pm PT

People over complicate this sport.

Yep.

DMT
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:58pm PT
The thing I like about anchors is...

the more diverse my climbing becomes, the more diverse my knowledge of anchors has become, while getting simpler and simpler.

When everything I climbed had a tree on it, the girth hitch was the only tool I could remember.

When I reached the smooth topped peaks, I learned that one bomber piece and a firm hip belay from a bomber stance could hold a TR fall...even when my partner was practically double my weight.

And dangling on a sleek wave of granite, I learned that I have no shame in putting in a fourth, or even 5th piece if I feel like it...

After all, sometimes it doesn't hurt to let the second lug up some of that weight!

hehehe, happy climbing!

Cheers

LS
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:10pm PT
Sure people over-complicate, but the present example illustrates an opposite tendency to oversimplify. Bad anchors, questionable moves and pro ahead---how the hell is the party gonna back off? And what if, for example, they are way up on a wall in a remote setting?

I think this situation is one of the most nuanced---and hence complicated---a party can face.
ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:20pm PT
I know some climbers who'd say

"that's when the climbing starts. Just be glad it's not raining...let's get off this rock!"

...

crazies!

Cheers

LS
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Feb 23, 2013 - 06:14am PT


AM I GUNNA DIE???????

probably with that link cam in there...
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Feb 23, 2013 - 08:51am PT
Anchors r 4 pussys
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 23, 2013 - 08:58am PT
BlueWing..... you got the anchoring system down.


Let me tell you about that Kris' dudes anchors'

Its called the "Standing Balance - hand over hand - No gear required"


page 69 of Largos book.... if I recall.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 23, 2013 - 09:05am PT
I just posted some relevant comment here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2077945/Jack-Roberts-and-the-Fall


Sometimes all you need to catch a fall is flick your rope around a horn or tree or something, but if you have to actually build something, focus it to a single equalized hard point that you can escape easy. Someday you won't regret it and your partner won't either, but you might regret anything else.
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Feb 25, 2013 - 06:04pm PT
BK sed:
I guess the other thing alluded to here ( thanks again to the author) was that all belays should be created for easy escape and instant conversion into lowering / rescue rappeling and ideally even raising. I certainly can get a bit lazy especially with double ropes but when the sh#t hits the fan - which is why we rope up in the first place - you need a single bomber point that you can instantly escape from, especially if your partner is entering the "golden hour" zone of getting to surgery ASAP.


Minimize clusterf*#k at the station by building it out of the minimum amount of biners and slings. The simpler the anchor piece interconnects are the better. Make 2 tie in points easily unclipable with large biners like Petzl Attaches. Orient to the direction(s) of predicted pull, including up. The simplest belays are made with just the rope, and 3 good pieces attached by only 3 or 4 biners. This includes you Big Mike ...

Sliding X always works because you load tested your primary anchor points first to be certain it's not going to blow.

Carry a small knife in your pocket and spare rap slings/cord in the pack. Carry two short prussiks on your harness for managing a weighted rope and for backing up your rappels.

Cordellette = Bullsh#t
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Feb 25, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
You know, bottom line, just keep putting stuff in till you feel comfortable. Allow for an upward pull, tie the whole mess together and you'll be good.

Given that the bases of cliffs world wide are not littered with bodies, most of the anchors climbers build must work.
The Lisa

Trad climber
Da Bronx, NY
Feb 25, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
Pure RGold to be found here, love the advice and discussion.
I keep the "Climbing Anchors" book by Largo and Bob Gaines by my bed for frequent reading. I take forever to build an anchor - out of paranoia - and none have ever failed, but then none have ever had to hold a fall..... Yes, they have held for TR and rappel.
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