Anchor Building Question

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Messages 21 - 40 of total 80 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:02am 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.
jopay

climber
so.il
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:06am 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.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:39am 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

justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:44am 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 - 10:45am 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 - 10:50am 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 - 10:52am 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 ......
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:06am 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 - 11:11am 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 - 11:12am 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" ......
locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:14am 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 - 11:15am PT
Irrelevant...

Excellent word, Werner.
TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:19am 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 - 11:43am 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 - 12:01pm 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 - 12:08pm 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 - 12:11pm 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 - 12:12pm 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.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
...Take a nap?

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

;)

locker

Social climber
FukUville
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:39pm 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!!!...
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