Anchor Building Question


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Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:08pm 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 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.

Trad climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:55pm 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.

Social climber
Feb 23, 2013 - 12:06am 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 23, 2013 - 12:15am PT

People over complicate this sport.



Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Feb 23, 2013 - 01:58am 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!



Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 23, 2013 - 02:10am 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.

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Feb 23, 2013 - 02:20am 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!"




Big Mike

Trad climber
Feb 23, 2013 - 09:14am PT


probably with that link cam in there...

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Feb 23, 2013 - 11:51am PT
Anchors r 4 pussys

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Feb 23, 2013 - 11:58am 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.

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Feb 25, 2013 - 09:04pm 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 - 09:41pm 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 - 10:05pm 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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