Equalizing anchors.

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 21 - 40 of total 292 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Beer 46

climber
Mountain Room
Jan 14, 2007 - 12:23am PT
Do as Werner sez.


Seriously though, Mr. Goldstone has mentioned some of the difficulties in actually achieving "equalization". In the real world, it aint gone to happen.

Some people seem fixated on the idea of equalizing, thinking it's always required. Nonsense. Equalization is actually a relatively new idea (last 30 years or so). The fact is the gear is strong enough (usually) without equalization. In most cases, you want more than one piece to provide backup for the unexpected, not because one isn't strong enough.

Of course, there are exceptions, in which case, load sharing (a far more accurate term) strategies are called for. If you're in such a fix, you should also be thinking about other survival strategies, like "Don't Fall".
Rocky5000

Trad climber
Falls Church, VA
Jan 14, 2007 - 12:38am PT
Clever sling-shortening, though by instinct I get queasy when sling material rubs against itself. Not a factor, though, on this minor scale. Just keep a paranoid eyeball glued to it.

There is no perfect anchor, ever; it's an unlimited opportunity for creativity. If you have two really strong pieces, you can make it simple and quick, if the force vector is fairly definite. If all you have is marginal garbage, you have to pull out all your tricks and go nuts - screamers, cordlettes, sliding W with backups to brass micronuts duct-taped onto a rugosity - whatever. If if if. Although it's fun to browse J. Long's many interesting photos of anchors, I never remember any of that when I'm up there; I have to respond to whatever unique weirdness is thrown at me, and do it right.
WoodySt

Trad climber
Riverside
Jan 14, 2007 - 01:53am PT
How do you equalize one point. I don't know what you're talking about here.
climbingjones

Trad climber
grass valley,ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 14, 2007 - 01:57am PT
Can you use yer lips?
Beer 46

climber
Mountain Room
Jan 14, 2007 - 02:31am PT
How do you equalize one point?

How do you clap one hand?

Questions for Werner?
Trusty Rusty

Social climber
Tahoe area
Jan 14, 2007 - 02:33am PT
"Knots" in an equal system obviously work in one direction, but once loaded with 2 Haul Bags, 3 swine & 10 cheap Wine Boxes, only a Hindu Monk could untie the mess. Dan's wrong bro, sliding Cordelette is better for loads, just make sure the cord is beefy.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jan 14, 2007 - 03:41am PT
I would suggest that WBaun is the expert, here.

Anybody who claims to have better experience, prove it.

I am not a worshipper of false gods, but W is neither false nor a God.

He is simply a man who has proven himself.

I don't know what God is thinking, but I think he likes W.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jan 14, 2007 - 04:18am PT
"and now have fun." - WBraun

Well, there it is.

We'd forgotten.

Climbing is supposed to be fun.


I didn't climb because it wasn't fun. 18 years.

Werner, You're the Best:

The Reminder: Have Fun.


I had fun last time I climbed.

Thanx.

s. o.

Trad climber
academia
Jan 14, 2007 - 07:35am PT
A Few thoughts:

I have heard of the figure 8 knot refered to as static equalization.

ditto to rgold and Tom

If a piece fails in the "sliding W" the powerpoint on the achor will drop causing a dynamic load to the rest of the anchor.

The angle between pieces is far more important than the anchoring system used. It is possible and easily done that the individual points have more force exerted on them than if they were the only point in the system. This happens with useing a runner, short cordelette, or having the anchor spread over a large area.

The figure 8 knot increases these forces by increasing the angle.

In the rare case that your cordelette breaks or your knot sucks, or you make a mistake clipping the "w" correctly; your anchor may fail.

Most important: use bomber gear for your anchor - if your anchor fails it is most likely because the RURP, micro nut, and bush you built into an anchor failed.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jan 14, 2007 - 10:32am PT
"Some people seem fixated on the idea of equalizing, thinking it's always required. Nonsense. Equalization is actually a relatively new idea (last 30 years or so). The fact is the gear is strong enough (usually) without equalization."

I would argue this point--at least a little. The rigging challenges are much greater today than they were when I first started climbing, over 30 years ago. Back then, we slugged titanically strong (and easy to use) chromolly pegs into the rock. It mattered little how we tied them off as even one or two was often good for the whole anchor. Trying to achieve the same brute strength with passive camming devices presents another magnitude of difficulty hence the modern day need trend toward equalizing.

JL
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jan 14, 2007 - 10:45am PT
Mr. Goldstone has mentioned some of the difficulties in actually achieving "equalization". In the real world, it aint gone to happen.

I do not believe this. The equalette already works for two anchor points, and I think it is just a matter of time before there are acceptable solutions in general. But the solutions cannot be achieved by fixed-length arms.

Equalization is actually a relatively new idea (last 30 years or so). The fact is the gear is strong enough (usually) without equalization. In most cases, you want more than one piece to provide backup for the unexpected, not because one isn't strong enough.

I agree with Largo that equalization has become more important as individual pieces of gear have become both less strong and harder to evaluate. As for the gear being strong enough without equalization, I would submit that we really don't know, because so few belay anchors have ever been subjected to a severe test. I wouldn't be shocked to learn that, say, 10% of all gear belay anchors will not survive a factor-2 fall onto the belay.

Of course, there are exceptions, in which case, load sharing (a far more accurate term) strategies are called for.

One of the reasons to pursue equalization as a general strategy is that a party, yes even an experienced one, may be unaware that it is in one of these exceptional cases.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Jan 14, 2007 - 11:56am PT
I'll just add very slightly to what Rgold said in his last sentence:

Most people who got into a serious jam, and got injured or even maybe died, were probably not thinking, "Gee, I'm really in trouble here. This looks bad, I'd better be careful.", right before the shyte hit the fan.

But I guess if you are going to climb over anchors that seriously need equalization to be good, you have to ask youself, "How much lipstick does it take to make a pig kissable?".

I'm not against equalization or even agaist doing dumb things while climbing, I just like to know when I'm doing it, although, as Rgold pointed out, sometimes you really don't know.
WoodySt

Trad climber
Riverside
Jan 14, 2007 - 12:04pm PT
Just pick up a good sized rock; drop it on the flat; sit behind it; wrap your legs around it and enjoy your partner's screaming and sputtering when he or she arrives.
andanother

climber
Jan 14, 2007 - 05:43pm PT
did rockclimbing.com go offline again?
Nick

climber
portland, Oregon
Jan 14, 2007 - 07:22pm PT
I hate to throw even one cent into the ring on such a discussion, but at the risk of pointing out something obvious. My daughter came home from college a month or so ago with a copy of Largo's new book and one of these equalette things. It looks like a good solution except the arms are too long and you have to tie them up all the time. So, I tied a bowline on a bight into each end and viola. Easy to rack. Two bolts, just clip and go. Four pieces, separate the loops and adjust their length, instant equalization. It worked well for us. If your anchor was all in one vertical crack clove hitches might be better.
s. o.

Trad climber
academia
Jan 14, 2007 - 10:13pm PT
"How much lipstick does it take to make a pig kissable?"

poetry
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 15, 2007 - 04:33am PT
As Ed said, this whole business got flogged to death on rc.com and the horse buried, dug up, and buried several more times just before Largo put out his latest anchor book. The discussion is still there, but due to choices rc.com made that included eliminating in-line photos, the thread isn't quite what it was. That could be good or bad depending on your perspective. Recreating it all here seems ill-advised at best. Largo, haven't had a chance to look at your book but the rc.com discussion was interesting most of the time...
climbrunride

Trad climber
Durango, CO
Jan 15, 2007 - 04:35am PT
Well, this might not be rcN00B.com, but I'm a gear weenine with a science background, so I like a gear discussion every once in a while...

All of the above could be the correct anchor. It just depends on where you use it. For toproping on nice, bomber anchors, where we are climbing left, right, center, etc. on the same rope, a self-adjusting setup like the sliding-W, or linked, equalized slings seems appropriate. You can always get highly gear intensive and clip a loose backup sling to a couple pieces, to minimize extension in case of gear failure.

I can't remember how many times I've found nothing but crap from which to build an anchor. In those cases, I try to get 3 pieces carefully equalized and tied-off with an overhand (not 8) knot on my cordalette. Then, if I can, I still get another one or three pieces to buff it out. Then I very carefully stand, or painfully hang, so I load the anchor just right. If I'm really lucky, I can belay off my wiast and hold most of the load on my legs, should my second take a slip. (Kind of an "improved Spencer Tracy belay" - painful on the kidneys when he falls, but less chance I take flight.) Once I'm all set up and ready to go, I yell those words any second just loves to hear from his belayer, "DON'T FALL!"



EDIT: Thanks for letting me got that gear discussion out of my blood. I don't use that other site, so I had lots of pent-up energy waiting to jump on a tech-weenie topic. Even though I really did't say much, I think I'm now satisfied. Thank you.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 15, 2007 - 10:19am PT
Back in the day it was not uncommon to belay off a single, well placed pin. While that was not redundant, it often was overkill safe, especially for the types of climbs that were being done by the majority of climbers. It helped that taking a lead fall was not a part of the the climbing mentality back then.

The introduction of passive climbing protection forced a major rethinking of the whole anchor system. Building a safe anchor became an exercise in finding multiple placements which were usually "serial," that is, you tied off one piece to another to another to you. You were counting on one of the pieces holding if the loaded piece blew out.

When cams came out they were incorporated into these redundant systems. While equalizing was known, it wasn't practiced widely (I believe) until John's book made the case. I remember looking at some of his "bad example" photos with much recognition... and I personally worked hard at an "equalized" anchor system which was very clean. The cordolette idea made the whole system neat and easy to critique vs. the tied of slings, etc, of old systems.

As rgold points out, however, there are not a lot of well understood tests of anchor systems, either failed or successful. The tests recently done for the latest edition of John's book point out a major problem for cordolette equalization, but also studied other anchor tie off systems.

In the end, it is important to remember many of the hard learned lessons:

1) the anchor system should be redundant and each point as secure as possible, ideally each point able to sustain a factor 2 fall

2) it is important that the whole anchor system be considered, especially to avoid a factor 2 fall right off the belay by placing anchors to "protect the belay"

3) rock has finite strength and anchor protection should be placed, as much as possible, in a way that does not depend on a single rock feature... e.g., don't put all you pieces behind the same flake... a "redundant system" includes the material you are anchoring in also...

The analysis of the cordolette forces shows that if each of the arms of the cordolette are the same length, then it works to equalize... if they are not the same length then there are higher forces on the anchors attached with the shortest cordolette arm. This might be entirely acceptable if you consider it when you arrange your anchor attachment, but you have to be aware of the fact that the anchor is not equalized in such a configuration.

Other ways of anchor attachments are valid, as they always have been. The point is to do the "what if" analysis whenever you set up the anchor.

And most importantly, you should keep foremost in your mind that the anchor must be good enough to secure you and your partner in the event of a fall. You life depends on it, always.

Constructing a safe anchor is not impossible, and cordolette or not, constructing a safe anchor always required careful attention.

Once you can do this, you can go out and have fun.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Jan 15, 2007 - 10:48am PT
I do believe that,"Kissable Pig", would make an excellent route name, and I have just such a line in mind.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 292 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta