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cordolette, webbolette, equilolette and so on...
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By Jeron Miller
From Draper, Utah
Oct 6, 2011
I am a beginner and just getting into the sport, and while i know i need to go climb with a experienced climber i was just trying to find some reading material for when I'm not climbing.

I have 20' of 7mm cord for a cordelette and 30' of 1" tubular webbing for anything else...

My question is I'm confused about the difference between a cordelette, webbolette, sliding x, equilolette and so on.... any links that would show me how to construct them and explain them would be awesome...

I'm new and ready to learn so any good links with instructions on anchor building would be awesome...

I'm also buying john longs anchor building book.... so if that will answer everything i asked I'll just wait for it to get here.

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By Derek W
Oct 6, 2011
First summit of First Flatiron
John Long's book will answer most of your questions and certainly have you well on your way. If you do forum searches on here for "anchors" and "cordalette" you will find pages and pages and pages of reading material. Good luck!

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By Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Oct 6, 2011
Me scaring years off my mom's life
Freedom of the Hills. Hands down.

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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Oct 6, 2011
Mt. Agassiz
I really enjoyed "Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide" by Craig Luebben more than Long's books. To each his/her own.

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By Justin Tomlinson
From Monrovia, CA
Oct 6, 2011
Summit of Mt. Langley
I enjoyed John Long's climbing anchors, put out by Falcon.

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By Jeron Miller
From Draper, Utah
Oct 7, 2011
Thanks for your input everyone I'll look into those books

alleyehave wrote:
Stop this stupid thread, immediately. Equalize, redundantisize, minimize, and shut the fuck up. It's that simple.


Considering I barely know what your talking about when you say, equalize, redundantisize, and minimize.. I think this is a very valid thread in the BEGINNER FORUM!!!!!!! Thanks for your input though.....

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By Jarek
Oct 7, 2011
Jeron Miller wrote:
Considering I barely know what your talking about when you say, equalize, redundantisize, and minimize.. I think this is a very valid thread in the BEGINNER FORUM!!!!!!! Thanks for your input though.....


In my opinion you are right, it is a very valid question to ask. I would start with good understanding of the basic anchor setup with standard cordelette. After you understand all safety elements, you will have better idea of what advantages and disadvantages other gear/methods offer. There is no simple answer, which method is the best, it really depends on conditions. That is why there a set of general rules you follow to judge if anchor is good or not. Some of them are :"equalize, redundantisize, and minimize". Get the books,and start reading. Also you can go to you tube, search for "climbing anchors", and you will find some videos explaining the anchor concepts. The "mountain tools" ones are quite good.

Good luck!

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By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From Phoenix, AZ
Oct 7, 2011
Belay
alleyehave wrote:
Stop this stupid thread, immediately. Equalize, redundantisize, minimize, and shut the fuck up. It's that simple.

Moderation:

alleyehave, consider this your official warning. This is a forum section for beginners, and all questions should be welcomed and answered respectfully.

We were all new at this sport at one time or another, and we all had these now-obvious questions answered by someone willing to share their knowledge.

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By Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Oct 7, 2011
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt Kuehl
Redundantisize?

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Oct 7, 2011
Colonel Mustard
Jeron Miller wrote:
I'm also buying john longs anchor building book.... so if that will answer everything i asked I'll just wait for it to get here.


Yes, it should answer most of your questions. Personally, I tried out the equallette concept Long focuses a lot of time on and it just didn't catch on for me. In fact, I've never seen aybody build one out in the field. Still, it would be a sound way of anchoring.

As Long focuses on, I would suggest learning what makes a sound placement (cams, nuts, etc.) and build your anchor technique around that.

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Oct 7, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
Zeke wrote:
I tried out the equallette concept Long focuses a lot of time on and it just didn't catch on for me. In fact, I've never seen aybody build one out in the field.

I carry a pre-tied equalette and I can set it up pretty fast. We had a thread going about this a while back, John Long himself actually chimed in and said he uses the rope to anchor mostly.

mountainproject.com/v/self-equalizing-vs-static-anchor/10708>>>

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By andrewc
Oct 7, 2011
Zeke wrote:
Yes, it should answer most of your questions. Personally, I tried out the equallette concept Long focuses a lot of time on and it just didn't catch on for me. In fact, I've never seen aybody build one out in the field. Still, it would be a sound way of anchoring. As Long focuses on, I would suggest learning what makes a sound placement (cams, nuts, etc.) and build your anchor technique around that.


Yeah, what a lot of people take away from anchor instruction are clever ways to tie all the pieces together.

But the absolute most important thing to have down pat is getting bomber placements in your anchor.

Last weekend I seconded a pitch that was led by a less experienced partner. When I got to the belay I saw that he had just clipped to a slung chockstone because he couldn't find anything else to use. When I looked at the rock, I was able to lift it up with one hand.

There was a good crack 8 feet above him but his tunnel vision didn't let him see it. If I had botched the pitch, there would have been a very good chance that the two of us would have taken a ride to the bottom.

Point is, yes it is important to know how to safely and quickly tie the pieces together, whether it's with the rope, a cordollette, slings, or whatever. But what will get you hurt will be shitty placements.

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By Matt Marino
From Georgetown, MA
Oct 7, 2011
Haul Bag
Zeke wrote:
Yes, it should answer most of your questions. Personally, I tried out the equallette concept Long focuses a lot of time on and it just didn't catch on for me. In fact, I've never seen aybody build one out in the field. Still, it would be a sound way of anchoring.


I started out using an equallette when I was just beginning to lead, then started using a cordallette almost all the time, then I went in a sliding X and webollette phase. In retrospect I think every one of these phases, while helpful in the learning process, wasn't ideal. Now I change it up depending on the climb, I tend to use an equallette more at Taqhuitz because it tends to be easier to equalize due to the arrangment of pro, a cordallette on big walls in Yosemite because I'm usually on a route with 3 bomber horizontal bolts, sliding x when I'm sport climbing and I'm only clipping a TR into the chains ect....

To the OP, like everything else in climbing you need to develop a solid understanding of all the different options available and eventually you'll find out what works for you. Anchoring is definitely something worth taking the time to understand correctly to the point were you're comfortable improvising solutions based on sound principles. Long's book is a great place to start.

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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Oct 7, 2011
I have Lubbens book and it's real good. All kinds of good pictures of good/bad placements. The best advice out of that book is... take the book, your rack, harness, and some rope to a crag, or cliff where you won't bother anyone. At this location build as many anchors as you can and bounce test the gear close to the ground. Hang on the gear w. your harness, you can even do everything in your power to blow pieces out! A little practice never hurt anyone.

Cordelette is cord tied off. Equilette is time consuming and confusing, Webbolette is webbing tied off, and a sliding x will supposedly kill you, so tie limiting knots.

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Oct 20, 2011
Colonel Mustard
muttonface wrote:
Best advice yet. I'm surprised no one else mentioned it earlier.


Yeah, ground school is definitely the way to go to try it all out - especially anchor rigging.

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By T340
Jan 3, 2012
Wanker T. Douche wrote:
I have Lubbens book and it's real good. All kinds of good pictures of good/bad placements. The best advice out of that book is... take the book, your rack, harness, and some rope to a crag, or cliff where you won't bother anyone. At this location build as many anchors as you can and bounce test the gear close to the ground. Hang on the gear w. your harness, you can even do everything in your power to blow pieces out! A little practice never hurt anyone. Cordelette is cord tied off. Equilette is time consuming and confusing, Webbolette is webbing tied off, and a sliding x will supposedly kill you, so tie limiting knots.


I am brand new at this game as well and have found Luebben's books to be very helpful.

Great thread, btw.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Jan 3, 2012
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard
Get Long and Luebben's books. Another excellent choice, better than the committee-produced Freedom of the Hills in my opinion, is The Mountaineering Handbook by Craig Connally.

In the real world, anchor-building requires versatility and the more perspectives you learn the better---don't rely on a single text or a single climber's opinions, no matter how apparently expert. Part of being versatile means that you can tie in effectively with just the rope. This means, among other things, becoming totally proficient with clove hitches.

Slinging together two or three beefy bolts is essentially trivial. Anything you do is going to be adequate. Anchor-building only becomes an issue when you are placing all the gear yourself and rigging that. This means, of course, that you have to learn to place good gear. Rigging together a bunch of crap will not result in anything more than a combined bunch of crap.

Let me repeat: for gear anchors, versatility is the key. If you have only one method (for example, if you have something pre-tied), you will be biased towards configurations that may not be ideal for the actual situations you encounter. This is not hypothetical---I've seen some parties build some pretty poor anchors, apparently blinded to the best possibilities by the range their cordelette could span.

Equalization is a term that should be banished from the climber's lexicon. There is little evidence that it can be obtained in the field, and then only with two-point anchors. A climbing anchor is a distributed, not equalized, system, and you should take the position that any one of the pieces in your anchor could easily end up with half the total load or more, no matter how you rig things, and that if any one piece fails, it is entirely possible that the entire load will end up on one of the remaining pieces.

A rule of thumb about load distribution of a fixed-arm anchor is that it is roughly inversely proportional to arm length. The shortest arm will develop the highest tension. An arm twice as long as the shortest will develop only half the tension of the shortest arm. Even this ideal assumption requires that (1) the arms are equally tensioned to begin with when loaded; this is not likely with big cordelette knots, for example, that will emit different amounts of different strands when tightened, and (2) the load is applied in the direction the rigging was tied for (usually straight down).

A practical consequence of this observation is that if you have a long arm and are rigging with a rope cordelette, it makes sense to put a dyneema sling on the remote piece in order to make the stretchable cordelette arm shorter and so distribute more of the load to the remote piece.

Sliding anchors eliminate all the above issues and provide genuine equalization---in theory. But no tests on three-point anchor sliding systems suggest that equalization occurs, because friction is the system prevents the equalizing of arm tensions. And of course, these systems extend if a piece fails, thereby potentially dropping the belayer-leader team by the extension amount. The potential seriousness of such extensions has been underestimated by drop tests that do not model the actual belay situation adequately, and it seems to me that a critical factor in such scenarios is the ratio between the anchor extension and the length of the belayer's tie-in.

No tests that I know of have been conducted on this theoretical hypothesis (which is, however, both reasonable and in line with other results about loading that have been tested). Two practical consequences are (1) belayer tie-ins should be as long as practical and (2) the belayer should be connected to the anchor by the climbing rope rather than by a sling, which will transmit far higher loads to the anchor.

One of the things that can interfere with optimal anchor construction is the current fad for guide plate belays for the second directly off the anchor. Such belays typically require reasonably-spaced anchor pieces that will deliver an appropriately situated power point. If you start off looking for this rather than for the best placements, then you have already compromised on the strength your potential anchor.

Guide-plate belays have other problems, especially where lowering is concerned, but there seems to be a tidal wave of acceptance that is willing to tolerate almost any level of wankery to work around the drawbacks of the plates. Have a look at the Lower Me Baby thread to see just how far folks are willing to go to avoid a (posssibly redirected) belay off their harnesses.

If you can ignore the deafening crescendo of acclamation for the guide plates, you'd be well advised to learn the mechanics of belaying off your harness, which involves proper arrangement of the belayer's stance and bracing, and can keep a considerable amount of the load of a second's fall off the anchor in situations (and they are inevitable) in which the anchor is not all that one would hope for.

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