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What do you use for a personal anchor?

Original Post
jon calloway · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

Im new to climbing and just starting to go outside on real rock. I see lots of people using either quick draws or a daisy chain to clip to the anchor. Is this safe or are there better options avalible?

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 117

TROLL ALERT.

Just tie in with the rope. People who use quickdraws are flat out idiots. People who use daisy chains should known better.

Benjamin Beckerich · · portland, oregon · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 310

theres dozens of ways.. and a dozen variations on each of those..

most guys will use daisy chains, some guys will make girthitch chains out of small slings, some guys will make little cowstails out of cord, some guys buy pre-fab'd personal anchor systems..

right now, i'm using both a manufactured daisy chain and a girthitched daisy made from short slings. before that, i had a cowstail i made from 6mm cord. before that, i just used the ever-present prusiks i keep on the back loop of my harness.

Benjamin Beckerich · · portland, oregon · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 310
Jon H wrote:TROLL ALERT. Just tie in with the rope. People who use quickdraws are flat out idiots. People who use daisy chains should known better.
tying into the rope is all fine and well, but you're not always tied into the rope- you still need to have a personal anchor.
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

Beware the daisy chain. They can be used safely, but often they are not. Make sure to get proper instruction before using these (or anything else for that matter).

When climbing multi-pitch routes, the best way to clip in to the anchor is by clove hitching into a locker with your rope. This is the only method I use in this situation, mainly because it requires the least extra gear. Some people also like using an anchor system like the Metolius PAS.

When cleaning an anchor on a sport route, there are several good options. Two long-ish draws works pretty well, so long as they are opposite and opposed. It adds some extra saftey margin is you use a locker draw (a draws with lockers on both ends) as one of these clip-in draws. A PAS is also a good option.

Of course, though, make sure to get proper instruction and not just try to figure things out based on what people say on the internet. It is worth the investment.

dorseyec · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2009 · Points: 5

I love the "just use the rope" comment people always post on here. What about for cleaning single pitch sport climbs? Or rappelling off a multipitch climb? Seems like "using the rope" would be a pain in the ass in those situations.

smassey · · CO · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 200

Daisy chains are for aid climbing. There are many types of personal anchors, but one thing is common to them. They are all (most) totally static systems, and are not meant for dynamic loading. Used properly (hanging on them or being under your anchor) they are all similarly secure. Then it just comes down to personal preference.

For more information/opinions on this matter, feel free to consult the search engine on this site, as it will provide you with hours of fun reading. The personal anchor discussion is usually rehashed 2-3x/yr.

cellige · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 0

My recommendation would be to use a cordelette (length of 20-24 feet or so) tied from dynamic cord like bluewater or PMI(?) sells.

Take the loop and thread it through your tie in points, then take both end of the loop and tie a big overhand, done.

You can adjust length by cloving on of the loops you have.

Reasons I like this method are for its dynamic stretch, redundant, low on gear, infinite adjustability, quick, cheap etc.

Obviously if your talking tying into the anchor on a multipitch, then just use your rope. But if your talking about rapping or cleaning an anchor on a sport climb or as a cowtail when ascending etc. then this system is nice.

ps. remember even a small fall on dyneema is like falling on a steel chain.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 276

Yeah, I haven't been an MP member that long, but this subject gets regurgitated many times.

Here:

mountainproject.com/v/bd-da…

And be sure to watch this video:

vimeo.com/14679471

Marc H · · Broomfield, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 255
bkb0000 wrote:you still need to have a personal anchor.
No you don't. I haven't used one in more than ten years.

Eric Dorsey wrote:What about for cleaning single pitch sport climbs? Or rappelling off a multipitch climb?
I don't use a PAS for either of those situations. You've always got quickdraws with you on multi-pitch rappels.

Even when I'm sport climbing, I carry at least two extendable "trad" draws. You don't even need those if the anchor from which you're lowering will accept a bite of rope and you have a 'biner with you.

Eric Dorsey wrote:I love the "just use the rope" comment people always post on here...Seems like "using the rope" would be a pain in the ass in those situations.
"I love" it when people knock certain methods without actually trying them. It "seems like" you should try "using the rope" before you knock it.

--Marc
Kyle Christie · · Davis, CA · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 50

"Im new to climbing and just starting to go outside on real rock. I see lots of people using either quick draws or a daisy chain to clip to the anchor. Is this safe or are there better options avalible?"

Good question - with lots of answers. "It Depends" is the best answer, as there are many situations when you'd want to tie into an anchor. You will certainly tie-in differently in different situations. Are you talking about cleaning fixed anchors at the top of a single pitch climb?

Personally speaking for almost all multi-pitch anchors I tie in directly (with the climbing rope) to the anchor with a clove hitch. This works well for me as I almost always make anchors with a single master point and enjoy the adjustability of the clove hitch.

For cleaning sport/fixed anchors or staging single or multi-pitch raps I clip into the anchor with 1 or 2 slings or a personal anchor girth hitched to my harness.

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,503

The problem with these discussions is he word "anchor." Daisy chains are not something to be incorporated into any anchor due to the weakness of their loop stitchings. Many people use daisies to attach themselves into rappel anchors, to tie into the first piece of an anchor being built, and of course for aid climbing.

I keep a daisy attached to my harness all of the time for clipping in at anchors. But I will add a second attachment, usually an extended trad draw I cleaned, so that I have two points of attachment at all times. For belaying however, I will clove hitch my end of the climbing rope to the anchor power point with a locker. I'll also be clipped in with my daisy, but not under tension.

So any falls the follower might put on the anchor go into the clove hitch on the rope and not the daisy. The daisy is for me when I leave the anchor and I am on belay. It's the last attachment I take off the anchor before leading another pitch.

Benjamin Beckerich · · portland, oregon · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 310
Stich wrote:The problem with these discussions is he word "anchor." Daisy chains are not something to be incorporated into any anchor due to the weakness of their loop stitchings. Many people use daisies to attach themselves into rappel anchors, to tie into the first piece of an anchor being built, and of course for aid climbing. I keep a daisy attached to my harness all of the time for clipping in at anchors. But I will add a second attachment, usually an extended trad draw I cleaned, so that I have two points of attachment at all times. For belaying however, I will clove hitch my end of the climbing rope to the anchor power point with a locker. I'll also be clipped in with my daisy, but not under tension. So any falls the follower might put on the anchor go into the clove hitch on the rope and not the daisy. The daisy is for me when I leave the anchor and I am on belay. It's the last attachment I take off the anchor before leading another pitch.
indeed.. a PERSONAL anchor is exactly that... you can't belay straight off your loop if all you're anchored to is a chaisy chain, or really anything girth-hitched, in my opinion.
bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065

1. I use a pas i find it makes life easier for cleaning anchors and extending raps

2. U dont NEED a pas or other .... Slings work fine ... I do find those less adjustable though

3. On multi you tie in with the rope ... Period ... The only time i have not tied in with the rope is bringing up the 2nd on the last pitch onbolt anchors, in that case a pas is sufficient as long as its weightes

4. On sport climbs when swapping leads u can clip a draw to the bolt at the anchors, clip yr pas to the other bolt, clove the rope to the draw, and then put a redirect through the bolt with the pas/redirect ... If the bolt yr pas is clipped in fails the draw with the rope still has dynamic stretch.... This is fast and requires no extra gear

5. I find it very ironic that a loy of people rail against PAS or daisies yet dont climb with helmets .... Any simple perusal of accidents wil shiw that death or injury by pas/daisy is way below death by head trauma or things like runnouts .... Yet you would think that gumbies are dyinh left right and centre by all the vitrol over them .... Shows you how some have their priotities straight ;)

Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 385

This is what I use:

google.com/search?q=sterlin…

100% nylon, full strength loops, can be versatile on multipitch and convenient for clipping anchors.

mike bromberg · · Revelstoke · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 315

For multipitch rappelling, I use double shoulder length nylon sling (it canbe spectra or dyneema if managed appropriately) with an overhand on a bite tied at slightly less than half way. I then girth hitch this to my harness. Device goes on the overhand on bite. This achieves a tether system that allows for the device to be manipulated while the sling is loaded (a very steep stance) as opposed to the overhand midway on then sling.

I do not use a "personal anchor" in many other situations, and do not keep one rigged on my harness.

The Sterling Chain reactor achieves the same result (with some added options for clip in/extension), but I typically end up with a good ol sling as it is more versatile.



Plenty of directions to go with this thread, but there are plenty of places to seek out info. Try this link for starters- climbinglife.com/tech-tips/…
Buff Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 1,145

I usually throw a persian on the anchor. Once it grabs hold, it ain't letting go. It has a flat face allowing it to get closer to the wall than any other tie-in and offers you a place to stick your hands if they get a little chilly.

Peter Stokes · · Them Thar Hills · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 150

Mike, I think you might be looking for the word "Bight" as opposed to "Bite"... that said, doesn't this all pretty much come down to what someone is efficient and familiar with? I tried a Metolius PAS a while back, and had an issue with quickly finding the end loop- not a problem with my daisies or my slings. A friend just got a new one, though, and I see they've started making the end loop a different color.

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 375

Another issue: Spectra and Dyneema aren't good at absorbing high impact forces, because they have very little stretch. That's okay for quickdraws (because climbing ropes are quite elastic) but it can be fatal for anchor slings. Here's a Climbing Mag article on this topic (climbing.com/print/techtips… ). A couple of quotes:

"A 2007 incident on the Grand Capucin near Chamonix, France, exemplifies the danger: A climber fell less than two feet onto the Dyneema sling attaching him to his anchor; the resulting impact broke the anchor sling, and the climber fell to his death..."

"Spectra and Dyneema now allow climbers to save weight, but lack the ability to absorb energy through stretch... When they’re used in a system with no energy-absorbing component, any dynamic event results in extremely high impact forces."

"Drop tests demonstrate the danger. DMM tested an assorted batch of Dyneema and nylon slings... (dmmclimbing.com/knowledge/h… ). Even when the Dyneema slings did not fail, the impact force (18–22+ kN) delivered to the climber likely would have resulted in massive or fatal injury."

"Rigging for Rescue also tested a variety of personal lanyards and anchors (riggingforrescue.com/reLany… )... Specially designed tethers — such as the Metolius PAS, Blue Water Titan, and Sterling Chain Reactor — are made partly with Spectra or Dyneema (the Chain Reactor is 100 percent nylon), and none is intended to absorb much energy or withstand dynamic loading. During Rigging For Rescue’s drop tests, the PAS withstood a factor-1 fall with a 220-pound weight, but the resulting impact force was 19 kN..."

Finn The Human · · The Land of Ooo · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 106

I use a Metolious PAS with 2 biners for hanging on anchors. That's it. I try never to leave slack in the system when I'm on the PAS because (as everyone has pointed out) it is not meant to catch a fall, even a 1 foot fall.

mike bromberg · · Revelstoke · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 315

Of course, Bight was the word i was using. Anyhow, without diving into it too much, "when properly managed" there is nothing wrong with dyneema/spectra and it is important to be aware of the limitations of each material.
That example from the grand cap is the classic misuse of a static sling. Climber climbs above anchor, then falls on said anchor, producing a fall factor of at or near "2". Strong case for using the rope as your tie in, as well as properly managing your tether.

Daisy chains are inappropriate for use as a leash of any sort, regardless of material.

It does come down to using a safe method that you are comfortable and efficient with.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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