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Bolted multi-pitch, not swapping leads: anchor tactics


Original Post
DCohen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 125

Because everyone here loves to argue about anchors...

I'm planning on taking my fiancee up her first multi-pitch route soon (bolted line, bolt anchors). I realized that this is the first time I haven't swapped leads on a multi-pitch route since my first multi-pitch years ago when I was the designated follower, and I generally don't have the luxury of bolted anchors, so I've never really given this much thought.

My go to anchors are rope, quad, cordelette, etc., depending on the situation. Rope anchors aren't great for block leading for obvious reasons, and because it's a bolted route in an area we're flying to, I'd love to leave as much gear at home as I can. When swapping leads, and particularly on gear anchors, it's sort of a given that the lead belayer will be clipped into a legitimate anchor. My question is this: especially because the route should be pretty cruiser for me, can she be her own master point? Which is to say, can she just leash into one bolt, clove into the other with her end of the rope, and then belay me as normal? It's redundant, not much extension, equalizedish.

Is this stupid? Is this common? Am I gonna die? Anchor experts please advise.

Grey Satterfield · · Broomfield · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 15

YER GUNNA DIEEE - sorry just had to get that outta my system

It seems legit, I always use a sliding X with a double length runner on two bolt anchors. Hardly any extra gear, super simple to set up and tear down.

steverett · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 105

I don't see a problem with that, as long as you can fit the extra biners on the bolt hangers (I assume you would anchor in the same way, which means 2 biners on each bolt while you're both at the anchor).

Option B is get 2 longer slings to use at anchors like a cordalette; slings are small and light.

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55

If your partner is connected to both bolts, she can belay you off her harness safely. She'll basically building a TR setup by redirecting the rope upward through a biner on one of the anchors.

However, this has the risk to get really uncomfortable for your partner (relationship-ending uncomfortable, probably not, but belaytionship-ending, maybe) - if something goes awry at the bolt the rope has been redirected through, you could end hanging from your partner's harness. In that circumstance, one may not be guaranteed auto-blocking behavior (if a guide device). It will be quite difficult to pull slack up through since both strands will be pretty low relative to your partner's arms. And it' just going to squish things weirdly and painfully.

it would generally be better to build the redirect point redundantly with a cordellete/sliding X/two quickdraws/anchor of your choice. You're not really adding any significant weight by carrying it.

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 425
DCohen wrote:Which is to say, can she just leash into one bolt, clove into the other with her end of the rope, and then belay me as normal?
Yes
DCohen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 125
Tradgic Yogurt wrote:She'll basically building a TR setup by redirecting the rope upward through a biner on one of the anchors.
Tradgic, either I'm not understanding what you're saying, or I didn't explain fully. I will be leading all of the pitches. I'm talking about having her belay me on lead while she is directly tethered into the bolts.
Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86

I think it will be fine. I do this with my GF a lot but choose to bring up two 4' runners pre-tied. She can just clove on a locker on the MP with the rope, keeps the static leash out of the equation even if you shouldn't fall. She hands me all the draws and the last anchor and I am off. I actually just did this same thing on this route: mountainproject.com/v/carte…

What climb are you going to do?

Ryan Hill · · Oakland, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 30

Sounds like a pretty standard setup. You'll be fine with the situation as you described it.

For bolted anchors I like a double length sling with two overhand knots tied in it. Girth hitch it to a rap ring at the anchor and clip it to the other bolt with a locker. Clove in with a locker on a "sliding x" setup and you've got a fully adjustable tether that will equalize and has pre-arranged limiter knots. Takes a couple of seconds to set up and is easy for the second to disassemble. It also gives you more room to clip into vs. both of you clipping tethers and cloves into the bolts. Make sure you go over the sliding x with your significant other prior to heading up so that they know how to clip into it properly.

In areas such as Red Rock Canyon I've done this a lot on long routes that have nicely bolted belays with good stances.

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55
DCohen wrote: Tradgic, either I'm not understanding what you're saying, or I didn't explain fully. I will be leading all of the pitches. I'm talking about having her belay me on lead while she is directly tethered into the bolts.
My bad. I misinterpreted your description, I thought she would be leading/top belaying. In which case, carry on, what you're describing should be ok, though I like Parker's idea about belayer cloving to master point.
cdec · · SLC, UT · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 540

4 - 1 OZ biners and 2 dyneema quads, made from 48" runners and and a locker for your partner to clove with. You've got yourself 2, straight forward, bomber anchors and weigh in at about 6OZ total.

Larry S · · Easton, PA · Joined May 2010 · Points: 840

My usual tactic when bringing an inexperienced climber is to keep things as simple and mistake proof as possible for them. For me this means keeping their end of the rope entirely out of the anchor. They don't mess with their anchor till their on belay and their rope is taught. I don't want them having to untie part of their attachment. So i'll usually build an easy pre-equalized anchor with a tied 48" runner (or quad), and have them clip to it with a tether / PAS. This is the only time i actually recommend using a PAS and not the rope.

They have simple responsibilities of unclipping their tether and not forgetting the anchor sling. And they know if the communication goes bad, that if the rope goes taught and stays taught for 30 seconds, they are on belay. - no need to try and untie the rope while it's tensioned from above.

Edit: yes, you can get lighter by removing the PAS and/or the slings, but this is fast and easy for her, and for me, that would be priority in that situation.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

When guideing / leading in blocks on multi pitch I carry two pre tied 4ft sewn runners in the Quad style. fastest and simple method.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

If it is bolted anchors all the way up I would do the following, it is pretty much idiot proof so you really should not have to worry about the person following doing anything wrong.

1) 1 small rope tied together into a loop. 2 biners with it so it can be pre-tied together and all you have to do is clip it in both bolts. maybe untie / retie the master point if the bolts are out of balance.

2) Tie yourself into the the master point / anchor bolts with 1-2 leashes (this could be done with just the rope, slings, or pre-made pas).

3) Belay her up from the master point so if worst case happens you are free to go down the rope and help her.

4) Once she gets up have her tie into the 2 bolts with 2 different leashes (for her use 2 slings or 2 pre-made pas type things)

5) She puts you on belay and you can untie the entire anchor you have setup and start climbing. She will be directly on both bolts with 2 biners.

6) Once you have the next anchor setup she takes 2 biner clips off clips them to her harness and starts climbing.

If going light I would say all you need is 1 rope pre-tied together with 2 biners for the anchor. 1 belay device to belay up + biner. 1 biner to clove yourself into the master point. 2 sling / pas style devices with 2 biners for her to go direct into both bolts. (+ the rest of your rack for the climb)

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

the quad is self equalizeing and made of standard sewn 4ft runner. it's about as simple as it gets for leading in blocks...

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 502
Nick Goldsmith wrote:the quad is self equalizeing and made of standard sewn 4ft runner. it's about as simple as it gets for leading in blocks...
This. It's so simple and super bomber so it's well worth the extra weight and space in your luggage.
Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877

The simplest with least amount of gear. Only four biners required.

You get to anchor. You clip bolt one with a locker. Clove in with rope.
Clip bolt 2 with locker. Clove in with rope with minimal slack. Go off belay.

Now

If you plan to auto block belay, clip it to your locker on bolt 2. If you plan to belay off your harness clip a redirect biner to bolt 2.
Belay her up.

When she gets to anchor

She clips a locker under your biner 2 which is unweighted. She cloves in with rope.
She clips a locker, this time on top of your biner 1. She cloves in with rope with minimal slack.
She goes off belay.

She puts you on belay.
You un clip your biner 2 and take it with you.
You undo clove 1 but keep the lead rope in it to prevent factor 2.
Carry on.

If the belay stances are good and there are rings on the hangers this should be easy. If not, you will have to use a little more brain power to execute.

Or just do what you suggested. That's fine, too.

WhiskeyDan · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 65
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

make the quad with sewn 4ft runner. much lighter and less bulky than the cordelet method. also you can use the runner on the pitch if nessicary.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90
Nick Goldsmith wrote:make the quad with sewn 4ft runner. much lighter and less bulky than the cordelet method. also you can use the runner on the pitch if nessicary.
Only works with skinny dyneema runner's, fwiw. I've found with Nylon sling the knot's take up too much material.

But there's really no reason you need a quad specifically.

If you carry one anchor set-up, and your 2nd carries the other, you never have to carry more than 1 anchor up a pitch.

Two 4ft slings will do the job for bolted anchors. Clip the bolts, tie a master point, and clove in. Belay up the 2nd, and have them clove in with their own locker. Transfer gear and the 2nd anchor gear, and lead the next pitch. Build anchor, etc. 2nd get's on belay, removes the clove, and breaks down the anchor and climbs up. Repeat.

You may need 1 extra locker, but it saves time over a tether and the rope directly to the bolts. No need for a separate tether with this set up.
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

seems to work just fine for me.... I try to Never use skinny Dynema for the actual masterpoint. I do only use the quad for leading in blocks though I often have that pre tied sling in my rack for slinging stuff...

quad in action

cdec · · SLC, UT · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 540
Nick Goldsmith wrote: I try to Never use skinny Dynema for the actual masterpoint.
Why?

Also that looks like a Duo not a quad.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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