Dare I suggest another anchor scheme?


Original Post
Marty C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 70

There has been lots of discussion lately (again) about "improving" belay anchors.

To summarize generally accepted issues:
- load distributing/adjusting anchors (i.e. sliding X type anchor) allow extension if a piece of pro fails - BAD
- equalized anchors (i.e. cordalette type anchors) put all the load on a single piece if the load direction changes - BAD

The Holy Grail of anchors has been one that allows load distribution/sharing AND no extension if a piece of pro fails.

Attempts by manufacturers (i.e. Trango Alpine Equalizer, others) and amateurs (too many to mention) have come up short.

At the risk of Internet criticism/shaming, attached are some photos of a rigging system I have been playing with. It appears simple and effective; opinions/criticism are welcome.

It was an attempt to modify the features of the Trango Alpine Equalizer to have both sharing the load with different load directions and have no extension.

Basically, it is two 2 piece sliding X anchors connected. They work together, but are independent in the event a piece of pro in either sliding X were to fail. I used a Metolius Rabbit Runner cloved hitched to the inner sliding X (the Metolius RR is rated full strength in a single strand 22 Kn).

Obviously, I haven't tried this rigging system in all the possible real world scenarios (i.e. asymmetric arms/unequal length arms/etc.) but it would appear to share the load if the MP moves to the left and right from the central position.

In the event a piece blows (i.e. one on the inner sliding X) the load fall to the other sliding X with no extension and vice versa. There is only one knot/hitch to tie, the clove hitch on the Rabbit Runner. One could use a regular sling here as well. I found the RR a bit more efficient/easier. There are also no limiter knots to tie in the sliding X slings.

The inner anchor doesn't have to be a sliding X - it could be a single piece of pro (i.e. a regular 3 piece anchor)

Obviously, I would use locker biners at the "master point junction" - it slipped my mind when I took the photos.

Of course I know that I don't have "equalization" (no system truly does that), but I would think that even unequal sharing between several pieces is better than all the load on a single piece.

So, is this a waste of time or should I explore this some more?

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mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6

sigh...

NateGfunk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 50

just go climbing

Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 845

fukkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 307

Do you generally make 4 piece anchors?
Does carrying 3 slings and 7 biners for one anchor seem like a simplification?

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,752

The wheel is round, it was invented eons ago. Why do ppls on here keep trying to reinvent it, then photograph it, then talk about it for 19 pages?

Its real simple folks... 'take your cordelette cord and clip it into all three pieces. Then cord pull down from between the three pieces grab the bottom strand and tie either a figure of eight or an overhand.'

john2.71 · · Montclair, NJ · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 150

Cool idea. The problem I see is that the distance from the master point to the inner arm is a function of a circular arc, while the distance to outer points is that of an ellipse. So as you move side to side, one of the slings will accumulate slack.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

Would an individual piece hold a lead fall? Is the force of a follower on TR higher than a lead fall?

If your answers are yes and no, as they should be, then why fret about equalizing? Limit extension and go climbing.

Rick Blair · · Denver · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 268

Limiter knots on both sides of one of the sliding Xs and then purcell prussics at each anchor point and I am sold.

Also, not necessary but it could be improved by equalizing two of the protection points on each sliding X and throw in a screamer. That could be overkill though.

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

I think I can recommend the perfect climbing partner for you - as long as you stick to obscure routes, you two are going to have a blast rigging anchors, with maybe a little climbing in between.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90

I give this troll attempt about 2/10

Will S · · Joshua Tree · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,053

I've been experimenting with this load limiting rigging. It reduces peak forces by over 90%, is redundant 200x, and only takes 6 days to rig. You'll need a 700m spool of cord, and 127 locking biners, but it is a real improvement over a clove hitch with the climbing rope.

Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 845
Tim Lutz wrote:That set-up wont work with my PAS. next.
LOL!

This thread is producing
David Engel · · Santa Rosa, CA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 270

Thanks for taking the time to consider new ideas. You are right that our current anchors have failings and we should have some better solution. Is it possible to use your sliding x idea with one fixed middle anchor? I want to try that next time I'm on the rock. Likely, the middle anchor won't move enough.

As yours is, it's probably too big of a set up.

However, why do most people here have to be so negative. This should be a good source of information and sharing ideas, not a pissing contest.

JohnReg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 15

I build all my anchors with a minimum of 5 pieces. Otherwise I would use this for sure.

Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 845

have you guys ever heard of using the rope for the anchor? someone mentioned it before, sounds crazy to me

Nick Henscheid · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 290
Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610
Will S wrote:I've been experimenting with this load limiting rigging. It reduces peak forces by over 90%, is redundant 200x, and only takes 6 days to rig. You'll need a 700m spool of cord, and 127 locking biners, but it is a real improvement over a clove hitch with the climbing rope.
Oh, so that was you on the pitch above me when i waited ALL FRKN DAY for you to move up.
NorCalNomad · · San Francisco · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 105
NateGfunk wrote:just go climbing
+10000
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
David Engel wrote:However, why do most people here have to be so negative. This should be a good source of information and sharing ideas, not a pissing contest.
They're not being negative - we (those with a fair bit of experience) look at these constant reinventions of the wheel and can see little to no advantages and often many disadvantages. It's not being negative for the sake of being negative - it's that these "new ideas" basically suck.

Here's a suggestion: if you or someone else has a truly new and revolutionary anchor system, reasonably prove that it is indeed better. In addition to the typical fascination with extension and equalization the reasonable proof must also include consideration of:
  • time and effort - if either are more than standard existing methods, then demonstrate beyond doubt that the advantages of your new system outweigh the additional time and/or effort needed
  • bulk and weight
  • extra gear
  • quantifiable improvement

If you rely on simple proof by assertion, then please, stfu noob!
nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 307
Marc801 wrote:In addition to the typical fascination with extension and equalization the reasonable proof must also include consideration of: * time and effort - if either are more than standard existing methods, then demonstrate beyond doubt that the advantages of your new system outweigh the additional time and/or effort needed * bulk and weight * extra gear * quantifiable improvement If you rely on simple proof by assertion, then please, stfu noob!
I mean these threads do attempt to address this list. It's just they have a different grading metric.

It's like we can all agree that SERENE is good but there's a disconnect when it comes to evaluating the weight of each factor. The experienced climber evaluates a given anchor based on:

Solid - yes or no
Equalized - yes or no
Redundant - yes or no
Efficient - how many seconds to set up/tear down, how many extra pieces of gear required, how simple to check for mistakes
No Extension - yes or no

So they see anchors like OP and say, sure it's a "yes" for all the yes/no categories, but it's less efficient than a cordellette or rope anchor (which also get "yes" in all the yes/no's), so it's pointless.

The noob reads the same anchor book/article that recommends SERENE but when evaluating a given anchor they see:

Solid - scale of 1-100, aim for 100 if humanly possible
Equalized - scale of 1-100, aim for 100 if humanly possible
Redundant - scale of 1-100, aim for 100 if humanly possible
Efficient - ignore until all other categories are at 100
No Extension - scale of 1-100, aim for 100 if humanly possible

The thing the noob doesn't yet realize it that if you're going to climb 1,000 pitches you're going to set up your anchor 1000 times and tear down your anchor 1000 times and (hopefully) never once take a factor 2 onto it. Yes, it needs to be ready for that chance, but there really is such thing as "good enough" when you're talking about an event that is so infrequent. The efficiency thing, on the other hand, smacks you in the face every single pitch of every single climb, so it makes total sense to focus on optimizing that instead of hanging up on the details of quadruple redundancy or whatever else.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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