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Better living through safer anchoring

Original Post
JFM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,818

Hello MP,

Let me begin by saying that I'm somewhat new to this whole climbing thing (I think you call us "gumbos," but that seems derogatory, so please don't use that term) -- I just got my belay tag for TR at the gym earlier this afternoon -- but I have been doing a whole lot of thinking ever since I started reading on these extremely useful and always enlightening Mountain Projects Forums about how it is necessary to be as safe as possible.

I have already ordered a Metoleus Extra-Safe harness (the one with the two belay loops) and a chalk-bag (along with an extra strap just in case the first one breaks--it was only $12 from Prano).

For Belay devices, I went with a Pretzl GriGri 2 and I also ordered a hollow-block prussick cord from Starling to back it up with (a great idea I read about on these very forums!). The figure-8 belay looked easier to use but because it doesn't automatically catch the TR falls just by releasing the rope and device, I thought it wasn't worth the risk.

I havent really tried Tradding yet, but I think that I can use the crack at the Gym to work on using all those Camelots and Buddies that the good Tradders use. I want to be ready to head out and climb up the Dome in Yosemite by next summer, so I am shifting in to high gear as far as getting my climbing systems dialed in.

To this end, I read a whole lot about SERENE anchors here on the Mountain Projects. I still need to find a copy of the John Large books on anchors, but REI was out when I went in there (Regardless, the employee there was very helpful and knowledgeable and helped me pick out some great 7/16 static top-roping rope and a few of the Metoleus brand Camelots-- they will come in handy when I need to make anchors, he said). I understand that all components of the SERENE equation are equal, but some are more equal than others. It seems that "efficient" is the most equal part-- please don't bother correcting me if I am wrong on this.

It seems that there is a lot of discussion about how to make the best Tradding Anchor possible. Did I mention that I love on-line shopping? I have created a new (and I think ingenious) anchor system that I think will catch on with Tradders, old and noob alike (haha a climbing joke -- I bet there are some jokes about climbing gear that I will learn soon and never get tired of! LOL).

Please have a look at my anchor system and rate it. Please note that I don't actually own any of the gear that is illustrated in my anchor system, but I read all about it on the online gear websites and believe that these are the strongest components available that all have UAII type certification (which I understand is very important).

Super Anchor

Let me explain a few key features of this:

  • It is Strong - all of the components are rated with high numbers.
  • It has No Extension - the barrel knots will not go through the pulleys if the rope breaks.
  • It is Redundant - you can break any of the parts and it will still work, especially if you have two PAS systems locked to the Bear-Paw at the bottom, as I will most certainly have when I climb.
  • It is Efficient - it's already tied and ready to go! Just take it off your harness and clip it to your Camelots and you're ready to do a Trad belay.
  • It will Equalize - the pulleys will allow the anchor system to equalize almost perfectly. (I say "almost" because all the people who seem to know what they are talking about here on MountainProjects say that true equalization is not possible and even though I believe I know better than that, I will at least provide the illusion that I respect their opinions).
  • It has three parts. Everyone says three-part anchors are the best.

A few more notes:

  • Even though it is designed only for Ice Climbing, I will use the Grover brand two-gated carabiner to attach the double-pulley to the bear paw because the features won't allow it to rotate and opening it seems almost impossible.
  • I will use the DAMN brand super-safe locking revolving pulley carabiners for attaching to the loops on the Camelots for extra equalization.
  • I could have substituted two single pulleys for the red Petzl double-pulley but I thought that it would make it a bit too heavy.
  • I plan to use the #4 Camelots only, because it makes sense that a bigger Camelot is safer.
  • The orange Rock Erotica pulleys have a swivel on them for proper alignment.

Please let me know what you think!

Edit: Frank thanks for the words of encouragement. I will be trying that Honnald Dome, of course. He makes it look fun and pretty easy.
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

I can see you've done your homework.

One question - which "Dome" in Yosemite? Puppy Dome? El Capitan Dome? Middle Cathedral Dome?

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120


Embarrassed to say · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 5


highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

It is literally perfect.

I've never encountered a belay ledge you can't get three #4's into, so that is a wise choice.

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

That anchor is rediiculous, no screamers or other shock absorbing devices for all the falls you are going to take right after you leave the ledge.

Danger-Russ Gordon · · Orem UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 590

Best thing I've seen on MP in the last few days, thank you!

Bill Czajkowski · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 30

Great! Maybe the indoor trad learning dude can use it!

walmongr · · Gilbert AZ · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 100

The UL trigger kits have been having issues... I would recommend using the regular camelots as it may save you some pump not having to fix the triggers if you are trying to set this up at a hanging belay! Other then that I am running to REI now to pay full retail for all this stuff to build my own!!

JFM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,818

Rick, you are right. I had not thought of the shock-loading scenario. I appreciate your feedback. Here is an illustration that involves a Yurts Screamer. After reading about their fall KN ratings, I think that one screamer should work. My only concern is that it may introduce more extension into the Super Anchor System. In addition, the rope used for the anchor system will be dynamic rope, which is especially necessary when using the anchor for Tradding on TR with my static rope.

With Screamer

Mr Monger, I have read about the trigger issue. I think that the weight savings of the ultralight Camelots vs the old Camelots is worth the risk. In any event, per a forum suggestion on the topic, I plan to use a small amount of epoxy to glue the trigger wires to the triggers.
Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,040

A f&cking screamer!!!

I'm seriously about to shet myself, eyes are watering

Glenn Schuler · · Monument, Co. · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,320
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote: I've never encountered a belay ledge you can't get three #4's into, so that is a wise choice.
A placement for a single Nalgene bottle with an equalized sling is way more common, Duh.

OP, is your super anchor Provisionally Patented??

edit: I rate your anchor system a 14 out of 10. Will you be my mentor??
JFM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,818

Glenn, I am not patenting the Super Anchor with Screamer at this time-- I just want to provide the safest anchor concept to all the Tradders out there who have (somehow) not died with their sub-par anchor systems.

Also, I would be happy to mentor you. I will contact you via Private Message after I have earned my Sport Leader belay tag, as that will prepare me for taking on a student. Hopefully my gym will soon invest in the Indoor-Tradding holds so that I can get a Trad Leader belay tag. At that time, I will be ready to guide my friends and students on Traditional rock climbs outdoors! Also I ordered some Fife.Tan guide tennies to boost my confidence!

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70
Glenn Schuler · · Monument, Co. · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,320
J Marsella wrote: I will contact you via Private Message after I have earned my Sport Leader belay tag
Awesome! I'll be here on my couch waiting! When my wife sees the PM she will dig me out from under the 5 ft. pile of empty PBR cans and I will be so ready to Tradd!!!!
Phil Lauffen · · The Bubble · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 2,240

The acid that is doubtless all over that rope will definitely make you dead. Better back up the entire 'cord' with another even thicker one.

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,525

The only thing missing is an IndieGoGo flexible funding campaign to patent this setup and sell it as a ready made anchor!

Steven Groetken · · Durango, CO · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 390

Please don't tell me that you are only clipping in to one bear paw. That's defeats the purpose of redundancy in the rest of your system. Please use two single ropes as well, just in case one breaks.

Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 938

I don't understand the purpose of the DMM revolvers. You don't need the reduced friction at those points, and you're sacrificing the added strength you could get from steel carabiners.

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

ONLY #4 Cam's? I think you better use these:

MUCH Stronger!

Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,040

"bearpaw" makes me laugh

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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