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What do you think of this anchor setup?


Original Post
ryancdcampbell · · Waverly, Ohio · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5
Anchor Setup

Is this setup very safe for top rope? I seen some people using this the other day.

It was just some webbing with an overhand on a bight used to make a loop for a girth hitch on one end, and an overhand on a bight used to clip on a quick draw on the other end.

The trees were about 20 feet from the edge.
tim · · Boulder, CO · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 50

I like to have the biners sitting directly on the cliff edge so my military spec webbing doesn't get worn.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

I wouldn't like the overhand on a bight (not sure about that knot for webbing), but otherwise looks fine.

CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 20

It wouldn't be my first choice. That being said, you would probably be fine with this setup.

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25

Could be better but they won't be doing the dying.

David Baddeley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 30

Not unsafe - I'd climb on it, but also not optimal (ie not what you'd want to learn as the 'right' way of doing things).

Major shortcomings:
- hard to adjust lengths of the two strands
- having the knots rubbing on the edge is not ideal
- a few extra points of failure (the draws could likely be replaced with 2 lockers directly on the slings).

For top-roping off trees I'd use a piece of static rope and a couple of lockers.

Michael C · · New Jersey · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 340

Go to Amazon, but a John Long or Craig Luebben book on how to Rock Climb and Build Climbing Anchors.

Joel Allen · · La Crosse, WI · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 265
FrankPS wrote:I wouldn't like the overhand on a bight (not sure about that knot for webbing), but otherwise looks fine.
Overhand on a bight is one of the best knots for webbing. :)
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
ryancdcampbell wrote: Is this setup very safe for top rope? I seen some people using this the other day. It was just some webbing with an overhand on a bight used to make a loop for a girth hitch on one end, and an overhand on a bight used to clip on a quick draw on the other end. The trees were about 20 feet from the edge.
Ryan, what is YOUR opinion of this? That's what matters. Folks here can give you a huge amount of help, but you have to know at least enough to know what bugs you about the setup. Nice job doing a diagram, by the way.

No one asked the most obvious question: how bomber are the trees?

Old Lady H.

Ditto on the books. There's a pocket version of the anchor one you can take with you, for reference and practicing.
ARonchetti · · Mundelein, IL · Joined May 2011 · Points: 15

The only part of this that makes me REALLY nervous are the quickdraws. If they were used for sport climbing prior to this there could be burs which in turn could cut into the webbing and/or the rope. Not saying either of those will instantly cut in some kind of epic Cliffhanger-like scenario. But there could be some impact.

t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

I'm not sure I would trust those trees. They appear to not have any branches which would make me think they are dead.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
t.farrell wrote:I'm not sure I would trust those trees. They appear to not have any branches which would make me think they are dead.
Very good point.

Upon closer inspection of the so-called "trees," they may actually be cow's legs, without the hooves. I rarely use cow legs as an anchor.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
FrankPS wrote: Very good point. Upon closer inspection of the so-called "trees," they may actually be cow's legs, without the hooves. I rarely use cow legs as an anchor.
Frank, I've often thought an amicable pachyderm could be an excellent anchor/belayer. No device needed.
n00b · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40
Old lady H wrote: Frank, I've often thought an amicable pachyderm could be an excellent anchor/belayer. No device needed.
Just point of clarification: cows are ungulates, not pachyderms. "Pachyderm" is an obsolete term.

But maybe you prefer rhinoceroses for anchoring your belays?
ryancdcampbell · · Waverly, Ohio · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 5

Thanks for the help everybody!
I'll definitely look into getting a pocket book for reference in the future. And apparently I need to learn to draw my trees a little better :D

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 790
ARonchetti wrote:The only part of this that makes me REALLY nervous are the quickdraws. If they were used for sport climbing prior to this there could be burs which in turn could cut into the webbing and/or the rope. Not saying either of those will instantly cut in some kind of epic Cliffhanger-like scenario. But there could be some impact.
Unless you're using extremely worn or messed up biners, there's absolutely no reason to be "REALLY" nervous about using sport draws that have seen loading or whippers on bolts. If they were sharpened or deformed to the point of damaging fabric, they should be retired anyways. You will see more impact on the webbing from loading it over an edge than you'll ever see from using a draw previously used for sport.

This setup is perfectly safe with opposed draws, although many would just use a pair of lockers instead.
ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 410

The overhand is the appropriate knot for flat/tubular webbing. That's how you make a tied runner. If you're not making it on a bight as shown you're threading it in the opposite direction. Either way, just dress it well so it lies flat without twists and make sure it's tight, e.g. with a runner step on the loop and pull hard. 3 inches of tail should be plenty if tight, but check for tightness over time as it will loosen.

You can improve that setup rather easily by creating redundancy as follows.

Take the two webbing ends 3 or 4 feet above the edge and tie them together in a single overhand knot, so that the "v" now looks like a "y". The tail of the "y" then becomes a redundant part of the anchor system and both quickdraws are effectively attached to both trees. This is an easy way to distribute loads and it has other benefits should part of the system fail.

The next improvement is to remove the quickdraws from the system and to use two reversed 'biners clipped into both webbing loops. Now the tail of the "y" is a redundant closed loop and both 'biners are connected to each tree. Fewer 'biners means fewer opportunities to come unclipped. Obviously lockers are best but not necessary if the 'biners are reversed with similar profiles.

They used single-stranded webbing due to the distance to the trees, but closed loop webbing would improve this system even more, because when you combine two webbing loops with a single overhand you get a cleaner attachment for your 'biners, plus you have an extra strand of webbing taking wear at the edge. And, when you use the overhand above and below the edge you now would have 4 independent strands over the edge. You would have to cut all 4 for the anchor to fail.

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

Particularly in areas with a lot of toprope traffic, avoid girth-hitching trees to the extent possible. It's pretty damaging to the trees. Instead, use a wrap-three, pull-two technique, or a basket-hitch type arrangement.

The setup shown is safe enough, but I would only use my webbing like that if I absolutely needed it for the length.

And yes, an overhand on a bight is actually the best knot for webbing. It lies flatter than an eight and is just as strong.

Finally, I'd only be concerned about that edge if (1) it's quite sharp, and (2) there's any risk of significant side-to-side motion because a climber is not directly below the masterpoint.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
n00b wrote: Just point of clarification: cows are ungulates, not pachyderms. "Pachyderm" is an obsolete term. But maybe you prefer rhinoceroses for anchoring your belays?
Pachyderms are elephants. Much better than rhinos (tusks aren't redundant).
Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 855
tim wrote:I like to have the biners sitting directly on the cliff edge so my military spec webbing doesn't get worn.
LOL
Cory Furrow · · Blacksburg, VA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 25
Dylan B. wrote:Instead, use a wrap-three, pull-two technique, or a basket-hitch type arrangement.
Agreed!
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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