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"Right" way to anchor


Original Post
Toby LM · · Calimesa, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

New to climbing so help me out.

Is there a text book top rope anchor? if so what is it? and how do I know is officially the best?

I have climbed with several people and they all create different top rope anchors; quad, sliding x, two draws etc. but my question is, is there an official, UIAA or USA or IDK way to create said anchor? Yes it depends on whats available, but id imagine most often its two bolds with chains, so lets use this for an example.

I want to do it right the first time so I create good habits, and I want to buy the correct gear for creating these anchors for top rope.

THANKS and keep on climbing

Nick Niebuhr · · Santa Fe, NM · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 465

I believe there is actually a textbook on anchors... And I think I've seen it at REI.

I was taught by my wife, who was taught by ACMG guides, and in my opinion the best anchor from bolts is the pre-equalized anchor with an overhand knot and two lockers on the master point to feed the rope through. That's my opinion based on what I've learned by people I trust.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,523

Have you picked up and read a descent anchor book?

A good starting point: Climbing Anchors, 2nd Edition, John Long & Bob Gaines, 2006.

If you read it intently, you'll likely be able to evaluate the merits of the "quad, sliding X, two draws, etc.." ... and pick your own favorite way to anchor to two bolts and chains.

Edit to add: I think an important part of these kinds of decisions is self responsibility meaning, get informed and draw your own conclusions.

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

Learn from anchor text books. Practice with qualified individual. Decide for yourself what the best anchor is.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

there is no best option. For two bomber bolts it's basically personal preference from several acceptable options.

BrendanN · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 169

Like all others have said, the best depends a little on personal preference.

For the two solid bolts at equal-ish height, I like the quad. I leave it tied and keep the biners attached and it makes for fast and easy setup. Checked against SERENE (or ERNEST or whatever you prefer), it is solid with 2 loops per bolt, equalized with the small area between knots to allow movement of the master point, redundant due to 2 bolts and 2 loops going to each bolt, efficient due to ease of setup and evaluation of it being correct, and somewhat non-extending due to the limiter knots. This is where, personally, I accept the downside of extension in favor of equalization, also bolts are generally less likely to fail and don't require as small shock loads as say gear would.

Edit to add: +1 on Bill's edit comment

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Then why do you need equalization?

Anyways, as you can see, there is no "textbook" toprope anchor, because all of the examples you mentioned would be in the textbook. Each has different advantages and disadvantages, which is why different people use different systems. On bolts, it's pretty hard to build an anchor that is NOT solid, so I would go with the simplest, most efficient setup you can do. For me, that would be a cordellette masterpoint ("pre-equalized.").

Toby LM · · Calimesa, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

Thanks for all the input people, really great information.
Just bought myself Johns Longs book climbing Anchors, cant wait.

BrendanN, I agree, from the looks of it, a quad looks the most bomber, however, a bit large and cumbersome. I imagine all anchors have their trade offs

BrendanN · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 169

Yes, it is definitely big. I only bring it for toprope climbs, and just bring some smaller cord or slings for lead. That book will be a good resource for deciding what you like best.

BigNobody · · all over, mostly Utah · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 10
Bill Lawry wrote:Have you picked up and read a descent anchor book?
I love descent anchor books! It helps you spot all the anchors on the way down!
Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,523

Exactly. ;-)

tim · · Boulder, CO · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 50

I put blind faith in all bolts but go way overkill on lockers and cord.

Mark O'Neal · · Nicholson, GA · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 1,285

Try reading the Devils Lake top rope thread and then do nothing of what you see in the pictures.

BigFeet · · Texas · Joined May 2014 · Points: 380
Toby LM wrote:...I want to do it right the first time so I create good habits, and I want to buy the correct gear for creating these anchors for top rope.
Just a word of advice, but don't get sucked into buying all kinds of slings, webbing, cord, rope... unless you can and feel the need to. The only things I bring for a top rope anchor: 9mm x 30m static, 5.5mm x 7m or so of Titan, and necessary number of carabiners (locking & sometimes wiregates are in there somewhere for needed substitution when applicable). I can reach any edge, or through a quick Quad or two arm BFK, have a simple two bolt setup. Never had a problem.

Also, try and keep it simple, as stated above, by many. I do a lot of top rope solo climbing - just my thing. I've learned simple anchors are easy to inspect. Simple anchors are easy to setup and break down. One of the best attributes of a simple anchor is that it is easy to remember.

Keep in mind, a top rope anchor is most often not being attended to. Make sure you know what you are doing before someone else, who is trusting in your knowledge, gets on the falling end of that rope.

I've experimented with almost every posted anchor you see on MP, as well as, other resources...

Keep it simple!
grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Nick, can we please get an FAQ section? Like the 5-10 most popular questions

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

LOL J.

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

WOW 5 years as a heavy user and I never knew that School of Rock section existed. Put that at the top for new visitors please

BigFeet · · Texas · Joined May 2014 · Points: 380

J,

That picture is missing two screamers. Please edit. :)

Barrett Pauer · · Brevard, NC · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 775
J Marsella wrote:Also, #8 must be the number for Rock n Resole
Preach
Toby LM · · Calimesa, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

Mark, that devils Lake forum is great lol

Bigfeet, I totally agree with simple is better, the quad i think is where I will start and see how it feels for me. It looks easy to create and looks super bomber

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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