Has two opposed draws on an anchor ever come unclipped?


Original Post
20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,352

The other day I saw a girl arguing against the use of two opposed draws on the anchor for TR, citing that the rope could come unclipped. She offered one locking draw and one non-locking as an alternative. They looked to me and asked if I've ever heard of the rope popping out of two draws, and I said I have not.

Has anyone actually seen or heard of a rope popping out of two opposite draws while TRing?

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

Never seen nor heard of it.

I think someone on rc.com might have concocted a scenario in which it could happen, of course far-fetched. Most folks, including me, are comfortable with opposed non-locking biners (I climbed many years without every carrying a locking biner), but if the young woman wants a locker for one of them, no problem, right?

matt c. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 155
rgold wrote: (I climbed many years without every carrying a locking biner)
What did you use on your belay device?
Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 285

No and hip belays - tens of thousands of goes between the dozen of us and no one was ever dropped (when leading the leader side of rope first went through a non-locking biner on the harness).

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Can we take one more step - has anyone experienced single draw unclipping in top roping setup?

T Roper · · DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 860
20 kN wrote:The other day I saw a girl arguing against the use of two opposed draws on the anchor for TR, citing that the rope could come unclipped. She offered one locking draw and one non-locking as an alternative. They looked to me and asked if I've ever heard of the rope popping out of two draws, and I said I have not. Has anyone actually seen or heard of a rope popping out of two opposite draws while TRing?
Ha, I see where you are going with this slightly misogynistic post. ;)

One of my best scores of booty ever was at the City of Rocks where a previous climber had bailed off of a huge cowbell, attached to this giant and well placed cowbell was 4 small locking biners hanging on the one piece of cord. I still use these lockers to this day, I left the cowbell behind.
khammer · · Kinda All Over · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 20

Never heard of two unclipping but I have heard of one "cold shut" or fixed lowering biner becomeing unclipped (not sure the most used term for that). Essentially if the rope is twisted around itself while lowering and cleaning the route and then the climber being lowered unweights the rope to try a move or undo a draw etc. the twist can lift up over the gate of the lone biner/shut. Then when the climber reweights the rope its pops through the gate unclipping completely. Does that make sense? I'm not sure how common an incident it is but I've heard about it happening in Spain (where TRing on a lone fixed biner is too common).

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,430
20 kN wrote:The other day I saw a girl arguing against the use of two opposed draws on the anchor for TR, citing that the rope could come unclipped. She offered one locking draw and one non-locking as an alternative. They looked to me and asked if I've ever heard of the rope popping out of two draws, and I said I have not. Has anyone actually seen or heard of a rope popping out of two opposite draws while TRing?
I haven't. I've seen this type of hyper vigilance often with bolted anchors though. I mean, whatever someone wants to do up there is up to them. If it makes them feel more secure about the situation then I say go for it.

The premise is somewhat silly though. My conversations with people go like this:

Them: You don't use lockers on your anchor?

Me: Nope.

Them: Why not? You're not afraid the rope could come unclipped?

Me: Nope. Furthermore, if the clipping stance sucks, I want to get a draw on the bolt and get it clipped ASAP, and lockers can inhibit that sometimes. A standard draw is easier to clip.

Them: Idk... I just don't trust it.

Me: You don't trust two quickdraws opposed in a top rope scenario on two solid bolts where the climber (and consequently the rope) will never be above them?

Them: Nope. I have to have lockers on my anchors. It just makes me feel better.

Me: Do you lead?

Them: Yes.

Me: So, you don't trust two opposed quickdraws to keep the rope in a top rope scenario, but you trust a single quickdraw to keep the rope in while you're leading close to the ground on second and third bolts where the consequence of one coming unclipped is certain decking?

Them: ........
Tom Sherman · · Bristol, RI · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 416

Jake is an admin now? oh how the times have changed... Grigri is still going strong bro!

I'd probably argue that you should use two opposed lockers (especially if I was talking to someone who I felt was inexperienced, or if I myself was) for a TR setup that was out of sight and you were going to use all day.

I'll also use two opposed draws if we're 1) sport climbing 2) there's quick-clips/rams-horns and 3) the second isn't leading just cleaning or I otherwise feel the persons I'm with are inexperienced.... otherwise I'd throw one or two lockers in... but i also don't have a full set of QD's, so I'm sport climbing with half a rack of alpine's so its a lot easier for me to say "oh i'll throw a locker in".

I think outside the realm of sport climbing its just stupid to not use them, (no offense (for all interpreters of new mp values)), why wouldn't you just throw a locker into the setup

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,430
Tom Sherman wrote:Jake is an admin now? oh how the times have changed... Grigri is still going strong bro! I'd probably argue that you should use two opposed lockers (especially if I was talking to someone who I felt was inexperienced, or if I myself was) for a TR setup that was out of sight and you were going to use all day. I'll also use two opposed draws if we're 1) sport climbing 2) there's quick-clips/rams-horns and 3) the second isn't leading just cleaning or I otherwise feel the persons I'm with are inexperienced.... otherwise I'd throw one or two lockers in... but i also don't have a full set of QD's, so I'm sport climbing with half a rack of alpine's so its a lot easier for me to say "oh i'll throw a locker in". I think outside the realm of sport climbing its just stupid to not use them, (no offense (for all interpreters of new mp values)), why wouldn't you just throw a locker into the setup
Couldn't agree more Tom. Those are all good reasons, and at the end of the day, whatever you feel most comfortable with is what you should do. I just think it's funny to see someone lead a route and trust a single draw to keep them off the ground when they climb above it and then get to the anchor and throw in two lockers and say "there, now I'm safe- whew!"

I'm just an admin because I know the areas that needed the most maintenance in my general vicinity well. I don't moderate forums or anything like that. In fact, half the time I should probably be moderated.
wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 472
matt c. wrote: What did you use on your belay device?
I dunno what RGold used but I used two ovals O&O on my Sticht plate and ATC.
Jack C. · · Calgary, AB · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 325

I never use lockers for the master point at least in a TR set-up if I can help it. One time I got to the anchor on a TR and both opp & opp oval screwgates at the master point had unscrewed each other. The rope had completely come out of one and was resting in the nose of the other with the gate clipped onto the rope. Good thing it was a 5.6 I've led a bunch of times.

So I only use oval non-lockers in a TR set-up. The screw gates are just one more thing to get in the way and get snagged on imo.

Anyway, it was probably a complete fluke or some hiker had been messing with our anchor at the top of the crag. Do what makes you comfy. Opp & opp screwgates no longer make me comfy.

Jason Halladay · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Oct 2005 · Points: 10,472
20 kN wrote:Has anyone actually seen or heard of a rope popping out of two opposite draws while TRing?
Nope

amarius wrote:Can we take one more step - has anyone experienced single draw unclipping in top roping setup?
Negative

Tom Sherman wrote:Jake is an admin now?
For nearly two years

If I'm setting up a TR from the top of a cliff using static rope or webbing, I almost always using at least one locker, probably two. Old habit from BITD. Yet if I'm leaving a rope up on a bolt anchor for TRing after leading it, I've only ever used quickdraws with opposed non-locking gates. Never seen or heard of a problem with this setup.
David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6

I consider a pair of quick-draws (opposed appropriately) to be safe for a TR anchor. I've never heard of such an anchor coming unclipped. If I follow, or TR, a climb and find such as an anchor, I will feel safe.

If I am setting up a TR for a group of people (not just one other person to follow & clean, but several), I will prefer to use a pair of burly lockers opposite and opposed. I do this for two reasons -- if there is going to be multiple people on the route, I want the extra (perhaps over-safe) protection of the two locking carabiners -- with lots of climb/lower/thrash and possible off-angle that can happen, this makes me feel it is extra-safe for the people I'm setting this up for. Additionally, I would rather the wear be placed on a pair of thick locking biners, rather than the smaller/lighter carabiners on my quick-draws.

I've also been known to occasionally put two draws on a clip before a crux section while leading sport, just in case.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20
David Gibbs wrote: If I am setting up a TR for a group of people (not just one other person to follow & clean, but several), I will prefer to use a pair of burly lockers opposite and opposed. I do this for two reasons -- if there is going to be multiple people on the route, I want the extra (perhaps over-safe) protection of the two locking carabiners -- with lots of climb/lower/thrash and possible off-angle that can happen, this makes me feel it is extra-safe for the people I'm setting this up for. Additionally, I would rather the wear be placed on a pair of thick locking biners, rather than the smaller/lighter carabiners on my quick-draws. I've also been known to occasionally put two draws on a clip before a crux section while leading sport, just in case.
Similar here - if setting up TR for a single run up a sport route, two QDs. If setting up TR-gang session, I build a "proper" anchor - self equalizing quad with lockers - they are beefier, and, unlike quick draw carabiners that have rubber thingies at the rope side carabiner, are free to move on the rope, I deem screwgates provide extra layer of peace of mind.
Paul Hutton · · Dirtbaggin' western US · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 701

I've had a quickdraw unclip from a bolt as I climbed past it on sport lead. It was one of those Petzl draws with the real thick, rigid, white dogbones. Top rope non lockers, never experienced or heard of it.

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

In my experience, two opposite and opposed quickdraws are de rigeur for a two-bolt anchor atop a single-pitch sport climb.

However, there are some circumstances where I prefer a locker on one, or an anchor more carefully constructed with a quad or cordalette. If the anchor is out-of-sight of the belayer and climber, or if it's someplace where non-climbers are frequently passing and might fuss with it, I am more likely to build something. If I expect a lot of people to run TR laps, I like to slap at least one locker on it.

I also do consider equalization and direction of fall/pull if the climb is not directly under the anchor. THis may require slings, a quad or cordalette.

If efficient clipping is important for a subsequent leader, I will make sure there's a standard draw or non-locker available for the quick-clip, but may still have a more well-built anchor to use after that first clip is accomplished.

As with everything in climbing, it depends on circumstances.

Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 938
Healyje wrote:No and hip belays - tens of thousands of goes between the dozen of us and no one was ever dropped (when leading the leader side of rope first went through a non-locking biner on the harness).
You post that picture a lot.

Just curious, do you believe that hip-belays have any disadvantages compared to a harness-ATC belay? Your persistent reference seems to imply that it's just as good for just about anything. Am I misunderstanding you?
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 230

Anyone who says it will never happen is crazy. It can still come unclip just really rare. But than it is probably the same chance of the rope getting cut so if you are not using 2 different ropes but using locking biners you are still at the same chance of failure.

It is the same thing with people talking about having 2 points of failure yet they are climbing on a single rope.

Chris CW · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 85

NO! NEVER!

Guy H. · · Fort Collins CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 7,266
amarius wrote:Can we take one more step - has anyone experienced single draw unclipping in top roping setup?
I've had it happen twice in 25yrs of climbing. Both times following/cleaning a sport climb - where the final moves to the anchor came in straight from the side, rather than from below the anchor. In each case, during the traverse to the chains, the rope unclipped from only one of the non-locking draws. I believe it was the draw whose gate was facing me as I traversed in.

It's pretty rare, but making the final moves to the chains with only a single non-locking biner, on a single bolt between you and the deck does add a little spice to the finish. So if the finishing moves require a traverse in, I like to have a locker on one side and the gate of the non-locker facing away from the traverse.

-Guy's wife
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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