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How to set up this toprope anchor?


Original Post
Mei · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 50
Situation:

1. Two bolts with hangers on the flat ground on the top of the cliff
2. The bolts are about 10 ft back from the edge
3. There are three routes that can be set up to toprope depending on where you drape the anchor point over the edge. (I think that may be part of the reason for the bolts to be so far back away from the edge.)

Gear available:
1. Two long cordelettes, not equal in length, each longer than 10ft, but not as long as 20ft. The cordelettes are each already a closed loop, which I don't intend to retie.
2. assorted biners.

The above situation and the gear are given, so there is no need to discuss what they should have been. My question is, given the gear (mainly those cordelettes), when the leader reaches the top, what setup is best and fast for her to rig so the anchor point can drape over the cliff where she wants for her follower, and later, the anchor point can still be moved to serve as the anchor for a neighboring route (from the same bolts) without having to completely redo the whole setup?

More specifically, I'm looking for an answer to this questions: what's the best way (type of knot?) to shorten these two closed-loop cordelettes so they are mostly equalized at the anchor point and the anchor is adjustably directional?

In this case, I value equalization and adjustability more than redundancy. For example, I've used a shoulder sling on two close bolts with the anchor point on the sliding x for a quick toprope setup. But I have nothing against redundancy and it is needed more often than not.
Ross Ayer · · Southington, CT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 60

Just buy some static rope. It will be easier. Otherwise, use the cordelette, you'll have to untie them.

Mei · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 50

Think of it as a puzzle. Don't take shortcut. Work with what you have and see what's the best solution you can come up with.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

Two bolts less than 10' from the edge. Two cordelettes longer than 10', clip the bolts run the cords to the edge, knot them together with an eight or overhand. Clip two biners in opposition and hang the rope. JB

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,096

Shorten the length of the cordelette with an alpine butterfly.

Edit: Equalization is a largely hypothetical. The best you can shoot for is some measure of load sharing. Stong>Redundant>Extension>Everything else

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

Or an overhand on a bight. Or a clove hitch. Either way, you're making this much harder than it needs to be, and the attributes you value (equalization over redundancy on a 2 bolt anchor) suggest that you have room to grow regarding understanding the fundamentals of anchor building. The fact that you are somewhat bitterly anticipating what are the most obvious solutions/feedback make me wonder why you don't take them to heart.

ChossKing · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

http://www.rockandice.com/master-class-climbing-tips/quad-anchor

extend yourself and the belay to the edge of the cliff using the rope.

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

You could sliding X with one cordelette and extend it with the other. There's a bunch of other ways to do it though.

Very confused what this situation looks like...I feel like you'd want some sort of directional for all but the center route but you don't have the gear /:

JBernard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 25

I am assuming from your description that each cordelette loop will easily go from a bolt to well over the cliff edge with some length to spare for a few knots. I would take a bight of each cordelette and tie them together into a redundant master point (using an overhand or figure 8). Then just clove hitch the other end of each cordelette to a separate bolt. Adjust the cloves to achieve the desired position of the master point.

Looks like a kid drew this, lol. Fat fingers, no stylus
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
ChossKing wrote: rockandice.com/master-class… extend yourself and the belay to the edge of the cliff using the rope.
Reading comprehension FAIL. This is a TR anchor.
Jan Tarculas · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 808
JBernard wrote:I am assuming from your description that each cordelette loop will easily go from a bolt to well over the cliff edge with some length to spare for a few knots. I would take a bight of each cordelette and tie them together into a redundant master point (using an overhand or figure 8). Then just clove hitch the other end of each cordelette to a separate bolt. Adjust the cloves to achieve the desired position of the master point.
The issue with this is that the master point is only equalized and set up for maybe the middle route.
JBernard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 25
Jan Tarculas wrote: The issue with this is that the master point is only equalized and set up for maybe the middle route.
Maybe I am misunderstanding him but I am assuming when he says "I value equalization and adjustability..." that he means the ability to easily move the whole rig from one climb to the adjacent on either side. The cloves on the bolts should allow easy adjustability. I am not reading it that all adjacent climbs can be done without any adjusting of the system. Can't see how that's possible.
chris magness · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 580

Mei.. there are a myriad of ways to rig a rope here with a few caveats.

You suggested that you value equalization more than redundancy. In certain circumstances equalization is more important than redundancy. Not in this case.

Given the diameter of your cords, the distance to the cliff edge, and a bottom managed site, redundancy is critical; it should be one of your primary considerations.

Although equalization is possible here, you simply don't have the material to rig a completely self equalizing system. Bottom line, you're going to have to rig a different system for each climb and redirect it.

Mei · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 50

Thanks all for the input. And thanks Jan and JBernard for taking the time to draw on a computer, which I know how time consuming it can be.

Most of the time, I belay at the top (in that case, I don't need any sling or cordelttes because the rope is all I need), but when there are multiple people in the party, it makes sense to rig a top rope.

The real life situation is a little more nuanced as some of you can imagine. After you top out, you walk way back to clip the bolt and then retreat to the edge to rig the master point. The perfect master point should be right above the climb and should be just over the edge but not any lower (which robs the climber a few inches/feet of fun climbing). When you are trying to make it perfect, you are still above that edge assuming a weird body position. And if you need to adjust anything at the bolts then, you can't just lean over to make the adjustment (to far), but need to walk back for it.

Anyway, last time I had to do it, I shortened each individual loops to the right length by tying a knot -- more like a knot connecting two ropes for rappel -- into each cordelette to take out the extra length. It's a little hard to gauge that extra length to take out when there is no weight at the master point and you are sitting above the edge so the cordlettes are just sitting loosely at your feet. I had redundancy in the system, but I wasn't happy that it was not perfectly equalized.

I think in terms of speed, John Barritt's solution may be the fastest. Clip the two bolts, walk to the edge with both loops in hand. Pull tight on all four strands to the intended direction and tie a massive knot that sits just below the edge. Clip ABOVE the knot with the toprope biner(s) and call it a day. No need to walk back and forth to adjust length. The cons are: 1) the knot bears all the weight when the climber falls; 2) you have to undo that knot when you want to shift the master point a few feet side ways to set up anchor for the next route.

I thought about clove hitching at the bolt for its adjustability. But that renders one strand in that cordelette useless. In addtion, if I see the master point not at the right place, I have to walk back to the bolt to adjust it. Not end of the world, but I chose not to go that route at the time.

I won't avoid redundancy, but I just didn't want that concern to dominate the thinking.

There are some good ideas in this thread. I'm going to give it some more thoughts. Looks like I'll go back to the area soon. Not that the solution matters to anyone else posting to this thread, but if I remember, I'll take some photos to show the situation and my (hopefully the best) solution.

Thanks again!

JBernard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 25
Mei wrote: I thought about clove hitching at the bolt for its adjustability. But that renders one strand in that cordelette useless.!
you can tie a clove hitch with both strands
Double Strand Clove
Mei · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 50
JBernard wrote: you can tie a clove hitch with both strands
Never did that and never seen that used by others, but I suppose you are right! Hence the need for the stopper biner. I wonder with the double strand, is its arrest power as strong as a single strand clove hitch? If I can trust the holding power, it does provide another simple solution -- use both cordelettes as slings that can pretty much be adjusted to ANY length. Can I trust it?
JBernard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 25

You should consider taking an anchor class from a professional instructor, I think you would get a lot out of it.

Mulch · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 90

Honestly a static rope setup would make this 100% easier. Clove hitch the rope to one of the bolts and figure out how long you need it to be to hang over the edge. Adjust the length so there's a good amount hanging over the edge. Then clove hitch the other bolt and make the master point with a figure 8 or overhand. And if you want to save money and not buy another rope just buy more accessory cord and make a REALLY REALLY long cordellette.

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

Well, the simplest solution would be to just untie the damn cordellette...

Anyways, I think people sometimes overthink where they hang the masterpoint. If the climb is close enough for you to use the same bolts to anchor each one, you probably don't need to actually adjust the anchor that much. Remember, although you might swing a bit more if you're not directly below the anchor, the direction of pull is still the same - down. There's no need to go nuts with self-equalizing anchors for toproping. If you're doing a climb that is too far off to either side and are worried about a bad swing, just put in a directional.

Equalization (which is a lost cause to begin with, but that's another topic) isn't really important when you're on bomber bolts that would each be overbuilt for your purposes by themselves; the main reason we equalize the tension on an anchor is to avoid extension and shockloading should something fail. In your case, the biggest concern is NOT a bolt blowing because it shared too much of the load (again: either bolt could handle 100% of the load on its own); rather, the concern is your soft goods, which are running over an edge, cutting. Should this happen, redundancy and minimal shock loading should be your main concerns, not equalization.

Sean Peter · · IL · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 40
Ted Pinson wrote:Well, the simplest solution would be to just untie the damn cordellette...
+7

I think the special knot you are looking for is the double fisherman's - and you use it in the "untie it" configuration.

OR- the problem with adjusting clove hitches at the bolts is that there's no weight on the rope to ensure the master point is in the right spot? You've got people down at the base of the climb right? Just have them pull down on the rope a bit and help out.
Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871
Jan Tarculas wrote: I tried my best using MS Paint, I hope this make sense. You said your two cordalettes are over 10 ft, so if you tie a figure 8 on a bite to one bolt and a clove hitch on one, then a master point, I'm going to assume you will be about 2-3 ft back from the lip/edge of the top, depending how far the bolts are. With the master point that far back, you can clip two locking biners on that then clip both ends of your other cordalette with sliding X for the anchor for your 3 routes. Again all depends on how far the routes are and exactly how much rope you have, but your anchor should still be equalized whichever you point it towards.
Umm. No. This won't equalize at all. And clipping your red lockers to a single strand eliminates redundancy too! Scrap this altogether.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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