Anchoring At The Top Of A Sport Route...


Original Post
Aaron Flowers · · St. Louis, Missouri · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

So I've used, quickdraws, slings with locking biners, and the rope to anchor in at the top of a sport route before I rap or get lowered back down. Are there any other methods that are more adjustable? I've seen the PASs and they seem to have A LOT of mixed reviews. Anyone use the Purcell Prusik? Thoughts?

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Aaron Flowers wrote:So I've used, quickdraws, slings with locking biners, and the rope to anchor in at the top of a sport route before I rap or get lowered back down. Are there any other methods that are more adjustable? I've seen the PASs and they seem to have A LOT of mixed reviews. Anyone use the Purcell Prusik? Thoughts?
Use something that's useful to you already, and that you are comfortable, safe, and solid on.

My personal choice are Purcell prussiks that live on my harness. Ascending with them is literally the first climbing skill I learned, these are tied for my height by my son, so also my first climbing equipment.

But, what is most important, is what works for you, and having all your ducks in a row to get it done safely, every time, no matter what you use.

Sounds like you aren't new to this, but if you were, I'd highly recommend practicing a bunch. Super easy to find kitchen drawer pulls, towel bars, anything, to practice this unweighted. You can even set up your phone to record, and critique yourself.

Best, Helen

Edit to add: if you are lowering, learn the method that never takes you off belay, and use it whenever possible!
Phil Lauffen · · The Bubble · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 2,215

This is good. We've never talked about this on mountainproject before.

My opinion: forget any specialized gear. It's unnecessary and complicates the system. Just clip into both bolts with two quickdraws(or chain of draws, depending on your length). Pull a bight of rope through the rings and tie a figure 8 on a bight. Clip into the bight with a locker. Untie your original knot. Voila, you never came off belay and you are ready to lower.

The only extra gear you need is a locker.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

A pas or chain reactor (nylon version from Sterling) is perfectly fine for anchoring on sport routes. So are a pair of draws, which is what I use. I carry a chain reactor when I'll be rappelling a multipitch route as it makes life more comfortable for alot of rappels, but imho, it's not worth it for the minute or so to clean a sport anchor.

The prucell prusik is oddly popular with a certain set of people and I've never understood why. It's super bulky and you can only shorten it half of its length. Two things that, imho, make it a non starter.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

Clove hitching works great.

1. Arrive to the top.
2. Clip a couple QDs to bolts. Clove hitch both of them and "sit" on the rope to ensure you're anchored.
3. Communicate to a belayer with "off belay" and "slack".
4. Form a rope bight and pull it thru chains.
5. Form a figure 8 on the bight (hint - form a very short loop to keep your body close to the anchor later) and attach it to your attachment point (most likely a belay loop) with a locker (two lockers opposed and reversed for those on a paranoid side).
6. Check that the rope strand connecting your attachment point and your belayer is pulled thru chains and lay on the bottom.
7. Pull up a bit and ask for take (hint - help your belayer by pulling the rope, keep one hand on the rope strand connecting chains with the belayer when pullin up).
8. Ensure your weight is holding by the rope strand connecting you and the belayer thru chains. Recheck it.
9. Untie clove hitches, remove QDs, untie the rope from your harness and pull the strand thru chains. Hint - now you have a long (5' or even longer) rope attached to your harness, it is natural to use it when cleaning overhanging and/or traversing routes and your belayer can use it to land you precisely on your rope tarp or piece of rock to keep your climbing shoes clean.
10. Ask for lowering.

With this sequence you have a backup (if using two opposed and reversed lockers) and cannot drop your rope (it is always attached to a strong part of your harness). It is easy to reposition yourself via adjusting clove hitch.

Wilson On The Drums · · Woodbury, MN · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 940

^^^ Don't indicated "off belay" if you partner is going to lower you, yer gonna die when you lean back on the rope thinking your partner is going to lower you despite the fact you told them, and they took you off belay.. It would be in your best interest to communicate lowering vs rappelling while your still on the ground.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50
Wilson On The Drums wrote:^^^ Don't indicated "off belay" if you partner is going to lower you, yer gonna die when you lean back on the rope thinking your partner is going to lower you despite the fact you told them, and they took you off belay.. It would be in your best interest to communicate lowering vs rappelling while your still on the ground.
Good point. Yep, it SHOULD be clearly indicated that you are to be lowered from the anchor before leaving the ground.

BTW, this is a fun example of language and cultural differences. In Russia we don't say "off belay" (which is kinda scary, he-he), the corresponding command is "сам" (equals to "myself"), which literally means "my belay is my responsibility now".

Anyway, with the above sequence the worst can happen is to realize that your belayer has walked away when asking for take at #7. Not a big deal - everybody (hopefully) know how to rappel with a minimal amount of gear.
Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
Wilson On The Drums wrote:^^^ Don't indicated "off belay" if you partner is going to lower you, yer gonna die when you lean back on the rope thinking your partner is going to lower you despite the fact you told them, and they took you off belay.. It would be in your best interest to communicate lowering vs rappelling while your still on the ground.
+1. This (adding in superfluous "off/on belays") is the root cause for numerous accidents. Also the rest of this sequence - although common - isn't going to be universally usable. What about links that are too small to push a bight through? What about anchors - Mussy hooks, quick clips, cold shuts, rams horns - that don't need to be threaded?
Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 95
Pavel Burov wrote: Anyway, with the above sequence the worst can happen is to realize that your belayer has walked away when asking for take at #7. Not a big deal - everybody (hopefully) know how to rappel with a minimal amount of gear.
Actually, there have been fatal accidents that happened because the climber yelled "off belay" in lowering situations.

Oh, and for anchoring in at the top of a sport route, just use a few quickdraws. The only safety equipment you need for a day of sport climbing is a rope, harness, draws, and belay device. If you're trying to contrive in the use of slings, PAS's, daisy chains, come-alongs, or grappling hooks, you're doing it wrong, noob.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
John Wilder wrote:A pas or chain reactor (nylon version from Sterling) is perfectly fine for anchoring on sport routes. So are a pair of draws, which is what I use. I carry a chain reactor when I'll be rappelling a multipitch route as it makes life more comfortable for alot of rappels, but imho, it's not worth it for the minute or so to clean a sport anchor. The prucell prusik is oddly popular with a certain set of people and I've never understood why. It's super bulky and you can only shorten it half of its length. Two things that, imho, make it a non starter.
John, I use mine because they are there, and, for me, not hard to use at all. I like knowing I have the skill to use them, and have done so. A few bits of cord and some carabiniers can do a lot! Mine were tied for me by my son, and are my first piece of equipment, and ascending a rope was my introduction to climbing. Soft spot for both, for sure. :-)

I do also have a set of draws, longer, with steel lockers, for top roping, I can use. My regular draws are a little short, and not comfortable at the anchors.

My son and I have been the only ones around, on several occasions, including our local stuff. I don't mind keeping up this skill.

I will confess, though. The prussiks have been most useful while setting routes at the gym!

Best, Helen
Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 650

Three thoughts:

1. Never go off belay when cleaning a sport route.

2. PAS systems work great for climbing at the crag. They aren't something that I bring with me on multipitch routes because they are not multi-use. You can buy a double length nylon sling and tie some knots in it to achieve the same thing for a third of the price.

3. Purcell Prusiks work too, but they are too bulky in my opinion. Fine at the crag, but you'll have enough on your harness if you start climbing longer routes - keep it simple and skip this.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

I like to use a chain reactor/PAS/ PP when you have to hang off the anchor to clean it. Quickdraws are great if you're on a ledge or have good feet. Guess everyone has their preferred way.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

If you are in the habit of saying "off belay" while threading sport anchors to lower, then you should also develop the habit of shouting "geronimo!" or "sayonara!" when you lean back to weight the rope.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Mark E Dixon wrote:If you are in the habit of saying "off belay" while threading sport anchors to lower, then you should also develop the habit of shouting "geronimo!" or "sayonara!" when you lean back to weight the rope.
"Rock"!!!
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

"falling!"

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Mark E Dixon wrote:"falling!"
Nada. Falling's when a catch could happen.

Sorry, OP. Snow.

Best, H.
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
Old lady H wrote: Nada. Falling's when a catch could happen. Sorry, OP. Snow. Best, H.
Good point.

Cold and windy here.

A rest day so I'm fiendishly preparing project draws that will be super hard to steal.

Bwahahaha!!!
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Bill Kirby wrote:I like to use a chain reactor/PAS/ PP when you have to hang off the anchor to clean it. Quickdraws are great if you're on a ledge or have good feet. Guess everyone has their preferred way.
What's the problem with hanging off of QDs?
Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

Yelling "Rock!!!" sometimes is not sufficient. It is better to develop a habit to shout "Rock!" for those below and immediately "Off rappel!" for those above.

Aaron Flowers · · St. Louis, Missouri · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks guys/gals! I'm not going to say I'm an expert, but I have also been climbing for a few years now. Just looking to try out a lot of methods, to see if there is one better than the other. I don't want to have that "ah ha" moment after I've been doing something for 20 years...

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

Helen: be careful with tethers that ";live"; on your harness. There was a fatal accident recently involving an experienced climber who kept daisy chains hitched to his belay loop for a long amount of time, and his belay loop failed during a rappel. While this could have been caught with an inspection, it's always a good idea to remove purcells, PASes, etc between trips.

OP: I like PASes for sport climbing because they're long and adjustable if you're at a weird anchor or stance. Quickdraws are just a little too short for me; I like to be able to lean back a bit when cleaning and choke up before rappelling/being lowered so that the tethers are loose before I unclip them. My ";no-death"; safety policy is to never remove something unless it's floppy and not bearing a load. That way, there's no ";lean back and die"; surprise. I'm not a big fan of dying.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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