Mountain Project Logo

Thoughts on this Multi-Pitch Anchor Set-Up?


Original Post
Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

This is from an old thread from 2010, what do you guys think of the guidance offered? 

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/best-way-to-redirect-a-belay-using-a-sliding-x-t52893.html

"Why a sliding X or a Cordelite on a two bolt anchor?

Are you afraid it might fail?

It will not, I assure you.

It is always best to belay off of your harness. Always.

My own tried and true method.

Get to bolts

Clip into one of the bolts with your own "Personal Anchor System" .... ie. A sling.

Clip into the OTHER bolt with the rope, I prefer using a clove hitch for this one.

Next, Place a QD on one of the bolts. The main point to look for is this: What side will the follower be coming up from? If the right side, put it on the right side. If left put it on the left side.

Next, put the rope through what ever belay deal you use.  (Personally I prefer using the old time Hip Belay for this cause I can reel in huge hand-fulls  of cord cause the guys I climb with run up pitches quickly when on TR)

Then clip it through the QD so it runs  down to the next climber.

Now if the climber on TR falls, you get pulled into your anchor and not pulled around.

Pretty F-ng simple, NO?

I have watched some take about 15 min setting up a belay at bolts using all manner of equilizing deals.   

Using the method I described above takes about 15 seconds."

Darin Berdinka · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2009 · Points: 100

That would be totally fine.  You could autoblock off one or both of the bolts as well.  Don't agree with "It is always best to belay off of your harness. Always." when belaying the second but to each their own.

Matthew Williams 1 · · Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 85

Seems a bit dubious and superfluous to me.  A sliding X with limiter knots takes all of 30 seconds to rig, as does rigging a cordelette.  You can even keep a quad pre-tied on your cordelette if all the anchors are bolted and you're talking 10 seconds and let's go.  Also, I'm wary of anyone using the word "always" with regard to anchor systems.  I'm not super experienced so I "KISS" (keep it simple) and have yet to run into a situation that the basics I've learned from others and my main man John Long (via books) can't solve.      

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

Sounds like the advice in the thread is fine, nothing inherently dangerous in any of it. 

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 125

You know people where it takes 15 minutes to set up a belay with anchor bolts?

I have a preset quad with 2 auto lockers (overkill, I know) for the bolts and 2 screw gate lockers (I know, overkill) for the rope.  I get to the bolts, clip a draw and run the rope through it, clip my PAS, tie off the rope, come off belay, put in the quad and then start pulling up rope.  Depending on how far away from the wall I am, I either belay off my harness through the lockers or guide mode off the master point.

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 10,121

I seem to remember another discussion about this kind of thing, which included this set up:

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

There is a possible issue when belaying using GriGri or other camming belay device. Pressure applied to GriGri from above could override its locking abilities. If pulled toward the QD too sharply there is a possibility the GriGri will be uncamed by QD's rope end binner.

Just tried it at home with my Cinch. Yep, it works perfectly (read: Cinch does not lock-up when pulled toward the binner before get locked).

Mathias · · Loveland, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 290

If using a redirect on one of the bolts, and using a hip belay, wouldn't the belayer's hand get jammed up into the redirect in the event of a fall that pulled the belayer up into the anchor? I don't hip belay, so I'm not sure about hand placement on the rope.

Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

I liked the idea of the method primarily due to its lack of gear required: 2 biners, a sling, and a QD. Two questions:

1. Any concerns about shockloading sling on a single bolt? Or do you do your best to get out slack and equalize with the clove hitched rope?

2. In this method, you are redirecting off of just one bolt, concerns about that? If that bolt goes, you lose the clove hitch and rely on your sling to the single bolt that hopefully had no slack on it.

Mathias · · Loveland, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 290
Ken Graf wrote:

I liked the idea of the method primarily due to its lack of gear required: 2 biners, a sling, and a QD. Two questions:

1. Any concerns about shockloading sling on a single bolt? Or do you do your best to get out slack and equalize with the clove hitched rope?

2. In this method, you are redirecting off of just one bolt, concerns about that? If that bolt goes, you lose the clove hitch and rely on your sling to the single bolt that hopefully had no slack on it.

I'd prefer not to belay a leader off of this setup. But for bringing up a second it seems fine providing the fixed hardware looks good.

If there's another pitch, I'd probably just use a cordelette, unless swinging leads. In which case a rope anchor to both bolts is another option.

Edit: To actually address your questions. The only scenario I can see where you'd "shock load" the sling would be if the redirect and clove were on the same bolt, and it failed. That would not be good. Simple way to avoid that and still use this setup is to put the sling and redirect on the same bolt. In the unlikely event that bolt failed, you'd be anchored to the other with the dynamic rope and not the static sling. But yes, take the slack out of whichever side has it.

Really, the only advantage I can see to this system is that it may be a bit faster than other methods and uses a little less gear.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

If it is all bolts I usually just use a pretied quad. Takes maybe 1 min set it all up, clove off, haul the rope, and put the second on belay. I have been doing more and more leading in blocks so it just makes it easy imo. 

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 420

If you are belaying off of mank, equalize it and re-examine your life choices. Get off that anchor as quickly as safely possible.

If you are not belaying off of mank, clove hitch off and get fucking moving as well. Afternoon storm/rock fall/gumbies are on their way.

The shock loading of one bolt when the other bolt fails (ie one foot fall) is not going to result in your death. If the second bolt fails in this case, your number is up and it was an anchor you should have never climbed up to without an appropriate means of strengthening it. You should be prepared for this if you are climbing such obscurities.

Some other vets can chime in but I cannot recall one example (in 40 years of following such things) of anchor failure ever reported that was the result of a one foot "fall" from one anchor point failing and causing the second anchor point to fail. All of the double failures I can recall are associated with a huge factor fall onto the anchor, unreliable ancient fixed pro or defect (1/4" bolt stripping, one hanger failed etc).

It simply doesn't happen to my knowledge. Accident forensics would make this easily discover-able.

You need to know how to equalize when it is strictly required. NOT when it is not remotely required.

This whole idea of equalize every anchor is one that needs examining. On Multi-pitch free-climbs that are not obscure it is almost never, ever, necessary and slows you down. Slow and inexperienced leads to more trouble than nearly anything else.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Ken  I do what you do, even the hip belay part. 

And if out on the obscure, for example Soummer Sourjourn on Voodoo dome, needles, I came upon a 2 bolt anchor on a pitch that otherwise had no pro (5.7 face climbing) so I clipped into one bolt while I stood there and clipped a funkness like deal into the other bolt, gave it a good old college yank.... it held, so its not total junk. and then I did the same thing to the other bolt. Clip into both, belay off harness with a redirect to one bolt and warn 2nd... "don't screw around climbing up any cool looking 5.10-- don't fall" 


Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0
Pavel Burov wrote:

There is a possible issue when belaying using GriGri or other camming belay device. Pressure applied to GriGri from above could override its locking abilities. If pulled toward the QD too sharply there is a possibility the GriGri will be uncamed by QD's rope end binner.

Just tried it at home with my Cinch. Yep, it works perfectly (read: Cinch does not lock-up when pulled toward the binner before get locked).

Wouldn't this be a risk using the grigri in any multi-pitch scenario with any kind of redirect? Are folks against using grigri for multi-pitch for this reason?

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

Wouldn't this be a risk using the grigri in any multi-pitch scenario with any kind of redirect? Are folks against using grigri for multi-pitch for this reason?

No. I exclusively use the gri-gri as my primary belay device for all of my climbing. However, I do not re-direct my belays* when bringing my partners up. 

*most of the time. There's always an exception to the rule.

AJ Leiden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 15
Chris Owen wrote:

I seem to remember another discussion about this kind of thing, which included this set up:

That image comes from this video. Pretty on topic for this thread. 

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50
Ken Graf wrote:

If there's anything could possibly override GriGri lock-up ability, your GriGri is not a belay device.

GriGri is nice for multipitch when using safely. The topic starter scenario is fa-a-a-a-a-a-ar from safe.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

The method OP posted is fine swapping leads, cumbersome and slow going in blocks. Pre tie a double sling if it's bolts, have a master point that is easy to find.

Gigi or Ovo will let you take in slack nearly as fast as a hip belay with a round stock biner. Sounds like they climb a lot of mid 5th or easy slab.

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

They are on Top Rope it doesn't really matter what you do as long as you are connected to both bolts and you don't setup your belay device wrong it doesn't really matter.

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415
King Tut wrote:

If you are belaying off of mank, equalize it and re-examine your life choices. Get off that anchor as quickly as safely possible.

If you are not belaying off of mank, clove hitch off and get fucking moving as well. Afternoon storm/rock fall/gumbies are on their way.

The shock loading of one bolt when the other bolt fails (ie one foot fall) is not going to result in your death. If the second bolt fails in this case, your number is up and it was an anchor you should have never climbed up to without an appropriate means of strengthening it. You should be prepared for this if you are climbing such obscurities.

Some other vets can chime in but I cannot recall one example (in 40 years of following such things) of anchor failure ever reported that was the result of a one foot "fall" from one anchor point failing and causing the second anchor point to fail. All of the double failures I can recall are associated with a huge factor fall onto the anchor, unreliable ancient fixed pro or defect (1/4" bolt stripping, one hanger failed etc).

It simply doesn't happen to my knowledge. Accident forensics would make this easily discover-able.

You need to know how to equalize when it is strictly required. NOT when it is not remotely required.

This whole idea of equalize every anchor is one that needs examining. On Multi-pitch free-climbs that are not obscure it is almost never, ever, necessary and slows you down. Slow and inexperienced leads to more trouble than nearly anything else .

Yup! Two bolts, two knots, "On belay"! 

Get moving, keep it simple and stop being afraid of your gear and worrying about something that, in the entire history of the sport, has never happened. 

rocknice2 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 3,018

Belayer attached on the right. Center biner is only holding long loops of rope. Second comes up and clips into left biner.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply