Vertically staggered anchors


Original Post
TSpiegelberg · · Sheridan, Wyoming · Joined May 2012 · Points: 695

The French Style Anchor such as the one pictured, is much better for sport climbing.

-No kinking of your rope when lowering EVER

-Doesn’t require you to ever go off belay (by lowering off with a bite)

-Easier toproping/cleaning

-Only have to replace one piece of equipment for the lifespan of the glue in bolts

-One glue in bolt rated to 10,000+ lbs is  built in redundancy

While you may disagree with the above, it is no doubt becoming a common option at the top of climbs. While Freedom of the Hills style anchors (side by side rings)still seem to be common, and are great when rapelling, they are no longer the only option. I think that this anchor style needs to show up more in books and articles to familiarize people with it as a legitimate option. Maybe mountain project can add something in their School of Rock section?!

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,498

I'll take side-by-side with Mussy hooks over Euro anchors.

Ever climbed in Europe? Two glue-ins coming down to a single big fat ring is standard in many spots...and that single ring is often super worn down.

Mussy hooks are super thick, super easy to use, and only need to be replaced often in places with very nasty dirt/grit (like Owens)...

Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 53

The picture shows two anchors, vertically spaced, so I'm not sure if what is suggested is one or two anchors.  Suspect that one anchor might not be ideal for all type of rock and. given that many sport routes are top roped. two anchors more or less side by side are superior IMHO.  And Mussy hooks are the way to go in locations where there is a lot of traffic.  The sport routes I've climbed in Spain and France all had two anchors.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 60
TSpiegelberg wrote:

-Doesn’t require you to untie

I don't see this. What am I missing? You need to thread the rings. This means one of three basic choices:

1-passing a bight through the rings, tying it into a loop, clipping into your harness then untying the rope from you harness to pass the end through the rings before being lowered.

2- securing yourself in direct with PAS, slings etc whatever works, securing the rope so you don;t drop it, untying from the rope, passing the end through the rings and retying into your harness.

3-full rappelling sequence which you also need to untie from the rope 

Do you mean with option 1: remaining on belay through the cleaning sequence?

delly84 · · Golden, Co · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 64
TSpiegelberg wrote:

The Euro Style Anchor such as the one pictured, is much better for sport climbing.

-No kinking of your rope when lowering EVER

-Doesn’t require you to untie

-Easier toproping/cleaning

How does lowering off of one ring prevent kinking?

So, i'm thinking that when threading the top rope you'd put a biner on the top one and thread the bottom one? then when the last person to top rope is done all they have to do is just remove the top biner? is that what you're saying? if so doesn't the first person still need to untie to set this up? I agree that's a much easier scenario for the last top roper, but can't you also get that ease of use with two FOTH style anchors with chains, by just threading the chains and top roping through biners from the bolts? That way you still have redundancy with the ease of use you're talking about? 

I guess my main argument with this whole, "bolts are so strong and provide their own redundancy" mentality is, i think that assumes whomever placed that bolt did it correctly and that there isn't anything weird going on under the surface of the rock. 

just my $0.02

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
TSpiegelberg wrote:

-Doesn’t require you to untie

^^^^^^^^  Honestly when I read a statement like this I lost all interest in your post. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Yeah, that needs clarification.  Also, a single bomb-proof anchor is not redundant.  Ever.  You can argue that redundancy might not be necessary (I'm fine anchoring off of one big tree, using one rope, and one belay device on one harness), but it's not somehow "magically" redundant.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 60

I would not assume to only thread one of the two bolts. thread both and it is redundant.

Agree that as a top anchor for lowering the configuration is fine. If you are using for multipitch, EQ with slings or your rope. 

Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 465
Ted Pinson wrote:

Yeah, that needs clarification.  Also, a single bomb-proof anchor is not redundant.  Ever.  You can argue that redundancy might not be necessary (I'm fine anchoring off of one big tree, using one rope, and one belay device on one harness), but it's not somehow "magically" redundant.

??  You thread the rope through both links on both anchors. That is the redundancy.  

delly84 · · Golden, Co · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 64

"it's all A1 until you fall" 

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
TSpiegelberg wrote:

The Euro Style Anchor such as the one pictured, is much better for sport climbing.

-No kinking of your rope when lowering EVER

-Doesn’t require you to untie

-Easier toproping/cleaning

-Only have to replace one piece of equipment for the lifespan of the glue in bolts

-One glue in bolt rated to 10,000+ lbs is  built in redundancy

While you may disagree with the above, it is no doubt becoming a common option at the top of climbs. While Freedom of the Hills style anchors (side by side rings)still seem to be common, and are great when rapelling, they are no longer the only option. I think that this anchor style needs to show up more in books and articles to familiarize people with it as a legitimate option. Maybe mountain project can add something in their School of Rock section?!

I agree with you that the French style anchor is superior to the side by side anchor, but your arguments aren't necessarily valid:

-No kinking of your rope when lowering is one of the arguments that you use that is actually valid, but a properly set up side by side anchor with chains of the correct length won't ever kink your rope either.

-Doesn't require you to untie can be true, but isn't necessarily true or necessarily only unique to a French style vertical anchor

-Easier Toproping/cleaning, I'm not quite sure how this is true, and most Americans would argue that is is harder because they want to unnecessarily equalize the two anchor points.

-Only have to replace one piece of equipment for the lifespan of the glue in bolts.  This IMO is the number one argument for going to the French style anchor, but most climbers will never replace a single piece of gear in their climbing careers so it isn't very persuasive to the masses. 

-One glue in bolt rated to 10,000+ lbs is not built in redundancy, yes it's very strong, yes I have rapped and lowered off a single glue in bolt many times and have no problem doing so, no, it does not meet the definition of redundant.

Again, I'm all for the French style anchor, but you need some better arguments if you want to convert people over to it.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,037
Brian wrote:

??  You thread the rope through both links on both anchors. That is the redundancy.  

This is true, but for some reason, the OP stated that a single glue in bolt is redundant (which it is not).

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Yeah.  What you described Brian WOULD be redundant, but what the OP described was not.  It seems like the problem is not the claim he is making (Euro anchors very well may be better), but rather the confusing/inaccurate language he is using to support that claim.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0

There is no "Euro Style" anchor, they are as varied (or more) as anywhere else in the world. That style is called "French".

The advantages are:-

Less kinking of the rope.

Cheaper.

The bolts can be placed almost anywhere relative to each other which in eroded and featured rock is often a big benefit.

The lower anchor/ring suffers very little wear so provides improved redundancy.

Personally I prefer (and only ever fit) this style as anchor failure is extremely rare but screwing up re-threading isn´t so drop-in top anchors are safer and more convenient:-

TSpiegelberg · · Sheridan, Wyoming · Joined May 2012 · Points: 695

Wow, holy feedback!! Psyched. Heres some clarifications as this was put up with haste this morning before work...

Never having to untie refers to the ability to easily thread a bite thus always remaining on belay and creating safer cleaning situations. I understand that this is not a clip and lower setup.

The top bolt, being as strong as it is, placed in good rock with a backup lower is redundant, just not in a classical way. Maybe its the wrong word choice...

Thanks everyone, I'm excited to see this get all fired up. I altered the wording in the o.p.

TSpiegelberg · · Sheridan, Wyoming · Joined May 2012 · Points: 695
Jim Titt wrote:

There is no "Euro Style" anchor, they are as varied (or more) as anywhere else in the world. That style is called "French".

The advantages are:-

Less kinking of the rope.

Cheaper.

The bolts can be placed almost anywhere relative to each other which in eroded and featured rock is often a big benefit.

The lower anchor/ring suffers very little wear so provides improved redundancy.

Personally I prefer (and only ever fit) this style as anchor failure is extremely rare but screwing up re-threading isn´t so drop-in top anchors are safer and more convenient:-

Thanks for the clarification Jim. I used your twisted glue in's the other day, its a great design.

Greg Opland · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 85
TSpiegelberg wrote:

The top bolt, being as strong as it is, placed in good rock with a backup lower is redundant, just not in a classical way. Maybe its the wrong word choice...

As the viability of any backup assumes the initial failure, it would be somewhat self-defeating to then rely on a backup that you're going to impact load.

There's a reason why people have always used a sliding X or (later) tying a big knot in a long sling or cordalette to equalize offset anchors.

Not a good anchor setup, IMHO.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136
Greg Opland wrote:

As the viability of any backup assumes the initial failure, it would be somewhat self-defeating to then rely on a backup that you're going to impact load.

There's a reason why people have always used a sliding X or (later) tying a big knot in a long sling or cordalette to equalize offset anchors.

Not a good anchor setup, IMHO.

If placed correctly, the top bolt isn't going to fail. And if it does, a 6 inch fall isn't going to do jack shit. Oh and also, people have "always" equalized anchors. Before climbers started equalizing anchors, they would just clove hitch anchor points in series. There is nothing wrong with that set up, although biners or ramshorns instead of rings would make it nicer and arguably safer.

TSpiegelberg · · Sheridan, Wyoming · Joined May 2012 · Points: 695
eli poss wrote:

If placed correctly, the top bolt isn't going to fail. And if it does, a 6 inch fall isn't going to do jack shit. Oh and also, people have "always" equalized anchors. Before climbers started equalizing anchors, they would just clove hitch anchor points in series. There is nothing wrong with that set up, although biners or ramshorns instead of rings would make it nicer and arguably safer.

Agreed. With a whole length of rope out, the rope would absorb so much of the impact that it wouldn't even matter. Rings are a cheap option, I've used steel biners and it's awesome.

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

Yes, the vertical spaced anchor is superior to the horizontal spaced one for sure. It uses less material. However, you should extend the chain on the top bolt to match the height of the lower bolt so that the anchor points meet a single point (such as in Jim's photo). It will eliminate extension should the top bolt fail, but more importantly it will increase the service life of the chain by spreading wear along two points instead of one and it will further reduce kinking of the rope by ensuring the anchor points meet together.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0

And straight away you´ve lost the benefits and gone away from the basic concept back to lengths of chain and "equalised" anchors.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply