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Anchor with one open gate - safe to use?


Original Post
Kevin Ngo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 15

I was cleaning a friend's route when I noticed that the gate on the right anchor was not closed - in fact, it looks like the gate was either missing or broken.

Is this anchor safe to use for a top rope?


JSchloem · · Homer, AK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 265

I would still use it.....Those gates being shut do not add any strength to the hanger itself (anybody correct me if I'm wrong) but more so keep a rope from bouncing out. In this scenario you have at least one gate keeping the rope from bouncing out....and how often do you ever really see a top rope bouncing that much? IDK i haven't ever seen it.

JSchloem · · Homer, AK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 265

And if you're running your top rope through draws...well then fuck it, its fine

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348

You should not put draws on this type of anchor. If the draws were to rotate from a flick of the rope (which is not hard), they could easily come unclipped from the cold shut. A better option is to girth hitch a sling on one side of the anchor and clove hitch it on the other side, then put a locker at the bottom using a knot or hitch of your choice as the masterpoint. Regarding the gate, if all you are doing is lowering it's fine. Some cold shuts dont have gates at all. I would not top rope directly on the anchor as it could come unclipped fairly easy if the rope were flicked in the right way. Again, you'd want to use a sling and build a quick anchor.

Skye Swoboda-Colberg · · Laramie, Wyoming · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 115

JSchloem wrote:

And if you're running your top rope through draws...well then fuck it, its fine

The anchors appear to be different and someone still needs to clean it.

Follow up question, where was this? How does this anchor setup compare to other ones in the area?

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,822

JSchloem wrote:

In this scenario you have at least one gate keeping the rope from bouncing out....and how often do you ever really see a top rope bouncing that much?

Well people have gotten hurt (or else only escaped with great luck) when a kinked rope did jump out of both cold shuts. I agree that this anchor sitll has one "keeper gate" working, so that ought to be sufficient.

Anyway I think this is why well-organized (and well-funded) USA sport climbing areas are now migrating to rams horns / pigs tails - - > No moving parts to break.

Ken

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 574

Ken, I remember at least one accident when a toproper climbed above open shuts and fell, but I don't remember any where the rope simply jumped out. Do you have any details?

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,490

In this scenario, if someone really had to top rope this route, I would put slings and lockers on it, just as an added measure.  If it's not an overhanging route that needs to be cleaned while lowering (there is always the option of cleaning on the way up as well) You can rap off if you're really worried about the rope bouncing out.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,091

Mark E Dixon wrote:

Ken, I remember at least one accident when a toproper climbed above open shuts and fell, but I don't remember any where the rope simply jumped out. Do you have any details?

off hand i can't think of any accidents of this sort, but a friend of mine had a kinked rope unclip from a quickdraw at an anchor.

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

20 kN wrote:

You should not put draws on this type of anchor.

False. 

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,479

Gate on the right hand anchor looks hinky...(busted?).

I like the suggestion of using a sling girth hitched on each to a master point...but...honestly, I'd probably stick a couple of long draws on it.  Or, girth hitch a sling to each with a biner on the end of each sling and clip the rope through both biners (opposite and opposed).

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

caughtinside wrote:

False. 

Eh, I don't like clipping carabiners to open shuts. I either girth hitch a sling or take the top carabiner off the dog bone if there is no gate. 

But yes, it's fine. Totally strong enough. 

Kevin Ngo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 15

Thanks for the responses guys!  Here's my comments:

  • It seems like the main concern here is that a kinked/twisted rope may push itself out of the open anchor.  However, we used a quad anchor for this setup, so I believe that those risks would have been significantly minimized.
  • No one was standing or climbing above the anchors, so there were no problems there either.
  • This anchor was on the Left Flank wall at Echo Cliffs (Los Angeles, CA), but I forget which climb exactly.

@John Wilder - could you explain why you don't like clipping carabiners into open shuts?

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

John Wilder wrote:

Eh, I don't like clipping carabiners to open shuts. I either girth hitch a sling or take the top carabiner off the dog bone if there is no gate. 


What do you do if you get there, you have no slings, and there is a gate?

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348

caughtinside wrote:

False. 

It's possible to flip the draws up and over the top of the coldshut, thus unclipping them. The same thing can be done with the rope which is why you hitch a sling to the shuts instead since it's much harder to get a hitched sling to move around. I've successfully unclipped a rope from both coldshuts by flicking it around a bit form the ground. It's not the most dangerous thing in the world, I've certainly done riskier things, but it absolutely is possible for both draws to come unclipped in the right circumstance and if you did it all the time your luck might eventually run out.

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

caughtinside wrote:

What do you do if you get there, you have no slings, and there is a gate?

I clip the shuts and lower off. 

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

Kevin Ngo wrote:

Thanks for the responses guys!  Here's my comments:

  • It seems like the main concern here is that a kinked/twisted rope may push itself out of the open anchor.  However, we used a quad anchor for this setup, so I believe that those risks would have been significantly minimized.
  • No one was standing or climbing above the anchors, so there were no problems there either.
  • This anchor was on the Left Flank wall at Echo Cliffs (Los Angeles, CA), but I forget which climb exactly.

@John Wilder - could you explain why you don't like clipping carabiners into open shuts?

It just feels like a less than ideal scenario for the carabiners against the metal rods. It's funky- and frankly, shuts are a crappy anchor setup anyway. If i come across shuts, I put that route on my anchor replacement list. 

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

I agree it is better to girth hitch those things if you have slings on you. I normally don't when I'm sport climbing. I also agree it's better to slide the bone over the shut if there's no gate. 


I think you guys are overstating the danger though. The thing to do is to leave the last lead draw clipped if the next climber is going to toprope. If you're just lowering off you are at no greater danger from the draws flipping out as you are from the rope flipping out of the shuts if you're weighting the rope. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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