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Equalizer, or Webolette - Lack of shelf an issue?


Original Post
· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

For a few years now I've been considering a sewn snake eye cordalette like the Metolius Equalizer, or the Mountain Tools Webolette in place of my tied in a loop 7mm nylon cord cordalette for providing the load sharing between anchor pieces. My issue with it has always been the lack of a shelf above the master point knot. So I'm wondering from those that use one of these setups if this really is an issue, and is the answer just to tie a larger master point after the knot so there is room for everything connected to it, or something else? 

I like the idea of this setup to have a more compact cordalette on my harness that probably weighs less than what I currently use, to speed up my anchoring as a leader, and to also decrease the time it takes for the second to coil it back up and start climbing. 

Edit: I forgot to add that I wondering what lengths people use. Mountain Tools seems to have some good recommendations but wanted to hear from real life experience. 

Thank you for your responses in advance.  

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

I'm guessing no one here uses either of these products. What about the people here that like to tie and use their cordalette with small loops on the two ends? That creates much the same product. Has not having a shelf been an issue for you? Anyone else care to speculate? 

jlind · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 31

No shelf is no big deal for a normal belay.  Shelf is nice for big wall.  I have used a partners webolette.   Seems cord is more versatile and cheaper.  Save weight somewhere else.  Not sure its any faster to wind up a webolette vs equal length cord.   

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,615

Seems like fast and light are important in your climbing (alpine?) towards which those products seem appropriate.

As you are concerned about not having a shelf, how do you use it in your style of climbing?

I have used a knotted cordalette for many years though not for all. We use the shelf for hanging packs and once in a great while for personal anchoring. Still, it seems it would not be terribly missed if it were not there for us.

Edit to add: In case it matters somehow, I don’t belay much off the anchor (e.g., ATC in Guide mode).


climber pat · · Las Cruces, NM · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 215

I carry and occasionally use a webelotte from mountain tools.  Sometimes I use the rope to build anchors, sometimes I use runners, sometimes I use the webelotte depending on what the setup it and what strikes my fancy.  I don't find the lack of a shelf very important.  As for Bill's comment about hanging a pack from the shelf, I often just hang the pack from one of the anchor pieces directly.

For me the biggest advantage of the cordellette over the webelotte is cutting the cordellette up to leave as rappel anchors.  Which seems to happen pretty quickly if I have a cordellette :(.  Overall I like the webellote just a little more than a cordellette.

I got my webellote for free as a promo from mountain tools. 

Duncan Domingue · · Scott, Louisiana · Joined May 2015 · Points: 0

I've had my cord tied like a webolette for a year or so and I prefer it much more to a cordellette (tied loop of cord). I find it's much better when my anchor pieces are spread far out, and makes it easier to shorten a leg to get the master point where I want it. I think I used 20 feet of 7mm cord and tied figure 8s on a bight at the end. I've considered buying a webolette from Mountain Tools, but the cord works just fine for me, I can leave it behind without much sadness, and I worry about the difficulty of untying the master point knot in webbing.


Edit: To answer your original question, no, the lack of a proper shelf hasn't been an issue since I started using a webolette style anchor. I just the a bigger master point knot and pay attention to what order I attach my carabiners so the ones I need don't get trapped.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

Ok, so it sounds like the lack of shelf would not be an issue for my grade IV or less climbs. 7mm nylon cord certainly is about half the cost of a web-o-lette for a 20 foot piece. Weight savings was more of a potential bonus rather than a requirement. No I don't do alpine climbing at the moment so light and fast is not the issue, getting faster at dealing with the cordelette is what I am attempting to solve. 

I use the shelf to attach myself and the second to the anchor and the master point is for the guide mode belay device when bringing up the second. When I start the next pitch we transfer the second's tether to the master point. I'm guessing this is not really necessary, and that everything can be in the master point loop assuming it's made large enough? 

Regarding worrying about untying the master point with webbing... I've done some climbing safety/rescue training in trees that are a hanging belay with two people weighting the anchor for various training activities. And with my 7mm nylon cordalette wrapped around the trunk and over large branches and then a figure 8 for the master point, it was really difficult to get apart. Webbing is going to be worse than this?

Where I'm trying to save time is setting up the cordalette on the anchor and the second packing it up. So perhaps we need to have a discussion of what I'm currently using and technique.

Part of my problem is I'm using a longer than standard cordalette. 26 feet of 7mm nylon tied in a loop. My mentor taught me this, but so far I've never had a use for the extra length. So I question it's use and utility. What I want is to clip the cord into the three pieces, pull the three bights to roughly equalize for load sharing on the pieces without the knot joining the cord being an issue, then tie the figure eight for the master point. This in theory should be quick and easy.

What I get with what I have is, clip the cord into two of the pieces and then thread a bight of cord through the third piece to take up the extra length of the cordalette that so far has never been needed, attempt to pull the three bights to roughly equalize for load sharing, cuss and swear when the knot joining the cord ends up where I need to tie the master point, attempt to feed slack on one arm to re-position the cord joining knot, sometimes it works, other times I get frustrated with the amount of time I'm wasting trying to do this and just pull the cord and start over with the cord joining knot in a different position. Eventually tie the master point and prepare to setup the second to climb while they wonder what took me so long. 

And then the second having to coil up the cordalette before they start climbing and it taking longer than it should. I think though I've figured out that issue with this video:


He's absolutely right that it makes no sense to wrap it up nicely while you are still climbing, which is what I was doing and having my seconds do.


For the leaders end of setting up the anchor, here's what I know and what my options might be. Firstly at this point I'm well aware that I don't need a 26 foot cordalette. If for some reason I need to add a fourth piece or one that is higher up on  a vertical crack, I can either clove hitch the third and fourth piece in, or all of them, or use slings to connect them to a single point on one of the arms of the cordalette, or extend the higher piece with slings. So at the very least I can shorten my cordalette to 20 or 18 feet. 

If I decide to keep the cord in a loop I still have to deal with the knot. I know one option is to clove hitch the highest piece with the cord joining knot close to it. What about if I don't want to do that? It seems I'm missing some technique of where to place the cord joining knot so when I pull the three bights to roughly equalize it doesn't end up where I need to tie the master point.

Other options are going to be leaving the cordalette untied/open ended. I suppose I wouldn't necessarily have to shorten the cord either. As whatever I don't use get's left outside the system after the overhand knot, correct? And there is no cord joining knot to have to deal with.

I'd love some help with this. I think that I've spent so much of my training time over the years with ground placement practice and bounce testing to know what is a good placement, that I've neglected getting really proficient and quick with my cordalette. 


Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,615

It seems to me you are hitting on all the right points.

My cord is 19 1/2 feet for what it is worth.

I do not have a different way to deal with the knot that joins cord ends other than the clove idea. When I don’t clove, I just first clip so the joining knot is near a biner and hold it there with one hand while clipping and equalizing the other two with the other hand (assuming three pieces). Still a little fiddle-y but usually not bad.

If you do join the cord into a loop with a knot, try to keep any residual twists in the cord from getting permanently trapped - you probably do this.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,615

Watched the vid. 

The first method looks good for bundling when the cord ends are not joined with a knot. Likewise for the second method for more ‘permanent’ storage to avoid crampon snags or other.

When bundling my cord that is joined into a loop I ...

* clip a wide bail locker onto the cord anywhere along the loop;

* fold the loop in half and clip in at the other end;

* fold again in half and clip into what are now two cords at the other end.

you should now have 4 strands together all around what is now a much smaller loop with the wide bail locker clipped around the four cords somewhere in the loop.

* pull the whole thing flat so hands are apart with one pulling on the biner and one pulling on the opposite four strands.

* twist the thing 2 or 3 times and then clip the four cords at the non-biner hand into the locker.

There should now be 8 strands in the wide bail biner. Clip it on your harness.

Issues:

+ lots of words up there but it is as fast as the video once familiar;

+ using a small bail biner can make it difficult to get all 8 strands into the biner and later back out;

+ a longer cord can be difficult when getting the first doubling accomplished; might have to use both hands and a foot! Otherwise, maybe just add in a knee. :-)

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 442

I like having a shelf for convenience and organization but can usually make due without it. Although, I seem to do more than my fair share of climbing in 3s which makes a shelf almost mandatory at most belays. However, if you want another clip in point but no shelf you can clip locker inside the knot while it's still loose and use that as a 2nd clip in point 

coldfinger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 55

Howdy,


As long as your sling, cord or webolette is long enough.....

You can also tie another overhand knot to create another pocket in your anchor.

So that's a benefit of having a longer anchoring sling/cord: you can use more than one overhand knot to help keep a busy anchor tidy. 

Duncan Domingue · · Scott, Louisiana · Joined May 2015 · Points: 0

I'm sure you already know this, but if your anchor pieces are close enough together, you can treat your rabbit runner/webolette/etc. like a tied loop of cord by just clipping both tied ends into the same piece. Now you have a loop, and when you bring everything together into your master point knot, you'll have a shelf like normal.


I also like coldfinger's idea of tying another knot above your master point knot to make a mini shelf.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

What's a shelf?

I'm being serious! I've seen it mentioned a lot, but since I've never used any kind of dork-o-lette and rarely if ever use a cordelette, I've never been quite certain what the term defines.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Marc801 C wrote:

What's a shelf?

I'm being serious! I've seen it mentioned a lot, but since I've never used any kind of dork-o-lette and rarely if ever use a cordelette, I've never been quite certain what the term defines.

When you refer to a "dork-o-lette," you make people less likely to want to answer your question.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,615
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Bill Lawry wrote:

Rather than directly answer something snide, here you go, marc801 C.

https://www.google.com/search?ei=wPBQWoe_PMWmjwTQ_pCwCg&q=belaying+off+the+shelf&oq=belaying&gs_l=mobile-gws-serp.1.0.35i39k1j0l2j0i20i264k1j0.3155.6169.0.7315.11.9.1.1.1.0.167.1201.0j8.8.0....0...1.1.64.mobile-gws-serp..1.10.1272.3..0i67k1.196.yzuWCpDbaRs

... though I generally don’t belay off the shelf.

Thank you

Lack of coffee induced Google fail on my part.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
FrankPS wrote:

When you refer to a "dork-o-lette," you make people less likely to want to answer your question.

Apparently it's an auto-correct on my machines.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

I've climbed for 60 years, from tiny crags to Yosemite big walls to back-country alpine, and never once used a shelf, even when I was deploying a cordelette.  Some people find the shelf convenient, but there is absolutely no need for it.  None.

Wrapping up a cordelette after every pitch is one of of the time-consumers that make the cordelette less efficient than rope-only anchors.  The Mike Barter solution is to make a long hank that, as he himself suggests, is can tangle with other things.  Although I almost never see American climbers do this, it is faster and more convenient to carry a frequently-deployed cordelette quadrupled as an over-the-shoulder sling.

Caleb Schwarz · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 115

https://youtu.be/2q2PdnAAy6w

A webolette-style anchor with a 5.5mm titan cord has all of the advantages of the webolette-style, while bring very light, easy to handle, and is very small on the harness. As long as you always clove to the masterpoint, it's awesome.

JaredG · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

I don’t think anyone directly mentioned this yet — have you considered anchoring with the rope? I’ve found that it often simplifies things. 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 442
rgold wrote:

I've climbed for 60 years, from tiny crags to Yosemite big walls to back-country alpine, and never once used a shelf, even when I was deploying a cordelette.  Some people find the shelf convenient, but there is absolutely no need for it.  None.

You're usually spot on but this I disagree with. I think that your general preference to belay off the harness comes with a lower demand for anchor real estate. When you're belaying off the anchor, a shelf starts to get very convenient to discourage rope on rope rubbing.

Add into the equation any type of self-rescue or another follower and/or small or non-existance belay ledge and having multiple clip in points because almost mandatory. Add in hanging the rack, water, pack, shoes, etc. on the anchor and trying to keep everything organized and clutter-free and it can become a nightmare without several clipping points.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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