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Fancy Schmancy Anchors


rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

I think there have been technique pendulum swings in terms of anchoring, and these are further influenced by the growth of fixed anchors, which make some sort of pretied sling useful.  If one can part ways for a moment from one or the other orthodoxy, it seems to me that there's a time and a place for both approaches.  Personally, I use the rope for between 80--90% of my multipitch anchors.  It is far more robust, adjustable, and adaptable than a cordelette.  The other 10--20% of the time, a cordelette is more efficient.  Some of those cases are when taking novices climbing (i.e. "guiding"), climbing in blocks with trad anchors, and, in my experience most essentially, when the belayer is ideally positioned at some distance from the anchor.

So, after some participation in partisan anchor wars, I've reached a compromise.  Nowadays, I usually have the thinnest lightest cordelette, i.e. one made from thin dyneema webbing.  It is lighter and more compact than the ones made from cord.  It doesn't get used much; primarily for remote anchors as I mentioned above, or a quick slinging of a relatively large tree, especially if sap is running. It will be handy if I need to indulge in self-rescue shenanigans, but that's an extremely low-likelihood prospect in my experience, and not a strong reason all by itself to carry one.

A drawback of the thin webbing is that weighted knots can weld pretty easily.  I never use a quad or tie any extending anchor with limiting knots, and I put a carabiner through an ordinary cordelette power point knot to facilitate untying.

Brady3 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 15

I got the impression from the OP that he was just having fun exploring various setups that have been suggested, he even said he probably would never use them.  The thing that I'm curious about is why those authors suggested those anchors at all.  They are much more complicated than several other options and come with problems that various simpler options don't have.  Anyone know anything about that first anchor in the OP?  I looked at the PDF linked in the post, but it's not in English and doesn't look to give much info.

Jordan Pitts · · kansas (the abyss) · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 195

I hope in my questioning I didn't sound pompus. Being from Kansas I had to teach myself solo, from books, craig luebbens one mainly. I haven't been in a climbing gym in years, climb with hexes sometimes, don't carry alpine draws, just slings with one biner on it over my shoulder (some people probably just shuddered with disgust) .

Only in the last four years have I climbed consistantly with someone that has a lot more experience than I (yosemite big wall experience) and he allways has a cordelette. Also 90% of other climbers I've seen in old school trad areas have a cord racked. Thats why I questioned.

 I'm open to using the rope for a anchor, just didn't want to blindly follow. I will still be carrying a cordelette. Personally, I climb a lot of different rock types, basalt, granite, limestone, and sandstone fairly evenly. In some places, I just wrap the cordelette around a big ol' patch of scrub oak and belay off that. Or like I said earlier, one big boulder. But yeah, free world, just my perspective.

To the OP, sorry for the thread derailment, continue on with the fancying and schmancying. I think its cool you learned some obscure techniques. If you love something, you read up on it, fuck around with stuff and show it to your peers. And personally I think calling someone a noob, or saying something they do is retarded, is way below the civilized conversation we are trying to have.

Abdullah Mourad · · Elk Grove, CA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0
Jordan Pitts wrote: Oh and climbing with something the size of a babys head is not that ridiculous. 

Reddit : Banana :: MP : Baby Head?????

Michael M · · Rockville, MD · Joined May 2018 · Points: 20
Brady3 wrote: I got the impression from the OP that he was just having fun exploring various setups that have been suggested, he even said he probably would never use them.  The thing that I'm curious about is why those authors suggested those anchors at all.  They are much more complicated than several other options and come with problems that various simpler options don't have.  Anyone know anything about that first anchor in the OP?  I looked at the PDF linked in the post, but it's not in English and doesn't look to give much info.

Correct. I never meant to imply that these anchors should be used over simpler and quicker anchors. I have used the first anchor when I lead a couple pitches with a guide on the Wind Ridge in El Do. The guide's primary concern was whether the integrity of the lower master point depended on the biner, which it doesn't because of the rope loop. After a short discussion, we agreed that it wasn't worth the extra time it took to build the anchor. 

The Italian publication the first anchor was from is geared toward professional rescue operations. You can see from the details that most of the anchor points are pitons. So it would seem that they are taking extra precautions presumably because they're dealing with litter operations / heavy loads.


As far as the cordelette discussion goes, I almost always carry one because you already gave a full rack and quickdraws, so its really just a drop in the bucket. I have hired about 5 guides at this point and they always carry cordelettes for trad climbs. For sport climbs, they generally use a prerigged quad with a sling.


A cordelette has other uses as well. If you ever need to ascend, it makes for a great foot ascender because you can use a bight for the friction hitch, have one strand for the footloop and the other strand to the harness to backup the waist ascender/friction hitch. You can also use a cordelette to build a haul system if the need arises. And I'm sure there are other applications that I'm just not thinking of at the moment. 


If you want a to reduce the weight / volume of a cordelette, you can always go with small diameter high performance fibers like Technora, Vectran, or even PBO. I’ve climbed with guides who use 5 mm spectra cord, which is rated about 2000 lbs.

Brady3 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 15
Michael M wrote:

The Italian publication the first anchor was from is geared toward professional rescue operations. You can see from the details that most of the anchor points are pitons. So it would seem that they are taking extra precautions presumably because they're dealing with litter operations / heavy loads.


I did gather from the photos that it was meant for rescue situations, but that doesn't really explain why they suggest such a complicated anchor.  They could have just tied a clove hitch to the left most piece, let a long loop hang down to where the master point would be then clove into the next two pieces and let another loop hang down between piece 3 and 4 then clove into piece 4.  That leaves two loops hanging down and just tie a figure 8 using both those loops.  That would give them a redundant anchor connecting 4 pieces with no extension should any one piece fail and it would take a lot less time to tie and use less rope.  So why the extra complication of tying that loop through all those figure 8's?

Michael M · · Rockville, MD · Joined May 2018 · Points: 20
Brady3 wrote:

I did gather from the photos that it was meant for rescue situations, but that doesn't really explain why they suggest such a complicated anchor.  They could have just tied a clove hitch to the left most piece, let a long loop hang down to where the master point would be then clove into the next two pieces and let another loop hang down between piece 3 and 4 then clove into piece 4.  That leaves two loops hanging down and just tie a figure 8 using both those loops.  That would give them a redundant anchor connecting 4 pieces with no extension should any one piece fail and it would take a lot less time to tie and use less rope.  So why the extra complication of tying that loop through all those figure 8's?

I'm not entirely sure. The publication is very visual and unfortunately doesn't provide much in terms of explanations or rationale. I wish the images were a little clearer, but it seems they have a lot going on here. So perhaps having two master points is an important feature of the anchor. 
Sebastian Reichelt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0
Michael M wrote:

So perhaps having two master points is an important feature of the anchor. 

Those are not two master points! You need to clip both loops into the same biner. If you only clip one, the other will get pulled through.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Sebastian Reichelt wrote:

Those are not two master points! You need to clip both loops into the same biner. If you only clip one, the other will get pulled through.

  

Michael M · · Rockville, MD · Joined May 2018 · Points: 20
Sebastian Reichelt wrote:

Those are not two master points! You need to clip both loops into the same biner. If you only clip one, the other will get pulled through.

The lower master point is the two loops clipped to the biner. These loops are run through the overhands from the clove hitches which are also clipped to a biner, creating the upper master point. 

Jeff Sssss · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 10

So, that lower master point isn't redundant then. If the loop of rope is cut, the biner comes off

Michael M · · Rockville, MD · Joined May 2018 · Points: 20
Jeff Sssss wrote: So, that lower master point isn't redundant then. If the loop of rope is cut, the biner comes off

The version from my initial post has offset overhands in the rope loop, so even if one leg of the rope loop is cut, the biner is still attached via the tail of the overhand going to the rightmost clove hitch. 
Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 113

#woofuckery is a thing.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456

Always fun, but the topic was flogged far past the point of death on rc a decade ago...

rc.com anchor discussions...

Jeremy R · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 25

My 2 cents: listen to harumpster. Ditch all those cords and all those lockers. Use rope for anchor. This gets me through probably 90% of the anchors I build. The other 10ish percent, carry a single double runner twisted real small on a locker. You end up with one belay device/locker and one double runner/locker on your harness and that's it.

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476

Hands down, the most effective and simplest anchor you can make is to take the huge, swirling black cloud of anchor thoughts that reading these threads creates within your head. You then cram that black, sticky mass directly into whatever cracks or features your route provides. Then just jump into the whole mess and you will be secure. 

Fran M · · Cottbus, DE · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0
Michael M wrote:

I'm not entirely sure. The publication is very visual and unfortunately doesn't provide much in terms of explanations or rationale. I wish the images were a little clearer, but it seems they have a lot going on here. So perhaps having two master points is an important feature of the anchor. 

The caption of the lower-right picture says: Detail of the "Anello di disassamento", which translates (literally) to "misalignment ring" but I think a better translation would be "displacement ring" or something like it. The point is it is meant to provide a power point and shelf configuration for redirections, avoiding friction between ropes, etc. There are other versions with limiting knots in the document.

The caption of the picture on the left says "construction with one entire rope" meaning the rope is not just used to bulid the anchor but reserved for some other part of the system. The end of the coiled rope is in the knot closing the "displacement ring", then to each anchor leg. The other end is the prussik on the green line. I think they are up to something with redundancy and catastrophe.

Edit: I build most belays with the rope (or dedicated "Edelrid belay sling tech web") if block leading. But still carry a cordelette for a sticky tree or bail, because it's much cheaper than anything else. Maybe I leave it behind when I know the route or if "pushing it" and need to shave weight.
England · · ? · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 260
John Hegyes wrote: Are you joking?? Those are the worst anchors I've ever seen.

+1... moving fast Michael will not.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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