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Bottom anchor for soloing?
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styndall


Mar 25, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Bottom anchor for soloing?
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I'm hypothetically planning on soloing a crack. For the first pitch (and subsequent pitches with gear anchors), I'm planning on setting a two or three piece anchor for upward pull and then clove-hitching the rope to a piece a few feet up in order to keep the anchor tensioned in it's proper direction.

Is this the proper method? If I fall and die, will it be because of this, or will I have to think up some other excuse?


scottnoy


Mar 25, 2006, 11:40 AM
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I multi-direction the anchor and then continue up as 'normal'


mingleefu


Mar 25, 2006, 3:59 PM
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so you have a 3 piece anchor set for an upward pull, and that is Cloved to a single piece set directionally for a fall. What if that upper piece blows? (answer: you fall and die.) You'll want a "normal", downward pull anchor as well. That's a 6 piece anchor.


stymingersfink


Mar 25, 2006, 6:53 PM
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screw the six-piece anchor, just make it multi-directional and bomber. (That means 3 bolts on the Captain, in case I was not being clear enough)

i have cloved the first piece just to keep the rope headed the proper direction (using a sling to allow the rope to stretch UPward during a fall, rather than onto a single-piece anchor above your "real" anchor). I would not feel good recommending using this technique however. In fact I would have to recommend against.

I would more usually just keep the rope to a comfortable length between moves. When the weight of the rope begins to cause self-feed issues with my belay device (Gri-Gri), I'll set a friction knot (with 5mm perlon or a long sling) as a strain-relief, set in such a way that it will not impede rope-stretch in the event of a fall. These also come in handy at roofs/sharp edges/what-not to minimize the sawing action on the rope while jugging to clean.


It it were a fully trad anchor (haven't seen one yet at a pitch's end), I would set as many pieces as I need to feel comfortable climbing above it, and not one piece more. Since I would be jugging/cleaning/hauling off it, this to me seems un-necessary to say, but there it is.It that meant two independent anchor systems joined at a powerpoint, then that's what it would mean.


styndall


Mar 26, 2006, 10:20 PM
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The important thing here is that I'm talking chiefly about the anchor at the bottom of the first pitch, on the ground. Obviously, this anchor will never see a downward pull, and if I fall past it, dealing with my broken body lying on the ground will be a rather more pressing consideration than whether my anchor pieces are still plugged.

Thus, the upward pull only and the clove hitch.


stymingersfink


Mar 27, 2006, 8:34 PM
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oh. i'd go for it. I still sling it so it doesn't remove the rope between it and the anchor from the fall-factor equations in the event of a fall.

I've used as few as 2 bomproof pieces as an initial anchor (nuts in perfect placements), or as many as 1 huge boulder (bottom of Zodiac).


Partner holdplease2


Mar 27, 2006, 10:15 PM
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Just some thoughts-

Because no one wiill be there to "mind" the anchor, because you will be expecting the anchor to pieces to hold upside down, and because some "wiggling" could make it thru your system, even with the clove, consider placing 3 pieces always, not just two, unless they are bolts.

I've been soloing a bunch of cracks this year in the manner you describe and have lost more than one anchor piece in the process, but
I always use a four-piece rig or 2 and a rock/tree because I'm just cragging and not in a hurry.

I have not soloed multipitch, however, partially because the prospect of needing a multi-directional anchor and the PITA of rope soloing in the first place.

Also, I'd say practice with your rig in a variety of places - dihedrals, deeper flared stuff, etc, that you might run into on a multipitch. Things can quickly become a mess if your rig gets trapped against rock, your rope loops get smooshed in the cracks and try to spit you out, etc. Face and straight in cracks make the most convenient first rope-solo climbs. The others can become surprisingly complicated surprisingly quckly. Ugh.

With only a coupla dozen pitches under my belt, I still have alot to learn, tho, you may be more dialed than me at this point.

-Kate.


mikeehartley


Mar 30, 2006, 4:48 PM
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Most of my soloing over the years has been on multi-pitch trad and I'd second Kate's warning about nuts falling out. I've found that sometimes they will even if you clove the 1st piece of pro above the belay. Sometimes you just can't get it tight enough to prevent movement. I carry a couple of pieces of lightweight shock/bungie cord loops with me. I'll connect the upperward belay pieces to the 1st piece of pro with that. That keeps them under constant tension. Never had one fall out that way.

For your second, third, etc belays. How bomber you make the downward anchor of course depends. If its absolute A1 off the belay I may only clove the 1st couple pieces. If its questionable at all, or its harder freeclimbing I'll make a bomber multi-directional anchor.


guanoboy


Mar 31, 2006, 7:55 AM
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I usually throw my haulbag into the mix (clipped above the anchor). This allows a more dynamic belay. I have even used only my haul bags as the first anchor. I don't recall too many occassions where there wasn't a large boulder at the base of the route.


Partner euroford


Mar 31, 2006, 9:07 AM
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over the last 5 years i have probobly 100 pitches or so of solo aiding under my belt, probobly 80% single pitch and 20% 3 pitches or less. to a great degree, unless my partner is as psyched about aiding as i am (and thus understanding of the long boring belay sessions) i prefer to do my crag aiding solo.

i almost always build my bottom anchors around trees or boulders, i usually clove hitch a directional piece just above and i frequently incorporate a screamer into the system. multipitch or not i'll usually try to build the anchors with cams whenever a multidirectional load could take place. however if i'm blessed with a couple of bomber bolts i'll probobly just sliding-x them and go on with my life. the number of natural piece in my anchors have varied from 4 to 8 depending on the situation and quality of gear.

i don't feel like i've given a very good answer to how to build an anchor, but from a philisofical (sp?!??lol) standpoint the kind of person who gets a kick out of solo aiding should be the kind of person who has almost as much fun building the anchor as they do leading the pitch. be at one with your inner engineer.


iamcolinslack


Mar 31, 2006, 9:08 AM
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im really trying to picture this soloing anchoring system yall are talking about. If anyone has a picture that would help explain i would appreciate it. Because when i AID solo the 30' retaining wall behind my apt i only carry a rope up to rappel off. I would love to learn how to safely solo so i can begin to practice it on real rock.


stymingersfink


Apr 1, 2006, 2:08 PM
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sounds to me more like you're high-ball aid-bouldering.

beeee caaarefuuuulllll!


kristoffer


Apr 25, 2006, 10:06 AM
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stymingersfink, im with you about the basic anchor of 3 bolts on the Capitan.. heck im perfectly comfortable with just soloing off of two bolts and then clove hitching my next peace with a screamer and enough slack to allow that screamer to completely deploy if I fall past my anchor… out of the walls I have soloed only one of them has had belays that were 100% natural and its really not that hard to figure out a solid multi directional anchor when your up there.. I actually think its harder to sit here and ponder the idea rather than just going out and doing it… the only time I have found it to be supper spicy is when there is iffy gear directly off of the belay, especially hooks, by them I usually have a good enough case of the FEAR to not skimp on my anchor in the first place and make sure it can hold a factor 2 just incase I do whip it onto my belay.

iamcolinslack, ok here is the MOST basic solo anchor applied to your retaining wall project.
Im guessing that you are pounding pins into the cracks that divide the cinderblocks correct? If so just wale in two bomb proof pins at the base, slap lockers on them, tie a dog-eared figure eight aka double figure eight (if you don’t know that knot just use a cordalet) clip each bight to your locker, go up a few feet, pound another pin put a sling on it for the exact reason stymingersfink stated, clove your rope to that biner on a sling and pull the slack through the clove till the dog ears are pulled up and tight! (This is going to look just like a regular anchor you would put at the top of any climb, except its upside down)
Now you can take the reaming rope that comes from this anchor and either put it in a rope bag or coil it and hang it on a sling (I personally always hang my rope on a sling) and now you connect your self to the rope via your self belay device (grigri, clove hitches, or what not). Be sure to BACK UP your self belay device! Now remember if your using a grigri you want it orientated so your “belaying the anchor” if you face it the other way where the anchor is on the “hand” side of the grigir you are going to take gravity’s big ride when you fall!!! (no good!)
You can also solo with a clove hitch (this is how I started and I did a hand full of walls this way, and I have taken some pretty nice sized falls onto it and its bomb proof.) I actually know a few variations that can be done to the clove hitch to make it feed really easy but that’s completely a different subject and if your interested you can e-mail me.
So now you just climb like you normally would and feed slack into the system as you need it and POW you did it.

The game changes a little bit and the anchors get a bit more complicated once you enter multi-pitch, but for your single pitch solos this should get the job done just fine.


dangle


Apr 27, 2006, 3:00 PM
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Treating a bolt (non-spinner) as an omnidirectional anchor is a bad idea. Sufficient force can turn it into a spinner but worse it might not. The hanger could act like a little pry bar.

I actually PREFER spinners for belay because using rope tension or bungies or both one can orient the hanger to line up with the force.

Then again this explains in part why I like drilled angles.


texplorer


May 8, 2006, 9:37 PM
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Yes, three bomber SMC's are the ticket.


majid_sabet


May 8, 2006, 10:32 PM
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If you have not done your homework out there on your own and you are here now taking notes on how to setup an anchor, you need to go back and reconsider soloing some other time.


jrzacher


May 26, 2006, 4:01 PM
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So I do a bit of single pitch rope soloing when I don't have a partner. Now since they are one pitch a multi-directional anchor is pointless. Most times I girth hitch boulders and such. But when I do use pieces I do a 3 point anchor usually cams because they are splitters and its the desert. I set the anchor for an upward pull. I also have 36" long loops of small diameter tech cord. From the ground I reach as high as I can putting another piece in then I have two carabiners at the piece. One of them is for the rope, the other is for the tech cord which I use to prussik around the rope coming from the anchor. I then clip the other end to the piece and slide the prussic toward the anchor end until there is sufficient tension orienting the anchor for an upward pull. I guess the theory is the same as " re belaying" like PTPP uses when he is on long route to decrease rope drag. I make the tech cord slings long enough so that even if I take a monster whipper, the tech cord wont limit how much the rope can stretch. Thus no clove hitch and trusting it all to one piece. Do you think that this is safe and smart to do?
Thanks
Jesse


ptpp


Nov 1, 2007, 11:18 PM
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Building upside-down equalized anchors is a pain. If you don't believe me, try tying a cordelette upside-down sometime.

When I'm soloing a wall, I have a pig, and so I don't worry about making an anchor to take an upward pull, since my pig can do that for me. I'm sure you "get" what I mean.

But when you don't have a pig, what do you do? Yeah, it's a pain. Jesse's idea is a good one - I would use a long "prusik" - really a Klemheist - to hold the rope in place stretched upward. Backing it up with a second or third one won't hurt, either.

Avoid clove hitches - use a butterfly if you have to.

Perhaps Jesse had too little coffee or too much beer [depending on whether he wrote the following before or after Changeover Time] when he said,

"I guess the theory is the same as " re belaying" like PTPP uses when he is on long route to decrease rope drag."

Jesse knows that there is no rope drag issue when you are soloing. And what he really meant to say was I use the long Klemheist to rebelay my rope for two reasons - to prevent the weight of the rope from pulling slack through the Grigri while you're soloing, and to prevent the rope from abrading across an edge when you later jug to clean the pitch, because when properly done the Klemheist takes your weight below the edge.

I kind of like majid's comment, because he might be right. His point is to make sure your anchor is both bombproof and multi-directional. And by "multi-directional" for first-pitch-off-the-ground anchors, I mean properly tensioned upside-down so your pieces [especially stoppers] don't fall out later when you're climbing.


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