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question about multi pitch belay anchors
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bigdrop


Mar 18, 2003, 1:05 PM
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question about multi pitch belay anchors
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I have no intention of using information from replies as some sort of guide, I merely pose this question to satisfy my general curiosity.

When climbing on a multi-pitch trad route how does one anchor themselves to belay the leader after the first pitch? :?:

Is it sufficient to hang from pro or does the belayer need to be anchored from below as well?

Do you need to be concerned about a leader’s fall causing the belayer’s anchor pro to pull?

~jc


daisuke


Mar 18, 2003, 1:43 PM
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depends on what you´re climbing, if on sport you just clip into the anchors you have, if on trad you set up as bomber a belay as you can, and if on aid you do the same and pray to god it´ll hold a fall (which it might not)

there are cases of sport belays failing, I´d say that trad can be safer in this instance.

D


smithclimber


Mar 18, 2003, 1:50 PM
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The belay anchor needs to be able to withstand an upward pull (in the event of a harsh lead fall).

If they are bolts, obviously they are already multi-directional.

However, when you've placed your own pieces, you need to make sure some of them will hold an upward pull on them (if not, you need to add the requesite pieces so that it will).

Example: you have placed 3 separate nuts (all aligned for a downward pull) and equalized them with a cordalette. An upward pull on this anchor could lift ALL 3 nuts out. You need to place another nut (or cam), making sure it is set for an upward pull, beneath the intial 3 nuts and have it connected to the rest of the system.

Check out "Climbing Anchors" and perhaps it's sequal "More Climbing Anchors", both by John Long.


bigdrop


Mar 18, 2003, 1:51 PM
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Thanks for the reply however.. my question is still unanswered...

As i stated i'm only asking about trad..
and i would like to know what a "bomber belay" station is.. ie: where are the placments with respect to the climber and what direction of pull should they be affective againts? Do the need to prevent the belay from being pulled up?

~jc


bandycoot


Mar 18, 2003, 2:00 PM
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Many people do not practice what they preach and will tell you to have an oppositional piece that will protect an upward pull. Realistically, most people build a 3 piece bomber anchor for a downward pull. Often this consists of something like a cam which is multidirectional if placed correctly. I have belayed factor 1 falls when the climber outweighed me by about 40-50 lbs and wasn't lifted significantly above the anchor if I remember right. I just don't worry about that upward pull that much. As a belayer if I feel an upward pull is potential that means that my leader's pro has held, and I'm still safe. It's a speed over safety issue and I personally feel perfectly safe with the anchors that I've created in the past and I've never specifically made them multi-directional except for the use of cams. If you are going to traverse, now that is an issue. The anchor needs to be created to handle that potential sideways force, not just a downward pull since gravity will not help your climber and if your anchor fails you'll go flying right off your ledge into a pendi.

Josh


calpolyclimber


Mar 18, 2003, 2:10 PM
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Heres how it works. You will have about 3 pieces that are at about your head level, all placed to protect a downward pull, and all equalized, so that there is one powerpoint that you can hang from. You will also have a piece or two down by your feet that will be placed to withstand an upward pull. It will be connected via runner or some other way to your powerpoint. That way, if your leader falls, your anchor will keep its integrity. The rope will try to pull you up, but the upward force piece will keep you down. This keeps the 3+ pieces at your head level from popping as you are pulled upward by your falling leader. This is just the ideal situation. The placements my not always be right there in front of you at head level, they may be 10 feet away...

It is VERY important to have EXTREMELY strong anchors in multi pitch situations because of a little guy they call the factor 2 fall... This is what happens when your leader falls from say 10 feet above your anchor, and has not placed a piece yet. He is going to fall 20 feet on 10 feet of rope, and put a massive shock load on your anchor. That anchor is the only thing holding both of you on the rock, and factor 2's cause massive forces.


Partner cracklover


Mar 18, 2003, 2:24 PM
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A lot of people will disagree with me, but in most instances, I would say no. There are a few situations where having an upward pull piece attached to either you the belayer, or to your anchor is worth it, but in 2+ years of leading I haven't personally experienced them yet.

I think the widespread suggestion that you always need an upward directional came about because of John Long's Anchors book. It's a good book, but I think it simplifies the situation dangerously in this particular regard.

Here are two situations where an upward directional is good: One - the belayer has a roof directly above her head. A hard fall would slam her head into the roof - BAD. Adding an upward directional piece to the anchor does nothing to fix this problem. Rather an upward directional must be place on the _belayer_. Two - the pro is single-directional and not significantly above your stance. A hard fall by the leader can pull the second up above the anchor, ripping out the anchor and leaving both climbers hanging off the top lead-piece. BAD! The best solution IMHO to this problem is to place the pro higher, or your stance lower, if possible. If not, an upward pull piece on the anchor is the next best thing.

Here's a (common) situation where an upward directional on the anchor is bad: You are standing on a ledge, such that if your leader were to have a factor 2 fall the rope would have a significant outward component (as well as down). Your anchor's direction of force is now primarily outward, and that "upward pull" piece is creating an angle of nearly 180 degrees with the downward pull pieces - tremendously multiplying the forces felt be all the components in the anchor, and multiplying the chances that something in the system will fail. Seeing as how the whole purpose of the anchor is to protect against a factor 2 fall, the upward directional piece is exactly the wrong thing to do, in many instances.

One last note: If you tie in with the rope instead of a cordellette you can place the pieces in the anchor higher.

GO


calpolyclimber


Mar 18, 2003, 2:47 PM
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I see your point, but I still still believe in the importance of the upward directional. I don't mean to argue, I'm just trying to work this out in my head, and see where you are coming from.

Hypotheical situation-

You have set up your anchor of 3 bomber nut/hex placements without a directional piece. You are fully prepared for the factor 2, the anchor is not going to pull down. Your leader climbs up 8 feet, places a piece, and climbs another 8 feet. He then falls. The force of his fall lifts you up, causing the nuts to lift out of their placements. You are then both hanging from one single piece.... Hope its a good one.

For this reason, I like the idea of the upward pull piece. I just want to be sure that my anchor is going to stay put, so that I am never relying one one single piece of protection.


bandycoot


Mar 18, 2003, 3:03 PM
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In your theoretical situation, let's say you put in the oppositional piece. You are not lifted at all during the belay of his fall. The belay is then less dynamic and this increases the force on his one piece he placed on lead, which (theoretically) then fails and his factor 1 fall suddenly turned into a factor 2 fall (theoretically). I personally don't use the oppositional piece unless the situation calls for it specifically. I would rather have that slightly more dynamic belay.

Josh


calpolyclimber


Mar 18, 2003, 3:07 PM
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That makes sense. I guess it just depends on alot of factors- Strength of anchor placements, difficulty of climbing directly above anchors, ledges, etc.


on_sight_man


Mar 18, 2003, 4:44 PM
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An upward pull is not only about keeping the gear in place in the event
of a leader fall, it's also for keeping the belayer in place. If you're on a
small ledge, a sharp pull upward (or sideways) can pull you off.
That's not necessarily the end of the world, but it's at the least annoying.
At most, it can be catastrophic.

So it depends on the situation. On a big ledge where the chances of
being pulled off are slim and where the pieces you've pout in are mostly
multidirectional anyway, or well above you, it's not that big a big deal.
In opther places it is.

You need to use your head and analyze where the potential falls will come
from, and then make sure there are pieces that can respond in that direction that follow srene (solid, redundant, equalized, no extension).


Partner cracklover


Mar 18, 2003, 7:24 PM
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In reply to:
I see your point, but I still still believe in the importance of the upward directional. I don't mean to argue, I'm just trying to work this out in my head, and see where you are coming from.

Hypotheical situation-

You have set up your anchor of 3 bomber nut/hex placements without a directional piece. You are fully prepared for the factor 2, the anchor is not going to pull down. Your leader climbs up 8 feet, places a piece, and climbs another 8 feet. He then falls. The force of his fall lifts you up, causing the nuts to lift out of their placements. You are then both hanging from one single piece.... Hope its a good one.

For this reason, I like the idea of the upward pull piece. I just want to be sure that my anchor is going to stay put, so that I am never relying one one single piece of protection.

Here's the rub - where are those 3 bomber pieces of yours? If they're at chest level, then yes, you've got a chance of ripping them out in your scenario. That's BAD! However your anchor should not be that low. It should be at head level or above. If the pieces are at the level of your head, your climber can fall 16 feet in your scenario all day long, and you'll never get lifted nearly high enough to rip out the placements. However, you will be lifted up enough to reduce some of the force on his top piece, thus giving it a better chance to survive the fall. Think about it - if there's just three feet between your waist and your placements, you would need to be lifted six feet up before your gear got any upward force. If your leader outweighs you by a lot - protect against this possibility - either by placing the gear higher, or by adding an upward directional. Personally - I've never needed that upward directional.

If your leader is starting with a traverse, of course you must protect against a pull in that direction. That's because your body weight will not counter the sideways force if he should fall. This I've had to do many times.

Make sense?

GO


calpolyclimber


Mar 18, 2003, 9:19 PM
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Yeah, that does make sense.


climber1


Mar 19, 2003, 2:29 PM
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for people starting out multi-pitching, I think it's a good idea to place an anchor for an upward pull. once you get more comfortable with multi-pitching, you may decide not to have an upward pull anchor. also if you tie in short to your downward pull anchor you can eliminate your upward pull anchor. if the terrain above the belay is easy(and the leader not likely to fall) then I would not use an upward pull anchor. it just depends on the climb.


bigdrop


Mar 19, 2003, 2:57 PM
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Thanks to everyone for all the great replies!

cheers
~jc


drkodos


Mar 19, 2003, 2:58 PM
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"UpwardPull" on an anchor is overemphasized as stated very lucidly above...

1. The leader is creating a Protection System. If the leader falls and their pieces hold, an upward pull that has enough force to compromise the anchor still keeps the party on the wall.

2. If the leader's pieces DO NOT hold and the leader FALLS ONTO THE ANCHOR itself, then the anchor better hold MAXIMUM "DOWNWARD" forces.

3. Similar to the concepts of Simul-climbing, where there is no anchor, the pieces the leader places must be part of an overlying system that at many points has omni-directional anchors. After all, any single piece is an anchor. The idea that "bomber" is always four pieces is SAFE way to ensure redundancy (if pieces are properly placed)


I freely admit to the vast oversimplification of the issue, and the notion that all cases are unique and require specific knowledge pertaining to that uniqueness..... :!:


Partner cracklover


Mar 20, 2003, 3:24 PM
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In reply to:
for people starting out multi-pitching, I think it's a good idea to place an anchor for an upward pull. once you get more comfortable with multi-pitching, you may decide not to have an upward pull anchor. also if you tie in short to your downward pull anchor you can eliminate your upward pull anchor. if the terrain above the belay is easy(and the leader not likely to fall) then I would not use an upward pull anchor. it just depends on the climb.
I think it should be obvious from my earlier posts that I vehemently disagree with nearly every aspect of climber1's above post.

Here are some of the reasons why I think it's terrible advice:
1 - I believe that in most cases an anchor incorporating an upward pull piece is significantly less safe, especially for beginners who are unlikely to use a hanging belay. If you don't know why, see my earlier post. In addition, from a pedagogical point of view, I think it's a terrible idea to teach beginners the exception first.
2 - If by "tie in short" you mean that the distance between your standard downward-pull pieces and your stance is small, then I strongly disagree that this is a good case for eliminating the upward pull anchor. On the contrary, this is the one and only case where integrating an upward-pull piece into the anchor is called for. And in general, "tieing in short" should be avoided, precisely because in order to do it safely, (adding an upward pull piece to the anchor) you are compromising the strength of your anchor, as well as reducing the dynamic properties of being lifted by a hard lead fall.
3 - If the climbing above the anchor is so easy that your leader cannot possibly fall past you, tie your anchor onto twigs and moss - who cares. If there is any chance that your leader may fall past you, however, you must build the most secure anchor possible to deal with that possiblity. And in general this means that you should not include an upward pull piece. [/rant]

GO


brutusofwyde


Mar 23, 2003, 12:39 AM
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In reply to:
And in general, "tieing in short" should be avoided, precisely because in order to do it safely, (adding an upward pull piece to the anchor) you are compromising the strength of your anchor, as well as reducing the dynamic properties of being lifted by a hard lead fall.

If I understand you correctly, you are advising folks to build belay anchors violating the "No Extension" principle of anchors. I couldn't disagree more.

Forces in a high factor leader fall should be controlled either through load limiters (yates screamers for example), dynamic properties of the rope, or use of a dynamic belay, rather than by jerking the belayer several feet in a direction that the anchor is not built to withstand.

If the forces on a belay anchor can have an outward component, as you suggest in your hypothetical "compromising the strength of the anchor" scenario, then the anchor should be constructed to directly resist outward loading, as well as upward and downward loading. And if you do not know how to do this, you should learn, before your name appears in ANAM.

Brutus of Wyde
Old Climbers' Home
Oakland, California


duskerhu


Mar 23, 2003, 2:39 AM
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And learn how to give a dynamic belay while anchored at belay for multiple directions of pull...

duskerhu


dirtineye


May 12, 2003, 11:18 AM
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The concept of no extension bomber multi directional anchors is lost on some people. Don't be one of em.

Long calls it SRENE, for solid redundant equalised no extention.

DO take that advice on the john long books, do use a little common sense, and make sure you understand why the upward, downward and outward pulls matter.

You could also take a class from an amga certified instructor on building anchors and get hands on experience with an expert.


winkwinklambonini


May 12, 2003, 1:10 PM
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One thought:

When building an anchor, it's good to use as much passive gear as you can since it's a tad harder to place while climbing. But one thing I do when I think of it, and it works out, is to MAKE THE BOTTOM PIECE OF THE CORDELLETTE A CAM. If there is a bad upward pull, the cam might rotate to stop the others from coming out.
Also, after the leader has placed at least one bomber piece, there is effectivly four pieces holding the team on, sooo.....what I do is move the cam down so it's set up for upward. The stoppers should be good of course.


jt512


May 13, 2003, 11:19 AM
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In reply to:
If the pieces are at the level of your head, your climber can fall 16 feet in your scenario all day long, and you'll never get lifted nearly high enough to rip out the placements. However, you will be lifted up enough to reduce some of the force on his top piece, thus giving it a better chance to survive the fall.

On a multipitch climb, I don't think you should be relying on being lifted up to reduce the impact on the top piece. I'd rather be anchored in tight and give a dynamic belay by letting a little rope slide through the ATC.

-Jay


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