Sunday, February 8, 2015

Anybody know a knot, any knot?

Lots of rope to replace the carabiner and runner.

Same thing

Lots of knots, what are they doing?

The price tag is still on it.

This is solid webbing, not tubular. It is faded to white and frayed.

They don't make runners any thinner.

Again enough stuff to eliminate the carabiner and red webbing.

Yes all of these had single carabiners.


  1. I was looking over several of these anchors and I am curious to know why the ones with the webbing on the trees are bad? To me they look simple and solid (albeit a bit more complex with the added hardware). My understanding is that repeatedly tying a friction wrap around a tree can strangle the tree over time, killing it. Is this the case? Carderock is an ugly enough place already, killing the trees would just make it worse! Anything that can be done to save the trees there should be encouraged.

    1. Webbing is much less resistant to cutting and Carderock is notorious for sharp edges especially the quartz inclusions. There has never been any study showing that well tied anchors damage trees. You can still see some scars on old trees at Carderock, this dates back to the early days of climbing there when people would pass the rope around the tree, with no other anchor. The rappel trees at Seneca show some of these scars. The best thing for the trees is keeping the anchor at the base of the tree.

  2. The other point is that the runner/carabiner combination introduces 2 points of failure. Using rope eliminates chances of failure, it may seem like a minor point , but over thousands of anchors the chance of failure becomes significant.

  3. Slow month for DAA? Most of these anchors look bomber. It is standard practice to sling a tree and attach it to a rope/webbing with a locker. It is a safe and efficient means of making an anchor. You are technically correct that removing the the locker and sling from the system may increase the holding power. However, the reduction in holding power caused by the sling and locker are essentially moot in a top rope scenario. I would also wager that the mode of failure for most of the anchors would be the tree.

  4. It may be a more common practice than in the past, but it is still sloppy and leads to the kind of nonsense seen here.Use locking carabiner long enough and you will find one that was supposed to be locked but wasn't.

  5. I agree that slinging a tree and clipping it, is a lot faster than doing a friction wrap or a bowline or similar when you have extra rope. Depending on how you handle the rope off the carabiner also gives you easier adjustability without faffing with a long tail. Then again I did just discover your blog AND I built one of the (partial) anchors you see above so I could be biased. The real reason for the long tail after the 8 on a bight, though was the tail was fall protection while building the anchor over the edge (that also explains the knotted end).

    Semi-related; is the rock at Great Falls and Carderock really that janky? I'm pretty new to the area and it seems like everyone talks about how unsafe it is for pro, even for toprope anchors they say. Having climbed all over the US, Canada, and abroad, while some of it seems wonky or friable, it doesn't seem like the sketchy death rock people often make it out to be. Is there something I'm missing, or is this just a blanket statement meant to warn the droves of bumblies climbing outside for the first time? Little bit of both?

    And just to wade into the carabiner debate; are you recommending double lockers or simply double 'biners in general on anchor pro? If you're using non-lockers double em up, but using two lockers on an anchor (excepting the masterpoint) is way overkill. The lock is the backup; and if that somehow 1:unlocks (not that uncommon), 2: opens (less common), and 3: comes unclipped (unheard of unless you've somehow done everything wrong- doubt you could consistently do this even trying) you have the other solid parts of the anchor.

    Ok that's the end of my rant. Keep up the good work John.


  6. Check out the video of the guy at great falls ripping out wired nuts on body weight. I got dropped to within 6 inches of the deck when a guys anchor ripped out.
    Carabiners: someday you will find your locking biner not locked, that's why 2 is a good idea.