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 Post subject: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 6:11 pm 
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Real Name: Jonathan Newman
Ok - so today I did my second trad lead. Just to make sure I'm doing the equalising of anchors at the top right, I would appreciate comments on the following setup. Criticism etc would be great :thumleft:

Attachment:
Stance.jpg
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Ps. the reason I did 5 points instead of the normal 3 was that there was plenty of good gear spots and I though extra gear never hurts (especially when doing this for the first time).

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:04 am 
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Real Name: Des Porter
Everything is dependant on the stability of the middle rock. Even if there were a dozen anchor points there it would make no difference. If that rock goes all will fail. I would rather use additional anchor points on other nearby rocks.


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:07 am 
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Real Name: Jan Bradley
Hey there

For the placements itself it's not to easy to see without poking around, but since you ask about the equalising. lets stick to that. It looks fine although instead of overhand knots you should use alpine butterflies. This will make your life easier as they can be adjusted easily and it's a midline knot that can be loaded in 3 different directions without losing much of it's strength. You can see that the overhands are unhappy having their tails pulled in different directions.

To get back to the placements my only concern from what I can see on the photo is that some of those blocks might be loose, cracks running horizontally along the ground. Always give blocks a good kick and a whack to feel if they are solid. As Des said that middle block looks a bit dodge.

But on the whole the system is definitely not the worst Ive ever seen and should be bomber if you use the butterflies. :thumright


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 6:59 pm 
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
The butterflies to each piece can be difficult to equalize properly, the longer they are the easier it gets. Individual loops to each piece are easier to equalize evenly and just tie them all together with a BFK (an overhand tied with all the strands)

Other than that, it's perfect.

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 9:11 pm 
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Real Name: Theunis de Bruin
IMHO this is not really equalised, more of a 2 piece protection with 3 pieces as backup. Like Nick said, individual loops to every piece with a knot(or without if you have a cordellete and the belay direction can vary)


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 9:23 pm 
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Real Name: Jonathan Newman
Thanks for the advice everyone :thumleft:

@Des: Its off 3 different cracks, so surely 2 rocks would have to fail? But definitely thanks for the advice, I hadn't considered that. Definitely something I will watch out for next time.

@Dassie: just googled that knot and gave it a go on some access chord. That is one seriously cool knot!

I will try the "kick" test next time.

@Nic: an earlier equalisation I did was off 3 points with slings - I didn't find it any easier than the setup in the photo, although slings are kind of awkward to overhand. Ended up using a locking biner in the end with overhands to shorten the slings to equalised length.

I assume you couldn't use 6mm accessory chord for multi-chord equalisation? What would you use?

@Oakley: Please just clarify which 2 pieces you say are on - would it be 3 and 5 you are referring to? (with no 1 being top left, then going in order that they are linked to the rope).

The correction would be working on the actual equalisation of the rope, right? Or is there something else I am missing?

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:16 pm 
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Real Name: Henk Grobler
Imho: I do not see that as being equalized. I prefer the sliding X on a sling, or a cordelette pre-equalized and then tied in a single overhand.

Also a bit of an overkill using 5 pieces. Keep it simple and uncluttered. Plenty sub-bomber gear is worse than 3 (or even 2) that are really bomber. And if they are bomber, why add more? It will slow you down and consume gear you may need on the next pitch.

And yes, a bomber stance on poor rock is really not bomber.

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 12:19 am 
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Awesome for the lead.
And keep at it. Tradding is great.

But, I'm going to be a little harsh when critiquing your system though.

Firstly.
Don't carry your gear in a plastic shopping bag. It is lame and people will think you are a sport climber.

Now the real analysis:

1) Nope, it is not really equalized. Rather it is 2 (3 at a stretch) weighted pieces with multiple backups
2) The rock seems rather shaky.
3) The x-slings Henk describes do work, but be very careful: If one piece should fail the other piece will be shock-loaded. Which could theoretically push you to a fall factor of above 2.
Fall factors above 2 have been documented to break carabiners with only a climbers weight.
5) In my opinion cordilette is a waste of time. Learn to work with your climbing ropes and slings.
6) As for the knots: I'm not convinced alpine-butterflies will make your system any better than the overhands. I may even use clove's to easy load-spreading.
7) you don't need to use full quick-draws: you are using 10 carabiners where 5 would have done. Swopping leads the leader may need them or you'll be carrying to much excess gear.
8) Final critique is that it is a bit of a messy nest. Sorry...

On the bright side: the system will work; i have belayed of worse; it is good to see improvisation.
But always try and keep it simple.


Now, how could you do it different:

Lets assume you climbed with 2 ropes (blue and red), the rock is solid and the placements are the same:

I'd use the 'blue' rope, make a double-figure-8 and tie it to the 2 nuts on the right.
I'd use the 'red' rope and make a BFK on the 3 pieces to the left.

To the BFK clip a screwgate.

Make a clove-hitch in the blue rope and clip it to the screw-gate.
The blue could be substituted with slings if you only have one rope.

Now you should have 5 points all equalized.


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 7:44 am 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Equalizing anchors is over-rated and mostly un-neccessary and usually professional time wasting. if you are not efficient and quick then you will not get up big wall routes that you would otherwise be able to do.

One good anchor is a good anchor that is obviously better if you back it up with at least one more piece ideally in a different rock formation to the first one.

If you are climbing with two ropes you can in effect equalize by clipping one rope into each piece and make sure there is no slack by using clove hitches, not knots.

Your butt seated on rock is a pretty good anchor - I have been pulled forward belaying someone top-roping from below only once in my life and then only about 10 cm in 30 years of trad climbing. And I am only 60kg.

There simply must not be any slack in the system.

It is always safer to belay off yourself rather than directly off your belay points. Your own weight is a pretty good anchor as I already stated provided you are seated and stable.

If you are going equalize learn to do it efficiently and avoid the "Death Loop" It is not rocket science.
http://www.chockstone.org/TechTips/Equalise.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Real Name: Vaughn Cleminson
Interesting thread growing here.
I am wondering how many climbers use cordalette or fancy self-equalizing devices?

I just get to the stance, pop in a piece and clove hitch the first rope I led on. Then pop in another, shuffle around to get comfy if possible, clove hitch the second rope and adjust both for slack.
Generally then place a third and use a sling to attach.
The whole lot going through the belay loop on the harness, except the two ropes that are already ties to the harness for the lead.
Then shout off belay and start pulling ropes up.
I'm climbing pretty low grades so its generally on some sort of ledge rather than a hanging belay.
Haven't needed to escape the belay, and very seldom belay more than 2 guys following.


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:13 pm 
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
I use a cordellette whenever I have more than one second because it allows me to keep the rope out of the stance which is very useful if not switching leads; other than that it usually gets left in the car. I dislike direct belays off my harness when bringing second(s) up to a stance because it doesn't allow me to use my Reverso/Guide ATC effectively in the auto-locking mode and also means much more work to escape the system should I need to. I only do direct belays off my harness when bringing seconds up if I have doubts about the integrity of my stance.

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:24 pm 
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Real Name: Willem Boshoff
Place 3 solid pieces; clip a trango alpine equaliser and hang off it; clove hitch equalised strands in; belay of stance in guide mode. Super safe, comfy and takes 5mins to set-up if you're slow.

A leader's most important job is to build a safe, solid belay stance. Whatever you do in the end, it's more important to think about it and make sure it's safe & functional than to try and arrive at some ideal configuration. Gear, position, rock quality, rock features around you etc are all variables.


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:39 pm 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Reverso's and ATC guides are fine for guiding and occasionally for other reasons. It is a real pain following a tricky pitch if you are trying to free it. The belayer cannot "feel" you and releasing the rope is not prompt and very jerky. Quite frankly I refuse to be belayed like that.

Most - if not all - seasoned experience trad climbers I know do not use locking devices.


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:03 pm 
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@mok....maybe tie an overhand knot in the middle loop of your alpine equaliser rather....your points remain redundant & your equaliser remains an equaliser (rather than the clove hitches) - I am sure I actually got that off this forum- & just yesterday I was demonstrating this to some new trad climbers.

Incidentally I turn again to the somewhat tedious (as I was previously informed on this forum) point that newbies should probably be taught the best possible methods & learn to choose between their options - so the clove hitched rope with one other tether is a simple method if not swinging leads, but both Nic & Mok are probably proposing systems that new leaders should be familiar with as they will probably be climbing with even less experienced seconds & thus need to create an anchor & leave the stance in place when they lead off again - in which case it is important that they then switch their belay from the self locking system to a belay off the harness of their second, once they are safely attached to the masterpoint.

Personally I think it would terrify a new leader to belay purely off their seated position Or with one anchor to keep them in place, so initially I think the three equalised pieces is a good principle & then with a bit of experience they may use their judgement about how many solid anchors are available. This principle also helps when that bomber tree turns out to be more rotten then one thought, or the spike you attached to actually seems a bit hollow when you pound it.

The original assessment of the pictured stance though shows the main requirement...the builder of the stance needed someone elses contribution to point out that this whole system hinges off the strength of the front boulder...so the writer was wise in seeking advice...& would be wiser to seek instruction. Good question & a worthwhile topic. Oh & create your stances with lots of locking carabiners if you are a beginner (or back to back snapgates - a technique some prefer that uses double the number of carabiners) :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 11:24 am 
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It looks like monties, close or the top of Republic,

what the chaps have been posting have been valid and very informative responses. I could suggest a course if you are a first time trad climber or go climbing with someone who has a lot of trad experience and is willing to teach or show you the ways. remember there are many ways to do these set ups and it is all dependant on the anchors, the distance apart and of course personal preference. I prefer minimum three anchors and tie off at one end and loop the rope through each anchore to form three legs and then locking it off at the last anchore with a knot and then equalizing it and tying another knot to make a "master point" it uses a lot of rope but is easiest to equalize and you can end up having a bomber anchore. PM me if you require further assistance

Trev

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:08 pm 
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Trevor wrote:
It looks like monties, close or the top of Republic


Correct. Well, technically it was for Pub Lunch, but roughly the same spot...

I'll email you :thumleft:

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 4:57 pm 
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I also thought it was Monteseel.

One point is that using your rope is great as a dynamic anchor & ok if swinging leads but not so great if the leader has to lead off again, as they then need to create a secure anchor for their second, dismantle their stance & lead off. This is very workable solution, but takes time compared to the external cordellette/ sling option. Gear like Alpine equalisers should not be feared/ revered, merely understood. If used correctly these anchor systems will not take a dynamic load straight onto them as the rope is always the "shock absorber" in the system & so citing their non shock absorbing qualities is a bit misleading. Hopefully you are always on the rope when climbing! :thumright

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:26 pm 
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Real Name: Stephen Martindale
I, too, am fairly new to this trad. game and would like to volunteer my own stance-building technique for critique.
(Read: I'd much rather be educated (lambasted) on the forum than fall off a cliff.)
Here's what I do *most* of the time:

  • Place one good piece, clove hitch one of my ropes to said piece. (Assume red, without loss of generality)
  • Place a second good piece, clove hitch the other rope to said piece. (Blue)
  • Place a third piece.
  • Take the first rope (red) and pull through some slack, forming a loop, and clove hitch it to the third piece.
  • Take the loop of red rope between pieces 1 and 3 and the blue rope and tie a BFK. From this BFK, three strands of rope now lead to three independent pieces.
  • Adjust all clove hitches to balance the stance for the direction of expected force.
  • Attach Reverso 3 in Guide Mode to BFK.

In my opinion, this stance has some great benefits:

  • Quick to build (three pieces, three clove hitches, one BFK) and easy to adjust.
  • On a ledge, you can add some slack between yourself and the clove hitches so you can move around.
  • At a hanging belay, you can make the strands short or clip into the BFK to keep yourself in position.
  • It doesn't require any extra gear.
  • Zero extension should any single piece fail.

Unfortunately, it does become a bit of a faff when you aren't swinging leads. In this case, the quickest solution is for both climbers to attach to the BFK with a sling and swap ropes one at a time so that you are both always on one dynamic rope and a sling at any instant.

Also, it is very easy to tie long strands of rope between the BFK and the gear. One must be careful to think about the angles between the strands lest they amplify the forces.

I'll try to post a picture after the weekend. I don't have a very good one, yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 7:08 pm 
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Xharlie wrote:
I, too, am fairly new to this trad. game and would like to volunteer my own stance-building technique for critique.
(Read: I'd much rather be educated (lambasted) on the forum than fall off a cliff.)


I agree completely :eye:

@everyone: thanks for all the advice, it has been really helpful :thumleft:

I'm wondering about the concept of using 3 large slings to equalise. Basically thread each end directly through the hex/nut (i.e. 1 sling per gear item, no death triangle - and the gear put through the gear loop, no biners), use a locking biner on the other end to join all 3 slings and use overhands to shorten the slings for equalisation (smaller adjustments can be made by wrapping the sling around the top of the biner extra times). I could then use my sling to connect myself to the equalisation.

In my mind that would be easier and should hold a fall (maybe even better than a rope) - but once again, if I am being stupid, please tell me! :cyclopsan

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 11:24 am 
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Real Name: Henk Grobler
@ Trevor:

I have seen your system used. Can you maybe post a diagram. I thought it was cool, but could not recreate it myself.

Henk

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Ok here is my opinion on the two posts above;

1. The all rope stance - very good as a stance- all nice & logical. Untying on a stance is an absolute NO NO as far as I am concerned, it is, simply put, a recipe for death. Not because you cannot do it safely but because it is bad practice that helps to lead to big errors (read death). It is a bit like why we check our partner has put their harness on properly & tied in properly before we leave the ground - that saves lives & is good practice. What I was taught is that you both put your harnesses on, tie in the 2nd, run through the ropes,the leader ties in & then the leader is ready to go :thumright ,& the next time you untie is when the climb is concluded & you are both on safe ground. That may not work in the Cape but everywhere else on the globe that is accepted practice. Swopping ropes on a stance may at times be inevitable, but should not be part of your plan in my opinion.

2. The all slings solution - Equalising with overhands is not as easy as you think, maybe if you use clove hitches & accept one strand of each sling is not loaded, but that is still not great. If you want to use slings & do not like the equaliser, I hesitate to suggest this for the can of worms it will open but I then suggest you try using an EQUALLETTE. (Try a google search & look at the images - there are numerous ones but if you learn to do the 4 & 3 Anchor ones then you have a brilliant slinged solution that equalises & suffers almost no extension when an anchor fails.)

It is argued that this is better than the cordellette but anyway you like to see it it is another way to set up a stance using one long sling (wild country make one).

Point remains that you are only as knowledgeable as the instruction you receive - you too could end up using two locking carabiners for your stances :jocolor: :thumleft:

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:40 pm 
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If that's a belay for Pub Lunch, you missed the most secure piece - the tree!!!. That, and 1 cam supports an elephant. In the last 2 decades (and some) I have seen that tree grow form a spindly carrot thick trunk to a healthy ankle size one.
If you want to get your mind right for Berg climbing, only use the tree! (I wish there were more trees like that one in the Berg.)

Regarding all that stuff on your belay, get used to using as little ropes and slings as possible. This means that there will be fewer 'links',less clutter and less chance of making a mistake. (Unless you are one of those climbers whose gear loops carry every little gadget ever invented as well as metres and meters of 8mm hanging around ready to trip you up.)


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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:57 pm 
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Camp wrote:
If that's a belay for Pub Lunch, you missed the most secure piece - the tree!!!. That, and 1 cam supports an elephant.


I'm back there tomorrow - didn't notice a tree last time though. But noted for tomorrow :thumleft:

Camp wrote:
If you want to get your mind right for Berg climbing, only use the tree! (I wish there were more trees like that one in the Berg.)


Where will I find a tree in the Berg :lol: Never noticed a tree above 2500m.

Camp wrote:
Regarding all that stuff on your belay, get used to using as little ropes and slings as possible. This means that there will be fewer 'links',less clutter and less chance of making a mistake. (Unless you are one of those climbers whose gear loops carry every little gadget ever invented as well as metres and meters of 8mm hanging around ready to trip you up.)


That makes sense, I always enjoy cutting weight on my pack. Not really looking forward to lugging a trad rack, rope etc in for when I climb Xeni Peak or Cathkin Peak some time...

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:50 am 
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And then you can ask yourself the question that if you do not know enough about creating stances at Monteseel, should you really be trying stances in the Berg? The berg will provide much less opportunity for variation in creating stances & there will be a much more limited offering in terms of anchors. I would argue for really knowing what you are doing before taking on some of the worst possible circumstances.

On the other hand it could also help you as you will have no preconceived notions & you won't realise when your stance is absolutely appalling & hence you will climb more confidently... :thumright

Back to suggesting that you speak to your local guide/ instructor & once you have learnt from them you can go minimalist. Here's hoping you do that as the Berg is a very harsh schoolroom...

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:11 pm 
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My camera was at the bottom of the crags so I couldn't get a photo, but I had a much better time of it on Saturday. Bugs inspected my equalisation when he got to the to of the route (Adam's Apoplexy) and he agrees it was done properly this time.

I found 2 bombers protruding from the rock (almost mushroom shaped blocks of rock near the top of the route, close to being in line with each other. I put in a cam for a 3rd placement (total angle between the 3 was about 30 degrees),

I figure of 8-ed the first sling directly to the rope, used a figure of 8 on a bite for the other 2 placements and adjusted the knots to get equalisation close, then used a munter hitch to kill the bit of slack on the middle anchor (not enough slack rope for a clove hitch).

I then tied myself in with a clove hitch just below the equalisation.

@Old Smelly: My concern over my ability and lack of experience is the exact reason I ask these questions. I have hiked 920km in the Berg (hoping to hit 1000km by the end of next month), I have been in a blizzard, I have had a fellow hiker take a nasty fall on a pass, I have been very sick myself and have lead a group where someone else was very sick (on 1 occasion both myself and 1 other person were very sick, and to make matters worse the 3rd member of the group was only 11 years old) - I know how dangerous the Berg can get. Hence I completely respect that the Berg isn't the place to learn basics and that is the exact reason that I am going to Monteseel fairly often, trying to get better at finding gear placements and practicing equalisation and getting ready for when there will be no flat tops to belay off, no easy gear and the rock could be iffy in fast changing weather.

But thanks for your concern - on another forum they are joking about renaming a similar thread "Let's make sure Ghaznavid doesn't kill himself in the Berg" :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:53 pm 
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Ghaznavid wrote:
I figure of 8-ed the first sling directly to the rope


Not sure how you did this? Maybe a picture? You don't have to set it up for real, just do it at home.

Ghaznavid wrote:
used a figure of 8 on a bite for the other 2 placements and adjusted the knots to get equalisation close


Do you mean a double figure of 8 (aka bunny ears knot)?

Ghaznavid wrote:
then used a munter hitch to kill the bit of slack on the middle anchor (not enough slack rope for a clove hitch).


Are you sure you know what these are? A munter hitch and a clove hitch use identical amounts of rope since they are formed in the same way, the only difference is in the clove, the loops cross one another and in the munter they sit side-by-side.

Or do you mean that you just looped the rope over the biner to shorten it up?

Pictures really would help here, that way we can give you the best feedback

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Yes I get you & that is why you are asking and not just going off & killing yourself.

Be in no doubt there are many people out there who have just muddled along by themselves & they are "just fine" according to them. Its just that that is why there are organisations all over the world trying to ensure people who want to know can learn from someone else. It sounds like you are doing this & still asking questions which is good.

The berg is such a place that most of us will never be totally comfortable climbing there & hence my reference to learning from someone who is confident about this particular environment. I am sure that with the correct instruction you will soon be able to show some of us how to best create a stance there.

I do echo Nic's concern in a different light though - keep everything simple & then as long as you understand what's going on you should be ok - just be careful about not creating overly complex stances. As stated somewhere above you can create an entire stance with the leaders end of the rope & involve no slings & other stuff if your goal is to minimise gear. Maybe you can practice some of these & post the pics.

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:34 pm 
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Real Name: Jonathan Newman
@Nic: I'll recreate it on my floor and post a photo. It was put together as a Munter Hitch, but once on the biner it did look like I just looked it around. A Munter Hitch uses fractionally less rope due to its layout, probably enough that the stretch of the rope when tight would negate the difference. I'll post a photo of each tied by me and you can tell me if I'm doing them wrong.

@Old Smelly: thanks for your concern :thumright: If I sound a bit snappy at times its probably a result of tons of climbers consistently telling me to not bother climbing in the Berg. The reality is that I got into climbing because I want to climb in the Berg - I enjoy climbing at Monteseel, but it doesn't excite me nearly as much as spending time in the realm of the dragon. People are forever telling me how dangerous the Berg is, meanwhile I know various large areas of the Berg better than most people, my experience/knowledge gap is in climbing and ropework.

I have opened passes in the Berg, I have walked from Bushman's Nek to Sentinel car park, not just have I studied the maps, the current most up to date khulu list (a khulu being a peak over 3000m) was prepared by me. I am familiar with these mountains!

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:59 pm 
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Real Name: Jonathan Newman
Ok, took some photos:

A munter hitch according to my knowledge of knots:
Attachment:
File comment: A munter hitch
Munter.jpg
Munter.jpg [ 27.95 KiB | Viewed 1375 times ]


A clove hitch according to my knowledge of knots:
Attachment:
File comment: A clove hitch
Clove.jpg
Clove.jpg [ 24.86 KiB | Viewed 1375 times ]


The basic setup of my gear on the top. The 2 slings were rapped around bombers, the big hex in the middle was a cam and was on a single draw, not a quickdraw.

I'll post some closeups on separate post as I can only attach 3 photos per post.


Attachments:
File comment: An idea of my gear layout
Gear.jpg
Gear.jpg [ 155.69 KiB | Viewed 1375 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Equalising anchors
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:02 pm 
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Real Name: Jonathan Newman
Btw the knots looked much happier after being pulled on by me...

The middle of the setup looked like this:
Attachment:
File comment: A closeup of the middle eq
Close 1.jpg
Close 1.jpg [ 103.74 KiB | Viewed 1375 times ]


The tie in to the beginning of the rope:
Attachment:
File comment: The first sling was tied into directly.
End.jpg
End.jpg [ 43.9 KiB | Viewed 1375 times ]

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