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By huecool
Nov 29, 2012
Top of pear buttress
Hey guys, So i'm in college doing Outdoor ed major, and for a class, I have to give a 30 min class on Rock climbing anchors. If you guys could go over my outline and critique it I would be very appreciative.

Here is my basic outline:

Climbing Anchors
Course Goal: Students will be able to define SERENE acronym as well as be able to understand how the two most common anchor systems work and why they are safe.

Location: Any place that has solid poles, bolts or cracks.

Class Outline:
Hook ? Climbing fall video?
Main Event:
Pre- set up two anchors- Magic x and 3 point self equalized anchor
SERENE
Solid- Bomber, everything is Backed up Count KNs should be minimum of 24 kn. 30-40 kn if possible. (224.8lbs) (12kn=2697.7)
Equalized- Equal weight distribution
Redundant- Backed Up!!!!
Efficient- Quick to set up, quick to tear down
No Extension- Doesn’t extend if one piece blows out
Edges- Make sure that anchors do not run over edges if at possible. if not, back it up. NEVER EVER EVER allow the climbing rope to run over an edge. Never allow a carabiner to be bent over an edge. Never allow a stiff stem cam to be pulled over an edge. always use a flex cam.
Knots to teach: Overhand on a bight, 8 on a bight, BHK, Square knot, Double Fishermans.

Hardware Vs Software- Hardware is any metallic object in climbing. (carabiners, cams, pro)
Software is ropes, slings, runners, webbing.

Knots that stay in software will reduce the strength of the software

Anchor extensions- An anchor extension is simply extending the anchor so that the anchor is longer and the master point is lower. Anchor extensions need to be used to avoid a rope, or any hardware running directly over an edge. Anchor extensions also need to be used whenever the angle is bad.

Angles- the angle of the Anchor needs to be less than 90*. Over 90* the force on the anchor is greatly added. this is because the angle on the carabiner pulls it along the minor axis. minor axis of the carabiner is significantly less strong. 7-8kn as opposed to 22-26kn.

Magic X- Safe, Efficient, doesn’t have to be 3 points. Moveable masterpoint.
Pre- equalized anchor- Static masterpoint.

Multipitch anchors vs top rope anchors.

Top rope anchors: Usually use trees, and lots of rope or static line.
Can use bolts. should be at least 30 kn min. should be a higher kn because you have no excuse to skimp out. top rope anchors are the easiest to set so make sure it can hold a bus.

Multipitch anchors.
should be a minimum of 24 kn. when multipitching if a fall is taking on the anchor, the force is doubled because both climber and belayers weight is placed on the anchor. though in theory these anchors should be stronger than top rope anchors, many climbers op to trust their climber and make a more efficient anchor so they can move faster. This is not safe, just what happens.

Webbing is equal to 18-22kn (4046.56-4945.75lbs)
KN calculator- (12kn=2697.7[Cam/SLCD]) (20kn=4496.17[carabiner])

Summary: What is SERENE, and What does it Stand For?

Conclusion - Set it right, make it tight, make sure it can be undone.

Oh and by the way, I added Edges to the SERENE acronym. I figured it be something to remember. Any thoughts on that?

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By Danger-Russ Gordon
From Tempe, AZ
Nov 29, 2012
Russ Just off the block
that's gonna be a very comprehensive 30 min, I would think about focusing in on about half that amount of material and making sure your students get hands on experiences if possible, I don't take my own opinion very seriously though, its just my two cents, whatever you do, make sure to have fun!

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By bearbreeder
Nov 29, 2012
keep it simpler ... it takes guides a full day to show newbies how to do all that

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By Andrew Blease
From Damascus, VA
Nov 29, 2012
I've done similar things for classes before and that looks like a pretty good outline. If the class is participating it's probably too much material for 30 minutes. If it's just a demo, then it should be good to go. Be careful not to overwhelm them with too much info if they don't know much about climbing. Have fun!

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By huecool
Nov 29, 2012
Top of pear buttress
In you guys opinions do you think I should focus on the magic x as it is a simple anchor that is quick to throw up and down? 30 minutes isn't much of anything so this class will be very difficult.

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By Gunkiemike
Nov 29, 2012
Matty H wrote:
In you guys opinions do you think I should focus on the magic x as it is a simple anchor that is quick to throw up and down? 30 minutes isn't much of anything so this class will be very difficult.


In 30 minutes you should present only the most universal elements of a good anchor. Sliding X does NOT fit that criterion. It is much less useful than most folks believe and should not be presented before static SRENE anchors are dealt with.

My opinion anyway.

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By jmeizis
From Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 29, 2012
The Beginning of Mr. Clean (5.8) at the Barkeater ...
There's a lot of emphasis on the rigging of the anchor but very little to none on what comprises an actual anchor (Tree, nut, chockstone).

If it were me I'd focus on the idea of what makes an anchor more than how to tie it all together. If you're doing a 30 minute presentation you're either going to cover all that poorly and gloss over a lot of info or you're barely going to get through half of it.

The idea of an anchor is much more versatile the more you get into climbing. In a hip belay the person is the anchor. In a toprope anchor it may just be one big tree. On a big wall it may be all sorts of rigged up craziness or as simple as 3 bolts. Explaining that alone could easily take up 30 minutes.

Anchors in 30 minutes...did you get to choose the topic? If so, good for you, you gave yourself a pretty difficult challenge.

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 29, 2012
Stabby
Borrow a drill, get filmed drilling in 2 bolts about 8" apart, add some quicklinks and chain, then look at the camera and go Boom! Let everyone out of class 25 minutes early.

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By Buff Johnson
Nov 29, 2012
smiley face
120 angle is where things start to be a turning point, and really not all that problematic until 160+. I ballpark for 60 and under anyhow.

I would get away from "equalized" and rather say that you are using an adequate load distribution provided solid placements.

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Nov 29, 2012
OTL
WAY too much info. Whittle it down a bunch.

Show bad placements / anchor pieces and easy ways you can f*ck up and die. Might keep their attention.

You could offer to show certain classmates the ACR for extra credit...

Soo many options too... grab an "assistant" and ask them to hold your nuts.

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By Em Cos
From Boulder, CO
Nov 29, 2012
I didn't read your whole outline, so this might not be the only problem, but your reasoning for keeping the angle under 90 degrees is flat out wrong. I don't know if you just guessed at that, but clearly you need to do a little more research.

Also: "Magic X- Safe, Efficient, doesn’t have to be 3 points."
Whether an anchor needs 2 points, or 3, or more, or just one, has nothing to do with the way you rig those points together. The "magic" X doesn't magically make your anchor require only two pieces.

I'm not really interested in doing your homework for you. Others here may be, and I guess it doesn't hurt to ask, but there are probably better ways for you to research your project.

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By huecool
Dec 1, 2012
Top of pear buttress
Mike Lane wrote:
Borrow a drill, get filmed drilling in 2 bolts about 8" apart, add some quicklinks and chain, then look at the camera and go Boom! Let everyone out of class 25 minutes early.


Love it, but getting a grade on keeping it between 25-30 min. thanks

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By huecool
Dec 1, 2012
Top of pear buttress
Em Cos wrote:
I didn't read your whole outline, so this might not be the only problem, but your reasoning for keeping the angle under 90 degrees is flat out wrong. I don't know if you just guessed at that, but clearly you need to do a little more research. Also: "Magic X- Safe, Efficient, doesn’t have to be 3 points." Whether an anchor needs 2 points, or 3, or more, or just one, has nothing to do with the way you rig those points together. The "magic" X doesn't magically make your anchor require only two pieces. I'm not really interested in doing your homework for you. Others here may be, and I guess it doesn't hurt to ask, but there are probably better ways for you to research your project.



I got the 90 degrees fact from the AMGA SPI manual.
I didnt mean that the magic x magically makes it only a two piece anchor. I plan to teach the magic x with 2 points (as it is most common) with 3, and with knots in it so it fits the No Extension bill.
Does that make sense, or no?

Also, today in class we learned how to "properly" place pro. the student giving it, didnt cover everything as you can imagine, but everyone has a basic concept of pro placements.

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By flynn
Dec 1, 2012
Who's your theoretical audience, Matty? If it's your classmates who learned yesterday about placing pro, that gives you a chance to show them how *not* to do that, a valuable lesson for sure. If logistics are favorable, let them make placements and (begin to) learn to tell (some of) the differences between good and bad.

Definitely talk about using available anchors like trees and chockstones.

Generalizations are okay, for now. If you start citing specific strength requirements, their eyes are just gonna glaze over.

Good teaching technique and class management dictate that you always plan more than you can cover, just in case.

Have fun with it!

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By Paul Trendler
From Bend, Oregon
Dec 1, 2012
 VOTCD. Photo  by tylerroemer.com
Matty -
Are you shooting for more of a lecture, or interactive class? Indoors or outdoors? Depending on the criteria, IMO it may be more fun for you, and your students / classmates will have a better time by experimenting and evaluating as a group instead of just sitting and watching.

It can be super helpful to map out how long you want to spend on each topic, so you can get a clear idea of what you can get across in thirty minutes. I really enjoy implementing the 2-10 rule, meaning I only want to be giving direct instruction for two minutes for every ten that the students are working with it.

For example:
Explain SERENE, then have your students make anchors in partners.

I hope that makes sense... good luck!

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By Em Cos
From Boulder, CO
Dec 1, 2012
Matty H wrote:
I got the 90 degrees fact from the AMGA SPI manual


I'm not debating that keeping your angles small is preferable, but you are misunderstanding the reasons why.

Matty H wrote:
Angles- the angle of the Anchor needs to be less than 90*. Over 90* the force on the anchor is greatly added. this is because the angle on the carabiner pulls it along the minor axis. minor axis of the carabiner is significantly less strong. 7-8kn as opposed to 22-26kn.


1. Changing the angle between your anchor points and your master point has nothing to do with cross-loading your carabiners. If they are oriented correctly, they will always be loaded along the major axis regardless of the relative angle of your anchor.

2. Angles should be kept ideally 90 degrees or less even if there are no carabiners involved at all. Explaining why would be tough without drawings and some math I don't feel like thinking about right now, but you should be able to look it up.

Keep it simple, do your research and know your topic. Keep it pretty general for this type of brief lesson, but be prepared to answer questions in more detail if it comes up.
Good luck!

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By John D
Dec 1, 2012
I like it, I have an outdoor ed minor, I'm envisioning that this is a presentation you have to make for class? I think with the knots, it's probably better to just show the different ones and talk about their strengths and weaknesses, it takes hours sometimes for people to learn how to tie knots.

I don't know how valuable the discussion of multipitch vs top rope anchors is, it's kind of interesting, but not especially informative or applicable. I think I'd stick with how to build anchors.

I'd talk about the principles of serene and then have a few different demonstrations/examples of how to do that, ie. sliding x, cordalette, slings or static line on trees and boulders. I wouldn't say never ever ever let your climbing rope run over an edge. I would say it's something you should try to avoid, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

are you going to get to teach it actually near a cliff? or will you be stuck in a classroom or somewhere on campus? a cliff site would definitely make a better lesson. Also I think you're strength ratings are a bit on the high side. I'll freely admit that I don't really think about how many Kn or pounds my anchors can or would hold, but I know when I build an anchor with 2 bolts and static rope that you can hang a truck off of it. Especially if you're talking about building a gear anchor.

I don't have my manual, but I do have an AMGA SPI cert. Your angles stuff is all wrong. Anchor angles over 90 or 100 are undesirable not because they load the minor axis of the biners, but because it increases the amount of force put on each part of the anchor. I can't remember the exact figures but I'd bet it's in freedom of the hills or can be found online but basically at 90 degrees each leg of the anchor holds 51% of the weight. I think at 120 degrees it's near 85% of the total weight is going to each leg of the anchor. At 180 degrees it's putting near 100% of the weight on each anchor. (those figures are all approximate and could be wrong, but you get the general idea, as the angle gets wider, the force applied to each leg gets higher. I suppose that it is possible that a carabiner could get cross loaded (loaded on it's minor axis) when angles are higher, but that's of lesser concern than the force multiplication.

I think it would be cool to add the double loop figure 8 on a bight and/or the bowline on a bight. I like to have a double loop knot on my power point to give me some redundancy and I think you could show standard anchor setups and then some more creative ones using more advanced knots, or maybe even set up a multi-pitch anchor using just the climbing rope and clove hitches and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of that kind of setup vs a cordalette anchor. I also think that you might consider adding the clove hitch to the knots portion of your presentation. One of my favorite top rope anchor setups, especially if I'm using 2 trees is a bowline around one tree with the end of a static rope, runs to the edge with a double fig 8 on a bight, then back up to another tree that is slung and has a biner, I clove hitch the rope to the biner. It gives alot of adjust-ability in a couple of different spots, uses minimal gear, and is fast to setup/takedown.

I think you could ditch the square knot and maybe the double fishermans. I almost never use the bhk, but some people love it.

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By huecool
Dec 2, 2012
Top of pear buttress
Okay, thanks for all the advice. So far im throwing out most of the knots, will have them pre-tied for people to see. This will be an indoor presentation given in a rock gym with a whiteboard available and the gym has cracks that i have been given permission to place pro in. With the whiteboard i will be able to draw diagrams before class to show. Im planning currently on it being interactive so that people will be able to actually set an anchor by the end. im hoping to do 10 minutes of talking, 5-10 minutes demonstrating how to set, and leaving the rest of class to practice. Im going to teach the Magic X, and have two variations of it there to see. thus i wont need many knots to teach.
Thanks for the help.

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By Buff Johnson
Dec 2, 2012
smiley face
John D wrote:
Your angles stuff is all wrong. Anchor angles over 90 or 100 are undesirable not because they load the minor axis of the biners, but because it increases the amount of force put on each part of the anchor. I can't remember the exact figures but I'd bet it's in freedom of the hills or can be found online but basically at 90 degrees each leg of the anchor holds 51% of the weight. I think at 120 degrees it's near 85% of the total weight is going to each leg of the anchor. At 180 degrees it's putting near 100% of the weight on each anchor. (those figures are all approximate and could be wrong, but you get the general idea, as the angle gets wider, the force applied to each leg gets higher.



This clarification is still wrong (so is the "manual"). I could also say that going from 30 to 35 is just as bad as an increase as 90 to 95 given the same logic. But, really it's not all that bad. If you go with a 90 rule and under, your minds eye will usually make it 60 and under anyway.

120 is 1:1 -- the static loading actually moves in an exponential fashion, but you need a truly dramatic angle. I ball parked it at 160+
180 will more than likely give you thousands (maybe theoretical infinity) multiplied. You'll never see this in an anchor rig though. More than likely someone moving nylon over stationary nylon, biner pinned on a rock, sharp edges, or shitty placements.

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By huecool
Dec 3, 2012
Top of pear buttress
okay just to clarify, this is straight from the AMGA SPI manual i recieved in 2011:

"Angles
As angles in the anchor increase so does the forces applied to each placement.
Angles like this are not only created in the construction of complex anchor systems,
multiplication of force can be created when tying around boulders or large trees and
tying them off too tight. Remember to check for these angles in all anchor setups.
As a rule, it is advisable to keep angles under 90°. As angles increase, loads will
also increase on each component, so these components would need to be built to
withstand such extreme forces."

it also shows a diagram with the force applied to each anchor at different angles with a 1000 lb load.

at 20 degrees
500 lbs to both.

at 40 degrees
540 lbs to both

at 80 degrees
700 lbs to both

and at 120 degrees,
1000 lbs of force on each anchor.

hope this clears up the angle confusion I seem to have caused.

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By Kirby
From DC
Dec 3, 2012
Hey Matty,

I'm a training professional (instructional design, if that means anything to ya).

I agree with many of the other people in this thread who've said you are trying to fit too much content into 30 minutes. Anchor-building skills are very much a hands-on skill, with a strong theoretical component behind them. So, you need to figure out the right balance of these two elements to strike.

My first suggestion is to consider your class size--is it a lot of people? If you have 5-10 people, you might want to shift the balance to much more "doing" and less "showing"--more action/interaction, and less theory.

Also consider who the audience is, and what they know. If they have some entry-level knowledge about climbing (difference between top-roping and trad leading, e.g.) then you can start a little farther down the path. You might even be able to describe anchors built on two bolts, or 4 pieces of gear, in addition to a bomber tree anchor. However, if your audience is pretty new to the stuff, and the only exposure most of them have to climbing is the pro-placing class your classmate did, then you might want to narrow the focus down to just building a two-bolt anchor or a TR tree anchor.

When it comes to the content, you can really get the focus narrowed down by thinking about your objectives for the session. What, specifically, do you want every person in the class to be able to DO (not "understand" or something else invisible) when they walk out? These are called "performance objectives," and they can help you ensure you are using your time effectively.

A quick stab at some objectives for you, if you were just to focus on two-bolt anchors:

After the session, students will be able to:

  • Explain and identify each element of the SERENE acronym
  • Construct a top-rope anchor using two bolts, given the appropriate materials
  • Evaluate anchors as shoddy or safe given examples of both

You can then take these performance objectives, and test your students on them quite easily (can they explain each element? Can they construct a TR anchor?) to see how well you did.

Hope this helps a bit! Sounds like a fun topic, and a fun session. You've got a topic that has a lot of relevance (if not necessarily to your specific audience)--anchors are vitally important in the climbing system. Use that to your advantage when you are trying to get them to pay attention.

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By michaeltarne
Dec 3, 2012
Matty H wrote:
okay just to clarify, this is straight from the AMGA SPI manual i recieved in 2011: "Angles As angles in the anchor increase so does the forces applied to each placement. Angles like this are not only created in the construction of complex anchor systems, multiplication of force can be created when tying around boulders or large trees and tying them off too tight. Remember to check for these angles in all anchor setups. As a rule, it is advisable to keep angles under 90°. As angles increase, loads will also increase on each component, so these components would need to be built to withstand such extreme forces." it also shows a diagram with the force applied to each anchor at different angles with a 1000 lb load. at 20 degrees 500 lbs to both. at 40 degrees 540 lbs to both at 80 degrees 700 lbs to both and at 120 degrees, 1000 lbs of force on each anchor. hope this clears up the angle confusion I seem to have caused.

I was going to say, I know the answer is in the SPI manual. This is correct. It's geometry, plain and simple. I'll echo that it will be next to impossible to get people to understand this without pictures.

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By huecool
Dec 12, 2012
Top of pear buttress
Thanks guys for all the help. Not only did I do well, I got a 94, but it got me to brush up on anchor building so I can be a better and safer climber.
Thanks guys
-Matty H.

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