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static rope vs webbing for top rope anchors
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By mike526
From schaumburg
Jan 24, 2011

Being I am from the Chicago area And climb Mostly at devils lake, I have noticed that everyone seems to use webbing when building thier anchor.

After coming back from J-tree And learning more about anchors and how to build them with static rope I started to ask myself why does no one use it at the lake.

I ask my one climbing partner who is more experienced than I and was told the he likes webbing and because Devils Lake is known for having its sharp edges the webbing is better

I guess What I want to know is one better than the other? Is webbing better than static rope for going over sharp edges? I would think they both are prown to abrasion so just pad the edge.

I found the static rope much easier to set up and Equalize. Trying to adjust water knots in webbing so far i find is a pain in the ass.

Enlighten me please I know that knowing how to set up both is good i just seem to like the rope setup better.


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By Thomas Willis
Jan 24, 2011

A similiar discussion can be found from December in "Webbing vs. Cord".
Trsago posted a link on 12-19-10 to a study which showed static cord to have superior abrasion resistance over webbing. If you like static cord stay with it - it probably is superior to webbing for all the reasons you mentioned plus the superior abrasion resistance.


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By Craig T
Jan 24, 2011

Webbing is cheap at Wheeler's. Also, monkey-see-monkey-do.


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By Chase Roskos
From Boulder, CO
Jan 24, 2011
The Raven - Shelf Road

I noticed the same here at Taylor's Falls in MN. It seems I am the only one using static cord. I think it's because it's cheaper, and honestly they just haven't seen anyone use a static cord. As for edge safety, if the edge is sharp enough that you are concerned at all, pad it! Use a tshirt, your pack, a jacket, anything! Then regardless of the material you are using you can have piece of mind. And don't worry, even though you're in the minority you are using a vastly superior option.


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By Sam Stephens
Jan 24, 2011
Top half of Melifluous

There are better ways to rig with webbing than what it sounds like you're doing but that's another discussion.

I mainly don't use static line because it's heavier than webbing and takes up way more room in my pack for the equivalent amount of webbing I carry if I go out to TR.


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By Trav W.
Jan 24, 2011

I prefer the static line. I have been to Devil's Lake and used webbing to set up many topropes. I hated it because of how long it took to extend and equalize the anchors. Since then I have learned about using the static line and have found it to be much quicker and simpler and more dynamic in the sense that you can do more with it.


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By Timothy Mark
Jan 24, 2011

Webbing advantages:
- Lighter
- Less bulk
- Cheaper

Static line advantages:
- More abrasion resistant
- Easier to handle / tie / untie
- If you want a quick safety line, just put a friction knot around one of your static lines.


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By Pine Sap
Jan 24, 2011
Jaws RMNP - 3/3/12

The local tradition and era for when I first learned rock climbing and setting up top ropes was to use 1" tubular webbing tied into a sling. Back east there were lots of trees at the top for anchors so you would just girth hitch a tree with any length you had and if the length extended to far over the edge, you would wrap the webbing around the tree to make your length adjustment. If this is done in a direction that cinches the sling down, it will not slip. Since I often climbed and instructed at the same locations, I pre-tied lengths of webbing into short, medium and long slings to meet the requirements of the anchors and made final adjustments by wrapping the tree. There was always redundancy in the anchor by using two separate slings tied to separate trees and equalized by wrapping the trees.

Later on in my climbing history, I began using static rope for the anchors. Each end was tied into a tree or chock placement or wherever appropriate in the rope to allow a large loop to extend well over the cliff edge. Then a bight on each side of the loop was tied into a figure 8 knot thus creating two loops with a length of slack between the knots. The slack between allows each figure 8 loop to be properly adjusted for length and equalization. With this you achieve equalization and redundancy which protects against total failure of the anchor due to whatever reason. If one side fails, you have a backup. Beware, I have seen 1 inch tubular webbing abrade nearly entirely through when falling on top rope to the left or right of the center anchor point due to the anchor webbing rapidly shifting to the left or right under the weight of the climber along sharp granite crystals as it naturally moves to create a straight line between climber and the top rope anchor.


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By Dan Brayack
From Marmet, WV
Jan 25, 2011
Coopers Rock, WV

mike526 wrote:
Being I am from the Chicago area And climb Mostly at devils lake, I have noticed that everyone seems to use webbing when building thier anchor. After coming back from J-tree And learning more about anchors and how to build them with static rope I started to ask myself why does no one use it at the lake. I ask my one climbing partner who is more experienced than I and was told the he likes webbing and because Devils Lake is known for having its sharp edges the webbing is better I guess What I want to know is one better than the other? Is webbing better than static rope for going over sharp edges? I would think they both are prown to abrasion so just pad the edge. I found the static rope much easier to set up and Equalize. Trying to adjust water knots in webbing so far i find is a pain in the ass. Enlighten me please I know that knowing how to set up both is good i just seem to like the rope setup better.

See, for me, equalizing webbing is easier because you can cinch it around trees. I'm not familiar with the anchoring system at Devil's Lake and don't know if its tree or not, but you can wrap and slide webbing around a tree to get it perfect, but on static rope, you have to tie a new knot (or adjust your clove hitch etc.)


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By alpinejason
From Eau Claire
Jan 25, 2011

Dan Brayack wrote:
See, for me, equalizing webbing is easier because you can cinch it around trees. I'm not familiar with the anchoring system at Devil's Lake and don't know if its tree or not, but you can wrap and slide webbing around a tree to get it perfect, but on static rope, you have to tie a new knot (or adjust your clove hitch etc.)



It's true but the beauty of the static rope is I can equalize and position the master point hanging over the edge and then go directly on rappel. The wrap system around the tree works well but requires you to go from tree to tree to equalize and even then it's dangerous to rappel once everything is set.


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Jan 25, 2011
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

mike526 wrote:
Being I am from the Chicago area And climb Mostly at devils lake, I have noticed that everyone seems to use webbing when building thier anchor. After coming back from J-tree And learning more about anchors and how to build them with static rope I started to ask myself why does no one use it at the lake. I ask my one climbing partner who is more experienced than I and was told the he likes webbing and because Devils Lake is known for having its sharp edges the webbing is better I guess What I want to know is one better than the other? Is webbing better than static rope for going over sharp edges? I would think they both are prown to abrasion so just pad the edge. I found the static rope much easier to set up and Equalize. Trying to adjust water knots in webbing so far i find is a pain in the ass. Enlighten me please I know that knowing how to set up both is good i just seem to like the rope setup better.


Mike when I started at the lake I bought into the "ton of webbing" mindset. The end of this last year I had a 60' piece of 8mm cord and it was awesome. I think a 60' and 30' would be perfect. IMO much better and easier to pack/carry then a ton of webbing. It depends how/what you're using for anchors though, I've (along with anyone who climbs there a lot) seen a lot of super shady anchors- stretched across trails, to dead stumps, around loose rocks, etc.


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By alpinejason
From Eau Claire
Jan 25, 2011

8mm sounds shady too.

Why skimp? Especially Devil's Lake. Approaches aren't that bad that we must top rope off of shoe strings to save weight.


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By sunder
From Alsip, Il
Jan 25, 2011
ICE PIT 2011

Hmmm... Isn't Cordelette usually 8mm.... Its fine I have used it alot too.

PMI Accessory Cord - 8mm Specs Specification Description
Weight per foot 12.2 grams
Strength 14 kilonewtons

BlueWater 1" Climb-Spec Tubular Webbing Specs Specification Weight per foot 12.8 grams
Strength 17.8 kilonewtons


I Usually bring out 3 20'-30' Lengths of Cordelette and a 30' length of Webbing.


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By Tom Grummon
From Golden, CO
Jan 27, 2011
Top of Montezuma's Tower

My cordelette is 7mm. 7mm is rated to 13 kN, so when its tied in a loop (as it would be in a cordelette)even accounting for strength lost due to the knot its still around 22 kN.

www.mountaineers.org/seattle/climbing/Reference/Cordelette.h>>>


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By Dan Brayack
From Marmet, WV
Jan 27, 2011
Coopers Rock, WV

alpinejason wrote:
It's true but the beauty of the static rope is I can equalize and position the master point hanging over the edge and then go directly on rappel. The wrap system around the tree works well but requires you to go from tree to tree to equalize and even then it's dangerous to rappel once everything is set.


I don't set up toprope anchors, so I don't actually own webbing, I usually just use another dynamic line when I have to set up a TR (My old climbing area that I grew up - McConnells Mill is top roping only.) Just use a clove hitch to equalize - its fast and easy.


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Jan 27, 2011
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

alpinejason wrote:
8mm sounds shady too. Why skimp? Especially Devil's Lake. Approaches aren't that bad that we must top rope off of shoe strings to save weight.



7 or 8mm is more than fine. What kind of forces do you think you're putting on a top rope anchor? As someone else said most cordelette's are 7mm (including mine which I use when climbing trad there).

I usually build top rope anchors at devils lake with a 60' piece of 8mm in a webolette. I do have a bunch of webbing but found I rarely use it anymore so I haven't even been bringing it. If I do I only use it to wrap the tree to make it a little easier on the trees, but I try not to use them if possible.


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By Doug Hemken
Administrator
Jan 27, 2011
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.

Webbing, cordolette, static rope, my partners bring and use it all at the Lake.

Most people don't have static ropes laying around.

In the old days (1970s) we used webbing because it was cheap and easy to come by.

I started using cordolettes in the mid 1980s when I returned to the US. They are convenient and cheap, and they are useful when I'm doing real climbing and not just top-roping.

WRT the Lake specifically, I find a cordolette and a 15-20ft piece of webbing is all I need for almost any TR (I can maybe think of 2-3 cases where I would use more material), and if I don't use the webbing I have an extra harness for someone.

As long as your anchor material doesn't stretch, durability shouldn't be too big a deal: you just need to build your TR anchors stable in the first place.

Don't use a dynamic rope at the Lake. I've seen several become core-shot when they stretch under load over all those sharp quartzite edges. Setting up a TR in a poor location will do the same thing to your main climbing rope ....


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By Sergio P
From Idaho Springs, CO
Jan 27, 2011
World Champion NY Giants logo

Dan Brayack wrote:
I just use a clove hitch to equalize - its fast and easy.


and it's unsafe. Using nothing but clove hitchs for TR is unwise in most cases. The clove hitch works if presure is constant on the anchor. However, in most TR situations the anchor is weighted, unweighted, weighted, unweighted, etc. Once one clove hitch begins to losen the anchor is no longer equalized. Look in any book on building anchors and you'll never see them suggest using multiple clove hitchs for TR.


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By Federico
Aug 2, 2012

Sergio P wrote:
and it's unsafe. Using nothing but clove hitchs for TR is unwise in most cases. The clove hitch works if presure is constant on the anchor. However, in most TR situations the anchor is weighted, unweighted, weighted, unweighted, etc. Once one clove hitch begins to losen the anchor is no longer equalized. Look in any book on building anchors and you'll never see them suggest using multiple clove hitchs for TR.


Unless i'm reading his post wrong, i'm pretty sure he said a clove hitch not multiple.... and I'm pretty sure that using a clove hitch on one side of a top rope anchor, is ok by amga standards.... at least it was at the classes i've taken. Or should i rethink my anchoring???


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By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Aug 2, 2012
CoR

Federico wrote:
Unless i'm reading his post wrong, i'm pretty sure he said a clove hitch not multiple.... and I'm pretty sure that using a clove hitch on one side of a top rope anchor, is ok by amga standards.... at least it was at the classes i've taken. Or should i rethink my anchoring???



I would only use it if I were belaying from above, as in setting up a real anchor for multipitch. Besides, perfect equalization isn't nearly as important as redundancy unless you are anchoring to something you shouldn't be anchoring to.


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By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Aug 2, 2012
CoR

By the way, if you have a sharp edge to go over you can cut a short piece of your webbing and slide it over your main anchor material (either cord or webbing).


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By Tom Lausch
From Madison WI
Aug 2, 2012
Orgasm Direct

Let me get this straight. People are willing to carry up to 90' of static cord? I bring 40' of 1" webbing and that is more than enough. Why would you ever carry 90' of cord up.

And can someone fill me in as to why it is dangerous to rapp off a TR anchor made of webbing is dangerous?


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Aug 2, 2012
Bocan

alpinejason wrote:
8mm sounds shady too. Why skimp? Especially Devil's Lake. Approaches aren't that bad that we must top rope off of shoe strings to save weight.


8mm is pretty burly at least to me. My half ropes are 8.5!

I have a couple sets of cordellette I use for TRing, an 8 and a 9mm. I'll use my 7mm cordellette and slings if that isn't long enough. I don't really use webbing, but I haven't climbed at DL where it seems you need a reeeally long setup.

Seems like mostly personal preference really.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Aug 2, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Tom Lausch wrote:
Let me get this straight. People are willing to carry up to 90' of static cord? I bring 40' of 1" webbing and that is more than enough. Why would you ever carry 90' of cord up. And can someone fill me in as to why it is dangerous to rappeling off a TR anchor made of webbing is dangerous?


Yup. Just lengths of webbing, doubled up, doubled biners over the edge, no need for equalized static line set up for most belays because the boulders or big trees are often inline with your climbs below.


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By Logan Schiff
From NY, NY
Aug 5, 2012

Federico wrote:
Unless i'm reading his post wrong, i'm pretty sure he said a clove hitch not multiple.... and I'm pretty sure that using a clove hitch on one side of a top rope anchor, is ok by amga standards.... at least it was at the classes i've taken. Or should i rethink my anchoring???


Clove on one end of anchor point (e.g. a tree) on a static rope that you have used to create two independent strands out of with other tied off with an 8 at the other anchor point, equalized with two figure 8s on bights at bottom, is fine. Otherwise it's annoying to tie off the second end of the rope if it's really long

You should check out the excellent boo Rock Climbing Anchors by the late Craig Luebben for more questions on anchors.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Aug 5, 2012
...

"Yer GONNA die!"...


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