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Top rope anchor with static line
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By Shane N
From Portland, Maine
May 12, 2013
So I've been lurking around this forum for months now and have found answers to every question I've had thus far without having to post. Today I finally signed up for an account and now we're on to post or question #1.

I was taught (by friends) to set up top rope anchors with trees and webbing. After visiting some new crags im running into a shortage of webbing if I want to extend my anchor over the cliff side, or at least further down on some of the more slabby routes we climb. Rather then buy more webbing, I found a killer deal on static line through Sterlings outlet page. It happens to be 200', which is excessively long but I don't want to cut it until I really figure out how long I need it to be.

I'd like a critique on my intended anchor set up if you guys don't mind....

1. Tie a figure 8 follow thru with a couple wraps around tree #1 with one end of the rope, back up with a double fisherman's
2. Leave enough slack to extend over cliff side
3. Do a "Wrap 3 take 2" with webbing on tree #2 and attach locking biner.
4. Attach static line to biner with clove hitch, and leave the massive coil of left over rope at the base of tree
5. Tie a figure 8 on a bight as the Master point over intended route and put the two lockers through the bight. Obviously attaching my dynamic rope through lockers.

The only thing I see as a problem thus far is the power point relies on only 1 strand of static line, which wouldn't be redundant.

I"d also like to add that I do have a Guide booked for a few weeks from now in Acaida, but I'd rather go up with as much knowlage as possible, as to not waste time having him explain things that I could have learned before I even got there. This way I can spend more time on other aspects of climbing.

Thanks for any input you may have!


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
May 12, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
Static rope is fine for an anchor, and even as a rope for TR. But I don't quite understand your set up. How are you attaching the static line to the wrap 3 pull 2? Or are they independent systems; one as the primary and one as the back-up?

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By wivanoff
May 12, 2013
High Exposure
Try this order:

1) Tie one end of your static line to anchor #1 using your knot of choice.
2) Leave enough slack to extend over cliff side and tie a masterpoint of your choice: BFK, Fig 8 loop, Bunny Ears.
3) Attach your carabiners and dynamic rope. Pad edges, if necessary. The weight of the dynamic rope on the masterpont is now going to help you for the next step.
4) Run the other end of the static line to the carabiner at anchor #2. Use a clove hitch so you can adjust tension of this leg on the masterpoint. If you'd like, back up the clove with a hard knot.

200' is pretty long, IMO. But, I don't know what the area you climb is like.
True, the Fig 8 loop is not redundant. Neither is your harness tie in loop. If you're uncomfortable the the fig 8, try a BFK or bunny ears.

Get ready for a deluge of responses each outlining "the One True Way" to build a TR anchor.

Have fun in Acadia. It's a great place!

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By AThomas
May 12, 2013
Sounds OK to me. I'd leave half of that static line at home, just for my own sanity -- unless your crag dictates almost 100 ft of extension.

When using a single strand of static line, I would clip your opposite and opposed master point lockers to a Big Honkin' Knot (BHK) or two figure eights instead of just one. (Search the forum for "BHK" and you should see a bunch of similar threads on this topic.)

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By wivanoff
May 12, 2013
High Exposure
Jon Zucco wrote:
Static rope is fine for an anchor, and even as a rope for TR. But I don't quite understand your set up. How are you attaching the static line to the wrap 3 pull 2? Or are they independent systems; one as the primary and one as the back-up?


He's using webbing to make the wrap 3 pull 2.

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
May 12, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
Right, I was just trying to envision how that would factor into the static line. I can see it now though and it makes sense to me. Haven't done much TRing off of long anchors like that before, so I'll ask:

Would it make sense to utilize the excess static rope after the clove hitch to construct a saftey line, with a third locker on a bight attached to one side of the climbing rope below the main locker(s)? Or is that just plain overkill?

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By Shane N
From Portland, Maine
May 12, 2013
Jon Zucco wrote:
Would it make sense to utilize the excess static rope after the clove hitch to construct a saftey line, with a third locker on a bight attached to one side of the climbing rope below the main locker(s)? Or is that just plain overkill?


What would be the function of the safety line? I've yet to encounter such a set up. Is that just a back up to the clove hitch?

Thanks everyone for the input, its much appreciated!

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
May 12, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
haha no, nevermind me, just trying to think of a use for all that extra line you'll have. Probably better to just leave the unused stuff at home.

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By Travis Dustin
From Hollis, NH
May 12, 2013
Lost in the Sun pitch 2
I use to use webbing but found static line much easier to work with. I use a 90 foot line which has been long enough for everything I've set up so far. My set up of choice is basically the same as yours. i usually tie a figure 8 follow thru around the first point. Extend the line to where I will want it to end up and tie 2 figure 8's for my master point. I then clip my rope into 2 locking biners and drop the rope so it is weighted. then bring the other end up the next point(slung tree or other feature) and tie in with a clove hitch so you can easily adjust the tension/position and back it up.
Acadia is great. There are only a few climbs with the staples on top. really fun climbs though or bring gear to build anchors. Have fun its one of the coolest places to climb with the ocean below you or crashing on your feet as you belay.

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By Ben Mitchell
May 12, 2013
Just a few reminders about Acadia, sorry if you already know this! It seems like most people are talking about set ups that involve building an anchor off of two trees/2 fixed pieces. If you plan to climb at the Otter cliffs, keep in mind that you aren't allow to build anchors off of trees, and there is only fixed pro for a few of the routes. The anchor you will need will be a fair bit different than what it sounds like you've used in the past because it will be top-managed and because you'll need to build it partially or completely on removable protection (so generally three pieces of pro instead of two, like you what you described). If you have any questions, send me a PM and I'll type out what I can and see if I can point you in the right direction. I brought 80 feet of static rope and it was plenty. As for a rack all I brought was a set of stoppers and BD camalots from .3-3 (one each) and that was totally adequate. Have fun!

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By cjon3s
From Sterling, VA
May 12, 2013
Hanging at Seneca
Interesting ways of setting up....

What I do:

Tie to a tree with a bowline.

Throw some rope over the cliff edge.

Attach second point to tree with bowline on a bight. (You have rope... use it, leave the webbing home.)

Using the excess as your safety line, you can right up next to the cliff line to tie your master point. I would use a BHK which is just a figure eight on a bight on another bight. Bend your two hanging strands into four, adjust for where you want it to sit, then do the figure eight.

This eliminates the tensioning with a clove, achieves better equalization, and makes rapping and adjusting the masterpoint safe and easy.

I bet your guide teaches something very, very similar to this especially is he/she is AMGA certified.

EDIT: From the post above... yeah top-managed sites and gear versus tree are a bit more involved. Take my method for trees as that is what it applies to. It gets more involved for gear, but it's a starting point to build off of.

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By david doucette
May 12, 2013
Top of Intersection Rock, Joshua Tree NP.
Shane N wrote:
The only thing I see as a problem thus far is the power point relies on only 1 strand of static line, which wouldn't be redundant.


To make your power point redundant, get a 4' piece of webbing, trim the ends to open the webbing and slide it over on/over the rope, to the middle. then when you do your figure eight, you are doing it with the webbing "encased" around the rope.

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By cjon3s
From Sterling, VA
May 12, 2013
Hanging at Seneca
david doucette wrote:
To make your power point redundant, get a 4' piece of webbing, trim the ends to open the webbing and slide it over on/over the rope, to the middle. then when you do your figure eight, you are doing it with the webbing "encased" around the rope.


Or tie a BHK... it's so much simpler.

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By George Barnes
From Westminster, CO
May 12, 2013
Jones Pk
david doucette wrote:
To make your power point redundant, get a 4' piece of webbing, trim the ends to open the webbing and slide it over on/over the rope, to the middle. then when you do your figure eight, you are doing it with the webbing "encased" around the rope.


This is really handy. In addition to redundancy the webbing prevents wear on the static line.

If you use the BHK/BFK instead make sure you tie it correctly.

earthworksclimbing.blogspot.co...

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By david doucette
May 12, 2013
Top of Intersection Rock, Joshua Tree NP.
cjon3s wrote:
Or tie a BHK... it's so much simpler.


but it's not as clean ;)

AND once the webbing is on, you leave it on and slide it as needed, and you're only tying one powerpoint, so it's actually faster and simpler. Oh and much more pretty.

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By cjon3s
From Sterling, VA
May 13, 2013
Hanging at Seneca
david doucette wrote:
but it's not as clean ;) AND once the webbing is on, you leave it on and slide it as needed, and you're only tying one powerpoint, so it's actually faster and simpler. Oh and much more pretty.


The BHK is one powerpoint. If we're going to argue faster, I don't have to waste time sliding webbing along the rope to where I need it. Finally, with a BHK, I can throw any amount of rope over the cliff edge and adjust for my powerpoint height accordingly. Not as simple with just an eight on a bight.

To each their own.

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By david doucette
May 13, 2013
Top of Intersection Rock, Joshua Tree NP.
cjon3s wrote:
The BHK is one powerpoint. If we're going to argue faster, I don't have to waste time sliding webbing along the rope to where I need it. Finally, with a BHK, I can throw any amount of rope over the cliff edge and adjust for my powerpoint height accordingly. Not as simple with just an eight on a bight. To each their own.


geeze, relax. the OP was asking about redundancy of the powerpoint and i shared what i do, its common and works very well.

you're the one who decided to quote ME with your silly "Or tie a BHK... it's so much simpler" after you already explained your method. let others have their turn at sharing what they do.

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By cjon3s
From Sterling, VA
May 13, 2013
Hanging at Seneca
david doucette wrote:
geeze, relax. the OP was asking about redundancy of the powerpoint and i shared what i do, its common and works very well. you're the one who decided to quote ME with your silly "Or tie a BHK... it's so much simpler" after you already explained your method. let others have their turn at sharing what they do.


You're right. Thanks for sharing it.

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By Shane N
From Portland, Maine
May 13, 2013
Thanks everyone for the suggestions for making a redundant power point. I plan on tying both and seeing which I'm more comfortable with at this point in the game.

Ben Mitchell wrote:
If you plan to climb at the Otter cliffs, keep in mind that you aren't allow to build anchors off of trees, and there is only fixed pro for a few of the routes. The anchor you will need will be a fair bit different than what it sounds like you've used in the past because it will be top-managed and because you'll need to build it partially or completely on removable protection (so generally three pieces of pro instead of two, like you what you described).


I did know that actually, but thanks for the heads up. I'm going to spend the beginning of our day going over some of the basics I've learned (top rope anchor construction), just to make sure everything is on point. After picking his brain for a while we'll head over to otter creek and have him set us up on some of the harder routes to set anchors on.

I'm slightly intimidated by making an anchor out of gear, at least at this point. However, if he's going to be doing it I might as well have him show me how.

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By Syd
May 31, 2013
Two 35ft lengths of static should be fine for 95% of crags. You also need a couple of long slings to protect tree anchors and for slinging big boulders. Keep an 80 ft length of static for the occasional crag where a longer static is needed.

Don't forget to use rope protectors ... essential.

Don't forget to put a prussik on one of the statics to protect yourself when setting up ... essential. Tripping and falling when unroped is a common cause of death.

If you don't want to cut your long static you can tie it to a dynamic rope and use it for top roping two pitch routes (tie in to the static end).

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By Mark Pilate
Jul 17, 2013
Lots of good advice above on methods for redundancy, etc and I would not want to discourage anyone from attempting to make things "safer", but here is an additional perspective for consideration as you gain experience in climbing...

In terms of added real world safety value to you, you are far better off wearing nomex and a helmet during the drive to/from the crag than you are slipping webbing over static line at the power point.

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