Big Walls Forum

Big Wall Index => Big Wall Forum => Topic started by: cobbledik on September 08, 2014, 08:37:42 pm

Title: A bit of light reading... if humor is light
Post by: cobbledik on September 08, 2014, 08:37:42 pm (

I don't even know where to begin. Although, I will say that anytime you see the following at the top of a blog site, you know you're in for a good time.

"WARNING":- The techniques described are to be interpreted for use by experienced Veteran and Solo mountaineers only! The content is unorthodox and does not conform with conventional,accepted mountaineering practice.

Here's the blog post for the click shy.

Friday, 18 March 2011

SOLO ANCHOR SYSTEM. (For self-belay climbing)
Wouldnt it be bloody marvellous to be so damn good on rock,you didnt need anchors at all?I mean like,swan up to your dream berg and just go vertical like a badass version of spiderman?Look at all the weight you would save?Nuts,cams,pitons,and all the myriad bits of ironmongery that you know are gonna weigh you down,and you know would be suicide to leave behind.


Unless your a Big Wall climber most of your technical alpine soloing is going to be done with bare hands and the delicate placement of axes and single-point crampons in summer mixed climbing conditions,and on known routes.You will have done your research leading up to your climb.Reading your guidebooks,picking the brains of your mates,and googleing the be-jesus out of every known info-source you can think of!
if you have a brain in your head,you will allso have studied the geological strata,mineralisation,and weather conditions on your berg and accounts of previous ascentionists.But nothing quite prepares you for that feelling of angxiety and excitement at putting in your first self-belay anchor system!There is no partner,no second,no one to hold you if you fall!How you build your anchors suddenly requires a whole new dimension of precision and awareness that is by turns,liberating(when its right)and terrifying when it all goes wrong.After decades of climbing alone i thought i was pretty hot-stuff at placeing gear.Then i did an SPA trng course at PYB in Wales,Mark Richards was my instructor(most know him as "Baggy" though only a few know why?)back then.In his own quiet way he showed me how little i actually realy knew!If you seriously want to learn anchors,have Baggy teach you and check out his site!?Some of the worst systems ive seen have been put up by expierienced climbers.Dont be too proud!Go do a refresher course every few years and let someone else check your technique!Youle live longer!

Starfish multi-directional anchor.

This is a detailed "representation" of the Starfish solo-anchor system i use (though i rarely get this much gear in.).Its a simple "opposed system" designed for my own self-belay technique,using two separate cordellettes of 8mm Static Rope.Its called a "Starfish" because you can get away with missing several anchor points on it,and it still does the job and holds together.
Two opposing HMS-Krabs have been used to take the climbing rope in this setup,primarily to highlight the "tensioning shock-cord" that pulls the upper and lower anchors together at the centre.The shock-cord "is not" load-bearing!! If done well this holds the gear firmly in place in the event of a fall and prevents gear lift-out on ascent.


The shock-cord keeps the entire system stable whilst the climber ascends to place protection,and holds it all together in the event of a fallIts particularly usefull where nuts and hexes are loose in crumbly or smooth cracks,or for keeping Slings tight on rock spikes!It holds together well under fall shockload from any direction.
The "depicted" system i have deliberately over-engineered to demonstrate its primary principles.If nescessary one can get by with much less,but thats down to yourself,circumstances,and the efficient placement of "bombproof" anchor gear.


This second "representation" shows the "retrievable rope system" i allso use.This one gives me the extra option of retrieving my pack and the entire rope on a realy tough pitch.Allso for leaving gear behind to be collected later or in descent,or perhaps just for leaving the whole lot and keeping the rope if recovery is just not possible!Note the use of a maillon which blocks the stopper-knot and prevents the climbing rope from pulling through!?The bellaying action does not function of course until the first protection is placed.This too must be bombproof!!


I make every possible effort to retain all of my rack as it is so bloody expensive,but will not risk my life over a few nuts and krabs!
Both systems use only one climbing rope for ascents and abseils on an Edelrid-Eddy rigged for self belay.I find a second abseil rope to be just extra weight and surplus to my requirements.

Title: Re: A bit of light reading... if humor is light
Post by: cobbledik on September 08, 2014, 08:49:05 pm (

And when it rains, it pours...
Title: Re: A bit of light reading... if humor is light
Post by: mungeclimber on September 09, 2014, 12:27:46 am
So it boils down to a single screw gate?

Creative yes. Redundant, no.
Title: Re: A bit of light reading... if humor is light
Post by: johnmac on September 09, 2014, 07:18:13 am
I knew there was a reason why I liked bolts as belay anchors....

Title: Re: A bit of light reading... if humor is light
Post by: cobbledik on September 09, 2014, 08:59:26 am
I think that people often confuse "being safe" with simply multiplying "the stuff I kind of understand" as a way to avoid dealing with the stuff they don't quite get.
Title: Re: A bit of light reading... if humor is light
Post by: RP3 on September 09, 2014, 10:06:01 am
No wonder this dude has spent "...decades climbing alone"