Friday, July 22, 2022

Cleaning Anchors on a Single Pitch Climb

The American Alpine Club has put together an excellent video on cleaning single pitch anchors. Check out the video below:

The video identifies three governing principles to cleaning an anchor:

1) Minimize equipment so that essential items are less likely to be forgotten
2) Minimize communication with the belayer to avoid miscommunication
3) Eliminate or minimize transitions from one safety system to another.

Making an Action Plan

Before leaving the ground, make sure to come up with a plan. The belayer should understand exactly what is going to happen. Is the climber going to lower? Is the climber going to rappel? Ideally, this should be decided before leaving the ground.

Cleaning a Sport Anchor

Step 1 - Clip into the anchor with a quickdraw or with a personal tether. In the video, she clips into two draws that the rope is running through.
Step 2 - The climber pulls up slack and feeds a bight through the chains or rings.
Step 3 - Tie a figure-eight on a bight in the slack and clip it to your belay loops with a locking carabiner.
Step 4 - The climber can now call for tension.
Step 5 - Once there's tension the cleaner can check the system.
Step 6 - Clean the draw or personal anchor from the system.
Step 7 - Untie the figure-eight from the harness and pull the slack through the chains.
Step 8 - Clean the anchor and lower to the ground.

Cleaning an Anchor by Rappelling

Step 1 - call for tension and construct a personal anchor
Step 2 - Clip into the master point with a personal tether and a locking carabiner.
Step 3 - Call "off belay" and secure the rope.
Step 4 - Untie the original figure-eight follow-through and thread the rope through the anchor and tie a stopper knot.
Step 5 - Pull the rope through the anchor until both ends are on the ground. Get confirmation that the ends are on the ground from the belayer and use stopper knots.
Step 6 - Tie a friction hitch backup and attach it to the two strands of rope. This may be clipped to a leg-loop if rappelling off your belay-loop or to your belay loop if you're rappelling on an extension.
Step 7 - Rig for rappel.
Step 8 - Double check everything. Make sure ropes are on the ground and that everything is locked. Be sure both strands of the rope are through your device.
Step 9 - Detach your personal tether from the anchor. Clean the anchor and rappel.

You'll note that in the video, they had ten steps. I did eliminate one step to tighten up the whole system...

-- Jason D. Martin

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