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Use Slings for Fast Anchors

Speed Climbing Tip 5

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Use Slings for Fast Anchors

Quickdraws with locking carabiners makes a fast anchor point when you're climbing lots of sport pitches.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green

If I’m doing a lot of sport pitches, I always pre-rig slings for the anchors before I leave home. Usually I’ll take a couple two-foot slings and clip two locking carabiners onto them. I’ll thread the carabiners and slings together, and clip them like a quickdraw onto one of the back loops of my harness along with a couple free locking carabiners. When I reach a bolted sport anchor, all I have to do is clip each of the lockers onto the bolts, make a twist in the slings so it forms a “magic X,” clip the two free locking carabiners onto the X or master point and the rope into the carabiners, and presto, I’m clipped in and already lowering. Make two or three pre-rigged sets so you’ll always have one ready to go.

This set-up also works great for multi-pitch sport routes with bolt anchors. That way you can quickly clip in and put your partner on belay instead of messing with an anchor knot in the rope. Likewise, after your partner finishes his pitch, the rope is already free for climbing. No untying knots or untangling ropes from the anchors.

Alternatively, you can also use a couple quickdraws, one clipped to each anchor. Again though, I usually use at least one locking carabiner on the lower-off master point or as the main anchor clip-in point. Auto-locking carabiners are preferred since you won’t have any problem undoing them like you might with a screw gate.

On a multi-pitch route where I might have three anchors to equalize, I’ll carry a short cordellette pre-rigged with locking carabiners. Again, I clip the carabiners on the anchors, quickly equalize the anchors, and then clip myself into the master point with an auto-locking carabiner on my personal anchor system (PAS). Because I always like redundancy at my clip-in points, I will usually tie the rope into the master point with a clove hitch, which is fast to tie and untie and doesn’t tighten up like a figure-8-on-a-bight will when it’s weighted.

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