5 Principles to Ensure Safety While Using Anchors
Topping out a climb can be exhilarating and fulfilling. However, it is very important to be aware of safety equipment and its proper usage to make your climb a safe one. The anchor is a very vital tool while climbing. It is made up of climbing gear that give support. To use it wisely, you will have to understand some of its basic principles. These principles are as follows:
Always use solid anchors. Your anchors should be strong enough to carry your full weight. It should have good bolts, round tree and immovable boulder. A solid anchor will give a firm grip. Check all the points of the anchor thoroughly before using it on a climb. Excess exposure to sun, wind, rain, snow, etc. and careless usage may spoil anchors. If you think any point of the anchor is rusty or suspicious, then do not use it. Besides, you may also keep a back-up of webbing with you.
This principle states that your anchor should be properly backed up. You should have at least two connection points. This way, if one of the points fails, then the other will provide support. If any part is damaged or worn, then you should have another part ready in your kit that may play the former’s role. You may apply techniques like Sliding X, Overhand on a bight or Figure Eight on a Bight to keep your anchor redundant. Besides, twisting and clipping methods will also help you to make your anchor redundant. Whenever you climb, do make sure you have good quality climbing apparel to make your climb comfortable.
This is an important principle stating that weight distribution should be equal for all the points on the anchor. This ensures a stronger grip and will prevent a fall. A greater pull on a single side may prove to be dangerous. You may equalize your rock climbing anchors by connecting them with cord or webbing.
The anchor you are using should have a slight or no extension. When you fix the anchor at a point, exert force over it and if there is an extension you will fall at a greater distance and may lose balance. Chances of injury increase when the distance is more. Sliding X method will help you to reduce the extension when you connect the anchor points with Figure 8 or Overhand on a Bight.
When you connect the points of your anchor using webbing, runner or cordelette, make small angles in your anchor. Smaller angles ensure that less force is being applied on the points. In most cases, you require a 20-degree angle which may be extended a little. Ensure that your angle never exceeds 60 degrees. As a thumb rule, stretch your index and middle finger apart. The widest angle made through this should be your maximum anchor limit.
Ensure you utilize your climbing anchor in the correct manner using these principles and make your belaying, rappelling or top roping experience fun and safe.