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How to Set Up a Top Rope with a Static Line

So you’ve got the basics of Anchoring down, and now you want to set up a top rope.  Top Roping can be fun, quick, low risk, and pretty simple.  The key point to keep in mind are that the anchor components need to be BOMB PROOF and as Bobbo would put it, Industrial strength meaning that they won’t go anywhere.

 

Materials

-3-4 locking carabeeners
-70-100 feet of static rope no smaller that 9mm in diameter
-a single cordalette (18-21 feet in length)

Knots You Must Know How to Tie

-Double Bowline
-BFK
-Clove-Hitch
-Overhand on a Bight

 

Process

1) Select two anchors that are a reasonable distance from the cliff (between 10 and 30 feet) and that are around the climb you wish to crank on.  For simplicities sake, lets say that the two anchors you’ve selected are trees that are a greater diameter than your thigh (this is important when using trees).

2) Get your static rope, and with one end tie a double bowline around the first tree.  Tie the know as low as you can on the tree and be sure to back it up with a double fishermans, or how its shown in the illustration.


(Please note that this is a bowline on a bight with an overhand backup.  You could simply make an overhand on a bight with the tail of the bowline and clip it to the running stand as shown with a carabeener.)

3) Find the climb you want on and throw a 3-4 foot bight of rope over the edge.

4) Go to the other tree you’ve selected and wrap your cordalette around the tree so the you have two strands going around the tree.  Equalize the two strands and tie an overhand on a bight.  (See Illustration)

5) Clip 1 locking carabeener to equalized bight and clove hitch the other end of the rope to the carabeener.  Back up the clove hitch with an overhand on a bight around the loaded strand. (See illustration)

6) Equlalize the two “Legs” of the anchor near the edge of the cliff, and tie a BFK with the bight you threw over the edge.  This is your master point (Also referred to as the High Point, or Power Point)

7) Clip two opposite and opposed locking carabeeners to the master point, and clip the climbing rope into both of them.  Lock all of your carabeeners and throw the climbing rope down from the middle.

 

I realize that it may be hard to visualize all of these steps.  If you have any questions at all about any of them please comment, or email me and I will answer your questions as promptly as I can.

Its important that while working near the cliff edge to protect yourself from falling.  This can easily be done with the above technique by using the tail end of the clove hitch as a tether.  Simply put a gri-gri, or an autoblocking knot (Klemheist, or prussik) on the tether and clip it to your harness.
Here is a nice video by the Colorado Mountain School the describes the above method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLn59-1PzA0

 

Happy Sending!

 

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The Basics of Anchors and Anchor Building

From my experience, all anchors share common traits throughout.  Whether your building a multipitch anchor, a top rope anchor, a snow anchor (might be the exception), or an ice anchor there is a set of rules or a checklist that the anchor must fulfill before it is utilized.  There are many names for this checklist, but the one I will discuss here is EARNEST.  EARNEST is a little acronym you can remember when building your anchors to remember the checklist.  Here goes!

E- Equalized

-Anchors should be constructed so that each component of the anchor carries an equal amount of the load

A – Angle

-The angle made between the components of the anchor does not exceed 90 degrees.

-This does a good job of illustrating how force is distributed, and that with a greater angle, the force placed on each anchor component can go up drastically

R– Redundant

-Anchors should consist of multiple components in case one or more components fail

NE- No Extension

– Anchors should be built so that if one or more of the components fail the remaining components won’t be shock loaded

Shock Load: A sudden or unexpected load that is imposed upon a system.

S – Strong or Solid

-Each component of your anchor should be a stand alone piece ideally (I.E. a big burly tree, a bomber cam, nut or screw placement, a big, unmoving boulder, etc…)

T -Timely

– Anchors should be as simple and timely as possible without giving up any of the other ERNEST qualities.

Again, all anchors generally follow these principals and knowing them will allow the budding climber to set up anchors with confidence.

If you have never set up anchors before, ISTRONGLY suggest either hiring a guide to teach you, or having your friend who has a lot of experience show you.

Happy Sending!

Frequently Used Climbing Knots

Knots are an essential skill to be comfortable with.  They can be confusing at first, but with some practice they become quick and easy.  Knowing a variety of knots, and their correct use can make climbing safer and more fun.  In this article I will discuss some of the more frequently used knots and their uses.

The Bowline

Uses

-Tieing in
-Tieing off anchors
-Fixing the rope

How to Tie

http://www.animatedknots.com/bowline/

-a variation is the double bowline, where instead of making a single initial loop, you throw in two loops to pass the rope through

http://www.ehow.com/video_2355217_tie-double-bowline-knot.html

Retraced Figure Eight

Uses

-Tieing In

How to tie

http://www.animatedknots.com/fig8follow/index.php

Figure Eight on a Bight and Overhand on a Bight

Uses

-Anchors
-Fixing the rope
-Closing the rope system
-Tieing in the end of the rope to avoid rappelling off the ends
-Backing up devices in rescue work
– many many more

How to tie

Figure Eight
http://www.chockstone.org/TechTips/F8Knots.htm

Overhand
http://www.ehow.com/video_4467995_tie-overhand-loop-knot.html

Munter Hitch

Uses
-Belaying
-Lowering

How To tie

http://www.netknots.com/rope_knots/munter-hitch/

Mule Knot

Uses
-tieing off the belay
-fixing the rope
-rescue
-Releasable under load

How to tie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ7VowhE5DI

Clove Hitch

Uses

-Tethering
-Fixing the rope
-Anchoring

How to tie

http://www.animatedknots.com/clove/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com&Categ=boating

Prussik (Most Friction)

Uses
-Backing up rappels
-Transferring Load
-Pulleys
-Ascending the rope

How to Tie

http://www.animatedknots.com/prusik/index.php?Categ=climbing&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Klemheist (Medium Friction)

Uses
-Backing up rappels
-Transferring Load
-Pulleys
-Ascending the rope

How to Tie

http://www.animatedknots.com/klemheist/

Autoblock (Least Friction)

Uses
-Backing up rappels

How to tie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgUqWDEweuU&feature=fvwrel

Mariners Hitch

Uses

-Releasable under load
-Rescue

How to tie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PSlFodqGJs

Alpine Butterfly

Uses

-tieing into the middle of the rope

How to tie

http://www.animatedknots.com/alpinebutterfly/index.php?Categ=climbing&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

 

BFK

Uses

-Making a redundant Master Point

How to tie

http://earthworksclimbing.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-is-bhk.html

 

Double Fishermans

Uses

– Connecting two ropes
-Tieing ends Together
-Finishing Knots

How to tie

http://www.animatedknots.com/doublefishermans/index.php

-This link shows joining two ropes together.  The knot tied in both the blue and the red rope is a double fisherman’s.

There are Hundreds of knots that are applicable to climbing.  Again, these are the most frequently used and should suffice in most situations.

Happy Sending!

Belaying With TBUS

Belaying is the foundational skill to be able to climb in any setting.  While there are many belay techniques, the American Mountain Guides Association recommends TBUS, and that is what will be shown and discussed in this article.

TBUS is an acronym used to describe a particular belay technique.  The acronym stands for Take, Brake, Under, Slide.  While this is the industry wide standard for belaying, the most important thing to remember while belaying is that the brake strand should be in brake position as much as possible.  With proper utilization of this technique, the rope will remain in brake position approximately 80% of the time.  The correct use of the belay device, and safety protocols are essential and should be utilized during every climb.  This means that the belay device carabineer is locked; the climber’s knot is checked, harnesses on both climbers are put on properly and doubled back, and both the climber and belayer are ready to climb.

The process described will be for a top rope setting.

Take

If your right handed, this action is performed simply by pulling down on the rope above the belay device with the left hand, and simultaneously pulling the slack created through the belay device with the right hand. (For the left handed climber, the right hand pulls down, and the left hand pulls slack)

For easiness, the hand pulling down will be referred to as the guide hand and the hand pulling slack through the belay device will be referred to as the brake hand.

Brake

Maintain control of the climbers end of the rope with the guide hand, and bring the brake hand down by the hip or thigh below the belay device.  This is called brake position.

 

Under

 

Let go of the climbers rope with the guide hand, and bring it below the brake hand.  It is essential that you never let go of the brake strand of the rope throughout this entire process, I.E. the brake hand should remain on the brake strand the ENTIRE TIME.

 

Slide

With the guide hand underneath the brake hand, slide the brake hand up toward the belay device.  Don’t slide it right up to the device.  Make sure you leave a couple inches between the belay device and the brake hand.

And there you have it.  Repeat this process over and over until the climber has reached the top of the climb.  When the climber is ready to be lowered, place both hands on the brake strand of the rope and gently loosen your grip.  Again, always maintain control of the brake strand, and don’t lower the climber to fast.

Happy Sending!