Assistant Skills and Anchors 2010

Horsethief Skills Clinic and Rock/Snow Anchors Field Session
April 9-11

The snow skills clinic will obviously take place on snow day. Those who are getting their assistant sheet signed off, have one of the full leaders observe you and they can sign you off. You may as well have this done in the event you decide to apply to be an assistant next year.

Below are the anchor systems I briefly demonstrated in the class session. Please learn them. I don't want to waste time in the field session. You can clip caribiners to cabinet pulls, a tree, a bike or whatever to practice. Think about the EARNEST concepts as you build these. Have one peice at a time blow out and see how it affects the extension of the anchor. How well does each equalize?

E Equalized (active/passive)
A Angles Appropriate (less than 90 degree)
R Redundant if one peice, sling section, fails what happens?
NE No Extension What happens to the belay if one peice fails?
S Strong most important
T Timely also very important

Three Peice sliding X (effectionately referred to by some as the Death X)
You would then clip a locker through the two low loops and include the lowest strand as well.
Equailizes very well, very bad extension.

Cordellette (most commonly used anchor system)

Clip all peices and make a "W"

Then tie an overhand knot to limit extension. This system has no extension but doesn't actively equalize. It is also difficult to get the strands to be snug on each anchor peice.
Two Peice sliding x with limiter knots
Very little extension, actively equalizes. It's also very simple. I use these slings on multi-pitch bolted anchor routes. Especially w/ newer climbers because its very easy to use and hard to mess up. Be certain there is a twist in one of the strands at the master point.
Clip Peice One. Determine masterpoint length and tie a knot (fig 8 or overhand)

Tie second limiter knot for masterpoint

Take one leg from the second limiter knot and clove hitch to peice 2. Take other leg from limiter knot and clove hitch peice 3. The slack should always be between peice two and three. Be certain to put a twist in one of the two strands at the power point of the anchor. Try just clipping both strands then have the first peice blow and see what happens : -0 This system meets the EARNEST concepts the best but isn't w/out its own issues. The primary issue is it is difficult for some people to learn. Once you practice it 20 times at home, its probably the fastest anchor "system." When you simplify it, its a sliding x w/ limiter knots, with the addition that the two strands leaving the second limiter knot go to their own peice and are secured w/ clove hitches.

For many of you, this class will be review, for some of you, all of the information will be new to you. Let me know if you have any questions. You can email me ahead of time so we can try to have everybody w/ a minimum knowledge level.

GOAL Provide an avenue for aspiring climbers to learn new skills and give assistants an opportunity to learn and demonstrate their skills.

AGENDA Friday Morning: placing different types of rock protection and anchors while standing safely on the ground. Participants will be instructed on safe gear placements, natural protection, and creating anchors for belaying and rappelling.

Friday Afternoon: leading routes on 4th class and low 5th class rock. The idea is to improve/learn your rock pro; not demonstrate your climbing prowess. Participants will build belay anchors, belay the leader who protects the climb and builds a top anchor suitable for belaying the second who follows and cleans the gear. Both climbers will then rappel from the belay anchor or build another, more suitable, rappel anchor. Repeat the mock lead with a new leader so each climber leads and builds anchors.
Students must have their rappel anchors checked by a Leader prior to rappelling.

Participants should bring what gear they have. Unless you KNOW what you want, don't purchase gear for this class. There will be plenty to borrow. Each student will need a 16'-22' cordellete. 7 mill nylon accesory cord is what is considerred "standard" for rock anchors. Many leaders use 6 mil and some use spectra. I've seen 8 mill used but that's too bulky for my taste. Please purchase, borrow or steal a cordellette for the class. If you continue climbing, it'll always be useful.

The following is a suggested beginner trad rack. It is not suggested by me but by MANY of my mentors and gear enthusiasts. It worked well for me. (definetly not required for the class)

Set of nuts they all have their own size rating, I prefer the stoppers that have a different color of metal for the actual stopper and not just somewhere on the wire.

Tri-cams Pink, Red and Brown. I still use my pink one, rarely the others. Before I had 50 thousand cams, I used tri cams all of the time.

Hexes Sizes 8-10, I use them all of the time, people always make fun of me. The small ones are useful as well but I wouldn't consider them part of a starter rack.

6 double length slings w/ two biners each.

You'll also want several loose caribiners. Look at the anchors and you'll see that they use 4 biners each! Trad climbing isn't cheap.

Nut tool

Cams are expensive and they rarely go on sale. A good strategy is two buy one a month for 43 years. The sizes that you'll use most are the .75, #1, and #2. I regularly use the two .75's on a single route. You can get smaller ones but the hope is that you can use nuts for the smaller sizes. If you become a trad climber, you'll know what you want cause you'll regularly desperately wish you had another .75 or #1 or whatever. If you had the starter kit and a .75, #1 and #2, you'll be able to climb many routes at Smith.

Lastly, I'm open to answering any of your questions or helping you find the answers. This is a great opportunity to learn. Don't be surprised if you ask the different leaders/helpers the same question and get different answers. Climbing is an art, not a science. Its best to learn from many experienced people and form your own conclusions.

View Vincents Pics from last year

1 comment:

  1. Jess, I would like to be in this class.
    I will bring my full trad rack and practice setting pro and building anchors. After years of trad climbing there still so much to learn and practice. Looking forward to more climbing this year.

    I am planning to be an assistant in the climb school also.

    Kerry Ketcham