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A_Little_Off_Route

Do you take 2 cordalettes?

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1. Put a cam in close to you, clove hitch the rope to its racking biner.

2. Put another piece in a little further away, clove hitch the rope to it.

3. If you need another piece, put it in now, and clove to it.

4. Pull up rope, slap your [belay device of choice] on, and yell "On belay _"

 

Four pieces, all clove hitched, they all pulled.

 

excerpt

 

""The team was leading with two 9mm ropes, and both climbers were properly tied to both ropes. Dunwiddie was equipped as leader, with each of the two ropes passing through Eldridge's belay device (an ATC). About 25 feet of each lead rope separated the two climbers; no lead protection was found on either rope.

 

Their anchor-which appears to have pulled in its entirety during the accident-consisted of the following. One 3/8-inch Alien and one #4 Black Diamond Stopper were clove-hitched together to one of the lead ropes approximately three feet from Eldridge's tie-in point. Two double-stem Camalots, .5 and .75, were each independently clove-hitched about a foot and a half apart on the other lead rope with 15 inches separating the lower piece from Eldridge's tie-in point. There was no evidence that bolts or other fixed protection were involved in the anchor.

 

All of the anchor pieces were severely damaged, though it is impossible to know whether the damage occurred when they were pulled out or during the fall and final impact. Nevertheless, the two Camalots were each bent in a similar way suggestive of a severe downward force after being placed in a vertical crack.""

 

Are you implying their lack of multiple cordelettes and subsequent use of clove hitches led to the failure?

 

Edited by Mugsy

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Just that an un-equalized anchor could have caused this.

 

I've changed my mind about cordalettes, I don't think they equalize either.

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Cordalettes equalize effectively when used correctly and with good pieces as anchors. There is nothing a sling can do that a coradalette can't at an anchor.

 

At the risk of decalaring myself as a dinosaur, we are so safe compared to the days of 1" webbing, swami belts and pitons or primitive nuts and no kevlar, it is ridiculous.

Edited by matt_warfield

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...primitive nuts...

Ho man, dude...

 

Nothing like doing a parallel splitter with only hexes and stoppers or regular hardware nuts from the old days.

 

Some nuts have been around for a long time and some just in the modern era. One way or the other they usually hang below your waist or in your girlfriend or wife's handbag.

Edited by matt_warfield

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Yeah, cams are shizzle for splitters, but if on normal mixed terrain you're always reaching for a cams before nuts you've definitely got it ass backwards.

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Doing an ascent of Supercrack at Indian Creek with hexes would be a challenge for most.

 

But I certainly agree that lots of the time a passive piece is much easier to place than a cam, two cordalettes or not.

Edited by matt_warfield

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Cordalettes equalize effectively when used correctly

 

No they don't. Testing shows that they load unequally and cause sequential failure of pieces.

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Testing shows that they load unequally and cause sequential failure of pieces.

 

pretty strong statement. can you give an example of this cordelette anchor failure?

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I agree with Gene. Problems with equalization are mostly due to errors in application rather than the medium (web, rope, cordalettes, etc.) or the anchor itself (bolts or slung spikes or gear or trees or .......) Cordalettes are strong, knot well, and are completely capable of equalizing anchors.

 

kurthicks????

Edited by matt_warfield

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I didn't read this whole thread.

 

0. How often do we hear about entire anchors failing because they were tied together with a cordelette? Rarely, right? This is not some epidemic.

 

Ok, since this is all semantics then...

 

1. Placing bad gear results in a bad anchor, no matter how you tie it together. Placing good gear is always your primary concern.

2. Utilizing a sling or cordelette allows either climber to lead the next pitch and provides an option for fully escaping the system if it becomes necessary. It also frees up more rope if you're doing rope stretching pitches (rare as they are).

3. I usually recommend each climber carry a cordelette. They are useful for so many things beyond tying your anchor together. Bail gear, rescue, slinging trees or boulders, prussiking, etc.

 

Bottom line - Cordelettes are cheap and incredibly multi-functional. Yes, you can get by without them, but when you really need it you'll regret not having one.

 

Personally, I pretty much always carry one if I'm going more than one pitch off the ground.

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Testing shows that they load unequally and cause sequential failure of pieces.

 

pretty strong statement. can you give an example of this cordelette anchor failure?

 

You can look it up in Rock and Ice and ANAM and will gadd's blog just as easy as I can.

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I'm fairly new to trad climbing and am wondering why more people don't use equalettes. I used cordalettes until I read in one of Long's books that equalettes did a better job of equalizing. It takes a bit more fussing with getting knots in the right place, but it does give you more room for error. With a cordalette if you don't judge the load angle just right, or if moves, it is no longer equalized.

Thoughts?

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Testing shows that they load unequally and cause sequential failure of pieces.

 

pretty strong statement. can you give an example of this cordelette anchor failure?

 

You can look it up in Rock and Ice and ANAM and will gadd's blog just as easy as I can.

 

Well I respect you and Will Gadd and Rock and Ice but even more I respect AMGA certified guides who know their shit better than 98% of the people on this site.

Edited by matt_warfield

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Testing shows that they load unequally and cause sequential failure of pieces.

 

pretty strong statement. can you give an example of this cordelette anchor failure?

 

You can look it up in Rock and Ice and ANAM and will gadd's blog just as easy as I can.

 

did search will gadd's site and what I could in the R&I. Nothing about cordelette anchor failures. So do you have an example of a cordelette anchor failure in real life or just testing? Maybe you can point me in the right direction instead of being rude?

 

Your answer is more typical of a response to a politically directed question to someone who does not have an answer. Typically "go find it yourself".

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Well I respect you and Will Gadd and Rock and Ice but even more I respect AMGA certified guides who know their shit better than 98% of the people on this site.

 

I am the 2% :)

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http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb/all/qc-lab-sling-strength-in-3-different-anchor-configurations

 

While this study didn't look specifically at cordellettes, it did compare the sliding X to the anchor point method. KP determined that even though the sliding X was the strongest, the anchor point method was still strong enough.

 

My consideration is what happens when one of those pieces does fail - would I rather the entire sling extend to shock load the remaining point(s)? Of course not. But putting in extension limiting knots is a pain in the arse.

 

So for me, the anchor point system - with a cordellette or a sling - wins 95% of the time because it is strong enough and non-extending. Its the best compromise in my opinion.

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If I need to build a anchor, I usually place a couple piece where one of the pieces backs up the other either with the use of the racking biner or with a draw or sling if they are spaced further apart, so that they are clipped into each other with one in equalization with the other. Then I do it again separately with another set of gear as my backup anchor. You can move cams in the crack usually to get just the right amount of tension/resistance so that they back each other up. Faster, simpler, and in my opinion generally more bomber. Cordalettes are great where gear placements are widely spaced apart and you want to try and equalize the whole thing, but seems like it is not needed on any regular basis unless roping a block or big wall anchor. Generally you can place two pieces one above the other in a crack and equalize them with just your basic gear. My two cents.

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This debate could go on for a long time. However, it's in the "newbie" thread so that's where my thoughts were going and our responses should be directed to. As far as Matts insult/suggestion that don't trust the internet or specifically these guys responding to the post -I feel that is way off base. Some of the guys responding on this thread are total kick assed dudes who have as more real world experience and smarts than 90 percent of the "Guides" out there.

 

I don't include myself in there: however the last few times I've bumped into "actual" guides it's been on long routes where I wish they would hurry up and bail or get the heck out of my way. I've been unimpressed with their belay setups which are slow, cumbersome, and add nothing of value. Last time was with Ujahn on Epinephrine, and as we caught up with the 2 in front each and every pitch despite giving them a breather starts (ie waiting a bit, it was 2 guides not guide/client) when we compared notes later Ujahn and I both learned the same thing, that neither of those guides was familiar and had ever seen anyone tie in with the climbing rope, which is a faster and stronger method than they were employing on the same route. Turns out that the AMGA at that time was into the whole cordelette thing. The fact that it works well for guides, especially large groups, is true. But a better way existed for 2 skilled guys climbing a route with no deadweight and they had no clue. They were on a climbing trip around the country and had been getting in a lot of mileage, but they were only climbing with each other and thus not broadening their knowledge base too much. So take that as you will.

 

There is a place in the world for Cordelette/equalettes/clusterfuckolets. But a newbie climbing established routes with his buddy isn't one of them in my opinion. That's what this thread is about. That said, I suggest learning everything you can -and then some, including how to tie the equallete. Having extra arrows in your quiver never hurts, and you may decide that you like it. I go out with folks that use them and it's fine with me when I'm on lead and I know that they have a system that works for them.

 

Getting out into the wild blue yonder and off the beaten track, having that extra piece of cord can be a godsend. But that discussion can be in a thread not titled Newbies IMO.

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Bill,

 

I think you got my intent wrong or I just didn't explain it well. My comment was intended to state that one of the many very experienced climbers on this site can post right along with some who are not experienced or who post in jest.

 

I apologize to anyone who felt insulted by my remarks.

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I believe kurthicks has given the appropriate, perhaps definitive answer: a cordelette is a MULTIFUNCTIONAL tool. I've used mine for creating a 3:1 hauling system for supplying tension to "portly" following climbers, for prusiking, for escaping a loaded belay, cut up for rappel anchors, and yes, occasionally to build belay anchors. I generally carry 6mm, one full-length (20' - I don't think metric) and one that has lost some to rappels and is growing steadily shorter. The self-rescue protocols that the AMGA teaches in their guide certification curriculum assume two cordelettes.

 

Regarding equalization: Arnor Larson, who founded the Rigging for Rescue school, performed exhaustive testing on various equalizing techniques, and determined that "equalizing" anchors generally do NOT equalize when loaded. Consequently, R4R distinguishes between an "equalizing" anchor and an "equalized" anchor, and recommends pre-equalizing the anchor then knotting the equalizing sling so that anchor elements are isolated from one another. This practice permits the anchor elements to share the load equally, while preventing the failure of one or more anchor elements from shock-loading the remaining elements.

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I take a cordelette for rescue situations only.

 

Sliding X with a single backup is always far faster to build/take down and unlike a F'Ollette actually equalizes at least 2 pieces in ALL situations.

 

The problem as I see it, is that in a fall the load is near instantaneous requiring the cordelette to stretch near instantaneous as well to equalize said load onto the different pieces whom also have to Set themselves into the rock firmly. This simply cannot happen in such a small time frame before putting the full or near full load on a single piece. Now when you build your 3 point cordelette and are already hanging on it say on a BIG wall, then you have pre-stretched said cordelette and any new load can be applied to all of said pieces whereas with the typical fashion where one is sitting on a belay ledge, said cordelette is always only tied firmly to 1 piece and has to stretch say a half inch to load the 2nd or 3rd piece due to the nature of how it is tied. It is impossible to tie all 3 legs evenly.

 

It gets even hairier when its in a pendulum traverse(VERY COMMON in alpine) to the side and if you do a F'ollette you are truly screwed as your fixed 3 piece Tie in point will have one leg far shorter than the other 2 in regards to where the load(Fall) will come from... the side. In this situation you MUST use a sliding X otherwise your "belay" is all of 1 piece strong for the FULL FALL load. Not Good. Not Good at all.

 

Newbs, DO NOT use Cordelettes to begin with. Please. Thankfully most newbies usually don't climb vastly outside of their comfort zone. I know, we all claim to be fearless heroes, thankfully most actually do have fear and are heroes smart enough to retreat.

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