self-equalizing anchors

A handy ropecraft skill to have is knowledge of how to set-up self-equalizing anchors. Many times while you are climbing or rappelling you will find that there are few solid “single-point” anchors available. Instead of a large, deeply rooted Oak tree you find that you have 2-4 smaller trees that just don’t leave you feeling confident. Or you could be setting up a belay point 800′ up with a series of cams or chocks being the only thing between a secure belay and screaming death. In these situations you will want to share the load between these anchors so that each of them is receiving only part of the load. You also want a system that will hopefully survive if one of your anchor points fail. Most self-equalizing set-up’s share the characteristics of the simple 2 anchor system I have illustrated below.


The first thing you do is take a loop of cord, rope, or tape and form a figure-eight. You then take a locking carabiner and clip it across the crossover point.


Two more “biners” get clipped to either side of the “eight”.


The two “anchor biners” are then attached to your anchors and the load is placed on the center carabiner. This splits the load forces equally between the two anchor points. If you have set your system up properly and one of the anchors fails, the center biner is still attached to the loop and will hopefully remain attached to your remaining piece of protection.


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