How Not to Climb - Part 1

Steven Colbert has on ongoing segment in his show called "Better Know a District", in which he interviews someone elected to one of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. He always refers to a segment as "part X in our 435 part series". This may be part 1 in an 435-part series on ways not to climb.

I was bored while sipping my coffee this morning, and rather than do something more enlightening, such as memorizing the phonebook or banging my forehead against the wall, I made the intractable mistake of reading discussions on www.mountainproject.com. In one of these threads, the question was asked:
How would you use the rope to equalize 3 bomber pieces in a crack, with a 4 piece place for an upward pull?
To which I'd answer:
Sliding X or cloves with the rope or something, but more importantly stop placing gear after the first two bomber pieces, and you'll have more gear for the next lead and more daylight for the descent.

Don't make belay anchors like this. If you see one in real life, and its creator will not let your party pass up their party, bail while it's still light out.

People spend about 90% of their nervous energy worrying about stuff like redundantly-equalized 12-piece web-o-lette anchor installations, meanwhile we have folks decking from 6 bolts up a sport climb when their (homemade and glued!) quickdraw falls apart and their belayer doesn't catch them. Anchor failure is a scary prospect but how often does it happen? (and anchors are weighted almost atop every pitch) Meanwhile, things like miscommunication, rappel/lower off ends of rope, etc are hurting or killing folks seemingly every week.


  1. The picture is a little small so I'm probably missing some of the many things wrong here, but is your main criticism that it's insanely over-redundant? That constructing the whole thing out of the climbing rope is going to take forever?

  2. Shoulda had lockers on all the gear. Looks unsafe as is.

  3. You need tht many pieces on plywood. It's not as strong as rock and I'm an engineer so I would know. Also, I would use two lockers in your atc because it's redundant.

  4. Are you still alive blake? It's been a while...

  5. The original picture, which disappeared into the abyss of the inter webs, used about 1/2 of the rope to connect 8 different pieces of pro.

    I'm not advocating one sort of anchor be used 100% or even 90% of the time, but make anchors simply and fast - gear holds!

    1. OK I thought he was dissing the rgold anchor