Equalised Belay/Top Anchor Stance

 

 

 

COMPLETE SECURITY IS WORTH A FEW EXTRA MINUTES WAITING IN THE COLD

 

Purpose: 

 

To hold the Belayer secure if the climber, either seconding or leading, takes a significant fall.  

 

Three critical areas;

  • Optimise belay position to handle all possible stresses and strains should serious fall occur, direction of load is critical
  • Position and Security of anchors
  • Linking the anchors using balancing techniques to create single strong point

 

1.  CHOICE OF POSITION

To decide where you want to sit:

  • Can I belay correctly?
  • Will the rope crush my thigh if weight comes on it?
  • Will the strain be taken straight through the system directly to anchors?
  • Will there be unnecessary friction or sharp edges for rope?
  • Where will I put slack ropes to prevent tangles?
  • Can I be secure and reasonably comfortable?
  • Do I need to see the climber?
  • Immediate Leader fall protection

  2 .  ANCHOR POINTS -  

 

The stance is only as secure as the anchors

 

  • Always use AT LEAST three anchor points.
  • Choose three points that compliment each other.
  • Avoid using two anchors in same crack
  • Check all rocks/boulders for movement and security
  • Check for access for rigging line
  • On crag top stances check whole area for good anchors

  3.  RIGGING THE BELAY STANCE

Ensure equal loading on all anchors to spread the loading and, importantly, should one or more fail, the remaining anchor(s) are not shock loaded into failure. Only screw gates should be used.

Slings
For:                  Simple, Easily adjusted
Against:           Anchors must be very close, Extra slings must be carried, Sometimes awkward to    equalize

Cordelette
For:                  Very light, Easily equalized, More flexible than slings
Against:           Cord has no stretch and is therefore not good at absorbing sudden extreme shock loadings.

Rope
For:                  Very flexible, Easily rigged and equalised     
Against:           Rope length limited when at the top of a long pitch 

 

Great care is needed to avoid stressing the system by creating too great an angle bet

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copyright: david bruton