Single Point of Failure

Single Point of Failure

Single Point of Failure

This photo comes to us compliments of Jason Brabec, who witnessed this set up just a few weeks ago in Idaho’s City of Rocks. This belay station consists of two spectra double runners girth hitched together and attached to a single large (#4 Camelot) cam placed in a crack. The belayer then extended the anchor with a length of the climbing rope, apparently to reach a more comfortable belay stance. I cropped the photo to protect the belayer’s identity (Jason didn’t know her), but you can still see the top of her helmet in the photo. According to Jason she was basically laying on her belly, with her head down, belaying her second  who was quite a way off of the deck. Jason said he couldn’t believe what he was witnessing.

There are several obvious rock climbing anchor “no-nos’ here:

  1. This is a “one point” climbing anchor consisting of a single cam in a crack in the rock. So obviously there is no redundancy. If that cam pops out, both the belayer and second fall to their deaths.
  2. The two spectra slings are girth hitched together, as we’ve seen in the past (see Hot Spectra-on-Spectra Action! and Girth Hitch Death Wish). This would be safer if the slings were connected with a carabiner. Since she extended the anchor with a length of the climbing rope anyway, she also could have just extended the climbing rope further and omitted one of those Spectra slings.

Location: City of Rocks, Idaho, USA

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