Look at this anchor. I can’t quite get my head around it. I don’t think it’s particularly dangerous or anything. In fact, it looks pretty bomber. It’s just…well…weird. It’s a textbook case of the over-engineered climbing anchor. The methods employed are ‘unconventional’ in the world of climbing anchors.
There is a piece of what looks like 6mm perlon cord quadrupled around the tree–wrapped so many times that it can’t reach around the tree. It seems that a double wrap would have made it around the tree and still provided redundancy. And then–this is where it gets really strange–there appear to be two spectra/nylon blend double runners, doubled over (to shorten them) and then tied directly to the 6mm cord. And to provide redundancy, there is a sliding ‘x’ style loop at the power point–lest the whole works fail should one tied end of those slings fail. I say sliding ‘x’ style because there’s no way that bulky wad of spectra and nylon is going to ‘slide’. It’s essentially a case of using a dynamic equalization technique to end up with an effectively statically equalized anchor, leading us to ask why?
Two locking ‘biners opposite and opposed. Bomber.
This anchor isn’t going anywhere. It’s a top rope anchor attached to super stout natural pro. It’s just weird.
Here’s another item from a recent trip to the Ouray Ice Park. The green webbing is configured into a large ‘sliding x’ anchor, but with no limiter knots to limit extension or offer redundancy. There is, however, a second loop of webbing added (the purple bit), perhaps to provide the sliding x’s missing redundancy, or perhaps to limit potential extension. It’s not necessarily dangerous, I suppose. It’s just a little ‘busy’ and, well, kind of jive-ass.
In case you questioned the anchor builder’s status as Jedi master of busy anchors, notice the overhand back up knots on the water knot. Nice attention to unnecessary detail.
The single loop of one inch webbing is backed up with a carabiner clipped to the chain. Does that make this anchor redundant? I suppose if the steel chain or the forged aluminum carabiner failed, then that back up ‘biner would secure that ‘ultra bomber’ bit of nylon, right?
Non-redundant anchor consisting of soft goods (webbing) girth hitched to soft goods. Is it an “EARNEST” anchor? Yeah, right. Maybe “_ _ _ _ _ ST” For a more detalied analysis of girth hitching soft goods to soft goods, see Hot Spectra-on-Spectra Action!).