Tag Archives: plaquette device

Homage to Rube Goldberg: An Ice Anchor

Jive-Ass Ice Anchor

Jive-Ass Ice Anchor

Wow! Where do I even begin with this Rube Goldberg contraption? This Ultra-Jive-Ass Ice Anchor was submitted by Ryan Cupp, who is proving to be expert at finding jive-ass anchors. If we could issue tickets for every anchor building best practice violation, this anchor would cost a fortune.

I think a ‘laundry list’ is in order for this one, so let’s count them off:

  1. First, there’s the matter of the daisy chain personal protection leash (designed for aid climbing, not personal pro). It’s clipped in short to one of the ice screws, and the carabiner at the end if it–the one you usually use to clip yourself to the anchor for personal protection–is the power point of the freakin’ anchor! The belayer has thus trapped himself in the system. Short of cutting his leash, there is no way to escape the belay without un-weighting the anchor and at least partially disassembling it.
  2. The left ice screw is slung with part of a quick draw. It’s not clipped to the screw with a carabiner to ensure it won’t fall off. The sling is simply, well, slung onto the shaft of the ice screw. It’s not even girth hitched to the shaft to keep it from potentially falling off. Scary.
  3. Finally, look at that sling that joins the two screws into a power point. It is not redundant. Had he put a twist in one of the strands at the power point he’d at least have a sliding x. As it is, if one end of that sling comes lose (see issue #2 above), the whole system fails.

This thing is pretty sketchy. Whomever built it should really go get some instruction on anchor building. John Long’s classic Climbing Anchors isn’t a bad place to start. While it primarily addresses rock anchors, the principles are the same for ice anchors.

Nice use of a plaquette device (old school Petzel Reverso) though.

Location: Mt. Hood, Oregon, USA

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