Sport Climbing is similar to other climbing sports. It is a different sort of rock climbing but in contrast to traditional climbing. Anchors play a significant role in any form of climbing. Anchors and rope techniques defy gravity and ensure safety to the climbers.
The difference between sport and traditional climbing is in the usage of the anchors. Before we talk about sport climbing anchors in details, first we need to briefly explain the way anchors are used in both traditional climbing and sport climbing. It will make the concept of sport climbing anchors more clear.
In trad climbing, the climber has to place removable protection. However, the whole sport climb concept depends on the permanent anchors fixed to the rock. In sport climb, in every few meters, bolts are drilled into the rock. The climber uses quickdraws or other anchor set-ups to attach the rope to the series of fixed bolts.
Tri-cams, spring-loaded camming devices, hexes, wired nuts, expanding and spring-loaded wedges are some of the most used removable anchors, therefore, not for sport climbing. Fixed climbing anchors can be both natural and man built. Both the types work for protecting the climber.
Bolts, metal spikes known as pitons are some examples of man-built climbing anchors. They are fixed to the climbing rock. Natural anchors like trees and boulders or rocks also prove to be solid anchor points.
A climber and his partner precisely the belayer start their climbing journey depending on the constructed anchor by tieing the rope to it. A climber even if he is a beginner, will have to have a clear idea about the anchors fixed to the rock.
They also have to have the idea about the natural properties which can be used as anchor points. If you are not efficient in the set-up of anchors, you can’t climb a rock. Knowing it is the first requirement for every climber. Setting the anchors up is simple but requires continuous practice.
Using quickdraws on the anchor and bolts to climb the rock is the most common in sport climbing. A quickdraw has three parts in it – a top carabiner, a sling, and a bottom carabiner. The top carabiner is clipped-in the anchor.
The technique is simple, climb the rock, stop near the bolts, clip-out the quickdraw from the harness, and clip it into the bolt. Then hold the rope and clip-in the bottom carabiner. The technique is simple but requires practice for efficiency.
Quickdraws are perfect safety gear when there is a series of one fixed anchor bolts. If you are climbing towards the right side, you will have to clip the quickdraw facing left and vice versa. Always bring two extra quickdraws than the number of bolts. Those two extra quickdraws are for the anchor.
Quickdraws are not the only necessary gear for setting up an anchor system. Other than quickdraws, there are some techniques and gears to set-up an anchor system. So, if you are not using quickdraws, then you should opt for an equalized anchor system and set it up later in there.
It makes the sport climb more challenging and takes the difficulty level a top-notch higher. The anchor set-up requires two pre-existing bolts. Carabiners and sling are used to further the construction of the anchor using climbing knots.
This anchor system will have to focus on equalization due to the two bolts. Sport climb or any other climbing sports requires an equalized anchor system. The reason for equalization is to distribute the weight of the climber evenly on the bolts and the gears.
The equalization specifically needs four locking carabiners and a sling. At first, two carabiners are clipped to the two fixed bolts. Then clip-in the sling to both the carabiners. Bring both the part of the sling together and tie a simple rock climbing knot.
The knot must be simple to untie later without any complication. Tying the climbing will result in a loop which is known as the master point. Gears will be clipped to that master point only.
Continue the set up by clipping a carabiner to the master point. Clip-in another carabiner, and it should face the opposite side of the former carabiner. Always remember to clip-in the rope in both the carabiners. Always double check every procedure to ensure safety.
Steps to clean up the anchor
There are a few methods to clean up the anchor points. Here we are explaining one. Clip-in a quickdraw in one of the two anchors. Take the slack through it. Clip-in another quickdraw to the other bolt and clip the bottom carabiner of the quickdraw to the belay loop.
Hold the rope and pull it a little inside the master point. You will get a rope loop. Tie a simple knot on the bight and clip it to the belay loop with a carabiner. Untie the rope from the harness.
Remove the first quickdraw which you had clipped in one of the bolts as it is not holding your weight. Then ask the belayer to take you tight. Then remove the other quickdraw.
In rock climbing sports, you are the only one responsible for your safety. Anchors and anchoring system are significant parts of that safety. Make sure to follow all the rules and regulations while setting them up.
Learn about the anchors as much as possible. Understand and practice the techniques again and again for a safe journey. When your safety is in your own hands, it is better in trying to master in it.