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Pre-Equalized Anchors

Posted Jun 07 2010 6:00am
Last summer I saw a family climbing on an American Death Triangle in Leavenworth. They were blissfully unaware of the danger of such a set-up and appeared to be even more unaware of pre-equlaized anchors. It's incredibly important to avoid the American Death Triangle. The term "death" isn't in there for nothing.

The American Death Triangle
Picture from the Chockstone Website


This entry is about pre-equalized anchors. The Canadian guide, Mike Barter has put together a variety of videos on youtube that are valuable to both the novice and the advanced climber alike. Following are three of his videos on pre-equalization. The first two are for novice anchor builders, and the third is for all those looking for a short-cut.

A Pre-Equalized Anchor
Photo from the ACMG Website


There is a little bit of controversy over pre-equalized anchors. Some feel that one leg of the anchor will get more force than another, which means that such an anchor could never be fully equalized. While there may be some truth to this concern, the impact on the anchor as a whole is minimal and professional climbing guides throughout the country are generally not concerned about it.

In this first video, Mike describes a sliding-x, followed by the basics of pre-equalization.



The following video takes what Mike just described to the next step. In this video he demonstrates a pre-equalized anchor off three pieces.



The stuff in the preceding video is quite rudimentary when it comes to anchor building and most advanced climbers have this skill dialed. It's important to practice a variety of anchors with legs that are a variety of different lengths. It's also important to practice building anchors with many pieces as well with only a few.

Speaking of building an anchor with only a small number of pieces, more advanced climbers that already have a strong understanding of their anchoring skills may find this next video a bit more valuable.

In this video, the guide provides a quick tip for keeping the power point high.



Practice makes perfect in every one of these techniques. So keep on practicing!

--Jason D. Martin
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