Sport Anchors at LD: Safety and Ethics

Anchor Diagram

Typical Anchor setup at LD

Each climbing crag has its own style of anchors and usage guidelines to maximize safety and minimize impact on fixed gear. Long Dong is no exception.

Anchors at Long Dong vary in type but the most recent rebolt effort in 2012 has seen anchors on most popular sport climbs standardized to the setup shown above: two glue-in bolts with a simple chain made of 4 or 6 marine grade quicklinks(aka maillon rapide).

Top Roping

As is standard at any gym or crag, fixed hardware and chains are not meant to be top-roped through. If you are setting up a top rope, attach 2 opposed quickdraws or another simple and SERENE anchor and top rope through that.

Cleaning

Cleaning guidelines at areas around the world have traditionally advocated rappelling(abseiling) to protect fixed hardware. However, because of the ease with which rappelling accidents can occur, many crags in Europe and increasingly in America accept cleaning on lower.

At Long Dong, both cleaning on rappel and lower are accepted. However, lowering must be done through the quicklink chains. Lowering through the fixed anchor bolts will wear them down quickly and is not acceptable.

As a reminder, climbers who clean on rappel should always use a rappel backup. While generally safer, accidents do happen while lowering as well so make sure to use safe lowering practices.

Pigtails

Is it an ornament? An octopus sculpture? No, it’s a pigtail lower off! These little devices are shaped to accept a rope easily yet once loaded the rope has almost no chance of falling out.

pigtail lower off anchor

Ideally this little piggy would be backed up

These devices are found at the top of a few climbs at Long Lane in Long Dong. After clipping in to the anchors, the rope would be run through the pigtail lower off and after checking all systems for reliability and redundancy, the climber would lower off the pigtail. Unlike the picture above, a properly installed pigtail should be connected to at least two anchor bolts. As with all fixed gear, use at your own risk.

We feel that properly installed, these devices are fairly safe, but considering that LD is a seaside crag, all metal hardware should be regarded with caution and redundancy should be practiced as much as possible. Since the pigtail lower off is a single point of failure, more cautious climbers may choose to use the quicklink chains to rappel or lower off to ensure 100% redundancy.

Disclaimer: Anchors are serious business. Practice redundancy, safe and ethical cleaning practices on every climb. Do not Top Rope or Lower through the fixed anchors. 

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