How To Build Good Belays Part 2: Tying In To Your Anchors

Ideas by Chris, words by Anne

When you have selected your anchors (see How To Build Good Belays Part 1: Selecting Your Anchors) you need to set up your belay by attaching yourself to the anchors, and you should be able to do this quickly and efficiently. There are endless variations on how to do this, but this post shows some of the simplest and quickest methods. Lots of practice will make you slick and efficient, and you can do this anywhere – the photos (except the first one) were taken on our patio, and I used the wood store and the garden seat as my anchors.

 Two anchors out-of-reach

Two anchors out-of-reach

Before you attach yourself to the anchors, you need to decide where to stand or sit in relation to them. Some things to consider:

  • Sit whenever possible – you will be more stable
  • If you are standing, you need to be balanced, stable and have high anchors
  • Sit/stand on a straight line from the anchors to the route – if you are off to one side and your second falls off, you will be pulled sideways
  • Aim for a view down the route so you can see and communicate with your second - this will often mean you have to sit/stand away from your anchors.
  • Aim for less than 90º in the angle where the ropes from the two anchors are attached to you

Whichever method you use, always adjust the ropes between you and the anchors so that there is as little slack as possible and you are sitting/standing with tight ropes – if you have slack in the system and your second falls off, you will be pulled forwards.

One anchor in-reach

 One anchor in-reach

One anchor in-reach

See How To Build Good Belays Part 1: Selecting Your Anchors for situations where you can use a single anchor.

When you can sit/stand with the anchor in reach, use a clove hitch direct into the krab on the anchor.

One anchor out-of-reach

 One anchor out-of-reach

One anchor out-of-reach

Clip the rope through the krab so that it is free-running.

Go to your belay position and tie off the rope with a clove hitch in a krab attached to the loop where you are tied into the rope.

Adjust the clove hitch so that you are tight on the rope.

One anchor in-reach, one anchor out-of-reach

 One anchor in-reach, one anchor out-of-reach

One anchor in-reach, one anchor out-of-reach

Do exactly as described above for one anchor out-of-reach.

Sitting/standing in your belay position, tie a second clove hitch on to the krab on the in-reach anchor.

Adjust the second clove hitch.

 One anchor in-reach, one anchor out-of-reach

One anchor in-reach, one anchor out-of-reach

Two out-of-reach anchors

 Two out-of-reach anchors

Two out-of-reach anchors

Do exactly as described above for one anchor out-of-reach.

Repeat with the second anchor

Use a large HMS krab on your rope loop so you have room for two clove hitches

Two in-reach anchors

 Two in-reach anchors

Two in-reach anchors

Sitting/standing in your belay position, tie a clove hitch on to the krab on the first anchor.

Leaving some slack rope between the two anchors, tie a second clove hitch on to the krab on the second anchor.

Take the rope back to the krab on your rope loop and tie a third clove hitch.

Adjust both the clove hitches on the krabs on the anchors.

Want to know more?

Why not book yourself a place on our Learn to Lead masterclass on 3rd June 2017? Or book a day of bespoke guiding on a date that suits you? We'd love to hear from you!