Equalizing Anchors

Equalizing anchors are made up of more than one anchor point joined together so that the intended load is shared equally. This not only provides greater anchor strength, but also adds redundancy or backup because of the multiple points.

a. Self-equalizing Anchor. A self-equalizing anchor will maintain an equal load on each individual point as the direction of pull changes (Figure 5-18). This is sometimes used in rappelling when the route must change left or right in the middle of the rappel. A self-equalizing anchor should only be used when necessary because if any one of the individual points fail, the anchor will extend and shock-load the remaining points or even cause complete anchor failure.

Anchor Mountaineering
Figure 5-18. Self-equalizing anchors.

b. Pre-equalized Anchor. A pre-equalized anchor distributes the load equally to each individual point (Figure 5-19). It is aimed in the direction of the load. A pre-equalized anchor prevents extension and shock-loading of the anchor if an individual point fails. An anchor is pre-equalized by tying an overhand or figure-eight knot in the webbing or sling.

Equalized Anchors
Figure 5-19. Pre-equalized anchor.

Note: When using webbing or slings, the angles of the webbing or slings directly affect the load placed on an anchor. An angle greater than 90 degrees can result in anchor failure (Figure 5-20).

Self Equalizing Rope Anchors
Figure 5-20. Effects of angles on an anchor.


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