Installing an equalized belay station
The belay station is the rallying point on the rope, from which climbers should be able to hang with confidence and belay their partner on a solid base. Key points concerning the belay station: have a minimum of two anchor points linked together and anticipate the possibility of failure of one of the points. With less reliable anchors or in dubious rock, equalization allows the load to be shared between the anchors.
- Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
- Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
- We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.
The master point of the equalization is mobile.
Advantage: the load is always evenly distributed on the two higher points, even with lateral pull (if the belayer moves over to see the climber, or if there is a traverse at the end of the climb...).
Disadvantage: if one of the anchor points fails, the master point slides to the end of the sling, shock loading the remaining anchor.
A knot in the sling reduces the impact of a failed anchor point. It should be made on the side of the weaker anchor, or on both sides.
• Anchor with one sling, one knot and a half-twist in the sling
• Anchor with one sling, two knots and a half-twist in the sling
Note: If the piton hole is already overly used or if its position results in cantilevered loading of the carabiner, the sling can be girth-hitched on one or two anchor points. In this case, check that the piton edges are not sharp enough to cut the sling.
Mono-directional belay station
The master point of the equalized anchor is fixed.
Advantage: no shock load in case of an anchor failure (hanging on the remaining anchor).
Disadvantage: poor load distribution in case of lateral pull.
• Anchor with knotted master point (clove hitch)
• Anchor with knotted dynamic rope for equalization on three points
• Equalized anchor with the climbing rope (only when alternating leaders)
• Example of poor load distribution on single direction anchor
Consequences of equalization angles
The angle of the equalization affects the load distribution on the anchor points.