The following minimal gear anchors are great to know in case you reach the top of a pitch without a cordelette, only a meter of rope to spare and not quite enough slings to create a self-equalizing anchor.
Endless variations and combinations are possible depending on the equipment you have and where the gear placements are. A few examples are given below.
It’s hard to get any of these anchors equalized perfectly, but if you’re short on slings and rope, these are probably your best options.
A double-length sling equalizes the two pieces on the left.
An overhand knot is tied in the shoulder-length sling on the right to equalize it with the others.
A double-length sling can join three pieces, if two of them are in line with each other.
Simply tie an overhand knot in the sling above the lower piece.
The upper cam is clipped through the sling of the lower cam. This isn’t ideal, but it’s better than just having one cam.
Often you can slide cams up or down a placement to fine tune their position.
The upper two pieces are equalized with a double-length sling.
The overhand knot is adjusted so the lower piece can contribute to the anchor.
Top Tip – Minor Adjustments
You can wrap a sling two or more times through a carabiner to shorten it slightly. Keep the wraps close together and away from the gate if possible.
If you need to shorten a sling more, it’s better to tie an overhand knot as shown in example 1.
Advanced Trad Anchors - Summary
There isn’t a ‘best’ method of equalizing anchors, since every trad anchor situation is different. Understanding the advantages and limitations of a wide range of anchor systems gives you more options. Use your knowledge to select the best method for each unique situation.