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S.W.A.M.P Anchor - It's Not THAT Bad

The S.W.A.M.P. (shelf without a master point) is a climbing anchor that has been around for a long time but was never widely adopted. It...

The S.W.A.M.P. (shelf without a master point) is a climbing anchor that has been around for a long time but was never widely adopted. It is quick and efficient to set up with two bolts, pieces, or ice screws, but is it strong enough? Is it redundant? Would you use it? We put the S.W.A.M.P. to the test on the Slacksnap machine to find out how good, or bad, it really is. What is the S.W.A.M.P.? Setting up the S.W.A.M.P. is as easy as it gets. Tie an overhand knot in the middle of a sling, creating two loops. Clip each loop to an anchor piece, leave the knot hanging down between them. Clip a carabiner through both the loops behind the knot. That's it! It only takes a single 60cm sling to make the S.W.A.M.P. Our Tests We tested the swamp using 60cm Dyneema Slings and 60cm Nylon Slings. We also pulled one end of the swamp to see how redundant it is. Finally, we loaded the swamp to 6kN (the force of a pretty big fall on to the anchor) to see how hard it would be to untie the knot. 10% Supports HowNOT2 Climbing, Caving and Canyon gear here Results We were pretty impressed at the breaking strength of the S.W.A.M.P. anchor. All four of our break tests were near or above MBS of the sling, those were better results than we were expecting. In the redundancy department the results were mixed. With a nylon sling we think the S.W.A.M.P. anchor displays okay, but not great, redundancy. With a Dyneema Sling the S.W.A.M.P. was not very redundant. It came unraveled under a constant load of 3.74 kN. We were surprised to find that after weighting to 5.5kN the nylon sling was still easy to untie. After a 6kN load it took us about 45 seconds to untie the dyneema sling, which is not too bad considering it would take a huge fall onto the anchor to generate 6kN. Conclusion Does the S.W.A.M.P. anchor get our seal of approval? Is it super good enough? It's okay. It has the major advantage of requiring very little sling material and it is easy to build with one hand. It doesn't have a traditional masterpoint, it's not great in the redundancy department, and it's possible for the knot to get pretty welded in Dyneema. We see this type of anchor being most usefully in alpine ice climbing where abrasion is of little concern, every gram of weight counts, and being able to set up the S.W.A.M.P with one hand and gloves on could be an advantage. We would opt for the Girth X anchor in most of the same situations. The Girth X uses all of the same gear but has greater redundancy and it is easier to disassemble. What's Next? Want to see how the girth hitch master point holds up? Check this episode out.

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