Mountain Tools Web-o-lette
By John Walter
not a huge trad climber, but I enjoy climbing alpine trad routes a couple
of times a year. For the past 4 or 5 years, I have used a cordelette (an
18-20 foot loop of 7mm cord used to quickly equalize anchors) on every
trad or wall climb that I have climbed. It is fast and reliable for setting
up belays, and it shaves off valuable time on those long climbs. It helps
to alleviate that huge mess at the belay stations. But the double fisherman's
knot that you tie the loop together with always seemed to be getting in
the way. No problem, you take the good with the bad, right?
However, I recently read in rec.climbing about the Mountain Tools Web-o-lette˘.
I was intrigued. Anything that could shave off more time, be less cumbersome,
and allow still a more organized belay was definitely worth a look. So
I ordered a couple from Mountain Tools just in time for my trip to the
Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. I can't believe
I ever climbed without it.
Every so often, a manufacturer will design a piece of equipment that
hits the nail right on the head. That is exactly the case with the Mountain
Tools Web-o-lette˘. Mountain Tools is a climbing and mountaineering retailer
Larry Arthur, the owner of Mountain Tools, designs new equipment every
year. 1994 they developed the Web-o-lette˘. Initial designs included buckles,
rings and sliders, but the designers came full circle back to the simple
design that exists today.
The Mountain Tools Web-o-lette˘ is a 10 ft length of Spectra nylon webbing
with sewn loops on both ends. Weighing only 3.5 oz, it is lighter than
the 5.5mm - 7mm cord that is commonly used for cordelettes today. The
strength rating on the Web-o-lette˘ is over 3000 lbs.
Using the Web-o-lette˘ is a cinch. V + W + 8 = On Belay. Clip
the sewn loops to two pieces of protection, making a V, clip the
middle loop into a third piece to make the W, equalize the four
webbing strands and tie a figure 8 knot. Clip the two loops to
yourself and you are on belay. Couldn't be easier. Alternatively
you can clip one of the lower loops to your partner or to an opposed piece
of protection for the ultimate in bombproof anchors.
With only four webbing stands to work with instead of the six from the
cordelette, the Web-o-lette˘ trims weight and makes the anchors less cumbersome.
This means a faster, more organized anchor. We figured that we saved between
5-10 minutes at each belay in the Wind Rivers. On the 11 pitch Northeast
Face of Pingora, that equates to a savings of 1-2 hours.
Mountain Tools even makes it easy to buy the Web-o-lette˘. The number
to order products is 1-800- 5.10 2 5.14 (clever). At $17.50 the Web-o-lette˘ is
also cheaper that most of the nylon cordelettes.
Save yourself some time, money, and hassles on you next climb. Quit fighting
that unorganized monster at the belays and use a Mountain Tools Web-o-lette˘.
John Walter is Climbing Editor at GearReview.com.
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