Different ways to lower off and clean sport anchors (How to)


There are many ways to clean anchors, but really it will always depend on you and the anchors at hand. Obviously there are some anchors that will keep coming up, and so it’s really useful to have a quick way to clean anchors without a huge hassle.

Climbing Mag Method: two draws and a locker, lowering


Pretty easy no? Basically all you need extra is a locker and you are good to go.


  • Fast
  • Low gear use
  • Impossible to get an “off belay” since you don’t need to call commands
  • belayer keeps you on the entire time


  • Could be an awkward stance
  • Maybe slow if you don’t pay out enough slack
  • can’t clean this way if only on bolts, requires chain (not usual at a sport crag)

source (video version here)

Petzl method: One draw, one locker (or sling)


Pretty futuristic. Even easier than the other one since you can do this much faster and get things cleaned up quickly.


  • Incredibly quick
  • Can’t mess up length
  • No “off belay”


  • Huge tail on rope
  • One locker may be under-kill (why they clip the quick draw after)
  • Only works on rings that are wide enough, not on chain links


Mike Barter Method: Two slings, a draw

Okay, so this is pretty standard since it really feels safe. But it isn’t really that much safer really than the methods described above. I think that the idea of never saying off belay is good for this version also, since you really don’t need to be taken off belay.


  • Super, double dog, safe
  • Did i say safe?
  • Works in every situation
  • You got like four lockers on your harness, bro


  • Complex and hard for people who are new
  • Lots of gear that can be avoided
  • Super slow

Climbing Mojo Method: 5 draws

Okay so this is pretty weird and was obviously devised by someone wanting to just use quickdraws when someone is top roping to clean the anchor. Ignore the youtube trolls because lowering is a good ethic in most places (save me your rap-rant). Anyhow, this is good since you are on both bolts and didn’t need to bring up a PAS or a daisy.


  • Only draws needed
  • good for people who aren’t leading (obviously other techniques require you to have lead the pitch to actually have redundancy)
  • Relatively simple


  • Too many quickdraws
  • haphazardly thought through method
  • Big mess
  • somewhat time consuming

Climbing Mojo alternative method: 2 draws needed

Now this is my personal variation to the climbing mojo method. This i have used and i can say that it is pretty safe and very fast. I’ll describe the steps as if you had been leading the pitch.

  1. You arrive at the top, and instead of clipping the chains with your rope you walk up and clip your belay loop to both quickdraws at the anchors
  2. now, you are backed up and safe. Do not yell off belay. take some slack out and make a bight (figure 8 or overhand)
  3. Clip this bight to the top of one of the quickdraws (on the bolt side). remember, since you are on belay, you are actually backed up three ways here (Rope, two bolts direct) so opening one gate to clip the rope wouldn’t be a huge safety hazard
  4. now, untie, re-thread and re-tie your knot
  5. untie the knot that is on a bight
  6. yell take, and lower once you unclip the draws as they are now loose

Ultimate method: Climb hard, no gear


  1. Hike the project, you are a crusher
  2. Lower off fixed gear cause your project is hard as fuck and it’s all fixed gear
  3. You are a king, pat yourself on the back


  • You are a king
  • Hell yeah


  • Training 24/7
  • Women/Men only want your body
  • Sharma won’t stop leaving you voice mails

Obviously this is just a joke, but yeah, I know people who show up with a rope and a harness to the cliff and a grigri. It can be a hard life being that jacked.

Why i don’t rap at sport crags (that are okay with it)

Now here’s the thing that is shitty: lowering will cause some wear. As much as TR-ing through fixed gear? No. More than rappelling? Yes. However, i have a list of reasons that i think rappelling is a hassle:

  • Longer set up
  • Lots of ways to make mistakes
  • Really dumb if you are cleaning a route after a lead
  • Pulling the rope and equalizing is a task in itself
  • If you fuck it up there is less of a partnership (no way to really rescue someone passed out on a rappel in space unless you are some system king)
  • Tons of extra shit that you have to bring up
  • Rappel accidents are common in literature
  • cleaning something that traverses steeply or is really overhanging can be really hard on rappel

Obviously I can’t convince everyone, but that’s the arguments for not rappelling. Do what you want, but don’t shit on me for lowering.

Thanks for reading,



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