Cordellettes vs. Slings

Mikepowers Small

by Michael Powers, IFMGA
AAI Senior Guide & Director for Staff Development


From the November 2007 edition of AAI's E-newsletter

I have started to use cordellettes for building anchors and like that they are very versatile for a number of applications. I can't seem to find a length that is just right though. What do you recommend as a length for a cordellette. Should I have a few that are different lengths?

- Quinn Ager (Oakland, CA)


Dear Quinn,

I use cordellettes myself, though not as much as I used to. Generally I'll carry one or two that are about 15 to 17 feet in length. Longer ones (such as the 20 footers that some people recommend) are too cumbersome for me, and I find that it takes too much fussing around while breaking them down from the anchor and re-racking them onto my harness.

Here is my rule of thumb: have the cordellette just long enough so that when you double it, and then double it again, it is the same length as a single shoulder-length sling. Those four strands should be just the same size as a shoulder sling, so that way it's easy to carry over your shoulder. Typically, I will carry mine lightly tied up with an overhand or figure eight and clip it onto my harness gear loop. By doubling and doubling again I end up with a strand that is about two feet long (4-5 strands) and I then tie it up loosely with the figure eight to keep it short and tidy on my harness.

Also, many times I will carry a double-length sling instead of a cordellette because it's much lighter and faster to use. The disadvantage of the double length sling is its shorter length, which makes it harder to connect widely spaced pro and which will form a powerpoint with shallow angles on my strands. But if my pro is close together, a sling is a much quicker and easier to use than a long cordellette.

- Mike Powers

Click the link to return to "Ask A Guide" Letters.

Program Finder