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Belay anchor procedure

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On ice, when I reach the point where I am going to build an anchor, I usually put in a screw (or sling a drip, etc.), clip a biner to the pro, and tie myself off with a clove hitch to the biner, using the rope. I then call "off belay" and finish building the anchor. When I have a master point I tie into the master point locking biner  with a clove hitch and the rope, untie the first clove hitch, and get ready to belay the second.

I hate opening the biner on the first piece of pro, which I have to do to remove the clove hitch, and it can be awkward getting the clove hitch off that biner without shifting the anchor's sling or cordellette off that biner. Also my method seems slow. Is there a better way? Something about using a sling, girth hitched to my harness and clipped to the first screw?

I have looked in my various books and somehow I am not seeing the procedure.

I clip into the first screw with a clove hitch on a quick draw; when I incorporate that screw into my equalizing power point anchor sling, I just use another biner on the screw closer to the ice than the first one and then remove the quickdraw (NOTE: if you were comfortable saying OFF BELAY when clipped to one anchor screw, you shouldn't worry about removing that clove hitch as you clip the power point sling into that screw, as long as the rest of the anchor you've constructed is at least as good as your first screw--if it isn't, then you do have a worry  :-\ and should correct the problem).

Howabout; Instead of tying off to the first piece, just clip into it, using a locker and stay on belay until you get the entire anchor built. Once the belay is built, re jigger the clipped locker into a clove hitch. Seems simple enough... and safer than being off belay tied into a single piece... unless it's a tree or something.

Probably too easy ....i'd wait to see what Lucky says.

Frik-- I like that as well; I too usually stay "on belay" until my entire anchor is constructed. I was just following Bostwick's orig post in my suggestion. Now should I also maintain the "x position" throughout? :(

Admin Al:
I have a "cows tail" on my harness for this exact purpose. (That's a sling that is girth-hitched on the belay-loop of my harness with a locking biner on it.) I run in one screw and clip to that first. then I add a second, sometimes third, screw and build the anchor with slings or cordelette. Then I clove into that with the rope. THEN I call "off belay" and put away the "cows tail".


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