Should I clip the the lowest link in a bolted sport anchor?
Avoiding the lowest link in the chain is an efficiency thing slightly more than a safety thing. If you clip the lowest link in the chain, it is much harder to thread the rope through it when cleaning, because the carabiner takes up a lot of space in your standard 3/8″ or 1/2″ chain link. Plus, the lowest link or ring in the chain sees the most wear, and you are stacking the odds in your favor by not clipping what is potentially the most worn-out part on the anchor. Just be sure your biners aren’t cross-loaded or oriented improperly if you clip higher on the chain. The many people you see toproping by clipping their draws to the lowest link could be safer and have an easier time cleaning their anchors if they read this tip!
—Ian Nicholson lives to climb, authored the guidebook Washington Pass Climbing, and is an AMGA-certified alpine and rock guide who lives in Seattle with his wife, Rebecca, and his cat, Neve.