18 October 2012

Choosing & Testing Climbing/Mountain Anchors

Sling Anchor Types

There are two types of sling anchor you can use while rock climbing, scrambling or mountaineering.

1. Thread Anchor
Choosing & Testing Climbing/Mountain Anchors

2. Spike Anchor
Choosing & Testing Climbing/Mountain Anchors

Testing Your Anchor (4 Steps)

1. Look
Approaching your anchor look at how visually secure it seems.
Does it look big enough to trust your weight and your partner's weight to?
Does it look well bedded into the ground or is it sitting on loose scree or grass?
Is it the right shape for a sling or rope to sit securely around and not be pulled up and off the back of the rock?
Look for a positive back to the anchor, not a negative back.

Good Spike Anchor - With Positive BackChoosing & Testing Climbing/Mountain Anchors
Positive Back Will Hold Sling In Place

Bad Spike Anchor - With Negative Back
Choosing & Testing Climbing/Mountain Anchors
Negative Back Will Allow Sling To Slip Upwards And Off

2. Tap

Use the heel of your hand to lightly tap or hit the anchor, feeling for wobbles or vibrations.
Start at the front, tapping it away from you, then move onto each side, followed by a couple of gentle taps from behind.
When testing an anchor from behind be extremely careful, as if it dislodges it will likely fall onto your climbing partner.

3. Kick
Start at the front, kicking the anchor away from you gently.
Keep a hand on the anchor while you are kicking it, so you should feel any vibrations coming up through your hand.
If you feel vibrations or wobbles then move onto another anchor.
Gently kick the anchor from each side and finally from behind.
When kicking, start near the base and move each kick slightly higher, until you are kicking near the top of the anchor.

4. Push
Finally put some effort into pushing the anchor away from you; firstly at the front, then each side and finally from behind.

If the anchor is still secure then you can use it.

Generally Always Use Three Anchors
Each Anchor Should Always Be 100%

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