How Rock Climbing Anchors Work

A rock climbing anchor is used by the climber for security against falling or in some cases, to hold a static load. Climbing anchors are a must for every climber’s safety. There is a distinction between natural anchors and artificial anchors. Natural anchors consist of trees, boulders etc whilst man made anchors consist of cams, nuts, bolts and pitons. Ideally, you should make use of more than one anchor at one time so that each will share equal portions of your weight. This article will show you how basic climbing anchors work, whether artificial or natural ones.

Natural Anchors

Making use of natural climbing anchors doesn’t mean that you won’t need any climbing equipment. In reality it means that the climber makes use of trees and firmly embedded boulders found in the area. Normally when you go out rock climbing you don’t have any artificial climbing anchors hence you have to attach ropes and climbing equipment to trees and boulders. Natural anchors can be a single tree or rock or multiple trees or boulders. Make sure the anchor is strong enough to support your weight and that the master point is well extended over the cliff edge as well as centered over the climb. Take special attention that the rope used is not obstructed in any way or near sharp edges. It is very important that the master point is over the edge otherwise the rope won’t run easily. If the rope doesn’t run easily it may break leaving you unprotected.

Artificial Anchors

A man made anchor is a piece of equipment placed in cracks found in rocks. Amongst different types of artificial anchors there are spring loaded camming devices, aluminium chockstones, steel expansion bolts and pitons. Makes sure that once placed, there is enough metal to rock contact for greater stability. There are also artificial anchors that can be used only indoors. Artificial anchors are used by climbers to attach the carabiner to instead of using a natural anchor.

(Different Types of Anchors)

The Belay Anchor

A belay anchor is a single attachment used on a cliff face to prevent rope friction. Normally it consists of various redundant components (both arterial and natural). A single component should be able to hold the anchor in place but multiple components are used to ensure the maximum amount of protection.

The Running Belay Anchor

This type of anchor is used in the event of a falling climber. This type of anchor is used by two people, the leader and another person. If the leader falls the anchor will counterweight the fall. This type of anchor is used when there is a high risk of falling.

The Ice Anchor

The anchor used in ice cliffs is called the snow picket. The mountaineer drives the snow picket into the snow as a precaution against falling.

As you can see rock climbing is not an easy sport to practice. Make sure that you inspect your equipment regularly. This is a dangerous sport and anchors, whether artificial or natural, are essential for your safety. If you intend to practice such a sport and you are still a beginner, take a professional with you to show you the tips of the sport.