Skip to content

1. Anchors – Introduction

Anchors are the foundation that all rope systems are built and placing a good anchor is a combination of art and technology. It doesn’t matter if the rope will hold 9,000 lbf (pounds of force)(40kN) if the anchor will let go at 90 lbf (.4kN). There is no easy rule of thumb that will substitute for experience and judgment.   Whether you are working on a cliff, mine or urban setting, the best way to learn anchors is from hands-on practice with an instructor or an experienced member.


This lesson will focus on rescue anchors. They are separated from the “sport” anchors used by sport climbers because of the heavier loads found in rescue work. Expeditions will require greater loads than typical sport climbing.   While we use both types of anchors, in class and on expeditions, expedition leaders and specialists should consider using rescue anchors.   The knowledge of what makes a good rescue anchor may help you improve your sport anchors.