Anchors Clinic

Picture of James and Angela.

James and Angela demonstrating how to place a stopper.

To kick off the summer climbing season, some of the Mountaineering Club’s leaders put together an anchors clinic at Devil’s Lake. We met on the east bluff and started the day in a big group with climbing experience ranging from “almost none” to “decades.”

Picture of knot.

The overhand knot on a bight is essential for webbing anchors.

After introductions, the clinic leaders taught the basics of setting anchors:

– Tying knots in cordelette and webbing
– The attributes of all safe anchors – Secure, Equalized, REdundant, No Extension (SERENE)
– Advantages and disadvantages of passive protection (stoppers, hexes)
– Advantages and disadvantages of active protection (tricams, cams)
– Techniques for equalization
– How to sling boulders and trees

Next, we went over some example placements on the crag, which gave us a visual of what good and bad placements look like.

Finally, we split into smaller groups, where the students set up real anchors and received constructive criticism from the instructors. We rotated students with different instructors, which gave everyone a chance to build multiple anchors for a variety of routes.

Picture of anchor setters.

Setting some anchors under supervision.

As a bonus, a few of us stayed afterward and climbed on the anchors we had just set.

Those who were new to anchor setting will need a lot of practice before feeling comfortable in doing so without supervision, but this was a valuable first step in becoming leaders in the local climbing community. Thanks to all of the instructors who took time out of their busy days to teach these skills.

This formal anchor-setting clinic happens at least annually. The club also teaches clinics on other skills such as lead climbing and mountaineering. If you are interested in any form of climbing, the Mountaineering Club is a great resource for skill development and connecting with other climbers.

More photos from the clinic