Our best friend in climbing! A solid, simple and bombproof anchor is what keeps you and your partner safe. An anchor always consists of at least two or three anchor points that are connected via rope or cord material into one “clip in” point – the masterpoint. The anchor connection between each anchor point and masterpoint is called “anchor leg”. Hence, there are always as many “legs” as anchor points.

Typical “sports” anchor with two bolts (use lockers!), one double shoulder length sling and two large round locking carabiners for a top rope set-up
3 pieces “Trad” anchor. Remember: with trad anchors (natural protection) you want to make sure to have 3 anchor point as opposed to two anchor points with “sports” anchors




The type and length of rope material used for anchors, varies from situation to situation. An anchor is also typically a  belay or rappel station that marks the end of a climb or pitch.

In sport climbing an anchor is typically made up of minimum 2 bolts. In traditional climbing an anchor is typically made up of either 3 camming devices or 1-2 solid rock/tree tie-offs


equalized anchor with good and bad angles
Example: two bolt anchor with good and bad angles. Same applies for 3 piece trad anchor – angle never >60 degrees!
one anchor with one branch off masterpoint
3 piece anchor with 1 “branch-off leg”. Usually helpful when 1 very long cordalette is not available so that a few shorter ones can be combined to an anchor


The angle between each leg shall not be higher than 60 degrees. That is why the bolts of a bolted anchor are always close to each other. Especially when rigging a trad anchor, it is more important to consider angles since individual placements of one anchor may be far apart thus creating a wider angle.


Anchors can be very simple and very complex depending on the rock terrain and available fixtures (bolts,cracks, trees, boulders). Generally speaking, 2 bolt anchors are quicker to rig but with good rock quality and lots of cracks it is also quick to create a 3 piece trad anchor.

There is a big distinction between a Top Rope anchor and Multi-pitch anchor. Top rope anchors often need to be extended so that the master point is out of the way of big rocks, ledges and low angle terrain. They also need to be more conservatively build with extra locking carabiners and thicker rope or webbing. Top Rope anchors are typically far away from the belayer which means that there is less control and no monitoring for unusual actions such as:

open carabiner gate through movement, carabiners scraping against rock, non-equalized masterpoint and so on.

For TR anchors: 

  • preferably use locking carabiners when building a TR anchor
  • always use 2 locking carabiners for the rope
  • (when needed) extend master point out for cleaner rope management
3 legged anchor
3 piece anchor (when anchor directly attended there is no need for locking carabiners)
3 piece trad anchor before tying master point and after
3 piece anchor before and after tying the master point (always tie the knot to create a non-extendable anchor!)