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Climber's Gear and Anchor Class at Castle Rock
May 7

One of the essentials of safe climbing is the ability to create and/or identify safe anchors. This class will give you hands on instruction on how to build a solid top rope anchor. If you are building your own anchors, or climbing on someone else’s, you owe it to yourself (and your mother) to take this class.

This all day course is outdoors at Castle Rock State Park. The course is designed to give you knowledge and background information and to give you actual anchor building experience under the watchful eye of an American Mountain Guides Association instructor. Through the course of the day, you will have the opportunity to place gear, have your gear placements critiqued, and to build actual climbing anchors. By the end of the day you should have the confidence to set up your own anchors in just about any situation.

All necessary anchoring gear will be provided. You are welcome to bring your own gear if you’d like to practice placing gear and building anchors with your own rack.

This course is designed to provide both hands on and classroom style learning.

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to place gear solidly and safely in an anchor situation (not in a lead climbing situation... that is another class). Upon completion participants should be able to identify and construct solid top rope climbing anchors using both natural and artificial protection.

Prerequisites: Some climbing experience. Familiarity with belay techniques.

As a bonus, our gear and anchor class now includes an optional 2 hour pre-trip meeting at Lombardi Sports in San Francisc on Thursday evening, from 6-8 pm. The pre-trip is an introduction to the gear that we’ll be using outdoors. We’ll point out the differences in similar gear, helping you to make informed decisions when you buy or use the gear. We’ll hand out our recommended gear list for starting your own rack of gear, and outline what gear you need for different anchor situations. If you are thinking of racking up, this is a great opportunity to buy your gear.

Remember, Outdoor Adventure Club members get a 15% discount on their purchases at Lombardi’s.

If you can’t make the pre-trip meeting, it’s no problem. The indoor program is optional.

Topics covered in the class:

GEAR for Climbing Protection
* A historical perspective of climbing gear.
* Types of modern gear
* Nylon- ropes, webbing, cord
* Knot review and/or instruction- Figure 8, 8 on a bight, Clove hitch, Fisherman's, Water knot, bowline
* Carabiners- Evolution of carabiner design
* Protection: Nuts, Hexes, Tri-cams, SLCDs, Bolts
* Practice placing gear
* Failures: The importance of knowing how things fail to avoid future failures.

* Introduction of SERENE/ERNEST
* Sliding X
* American triangle
* Cordolette
* Angles between gear
* The Power Point
* Using natural pro
* Judging strength
* Gear in series
* Extending the anchor
* Practice building anchors
* Critique each others' anchors
* Identify poor anchors

Climbing will be limited on this trip, but bring your shoes and harnesses if you like. You may be able to get a few climbs in at the end of the day if there is time.

This trip happens rain or shine... If the weather is looking ominous we'll move the class to Cragmont Park in Berkeley, where we can hold the class outside, but under a shelter.

After the course we can head to Saratoga for pizza and beer and an informal discussion of all things climbing.


  • Hands on instruction from one of the professional guides of the Outdoor Adventure Club
  • An all day class from 9-5 (approx)
  • All the anchoring gear necessary for the day

OAC Member: $99
Non-member: $119

If you would like to read up on climbing gear and anchors, or mountaineering essentials, before or after the clinic, check out these books

Sounds fun- Sign me up!!