Equipment and Techniques - Safe Use of Eco Anchors

All anchors should be checked before use.

Twist the anchor using the fingers, while observing any movement. Slight flexing or rotational movement (+/-1mm) of the anchor is acceptable.

The following points should be checked before using or loading the anchors:

  • Looseness or fractures of the rock in which the anchor is placed.
  • Grooves or abrasion inside the curvature of the anchor. i.e. the inside contact area of the anchor.
  • Obvious damage to the anchor or placement from rock fall.
  • Excessive rotation of the resin within the drilled hole.
  • Rotation of the anchor within the resin. · Fracturing of the rock within 20cm of the anchor placement.
  • Egress of the anchor from the resin or the resin from the drilled hole.

Should any of the above defects be noticed, you should contact the anchor co-ordinator via the regional caving council secretary, any defect reported will be checked out ASAP.

The following information is required when reporting suspected defective anchors:

  • Name of cave.
  • Route on which defective anchor is.
  • Traverse or pitch number/name.
  • Anchor number, counting from the start of that group of anchors.

Note: Due to the cost of installing Eco anchors (£5 per placement) and the amount of good useable limestone at pitch heads, the anchors have been installed so that all cave users, whether SRT, ladder and lifeline or pull through can use them. Attempts have been made to avoid over rigging and to encourage the use of available natural belays where possible. In areas where there appears to be excessive numbers of Eco anchors, they have been installed in addition for ladder and lifeline techniques or to facilitate rescues. When Eco anchors are used for ladder and lifeline it is essential that pulleys are used, the rope must not be pulled when loaded through the anchor as this will cause premature wear on the contact area.

The Eco anchor has been approved by the British Caving Association as a fixed anchor to ensure the safe descent and ascent of caves and potholes. All enquiries regarding fixed anchors should be addressed to the regional secretary

A number of the popular caves have pieces of old rope and slings 'tat' left in them by previous parties.

DO NOT be tempted to use them even if they look safe. Take and use your own, then remove them after the trip.