4. Top Rope Anchor Safety Considerations – SRENE

Whether building a climbing anchor off pre-existing bolts and hangers, or using traditional climbing gear as protection (such as a combination of active camming devices and passive stoppers or “nuts”), there is one basic principle that applies to all anchors. We describe this technique with the acronym “SRENE”.

SRENE stands for:

Solid – The rock, bolts and/or traditional protection are solid.

Redundant – If using bolts for your anchor, use at least two; if using traditional gear, use three solid pieces. The only time you may use a single point anchor is if you are using a giant tree (more than six inches in diameter) or boulder which you can sling.

Remember to use two carabiners “opposite and opposed” for your Master Point (where the climbing rope runs through). To see how to make your carabiners “opposite and opposed,” check out our video: Opposite & Opposed.

Next, envision using “imaginary scissors” to cut any part of your anchor: if one piece or strand fails, will another catch?

Equalized – The load on the Master Point is equally distributed among all pieces in the anchor.

No Extensions – If one of the anchor pieces happens to fail, the Master Point won’t drop. If it drops, it could “shock load” the other piece(s) in the anchor, creating a huge amount of force which could cause some or all of the additional anchor points to fail.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.