13. Assessing Trad Anchor Rock Quality

In this video we look at ways to assess rock quality for your traditional anchor. Consider two points:

1. Check to make sure the rock itself is solid by patting the rock with your hand. Listen for hollow sounds which might identify a detached block that is not visibly obvious. Avoid placing protection points in any rock that sounds hollow.

2. Visually verify that the crack system you want to build your anchor in is not part of a detached block. Even a larger block, while it may not rip out of place in the event of a fall, could shift, thus changing the size of the crack and causing the cam to fail.

Important note: Cams hold a fall by pushing perpendicular to the long axis. This means you can put as much as double the force of the fall on the rock—which means rock quality is of the utmost importance when using cams.

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.