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SERENE Climbing Anchors

Rock Climbing Anchor Basics - SERENE Anchors

Rock Climbing Anchor Basics - SERENE Anchors

S.E.R.E.N.E. Anchors

While there are many acronyms that can be used to describe climbing anchors, I really like the simplicity of S.E.R.E.N.E. anchors. 

In our Tier 1 and Tier 2 workshops, we’ll be working off of anchors that we identify as SERENE. In our Tier 3 workshops, we’ll introduce another acronym that will help expand beyond the basics of SERENE to a deeper understanding of climbing anchors. 

  • Strong

  • Equalized

  • Redundant

  • Efficient

  • NExtension


What does it all mean?

  • Strong

In our Level 1 Rock Climbing Anchor and Rescue Workshop, we’ll dive deep into the strengths and weaknesses of each component within your anchors. Our goal will be to build an anchor that has a combined strength of up to 34kN (a Strong anchor). 

  • Equalized

An Equalized anchor can be achieved in a number of ways. Each pitch will dictate whether you’ll need a fixed position or a self-equalizing anchor. There are pros and cons to each, and specific scenarios will require one or the other. We’ll explore a number of varying scenarios, and give you the tools needed to select the best anchor for each situation you may encounter.

  • Redundant

Redundancies are an important factor in Rock Climbing. When put into constant practice, it’s a concept that what will allow you to climb well into the later years of your life. We’ll get you into the habit of identifying the redundancies in each aspect of your climbing systems, whether it's anchors, belay systems, or rescue scenarios.

  • Efficient

The concept of Efficiency in climbing is two fold. It requires both simplicity and timeliness, without ever compromising the quality and integrity of the anchor itself. The goal here is to build an anchor in its simplest form, without any excess, or failure points. To achieve that requires a thorough understanding of every aspect of that anchor. It’s also in your interest and the interest of your climbing partner(s) to build those anchors in a timely manner. Timeliness builds confidence and trust. Simplicity and Timeliness can only be gained through practice. To become efficient in your anchors, you must practice often. 

  • NExtension

Some climbs will require a self equalizing anchor, and others will require a fixed position anchor. A self equalizing anchor allows the anchor to move back-and-forth, constantly shifting with the climber’s current position below the anchor. A fixed position anchor on the other hand is designed not to adjust or shift it’s position. It’s ideal for a straight up and down climb, splitter crack climbing, for example. When we design an anchor that is self equalizing, that anchor will have energy stored within it. Should any aspect of that anchor fail under a force, then that stored energy will be released, causing the anchor to extend. That extension will cause a static shock load (a secondary impact) that could reach forces greater than the original force. A big enough secondary impact could cause the remaining pieces of an anchor to fail, which would be catastrophic. Our preference is to have NExtension potential in our anchors, or at the very least, limit that extension potential, thereby limiting the secondary impact force. A fixed position anchor, when properly equalized, has the benefit of not allowing for an extension. Unfortunately there are very few climbs that would necessitate a fixed position anchor over a self equalizing anchor, therefore you will need to be proficient in identifying and limiting any potential extension in your anchor systems.


Why It’s Important.

If you understand, and apply, the concept of SERENE to each of your rock climbing anchors, you will have professional quality anchors and exponentially increase your margin of climbing safety every time! 


Related Workshops.

Our Level 1 Rock Climbing Anchor and Rescue Workshop covers this topic in great detail, giving you the tools you’ll need to safely build anchors for you and your climbing partners. It will also help you develop the skills needed to identify dangerous anchors, and convert them into a good SERENE anchor.

Our Tier 2 and Tier 3 Advanced Level workshops require that you have this foundational knowledge so that we can move beyond these basics and cover new, more complicated topics. Interested in exploring our Advanced Level Workshops? Here are a few links that you may find useful:

TIER 1 WORKSHOP.

TIER 2 WORKSHOPS.

TIER 3 WORKSHOPS.

We’d love to have you join one of our upcoming workshops. We offer these educational workshops in both Southern California (Los Angeles and San Diego) and in the San Francisco Bay Area.