Common Gear for Highline Anchors
Now that we’ve covered the concepts that go into building highline anchors, we need to expand on the materials and gear that can be used. Much of the equipment you should already have from longline rigging, but you’ll probably need a few more pieces of equipment to complete the rig. And depending on how and where you decide rig, you’ll encounter different rigging practices.
Single Point Anchors
Single point anchors usually take the form of anchoring to rock features or big trees. It’s best to use spansets or large webbing for main anchor slings, just like you would for a longline rig. Backup anchoring material can consist of suitably strong material, such as multiple passes of rope or webbing. Depending on what you’re anchoring to, it may be smart to build the backup anchor to some other object.
When we talk about multi-point anchors there there are two types to consider. Natural anchors and fixed anchors. Natural anchors consist of using removable anchor points where no modification to the rock or environment is needed. The use of rock climbing equipment, slings, spansets, dead man anchors, smaller trees and the like are used to create natural multi point anchors.
Natural Anchors: If there is a bomber possibility to rig off natural anchors then that is the way to go. Natural anchors leave no trace and can oftentimes stronger than rigging off bolts. The major downside to rigging natural is lugging a large amount of slings and spansets to sling boulders and other natural features.
Any anchor, especially ones that that might cause the slightest doubts, should be backed up. Trees can be tied off to each other, passive and active climbing protection can be used within the anchor if you know how to use them properly. Natural anchors come down to creativity, patience and close inspection. You might have to calculate the weight of a boulder, estimate what a certain tree can hold, wedge a trunk behind a gap and sling it, etc. If you plan to rig a natural highline and you are not entirely sure you’re anchors are bomber, find resources: geologists, arborists, rock climbers and other specialists that might have insight.
Fixed Anchors: Fixed anchors are essentially bolts in rock, wherein hardware is permanently placed in the rock. We recommend a minimum of three bolts per master pointed anchor. Some regions use two bolts in solid rock for the main anchor and have a separate bolted anchor built for the backup. When creating an anchor you can use spanset, static rope or dyneema rope. When using spanset you need to bring the appropriate connectors, which adds weight to your pack. Using static rope or dyneema rope tremendously lightens the load in your pack because if the anchor allows for threading, then you don’t need to bring additional quicklinks. Just be sure you know how to tie and understand the uses of a triple fisherman's knot, bowline knot and figure 8 knot if using rope.