Gym-to-Crag →

How do I clean a bolted anchor?

As you finish up a route, on top-rope or lead, your climbing rope will be running through your anchor gear at the top of the pitch. In order to retrieve this gear and end up on the ground, you need to clean the anchor.

The goal is to safely transfer your weight from your own hardware to the fixed, bolted anchor and then rappel or lower to the ground.

In the case of lowering to the ground, the process can be summarized as follows:

  1. Tether in direct to the fixed anchor, using your PAS or equivalent and maintaining redundancy.

  2. Pull up several feet of slack and tie a knot in a bight of the rope.

  3. Clip this knot to your harness or to the anchor so that the rope doesn't fall to the ground in the next step.

  4. Untie the climbing rope from your harness.

  5. Thread the rope through a smooth loop on the fixed anchor gear, such as a ring, cold shut, quicklink, or chain.

  6. Retie the end of the rope into your harness tie-in points using the figure-8 or Yosemite-bowline.

  7. Ask your belayer to tension the rope by yelling the command "Take" or "Tension". As they take in slack, raise yourself higher towards the anchor so that weight is taken off your tether / anchor sling.

  8. Ensure that your belayer has your weight and confirm by yelling the acknowledgement "I'm on you."

  9. Unclip and untie the bight of rope that was knotted to prevent the rope from falling.

  10. Remove your own anchor hardware from the bolts.

  11. Double or even triple check that the rope is threaded properly through the fixed anchor, that you're tied in correctly, and that your belayer has you on belay.

  12. Remove your tether from the anchor and issue the command to lower.


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