Gym to Crag: Anchors & Rappelling
Cragmont Park, Berkeley


Trip Overview

In this course we will cover strengths and qualities of materials, basic 2 bolt sport anchor systems, natural anchor systems, rappelling and then put it all together in practice on the top of a wall.  There is a great deal of technical information covered in this course, but our main goal is to get you comfortable performing the skills on the edge of a cliff. We will discuss how to manage risk and fear in this “cliff edge” environment and why we trust our “Bombproof” systems. In order to maximize your time on the rock we will provide you with a small homework assignment prior to the course. It will contain a list of knots to practice and reading material covering the strengths and weaknesses of the baseline equipment used in the course.

*Note: We won’t be doing any climbing during this course. The focus is on building Top Rope systems only where it is possible to approach the sport anchors from above.

Topics discussed include:

    • Essential gear for building anchors
    • Important knots
    • Specifics of the SRENE acronym
    • Use of gear to build anchors across many different environments
    • Evaluation and use of natural and fixed protection
    • Rope management

Participants should be able to:

    • Exhibit Solid Belay Skills
    • Tie these knots: Double Fisherman's Bend, Overhand on a Bight, Figure 8 on a Bight, Figure 8 Follow Through, Bowline, BHK (Big Honkin Knot), Girth Hitch, Clove Hitch, Autoblock (Included in the Homework Assignment)
    • Talk about the Strengths and Weaknesses of the climbing gear used (Part of the Homework Assignment)


Difficulty Rating: Moderate

MODERATE: A moderate level of strength is needed to complete some of the tasks at the top of the crag. There won’t be any route climbing, but expect to build at least 2 anchors on the wall and rappel twice down the cliff face. Most of the day will be spent in ground school learning the systems where you have access to water, food and toilet facilities

Trip Itinerary

Although we'll always do our best to adhere to this schedule, it is often dictated by factors outside of our control and is therefore subject to change. We will run this trip rain or shine as long as it is safe to do so.


9:00am: Meet at Cragmont Park in Berkeley (MAP)

9:00 - 9:15am: Introductions and overview of day

9:15 – 10:15am: Review strengths, weaknesses, inspection protocol and applications of equipment and materials

10:15am – 12:15pm: Building bolted sport anchor systems using SERENE acronym

12:15 - 12:30pm: Working lunch

12:30 - 1:30pm: Building systems using natural anchors (Trees, Stones, etc)

1:30 - 3:00pm: Rappelling instruction

3:00 - 5:00pm: Putting it all together on the rock. Securely lower to a bolted anchor, build a top rope anchor system, transfer to your climbing rope and rappel to the ground

Packing List


Bag Lunches

Comfortable, wicking athletic clothing with pants or capris to cover knees (No Shorts)

Any personal gear you may have (e.g., shoes, harness, etc.)

2-3 liters of water

Sturdy approach shoes/hiking boots that are broken in


Seasonally: Jacket, baselayers, fleece, down jacket, beanie, gloves

Optional (but recommended):


Folding Chair

Do NOT bring:


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