25 October 2023

Anchor Installers Forum 2023

BCA Anchor Installers' Technical Forum 

On 14th October 2023, the CNCC hosted a technical forum for BCA regional anchor installers and other interested people. 

An incredible amount of hard work by numerous people over the years has been put into the BCA anchor scheme. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants and are indebted to their efforts. To help continue this exceptional work the aim of this forum was to: 

  • Share knowledge and experience.
  • Network and foster relationships with fellow installers.
  • Swap tips and tricks for installing anchors.
  • Discuss various aspects of anchor installation and the surrounding ‘frameworks’.
  • Strengthen communication and collaboration between regional installers. 

There was a good turnout of 15 cavers with ‘representation’ from, CNCC, DCA, CCC, North Wales, Cornwall and a strong contingent of six cavers from Ireland. 

The day involved discussions on a wide variety of topics such as :

  • Route to becoming an anchor installer
  • Record keeping
  • Reporting loose anchors 
  • Re-using holes from pulled anchors
  • New placements permission requirements 
  • Drawing rigging topos
  • Extracting anchors and patching holes
  • Rigging standards
  • Testing of anchors 
  • BCA Anchor Coordinator role?
  • BCA E&T Committee now part of T&E working group; Relevance?
  • Drilled threads 
  • Chain linking anchors
  • Pull through rings/ anchors 
  • Temporary anchor options
  • Fixed aids / hand-lines
  • Ground stakes 
  • Insurance 

We kept the sitting-down discussions to a minimum and focused on practical activity which also allowed people to have more specific informal chats which proved valuable. 

Johnny Latimer, who assisted in its original development and current production of the IC anchor, kindly held a very informative chat about this unique anchor. We had installation demonstrations via the systems used by the CNCC and also the different system used by both the DCA and CCC, and we looked at testing anchors and the equipment used. 

For the rare occasions we need to remove an anchor we had a look at and practiced the options for this, including the CNCC's very own anchor-puller design.

Later in the day a frenzied session of ‘experimental learning’ took place with people trying out all sorts of different variations, some of them rather unconventional. This session provided a great deal of entertainment but with some interesting learning. 

The forum was a great success with excellent feedback and a genuine desire to have more of these events in future, with every 2-3 years being the consensus. There were some really positive action points that came out of the day and these will all be actioned in due course.

Thanks to all attendees for making this informative, engaging and enjoyable. 

Ian Patrick 
CNCC Training Officer 
15th October 2023

Copyright 2024 Council for the Northern Caving Community.