Fixed Aids in Caves

A fixed aid can be best described as any item installed or placed in the cave to assist progress, which remains in place for longer than the period of a single visit. Fixed aids in our region include anchors (ranging from original exploration spits to modern resin anchors), ropes, ladders, slings, chains, wires, scaffold, stemples, amongst many others.

The only fixed aids that the Council of Northern Caving Clubs currently supports are stainless steel resin anchors which have been installed by trained installers in accordance with the British Caving Association’s anchor scheme. This includes P-type anchors installed by the CNCC Technical Group and, more recently, IC anchors installed by the IC anchor team.

Providing they are subject to the necessary pre-use inspection, these anchors provide a safe and tested means to belay ropes to descend potholes following the rigging principals of Single Rope Technique (SRT). On this website, you can find out more information about the history, safety and locations of resin anchors.

The CNCC does not support, maintain or endorse use of any other kinds of fixed aids in caves. We strongly recommend that cavers avoid use of fixed aids such as ropes, ladders and instead take your own ropes into the cave, and avoid use of unofficial anchors. There can never be certainty how long a fixed aid has been there, and what damage or wear it may have suffered in that time.

Fixed Aid Participation Statement

The following statement details the CNCC policy on fixed aids, including resin anchors.

“The only fixed aids supported by the CNCC are resin anchors installed in accordance with the British Caving Association anchor scheme.  A list of approved anchors can be found on the CNCC website. Any other anchors found in caves are not approved or supported. Resin anchors are for use by experienced cavers only who are fully trained in rigging techniques and who have understood all of the information in our  ‘anchor safety’ document from the CNCC website, including the need to always perform a pre-use inspection on every anchor and to always rig from multiple anchors. The CNCC does not support, endorse, monitor or maintain any other fixed aids in caves including ropes and ladders (as well as any other items left behind by other cavers), and urges all cavers to avoid using any such fixed aids altogether.”

Other Fixed Aids

Throughout the caves in our region are numerous in-situ ropes, ladders and non-approved anchors. These are often installed by original explorers or well-meaning individuals. They are rarely subject to any kind of maintenance or inspection by the original installers.

With the exception of the resin anchors detailed on this website, the CNCC does not support, maintain or endorse use of any other fixed aids in caves. The CNCC strongly recommends that cavers avoid use of such fixed aids (such as ropes and ladders) and instead you take your own ropes into the cave. Remember, there can never be certainty how long a fixed aid has been there, and what damage or wear it may have suffered in that time.