Fixed Aids History & Background

In 1989, the Council of Northern Caving Clubs in conjunction with DMM (the anchor manufacturer) and Hilti (the resin manufacturer) commenced research into resin bonded stainless steel anchors in caves as a replacement for spits. Many aging spits had started to become unreliable and prone to failure, and a stronger and more reliable solution was required.
In 1994 the National Caving Association initiated their anchor replacement program. They subsequently adopted the installation and recording procedures that the Council of Northern Caving Clubs had already initiated. Anchor re-placement soon became coordinated on a national basis by the British Caving Association Equipment and Techniques Group, but was run through the people approved as being responsible for anchor replacement in each regional council.

This remains the situation today; anchor installation is managed regionally, but operating in accordance with the expectations of the British Caving Association’s Equipment and Techniques Committee.

Froom 1994 until around 2013, approved anchor installation in our region was performed exclusively by the CNCC Technical Group. The ‘P-type’ anchors installed by this group remain commonplace around the Yorkshire Dales. However, following some issues obtaining a suitable supply of anchors, and a reduction in activity of the CNCC Technical Group from around 2010 onwards, another type of stainless steel anchor was developed by a separate group. This alternative was called the ‘IC anchor’ and the IC anchor team picked up where the CNCC Technical Group left off, continuing the installation of anchors to numerous caves that had yet to benefit from resin anchors, as well as starting to deal with older anchors which had become defective.

The IC anchor was endorsed by the CNCC as the preferred anchor over the P-type anchors available at the time, owing to the need for a smaller hole to be drilled and the greater ease of removing them when necessary. This made the IC anchor a more desirable anchor on conservation grounds, as well as for ease of installation.

Both the CNCC Technical Group and the IC Anchor group operated independently from, but with endorsement of the CNCC, based on their compliance with BCA E&T policy. However, during 2016-2017 it became apparent that for the IC anchor to continue to become the major anchor used in our region, further investment would be necessary. In 2017, the creation of a CNCC anchor scheme using IC anchors was proposed and accepted. The CNCC approved and funded the production of 650 IC anchors (at a cost of £3900). These were received in late 2017, and for the first time, anchor installation came under the direct remit and control of the CNCC, rather than an independent CNCC-endorsed group. This remains the situation today.

If you have a proposal for an anchor project, are interested in becoming an approved anchor installer, or would like more information you are advised to get in touch with the CNCC Secretary who can forward your enquiry to the Anchor Coordinator.