Will That Thing Hold Me?
The art of building top-rope rock climbing anchors is called Anchor Setting. The idea is to build a system of strong, redundant, and equalized anchor points that work together to create a bomber (that's a technical term) anchor that can easily hold a climber's fall. The rope we climb on is attached to - and depends on - this anchor to keep us safe.
When setting anchors, we use various pieces of hardware called gear, protection, or hardware to create anchor points. While the gear might look small and unfamiliar, when used correctly it is incredibly strong and reliable. This hex, for example, has found a perfect or "match" fit in a close-to-parallel crack... there's no way it's coming out because it's bigger than the crack. With a strength rating of about 2200 pounds, we feel great about using this kind of anchor point as part of a larger system to protect our climbing.