Bernese Anchor

by Thomas Buckingham
July 09, 2014
Contributors: Marc Thompson
The Bernese Anchor is a simple and quick method to adjust the length of industrial slings. It makes it possible to continuously shorten and adjust the sling during rigging, directly on the anchor. Furthermore it is easily double-checked by another person due to its simplicity. These are the most important advantages, compared to other shortening methods for industrial slings introduced in the past.

The Bernese Anchor is a way to conveniently adjust the angle of the slings during rigging, to minimise the forces on the anchorpoints (mainly trees) and also on the gear (shackles and well dimensioned quicklinks). As the industrial sling is shortened it can stay in one place if the angle is chosen smartly and does not slide down the anchor or tree for example. The Bernese Anchor also works on boulders or infrastructure. Tree protection or padding is mandatory in every case with boulders.

Bernese Anchor full sideview
Bernese Anchor in a 170m Longline at 7KN

To install a Bernese Anchor you first need to tie a girth hitch. The industrial sling is then slid around the tree until you reach the desired angle (45-90 degrees are recommended). Take care that the redirection rests on the tree! In a next step you attach a shackle the way you would with a sliding-x and put the end of the industrial sling into the shackle aswell (as seen in the video).

The Bernese Anchor comes into play when an industrial sling is:
•    too short to wrap around the tree twice
•    too long. So that the connection point and/or the tensioning system are too far from the tree. This causes:
- unnecessary friction on the tree protection and
- unnecessary oscillations. Which can compromise the walkability of the Slackline.


Starting at 4-5 kN, it is recommended to use an angle of 45-90 degrees for the slings.

Carabiners are not recommended in the Bernese Anchor, as they are prone to triloading and the wide contact area of the industrial slings.

Take care that the redirection of the industrial sling comes to lie on the tree, boulder, etc. So as to ensure that it cannot slip. However, this is not a problem in most cases anyway, as the Bernese Anchor only makes sense if this is the case. This redirection of the sling is the only drawback of the Bernese Anchor: A local peak of pressure occurs in it, which has to be protected from sharp edges, especially when wrapping boulders. Such peaks of pressure occur with almost every sling shortening method.

Redirection of the sling needs to be sitting on the tree
Since 2008 not a single Bernese Anchor has slipped. It has been used in countless beginnerlines, tricklines, longlines and highlines. The crossed attachment of the connector (sliding-x) would not allow for the complete failure of the anchor, should the worst case happen. The Bernese Anchor has been pulled to 70 KN, without slippage or wear on the sling. The test was cancelled as we did not want to unnecessarily pain the tree.

Bernese Anchor topview
Bernese Anchor from top
The Bernese Anchor was developed in Bern (Switzerland) in the summer of 2008 by myself and has spread throughout the country and established itself. The problem at the time was, that the oldschool tricklines had the ratchets too far out on long industrial slings and their swing weight was compromising the line. Meanwhile the Bernese Anchor is commonly used in Switzerland and more and more often also in Austria and Germany.

Links to further shortening methods for industrial slings:
French []
English [Balance Community]
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