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Blue Tape

Version 0.5; last reviewed 16-01-2021


In order to safely and without-supervision set up climbs at Kangaroo Point (KP) at a UQ Mountain Club (UQMC) climbing event, you must obtain your Blue Tape.

First and foremost, UQMC promotes a “safety first culture that guides all our activities”. That means that whatever you are doing, you must make sure that your and others safety is the number one priority at any given time.

This document will guide you towards a successful completion of the assessment of your “Blue Tape”. In order to get your “Blue Tape” approved, there are three main steps:

  1. Read and remember the knowledge displayed in this document,

  2. Put all this knowledge in a correct manner into practise,

  3. Get yourself assessed by a member of the executive team who will ask you theoretical questions and will assess your practical skills during one of the UQMC events.

After a successful assessment, you will obtain your “Blue Tape” on the UQMC website, which you will display on your profile together with your “Yellow Tape”.

Please read the following instructions carefully.

NOTE: We do not endorse all the information by the content creators given below. However, we have checked the specific links and believe that they are great learning resources. These links do not replace learning practically from club members, but will be helpful to aid your learning.


Blue tape indicates that a member has obtained the skill competency level to: safely prepare a top rope anchor system at Kangaroo Point (KP).

This allows the member to help the club to set up a top rope anchor system at the top of the cliff during any KP top rope climbing event. However, every rope set-up must be double checked by an executive member with a Vertical Rescue certificate before the system can be used.

When learning to set-up top rope anchor systems, members without this competency (an “unskilled” member) must be supervised by a member who has already obtained their “Blue Tape”. It is the role of the supervisor to:

  • Correctly teach the “unskilled” member all necessary skills required to set up the top rope anchor system, as outlined below.


You must be a member of UQMC to be tested for the “Blue Tape” competency.

You must have the “Yellow Tape” competency to be tested for the “Blue Tape” competency.

Testable material

The material testable to obtain the “Blue Tape” competency can be broken down into the following categories:


The member being tested must be able to:

  • Attach and use a fall restraint;

  • Work in a manner that does not endanger themselves or others;

  • Use appropriate communication, when setting up an anchor system near a cliff edge;

  • Have the ability to set up top rope anchor that meets UQMC standards, and;

  • Identify damaged or faulty equipment.

Theoretical material

The member being tested must have a comprehensive understanding to explain the theory behind:

  • Definition of an anchor system:

  • The knots required to set-up a top rope anchor that meets UQMC standards, including:

    • The fall restraint device:

      • How to tie a prusik knot;

      • How to identify an incorrectly tied prusik knot;

      • The importance of a prusik knot;

      • How to weight a prusik knot, and;

      • Its modes of failure.

    • The clove hitch:

      • How to tie a clove hitch;

      • Situations where the clove hitch is an acceptable hitch;

      • How to recognise a correctly tied clove hitch, and;

      • The importance of a clove hitch.

    • The rethreaded figure-8:

      • All knowledge carried over from “Yellow Tape” competency.

    • The figure-8 on a bight:

      • How to tie a figure-8 on a bight;

      • Dressing the knot.

    • The double overhand stopper knot:

      • All knowledge carried over from “Yellow Tape” competency.

  • Cliff edge communication:

    • Know and use appropriate calls to keep others aware of what you are doing.

      • Call “rock” when there is falling debris

      • Remaining aware of people passing when near the cliff edge

      • Notifying people when moving near them near the cliff edge

  • Rope wear:

    • Making sure that your ropes are protected from sharp rocks and edges.

    • Correct application of rope protection

  • Understanding the importance of redundancy in an anchor system.

  • Understanding the importance of equalisation in an anchor system.

  • Understanding the importance of the angle of separation in an anchor system.

The better you understand all the following material, the safer you will be as a climber and the more likely you are to avoid a climbing accident. Having a “safety first” culture within UQMC is the highest priority when climbing.

Reading for theoretical material

Definition of an anchor system

An anchor system is the combination of two or more independently loaded anchor points which converge at a focal point (the master point), equally sharing the load with no single point of failure (i.e. redundant).

Anchors must be SERENE:

S - Solid: The anchor, which you are using (bolts, bollards, trees etc.), is solid and you have inspected it.

E - Equalisation: The tension on both stands are equal, meaning: they are both taking equal load.

R - Redundant: there is no single point of failure.

E - Efficient: The anchor should be simple, so you can easily inspect it.

NE - No Extension: If a piece fails, the anchor will not shock load.

While this video is not our set up and we would use locking carabiners instead of wire gate carabiners, it does explain some basic anchor theory well.

Required knots

Fall restraints - Prusik knot

It’s importance: Fall restraints must be used by anybody working within 2m of a cliff edge. A fall restraint is anything which will prevent the wearer from falling over the edge - should they slip near the cliff edge. The fall restraint used during club activities is a length of cord connected to the member’s harness by a carabiner and to the rope by a prusik knot - this whole system is referred to as a prusik). The club provides prusik cords, which can be attached from your harness to a secure rope. See the pictures below:



How to tie: Using a piece of prusik cord, pass the knot three times around the static rope through the loop. Ensure that the turns sit neatly beside each other and pull the knot tight.

The diameter of the prusik cord should be 50-60% of the diameter of the static rope. If it is lower than this range, it will overgrip and could damage either the static rope or the prusik cord. Above this range, it might not grip and will just slide down the rope. So use between 5mm to 8mm diameter accessory cord on 11mm diameter rope.


























How to weight the prusik: The prusik is essentially a friction hitch. When weighted, the friction between the prusik and static rope holds it in place. Once you have tied the prusik, you must test that you have tied it correctly and that it will hold your weight, you can do this by:

  1. Holding the static line above the tied prusik closer to the anchor and tugging hard, down on the end of the prusik loop; or

  2. Attaching the prusik using a locked carabiner to your belay loop and placing your weight down in a direction away from the cliff's edge.

If you are satisfied that your prusik holds your weight, ensure you have attached it to your belay loop using a locking carabiner. When walking towards the edge of the cliff, keep the prusik loaded with your weight, with the knot itself in a position closer to the anchor point than your body.

You should always keep the prusik loaded, so you don’t shock load the system.

Clove Hitch

Its importance: To obtain the “Blue Tape” competency, you will be required to tie a clove hitch both in a bight of rope (to then place over a bollard) and at the end of the rope (tying around a railing).

How to tie on a Bight: Create two identical overhand loops in the rope, making sure they turn in the same direction. Cross the loops over each other so that they intersect. If the two loops sit on top of each other instead of intersecting, the clove hitch will not lock. Place the formed loop of the clove hitch over the bollard.

How to tie on End of Rope: Wrap the free tail end of the rope around the railing. Cross the rope over itself and over the railing again. Thread the working end of the rope under the last wrap and pull tight.












Figure of eight on a bight

Its importance: To obtain the “Blue Tape” competency, you will be required to tie a figure eight on a bight to make the master point.

How to tie: This video can help you to get a better visual understanding.

Rope wear

When setting up an anchor system, you will use one or more rope protectors (rope pro). These protectors are wrapped around the static rope to prevent abrasion caused by edges. Note that we refer to edges, not the cliff edge specifically. When preparing an anchor system, take the time to examine any possible edges that your static rope will lie upon and place rope protectors where needed.

Another possible cause of rope abrasion is the point at which two moving ropes make contact. This is not too much of a concern for the static rope, but when setting up a top rope system, ensure that the two halves of your dynamic rope are separated and are not entwined. This can be tricky to do if your view of the dynamic rope attachment point is obstructed. Do not climb on a top rope where you are unsure as to whether the ropes are entwined. You would be surprised (at least we hope you never are) at how quickly ropes can be cut when running over each other under tension.


A system that is redundant, meaning it has two points of safety throughout, still may not be safe. Imagine that you have a system with two anchor points, where one anchor point is taking all of the load. If this anchor were to fail, then the weight would be transferred quickly to the second anchor point. This transition from being unloaded to loaded is known as “shock loading”, and puts your second anchor point under enormous stress, stress that it would not have been assessed to take when setting up the system.

To avoid this scenario in our anchor systems, we must always ensure that load is distributed equally within the system, meaning both anchor points are taking an equal share of the weight. To do this, we position our figure-eight knots and carabiners in ways that put tension equally on both our anchor points. We will not go into detail here as this is something that is easier to learn practically.

Angle of separation

The angle of separation is the angle from the focal point of your anchor system to the anchor points. It is important to the integrity of the anchor system, because it predominantly determines the portion of the load that the anchor points will take when loaded.

At an angle of 0° to 60°, the anchor points take 50% of the load. As the angle of separation increases, so does the portion of the load each anchor point takes, until at the critical angle of 120°. At 120°, the anchor points are taking 100% of the load. From this angle onward the load taken by the anchor points, is amplified and increases exponentially.

Your anchor systems should optimally sit at ~60° where the ropes will not shift and where each anchor point is taking about half the load. However, this is not strict and the angle will vary per situation. Just remember the most important fact, DO NOT ever exceed an angle of 120°.

Procedures for Top Rope Anchor setup at KP

Note that reading the next steps is confusing, but it “makes sense” when you put this in practise. Come down to KP to go through it with one of the exec team members, and read this paragraph again to fully understand.

  • When working less than 2m from the cliff edge, a fall restraint device is used. Helmet and harness must be worn.

  • Both ends of the static rope are secured to acceptable anchor points using a rethreaded figure-8, finished with a stopper knot (Picture below, RHS). When using bollards or trees as anchor points, a rear-facing clove hitch is used around the trunk/bollard in combination with the re-threaded figure-8 and stopper knot (Picture below, LHS).


  • Once both ends have been secured, an appropriate master point location can be determined, ensuring the angle between the anchor points and master point is less than 120 degrees, the climbing rope will not run over any sharp edges and avoiding the master point from rubbing against the rock where possible.

  • To create the master point, two figure-8s on bights will be tied such that the two loops hang at the desired master point, with equal tension experienced by each strand and thus each anchor point.

  • Attach both master point carabiners through both loops, ensuring they are facing opposite directions. Gates are locked and are hanging such that the gates screw closed with gravity (see picture RHS).

  • The middle of the dynamic climbing rope is clipped through both master point carabiners, which are then screw-locked. The master point is lowered into the desired location, taking care not to dislodge any loose rock. Before you lower anything, you should remove loose rocks from near the edge of the cliff.


  • Once the master point is in place and the climbing rope is ready to be deployed, a visual inspection of the area below the climb is done, ensuring the area is clear of people. If the area is clear, call out “Rope!”, waiting a few seconds for any response.

  • If there is no response, another visual check is done, evaluating the situation again.

  • If there is still no response, call out “Rope below!” then deploy the climbing rope, taking care that your feet are not tangled in it.

  • Check that both strands of the rope have reached the ground free of knots or tangles. If there is a problem, the rope may need to be pulled up and re-deployed.


  • Attach rope protectors to any parts of the static ropes that are in risk of abrasion with sharp edges.

  • Do a final check of the anchor system:

    • The climbing rope is running through both master point carabiners;

    • The master point carabiners are locked and oriented correctly (opposite and opposed, gravity locking);

    • The master point carabiners are clipped through both figure-8’s on the static rope;

    • The figure-8’s are dressed correctly;

    • The strands of static rope running to each anchor point are equally tensioned;

    • The rope has sufficient protection from abrasion; and

    • Each anchor point is tied correctly.

  • Get an activity leader, club executive or delegate an experienced member (e.g. Past Exec) to check the anchor.

Test questions

During the practical assessment for this level, your assessor will ask you a minimum of two questions from the following to test your understanding of the theoretical material:

  1. At what time point in the anchor setup process should you be attaching your prusik?

  2. What needs to be checked before you throw your rope over the cliff (assuming your anchor system is set up perfectly)?

  3. What is the critical angle of separation that your anchor system must not exceed and why should it not?

  4. Why does there need to be redundancy in your anchor system?

  5. How large a fall can you take on your prusik?

  6. Why does your anchor system need to be equalised?

If you do not understand any of the questions or you are unsure of an answer, discuss it with one of the executives before you do your test for the competency!


Step 9

Attach your carabiner, screw up the gate

and you are safe!


Version table


V0.1    Gen Forshaw and Nicole Carter     20-09-2020        Created Document

V0.2    Sam Allie                                                   12-10-2020         Reviewed and adjusted

V0.3    Meike Go                                                    27-11-2020        Updated the layout, added an introduction and adjusted

                                                                                                                     some wording within the main frame

V0.4    Jazzi Neville                                             29-12-2020         Grammar corrections

V0.5    Meike Go                                                  16-01-2021           Adding test questions and other sections from the old website

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