Safe participation in the sport of rock climbing is dependent on using a range of equipment and using appropriate techniques. However, the level of safety achieved will depend on the specific equipment used, in terms of design, type, adequate load rating and condition, and also upon the climbing technique as this can significantly help to minimise any impact loads in the advent of a fall. In addressing these issues, this paper describes some mechanical tests which have been carried using a specially designed drop load rig in which falling weights have been applied to samples of climbing rope to establish impact loads. The load-time histories have been recorded and peak loads have been compared with those determined theoretically. In addition, some new and also used anchor nuts have been test loaded to failure and the different failure modes which resulted are described. Finally, the general design of climbing equipment is discussed. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.