I love meat anchors. A meat anchor is an improvised anchor composed of human beings used in the absence of other suitable anchors. They have been used successfully in recent years as a hasty rescue option and for many years before that by old school mountaineers. It is not a “by the book technique” and many frown upon it as being witchcraft. But we should rethink that. In the absence of a substantial anchor, meat anchors are a good option because:
1. They’re ever present. If you’re there, an anchor is there.
2. Instant feedback. If you have to choose between a questionable anchor and a meat anchor, the meat anchor is superior because you get instant feedback on whether or not the anchor is substantial enough or not, and if not, you’re able to adapt by adding people or repositioning to further exploit friction. If a fixed questionable anchor provides negative feedback, it's usually in the form of everybody dying, which is too late.
3. They’re fast. In the face of truly time compressed rescues, they’re straight ninja and don’t require a ton of complex rigging.
4. They’re fun. Solving problems this way is the ultimate exploitation of available assets. See photo.
This is not a guide on how to construct or properly deploy meat anchors, but an invitation to open your mind. “There is no spoon.”