Retrievable systems allow the user to retrieve the rigging from the bottom of the rappel. This is useful for conserving gear (webbing and quick links), ghosting (leaving no unnatural features in a canyon while descending), and occasionally for convenience. Retrievable systems are often releasable – meaning that the rigging can be detached from its anchor without requiring the end of the rappel side of the rope to pass back through the rigging – but they do not have to be.
The following are riggings (things attached to fixed anchors) where everything may be retrieved from the bottom of the rappel. As a popular shorthand, these systems are often called "retrievable anchors" even though the anchor itself is not actually retrieved.
- Retrievable Sling
- Friction Saver (this is the only popular retrievable system that is not releasable)
- Smooth Operator
- CEM knot
- More examples from Rope Work 101
- More examples from The Dye Clan
The following are retrievable anchors where the feature to which the rigging is attached is artificial and may be retrieved from the bottom of the rappel.