single-point lower-off hardware: Where + what to purchase?


Original Post
kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599

I've come to doubt the typical practice of installing two pieces of lower-off steel hardware (e.g. snap-links, "mussy hooks") on the same two-bolt anchor -- so I've been looking for hardware for just a single point to lower off the climber from  -- or to rappel from (for those parties who still perform that extra community-support step).

I found this ingenious device, half-way down on

this catalog page 

called a "Monster Hook"
. . (I note also the ingenious method for the climber to thread the rope into it, which inspires confidence).

Problem:
Don't know where to purchase this in USA.
. . . (web search gives me hardware for heavy trucks),
or Who might _ship_ a few to USA so I could try using them in a couple of weeks.

or . . .
How about some other similar hardware which I could already obtain in USA?

Ken

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Why not just a ram's horns anchor?  Not only is it single point (though attached  to two bolts), but is also very easy to replace since it isn't integral to the actual bolt. 

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
kenr wrote:

I've come to doubt the typical practice of installing two pieces of lower-off steel hardware (e.g. snap-links, "mussy hooks") on the same two-bolt anchor -- so I've been looking for hardware for just a single point to lower off the climber from  -- or to rappel from (for those parties who still perform that extra community-support step).

I found this ingenious device, half-way down on

this catalog page 

called a "Monster Hook"
. . (I note also the ingenious method for the climber to thread the rope into it, which inspires confidence).

Problem:
Don't know where to purchase this in USA.
. . . (web search gives me hardware for heavy trucks),
or Who might _ship_ a few to USA so I could try using them in a couple of weeks.

or . . .
How about some other similar hardware which I could already obtain in USA?

Ken

You can´t purchase them in the USA or anywhere else for that matter as I have stopped making them, they are too much of a challenge for many less-mechanically minded climbers to thread!

The replacement is as mentioned above the pigtail or ramshorn and these are available in the USA from Dave Quinn at Team Tough http://team-tough.com/

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599

Thanks a lot.

So on that Team-Tough page it says to install by 

"Hammer fit over any of our bolts or hangers or your existing bolt."

Does that mean I could place the pig tail over a protruding wedge bolt stud without any hanger on it?

What do I hammer it against? and why?

Sorry I'm not too smart or experienced about this.

Ken

P.S. I note that if I place the pig tail on hanger, then the cost of the pig tail plus hanger is about the same as an "indoor gym style top anchor" wiregate carabiner with a hanger - (which is lighter for me to haul up to the top of the cliff than the pig tail)
+ (also the plated-steel "gym style" carabiner has a more favorable negative electropotential to act as a "galvanic anode" to help protect my A304 stainless-steel bolt from corrosion).

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
kenr wrote:

Thanks a lot.

So on that Team-Tough page it says to install by 

"Hammer fit over any of our bolts or hangers or your existing bolt."

Does that mean I could place the pig tail over a protruding wedge bolt stud without any hanger on it?

What do I hammer it against? and why?

Sorry I'm not too smart or experienced about this.

Ken

P.S. I note that if I place the pig tail on hanger, then the cost of the pig tail plus hanger is about the same as an "indoor gym style top anchor" wiregate carabiner with a hanger - (which is lighter for me to haul up to the top of the cliff than the pig tail)
+ (also the plated-steel "gym style" carabiner has a more favorable negative electropotential to act as a "galvanic anode" to help protect my A304 stainless-steel bolt from corrosion).

They are an interference fit over glue-in bolts or can be fitted to an existing hanger on a bolt-in or onto a chain. They are specifically made to be tapped on with a hammer to reduce casual theft.

You can´t fit them to a wedge bolt without a hanger.

There is no point in comparing the price of plated steel hardware intended for indoor applications to 316L stainless steel products.

The pigtail is electrically inert against 304 or 316 stainless steel bolts or hangers and thus galvanic corrosion does not come into question.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599
Jim Titt wrote:

They are an interference fit over glue-in bolts or can be fitted to an existing hanger on a bolt-in or onto a chain. They are specifically made to be tapped on with a hammer to reduce casual theft.

You can´t fit them to a wedge bolt without a hanger.

Thanks Jim -- that clears things up.

And good to know that 316 SS accessory hardware attached to a 304 SS bolt does not increase rate of corrosion on the bolt.

But attaching a Plated Steel accessory to a Stainess Steel bolt ought to actually _reduce_ the rate of corrosion of the bolt.
. . . (and I observe that the Fixe website catalog currently includes lots of Plated-Steel accessories,
. . . . so perhaps I'm not the only one who still believes that?)

Ken

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
kenr wrote:

Thanks Jim -- that clears things up.

And good to know that 316 SS accessory hardware attached to a 304 SS bolt does not increase rate of corrosion on the bolt.

But attaching a Plated Steel accessory to a Stainess Steel bolt ought to actually _reduce_ the rate of corrosion of the bolt.
. . . (and I observe that the Fixe website catalog currently includes lots of Plated-Steel accessories,
. . . . so perhaps I'm not the only one who still believes that?)

Ken

A stainless bolt alone has no rate of galvanic corrosion and a passive stainless bolt with another passive stainless steel object attatched has also no galvanic corrosion so adding something else can´t reduce the rate. 

If you add a galvanised hanger to a stainless bolt and there IS galvanic corrosion the zinc plating is sacrificed to protect the hanger but does absolutely nothing to protect the stainless bolt which anyway isn´t being corroded. 

Once the plating is damaged (by installation for example) or eroded away the base steel will be in contact with the stainless steel and promote pitting corrosion in the stainless steel bolt eventually causing failure.

As stainless steel hangers are readily available and cheap the use of plated hardware on stainless bolts in areas where the presence of electrolytic action is suspected is hard to justify, both on corrosion grounds and environmental considerations as the leaching of the sacrificial plating can turn your climbing area into a visual nightmare such as this where every bolt is has an ugly white streak below it:-

The previous editions of the European standard (and thus the UIAA Safety Label) excluded all plated hardware and the next edition will almost certainly do so as well.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599

Thanks for the careful analysis Jim. More people than me will benefit from your taking the time to carefully present it here.

My own situation is that all my hardware installation so far is in a region more than 250 km from the nearest salt water, with low annual rainfall, and no known acid rain problems.

I will continue to install 304 Stainless bolts and hangers (though I suspect some local climbers think that's overkill) -- but I guess that many Europeans and some Americans would say it's just wrong for me not to use 316 Stainless.

I observe that Fixe offers in its current catalog

this Plated Steel anchor-with-carabiner setup 

which its description clearly intends for outdoor as well as indoor use (and I've seen at least on American forum post saying that thoughtful American route developers / maintainers are using that setup outdoors).

. . . (Perhaps the strength of European thinking against this is influenced by being surrounded salt water on three sides and having a history of coal-burning power plants).

Ken

Alan Emery · · Lebanon, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 257

Fixe also has videos explaining their products and how to properly install them.   Just scroll down past the advertisement.

http://www.fixehardware.com/shop/fixe-videos

I would also add that it is far safer to have two anchors (redundancy) than to trust just one anchor.  Unless you are the one who set the anchor,  you have no idea if the setter properly installed the anchor or not.  This goes back to the two acronyms ERNEST and SERENE, something I see this generation of climbers not using as much.

Ryan Huetter · · Mammoth Lakes, CA · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 255

Ken, 

Perhaps go with the community standard in the climbing area you are developing- June Lake? Rams horn/pig tail lower offs have are not commonplace here while mussy hook/gym style lower offs are. The moderate cliffs you are developing attract moderate climbers who will not know how to properly use these systems. A consideration...

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
kenr wrote:

Thanks for the careful analysis Jim. More people than me will benefit from your taking the time to carefully present it here.

My own situation is that all my hardware installation so far is in a region more than 250 km from the nearest salt water, with low annual rainfall, and no known acid rain problems.

I will continue to install 304 Stainless bolts and hangers (though I suspect some local climbers think that's overkill) -- but I guess that many Europeans and some Americans would say it's just wrong for me not to use 316 Stainless.

I observe that Fixe offers in its current catalog

this Plated Steel anchor-with-carabiner setup 

which its description clearly intends for outdoor as well as indoor use (and I've seen at least on American forum post saying that thoughtful American route developers / maintainers are using that setup outdoors).

. . . (Perhaps the strength of European thinking against this is influenced by being surrounded salt water on three sides and having a history of coal-burning power plants).

Ken

Just to keep things clear.-

Fixe USA have these on their website but they are not available.

Tech Rock (the owner of Fixe) do not advertise this product.

You wanted a single-point lower.off, the anchor you show is to be fitted in pairs;- "makes a pair of these Top Anchors...."

The certification claimed by Fixe USA is invalid though as the product is unavailable this is perhaps irrelevant.

The durability of stainless steel karabiners with conventional aluminium solid gates is well known, Fixe themselves have adressed the issue by changing to a wiregate.

It´s possible that over 100 years of experience with bolts has shown the Europeans that using plated steel products is a mistake, there are vast areas where the visual aesthetics of being outdoors in a "natural" environment has been destroyed by this sort of thing:-

If it works in your area then fine but as a generalisation using plated hardware to save a couple of bucks is a crap idea.  

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Ryan Huetter wrote:

Ken, 

Perhaps go with the community standard in the climbing area you are developing- June Lake? Rams horn/pig tail lower offs have are not commonplace here while mussy hook/gym style lower offs are. The moderate cliffs you are developing attract moderate climbers who will not know how to properly use these systems. A consideration...

Don't dumb down the 20 year investment, educate the climbers. Ramshorns aren't exactly a mystery to use, most of us would be wanting to know if they could be top roped, that sort of thing. 

A local climbers forum, comments on the area page, even an unobtrusive little sign at the base of the route could get the word out.

It is very heartening that Ken is putting the work in, and also looking for the best, long term options.

Anchors don't always get any love at all, after they are up. The long view is very prudent. We have one guy here working his way through decades old anchors, as he can, on our active climbing cliffs.

But, at another area here, all "development" is strictly banned, dating back to a feud close to 30 years ago. Because it can't be replaced,  there is incredibly old, sketchy stuff lurking for anyone dumb enough to use it. Many of us are concerned about this, and it is way past time for the various land owners to address the issue and let this generation of climbers have a shot at good stewardship of an area. 

TL;DR, thanks to Ken! What you choose to do will be appreciated for a very long time.

Best, OLH

Will S · · Joshua Tree · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,053

Mussy hooks are commonly used on the eastside, and particularly in places like the ORG,  because of the depth/thickness of the wear-surface as much as anything. The grit there chews the hell out of hardware, quickly.  Mussys, with an almost 2" thick wear surface, last a lot longer than almost any viable alternative. It's really not about ease of use or familiarity, but longevity. I've seen some downright scary stuff there, with anchors worn down to almost nothing. 


Alan Emery · · Lebanon, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 257

Pig-Tails or Ram Horns are like any other anchor, not to be TR'ed on.  Best to use your own draws.  We use them a lot at Rumney.  Here, we do use Stainless due to the moisture and rock.  In dry areas with soft rock, glue-ins are preferred.  In dry hard rock, plated is more common, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with stainless, as long as you don't cross the metals.  Ken, what area are you talking about?  Not asking for your hometown or address, just hard to know if all we can do is guess.


Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265

Great replies, gents, just what I was trying to get at: longevity and what is appropriate for your situation first, then, if that is "new", educate your community.

OLH

Alan Emery · · Lebanon, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 257
Old lady H wrote:

Great replies, gents, just what I was trying to get at: longevity and what is appropriate for your situation first, then, if that is "new", educate your community.

OLH

If it is education, then by all means ... this was posted to YouTube from the Rumney Climbers Association when they were changing to the new anchors.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599
Ryan Huetter wrote:

Perhaps go with the community standard in the climbing area you are developing- June Lake? Rams horn/pig tail lower offs have are not commonplace here while mussy hook/gym style lower offs are. The moderate cliffs you are developing attract moderate climbers who will not know how ...

Good point to raise about established community practices. Before I installed anything around the June Lake Loop, I spent a full day there with a very experienced and respected Eastside route developer learning how it's done. So far the only anchor-to-rope connections I've installed have been "mussy hooks". So far I have not purchased any rams horns / pigtails. 

But really . . . it's not like the local community and visiting climbers are going to be permanently saddled with whatever choice(s) I make for what to install in the next few weeks. Because (unlike the underlying 304 Stainless wedge-bolt stud) the external anchor-to-rope hardware is easy to inspect, easy to replace when worn or damaged,
. . . and . . .
Easy to change to some other style of hardware. All you need is a Quicklink (or maybe two), some accessory cord (or if want to get fancy, chain), a crescent wrench, and whatever favorite style of rope-connection hardware the "community standard" has evolved to favor at some future date.

Perhaps don't even need to remove whatever I've installed: Just install your favorite device hanging off the other bolt (and use mine as a backup).

Anyway I'm thinking it's just smart for anybody out climbing on these routes to bring along one Quick-link (wide enough to easily fit a single strand of rope through), and four feet of 8mm climbing-rated accessory cord -- so will be able to rig something to get back down safely -- in case my hardware is damaged or stolen, or if they just don't trust it.

Ken

P.S. The two areas I'm focusing on are around the June Lake Loop road, which is in the valley on the eastern side of the Sierra mountains in California. This is the "dry" side, far away from the Pacific Ocean, where the high mountains suck much of moisture out of most storms just before they reach here. The Silver Lake area is generally sound quartzite (hard metamorphic rock), the Rush area is generally sound granite.

P.S. June Lake is much farther north than Owens River Gorge, so I don't think it gets all that dry grit blowing up from historically underfed Owens Lake. Also June Lake is farther from any major metropolitan center than ORG and Bishop, and covered by snow in winter and partly blocked by high water on springtime. Summertime outside visitors are so charmed by the atmospheric camping in Tuolumne Meadows that it does not occur to them that the lower-altitude Eastside has way more routes, and more fun and more interesting rock types than Tuolumne (and charming camping of its own). So I doubt June climbing will ever get the traffic of Bishop.
. . (Which raises the question of why June for its future ought to follow the same "community practices" developed historically around the Bishop context).

Chris Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 75

Steel carabiners work.  :) 

These last longer though.

http://www.climbtechgear.com/top-anchor-hook/

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599

Jim Titt wrote:
> Fixe USA have these on their website but
> they are not available.

That would be strange. A USA distributor unable to keep their website up to date about what's no longer available.

And since that post, I asked my Eastside Sierra local dealer to order me some Plated-Steel external anchor connectors from Fixe - (I gave them the part numbers from the Fixe USA website).

And those parts arrived from Fixe to the local dealer two days ago. Just tonight I stopped in and picked them up.

So just now I am possession of new Plated-Steel external anchor hardware from Fixe USA.

Next I fully intend to install those (over new 304 Stainless wedge bolts and hangers) on routes on the Eastside Sierra (California) in the next few weeks.

Ken

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599

Jim Titt wrote:
> There is no point in comparing the price of plated steel hardware
> intended for indoor applications to 316L stainless steel products.

Myself I thought the price comparison was highly relevant, and as a result I decided to purchase several 316 Stainless rams horns / pigs tails from a business partner of Jim Titt's -- even though lots of Sierra Eastside route developers would say that 316 Stainless is way overkill for this quasi-desert environment.

Because the _price_ was nearly the same as for Plated-Steel components serving the same function. But the design is arguably better - (no moving parts).

Not so much better that I would have paid "significant" more money for the rams horns. But tell me it costs me almost nothing extra, and it's hard not to at least try a few installing on the Eastside.

Ken

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599

To my surprise, I discovered today that I accidentally ordered some Fixe brand Plated-Steel _hangers_ from Fixe USA (by giving the wrong part number). And they shipped them no problem.
. . (so today I placed a new order for the same anchor hanger style but this time in Stainless).

Looking on their website I noticed that Fixe USA is also distributing Plated-Steel wedge _bolts_ -- but only brands other than Fixe.

All Fixe-brand wedge _bolts_ on their website are Stainless.

Ken

P.S. Talked to my local quasi- _desert_ climbing shop. Guy behind the counter said _lots_ of their customers are still choosing to purchase Plated-Steel.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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