Mountain Project Logo

Fixed Hardware Etiquette? and a question re: glue-in bolts


Original Post
Edek Falkowski · · Buffalo, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 110

I have heard a bunch of mixed things regarding how to treat fixed hardware (mainly anchors). I understand that it's frowned upon to set up a TR through anchor rings (which should only be used to get lowered/rap down as TRing off of them causes unnecessary wear), but what are the rules of thumb to follow to respect fixed hardware? (including cold shuts)

Additionally, how do you use glue-in bolts that do not have rap rings? I did a trad climb that ended at a 3-piece fixed anchor comprised of glue-ins, and I didn't know if it was okay to get lowered through the glue-in bolts (because they didn't have rings). I was able to top this route out which was convenient but in the future if going down is the only option what would I do? 

Thank you!

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,254

Since a glue-in bolt will not be easy to replace, please do not ever pull your rope directly through the eye of the bolt. Leave something if you must rap from it and use your own gear to toprope from it.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

It is never acceptable to top rope through the fixed gear.  Use your quick draws, or, better yet, do a simple version of self-equalizing anchor.
If I had to use anchor comprised of ONLY glue-ins, that is no quick links or rings, I would rappel down. 


James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,052
Gregger Man wrote:

Since a glue-in bolt will not be easy to replace, please do not ever pull your rope directly through the eye of the bolt. Leave something if you must rap from it and use your own gear to toprope from it.

I'd add to this, that you should follow-up with posting a note on the route description here on MP that the anchor is in need of Quicklinks or some such (or go back and install some yourself if you know how and know the metal type). Hopefully someone who knows what they're doing will see your note and rectify the situation.

Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35

+1 for everything already said

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,052

If you really want to be a baller, offer that person who knows what they're doing to pay for the hardware, and help out in exchange for the education...

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

Seems odd are you sure you were not suppose to top out and down climb / rap off a different anchor for this route?

Bruce Hildenbrand · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2003 · Points: 945

I think this issue is a bit more complex.  Devil's Tower installed glue-in bolts as rappel anchors on a number of routes.  If you are just pulling a rappel rope, which is unweighted, it does far less damage to the metal in terms of wear than lowering.  The real problem here is lowering through anchors.  This should be avoided at all costs.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122

Please go purchase a couple of quicklinks and rap rings for when you encounter this type of anchor, or for when you encounter a worn anchor.  These should always be in your bag, and when you end up needing them, purchase some more to do the same with.  This should be something that every climber does as a price for being able to climb.  

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,052

Quicklink links:

In a perfect world you'd match stainless to stainless and plated to plated.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
James Schroeder wrote:

Quicklink links:

In a perfect world you'd match stainless to stainless and plated to plated.

In 99% of climbing areas around the world matching metals between the hanger or glue in and quicklinks/rings doesn't matter at all.  Just use plated for a dry environment or stainless for a wet/humid environment (or titanium for tropical).

Kris Fiore · · Burlington, Vermont · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 1,573
Ken Noyce wrote:

In 99% of climbing areas around the world matching metals between the hanger or glue in and quicklinks/rings doesn't matter at all. 

Mmmmmm...I understand the urge for hyperbole but matching metals is a lot more important than that. Even allowing for exaggeration to make a point.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
Kris Fiore wrote:

Mmmmmm...I understand the urge for hyperbole but matching metals is a lot more important than that. Even allowing for exaggeration to make a point.

Nope, it's actually not.  

Kris Fiore · · Burlington, Vermont · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 1,573
Ken Noyce wrote:

Nope, it's actually not.  

OK. Good talk.

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,052

As a guy interested in the facts; does either of you have verified stats of any kind?

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
James Schroeder wrote:

As a guy interested in the facts; does either of you have verified stats of any kind?

The type of corrosion that mixing metals causes is called galvanic corrosion.  For galvanic corrosion to occur you need to have an electrolyte between the two metals.  Mixing the metals of a bolt and hanger can be a problem because water can get trapped between the two components creating a galvanic cell, but on the external portions of an anchor, any water that gets on the anchor quickly dries which makes it so there is no galvanic cell, and therefor no galvanic corrosion.  

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,052
Ken Noyce wrote:

The type of corrosion that mixing metals causes is called galvanic corrosion.  For galvanic corrosion to occur you need to have an electrolyte between the two metals.  Mixing the metals of a bolt and hanger can be a problem because water can get trapped between the two components creating a galvanic cell, but on the external portions of an anchor, any water that gets on the anchor quickly dries which makes it so there is no galvanic cell, and therefor no galvanic corrosion.  

So, in a perfect world metal types would match?

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
James Schroeder wrote:

So, in a perfect world metal types would match?

No, the point of my post is that for the portions of an anchor that are external to the rock, in a perfect world it doesn't matter if they match or not.

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,052
Ken Noyce wrote:

No, the point of my post is that for the portions of an anchor that are external to the rock, in a perfect world it doesn't matter if they match or not.

Ok, all else being equal, which is better, matching or not matching?

Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 143

James,

All else being equal, you may as well just flip a coin. If the connection between two pieces of metal of interest is external to the rock, it does not matter if the metals match or not. One is not better than the other.

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,052
Alexander Blum wrote:

James,

All else being equal, you may as well just flip a coin. If the connection between two pieces of metal of interest is external to the rock, it does not matter if the metals match or not. One is not better than the other.

According to one guy (Ken) on the internet who said some smart-sounding stuff, but cites no evidence. Ken admits galvanic corrosion can be a problem when different types of metal touch each other in humid environments. Such a problem even that hardware manufacturer ClimbTech sells a specific installation tool for their bolts so that different types of metal don't impact each other during bolt installation whereafter there is no "galvanic cell" created by trapped water - only a brief impact of differing metal types. It seems to me that even if galvanic corrosion is low-probability in relatively dry environments; the high consequences of failure are worthy of consideration (as is the length of effective and safe service of the hardware). There is no doubt that, all else being equal (and if possible), it is better to install the same type of metal together than different types. Like I said in my original post, "In a perfect world you'd match stainless to stainless and plated to plated." This is unquestionably true. Matching metals are a better (even if only marginally) combination in all environments.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply