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Mixing Metal on Anchor Chains. Thoughts? Experience?


Original Post
Bobby Hutton · · Gold Country CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 767

Short Question; Does anyone have any insight on mixing steel on an anchor set up. The bolt and the first quick link would be stainless and the chain and or mussy hook would be Zink plated or some other cheaper steel. Is this a total no no or a generally acceptable practice because it can be inspected and changed easily. 

Long story, 

I am getting ready to put in a number of sport routes at a new area. I have some experience developing routes but am an expert by no means and do my best to do research and ask questions when I am unsure about something. My goal is to buy in bulk to cut cost and to standardize the hardware in the area so I am doing my best to iron out an intelligent shopping list where I am putting in top quality industry standard hardware while not over spending. I am not trying to do it the cheapest way possible, nor am I trying to spend money on unnecessary expensive hardware.  I am sure many of you can relate.

I am debating on how I should set up my anchors.  I am planning on putting in Climbtech Wave Bolts which are Stainless, In the past I have just put a single stainless quick link on each anchor bolt. I am considering using chain and or mussy hooks (the ones that Climbtech offers (http://www.climbtechgear.com/top-anchor-hook-sold-out-until-february/)) to make the anchors more user friendly. Stainless Steel chains seem to be prohibitively expensive (3 or 4 times the cost of similar steel chains) so I would put in two quick links or a quick link and a rappel ring before I would put in SS chain. I really like the idea of the climbtech mussy hooks having used mussy hooks at a number of sport climbing areas, but I am concerned enough about the galvanic corrosion to reach out and try to find a consensus on what other route developers are doing. 

Other Factors. The rock is volcanic breccia at about 8000 feet in the Sierra Nevada's. 

Thanks for your input. 

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

What climate you are bolting in would be a good start. Assuming you aren't bolting in an environment where things like stress crack corrosion are a known problem, you should be fine mixing metals in the way you describe. Remember galvanic corrosion preferentially corrodes the non SS part of the setup, being that the non SS chain and quicklinks are outside of the rock and easily inspect-able, most would not find this to be a problem. Galvanic corrosion is unlikely to be a problem in the first place in your scenario since their is only a small amount of contact between the metals and the setup isn't prone to being wet for long periods of time like the inside of a bolt hole. If you want to split the difference you can get hot dipped galvanized chain which will hold up to rust far longer than zinc plated chain. 

We have used the setup you described with Wave Glue-Ins and Climb Tech Hooks/Plated Quicklinks here in Red River Gorge without issues.

Although unnecessary if you wanted to go all SS, you can certainly find SS chain at a reasonable price. 30 seconds of googling netted me this https://www.westechrigging.com/chain-516-ss316.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA2NXTBRDoARIsAJRIvLzdRjT2q56J_AWrtmxYz_gciOn6J1CRgkMzwE_yP4xuNcDfJkQPWkQaAjaIEALw_wcB which puts your cost at less than $10 per anchor for chain. Keep in mind the SWL listed is usually 3-10 times breaking strength, 5x is most typical in my experience for things like chain, so 5/16" could be considered overkill, but you won't be able to fit quicklinks or carabiners in smaller sizes.    

frank bonnevie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 86

go with SS, in 60 years it all gets replaced.

Bobby Hutton · · Gold Country CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 767

Thanks DrRockso, that is the kind of input I was hoping for. SCC should not be an issue as these will be in Volcanic Breccia up in the Sierra Nevada's at about 8000' and I have no intention of putting bolts or anchors in a section that has any type of seasonal running water or excessive moisture just bc that rock is weaker. I had forgotten or did not know about the non SS part of the equation is the most damaged during galvanic corrosion, but of course it makes perfect sense. I will take a look at the hot dipped chain. Really good to hear about the Climb tech hooks and the Wave bolts bc that would be my prefered set up. As always thanks for the good advice and letting me benefit from your experience. 

That is a really good deal. I spent a couple hours the other day googling SS chain and could not find anything for less the 12 a foot but I was looking at 3/8 as I have a ton on 12 mm quicklinks and was unsure the 5/16 would be large enough to accept those links. 

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450

Stainless chain is super expensive, I wouldn’t buy it.  Use galvanized. It will get some surface rust but it will Ben a very long time before it’s compromised, I’d guess 25 years or more in that’s climate.

The other option is fixed biners on your quicklinks.  Old biners you don’t use, or you can find old stuff on eBay for $3 a Biner or less, cheaper than a SS quicklink. I’ll donate some if you let me climb your routes  :-)


Bobby Hutton · · Gold Country CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 767

Thanks Caughtinside, I have thought about the old biner option but I am going for something more uniform. Since you are more or less in the area I would be happy if you came out and took a look if I could swear you to secrecy for awhile. 

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

12mm quicklinks are unlikely to work with 5/16" chain. Keep in mind unless it's a wear component (and you have a smooth edge hanger like the wave bolt), anything over 8mm/ 5/16" is overkill since the wave bolts are only manufactured from 6mm rod stock and high quality 8mm SS ql's are rated to 40kn+. It's a good idea to use loctite on SS ql's as the metal doesn't have a lot of friction and can come loose pretty easily. 

Bobby Hutton · · Gold Country CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 767

Good tip on the loctite. Yeah well aware that 12mm quick links are overkill but I got a good deal on 75 or 80 of them so I am using them. One of my mottos is " overkill is under rated". 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 484

Some manufacturers make short lengths of swaged cable coupled with a quicklink and steel biner as a set-up for permadraws. In my experience this has been a more economical option than chain because chain is fucking expensive.

I'm not sure how these compared price wise to mussy hooks, so depending on the price difference, mussies might be more economical if they take longer to wear out.

When you're thinking about material choices for parts that will get worn, it's good to think about whether parts will end up being replaced because they're too worn or because their too corroded. How corrosive is the environment? How much traffic is it going to see? How abrasive is the sediment that will be getting into ropes?

If it's a mega classic at some place like ORG or the desert then it's definitely going to get worn long before corroded. If it's some remote backcountry adventure experience up in the mountains that sees an ascent once a year or so, it's going to corrode long before it gets worn out. If it's something in between, use your brain and weigh the factors.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

Climb tech mussies are $6 each, about as cheap as most steel biners and about 6 times the amount of material to wear through, they have a nice wiregate that should hold up to the elements a lot longer than the hardware store style mussy gate. If it's some backcountry adventure up in the mountains, let's just leave the convenience anchors off it all together. 

I don't prefer the premade permadraws for anchors anchors because if the wear point start to get dangerous there is no way to fix it on the fly without a wrench and additional supplies, chains with a steel biner allow the biner to simply be removed or replaced, chains also allow for multiple clip in points, which encourages people to set up your own draws to top rope through until the last person, whereas if you have cabled permadraws people will almost always just top rope through the fixed gear. 

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
eli poss wrote:

Some manufacturers make short lengths of swaged cable coupled with a quicklink and steel biner as a set-up for permadraws. In my experience this has been a more economical option than chain because chain is fucking expensive.


Hmm, a ClimbTech cable draw which fails to conform to EN959/UIAA123 on both strength and materials costs $8.95, 8mm long-link 316 stainless chain which is twice as strong as required and can be clipped/threaded anywhere costs $6.40 for the equivelent length and for most anchors would be $3.20.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 484

Never looked at the climbtech cable draw but the one from camp is about 15 bucks for quicklink, cable, and biner. And I've never seen stainless chain that cheap

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,080

It seems like every new, "modern" sport crag should be getting ram's horns instead of chains unless it tops out....... JB

http://www.titanclimbing.com/ram's-horns.html

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450
John Barritt wrote:

It seems like every new, "modern" sport crag should be getting ram's horns instead of chains unless it tops out....... JB

http://www.titanclimbing.com/ram's-horns.html

14 bucks? Good luck with that. Are the non-titanium ones for less?

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,080
caughtinside wrote:

14 bucks? Good luck with that. Are the non-titanium ones for less?

Why do people want to save money on life-saving stuff? 

Easy to install, easy to replace, you can lower/set up top ropes without untying, you don't need a PAS, $14 seems pretty cheap considering the number of deaths and injuries from sport anchor falls to me.


Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
eli poss wrote:

Never looked at the climbtech cable draw but the one from camp is about 15 bucks for quicklink, cable, and biner. And I've never seen stainless chain that cheap

http://team-tough.com/product/8mm-x-52mm-316-ss-chain/

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

14 bucks? Good luck with that. Are the non-titanium ones for less?

http://team-tough.com/product/woo-single-2-2/

There are other suppliers in Europe.

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 4,999
Jim Titt wrote:

http://team-tough.com/product/woo-single-2-2/

There are other suppliers in Europe.

Plus they have the 8mm SS Twist bolt, which is beefier than the wave bolt, which I prefer. 

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,249
John Barritt wrote:

It seems like every new, "modern" sport crag should be getting ram's horns instead of chains unless it tops out....... JB

http://www.titanclimbing.com/ram's-horns.html

I personally go for Mussy's as they will last longer (more metal to wear through), are easier to use (not that rams horns are difficult), are just as easy to replace as ram's horns, and are less expensive.  Either way though, I agree that all modern sport routes should have a drop in anchor system.

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 4,999

I don't like the crappy "gates" usually found om Mussys

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,249
M Sprague wrote:

I don't like the crappy "gates" usually found om Mussys

I agree, that is the worst part of them, the climb tech ones however do have pretty nice wiregates (although they are also more expensive than crappy gated mussy's).

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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