Mountain Project Logo

If you are interested.


Original Post
Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/safety-alert-for-fixe-lower-offs
and
http://www.fixeclimbing.com/fixe-comments-to-safety-issue-with-anchor-chains-from-fixe/?fbclid=IwAR1sqXHzZvyTAMnAbK02lW1rhzdxMxsSUVvH0ZtX1npF_zht8MmrlGPRK_U
Greg Kuchyt · · Richmond, VT · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 924

Jim,
The DAV posting explicitly calls out busy roads as an influencer, but my question is does anybody know how much of an influencer? Or more pointedly at what proximity to a road is there cause for concern?

We have a new cliff opening up here that's about 400m from an Interstate (our version of the Bundesautobahn). This gets salted in the winter and with our heavy melt-freeze cycles this often gets mixed in with meltwater and becomes a spray that likely gets picked up by the wind. I guess a lot of speculation follows from there but I was just curious if anyone (in the DAV or elsewhere) has explored this?

This cliff has been closed for 30 years so there wasn't a lot of development there and anything that's been rebolted was done so with 316L but a ton of routes just went in this year with 304.

Andrew Rational · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2018 · Points: 10

Very interesting. These are some specific instances that would have never crossed my mind if not for your post. Thanks Jim.

Here is a dumb question for you though: in my specific area, we have generally alkaline soils, and actual alkali flats, and the wind definitely blows it around. We also have low precipitation, about 8-10 inches a year. Should this affect my bolt material choice?

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Greg Kuchyt wrote: Jim,
The DAV posting explicitly calls out busy roads as an influencer, but my question is does anybody know how much of an influencer? Or more pointedly at what proximity to a road is there cause for concern?

We have a new cliff opening up here that's about 400m from an Interstate (our version of the Bundesautobahn). This gets salted in the winter and with our heavy melt-freeze cycles this often gets mixed in with meltwater and becomes a spray that likely gets picked up by the wind. I guess a lot of speculation follows from there but I was just curious if anyone (in the DAV or elsewhere) has explored this?

This cliff has been closed for 30 years so there wasn't a lot of development there and anything that's been rebolted was done so with 316L but a ton of routes just went in this year with 304.

Can´t say I can remember anything about roads from the DAV but there´s a fair few cliffs right by busy salted roads around here and I´ve never heard anyone say anything specific. I live right beside a busy road which is regularly salted and apart from the first few yards the vegetation suffering nothing seems to happen. My stainless mailbox looks fine after 40 years!

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Andrew Rational wrote: Very interesting. These are some specific instances that would have never crossed my mind if not for your post. Thanks Jim.

Here is a dumb question for you though: in my specific area, we have generally alkaline soils, and actual alkali flats, and the wind definitely blows it around. We also have low precipitation, about 8-10 inches a year. Should this affect my bolt material choice?

In an alkali desert? Surely anything would do?

Andrew Rational · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2018 · Points: 10
Jim Titt wrote:

In an alkali desert? Surely anything would do?

Hey, you’re the expert, and that’s why I’m asking you.

Greg Kuchyt · · Richmond, VT · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 924
Jim Titt wrote:

Can´t say I can remember anything about roads from the DAV but there´s a fair few cliffs right by busy salted roads around here and I´ve never heard anyone say anything specific. I live right beside a busy road which is regularly salted and apart from the first few yards the vegetation suffering nothing seems to happen. My stainless mailbox looks fine after 40 years!

That's what I would figure, I've never heard of roadside crags having bolt failures related to SCC, just an interesting point in the DAV release that made my eyebrow raise. Though as I re-read their release, that point is attributed to Fixe and not from a finding by the DAV. Maybe the context is slightly different when pushed through translation software too?

As translated...
"FIXE continues to attribute the problem to stress corrosion cracking and says that the problem does not exist in climbing gyms that are not in the immediate vicinity of sources of influence such as swimming pools, industry, busy roads, agriculture, etc."

https://www.alpenverein.de/bergsport/sicherheit/warnhinweise/update-zum-sicherheitsproblem-bei-umlenkketten-von-fixe_aid_32421.html
Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Andrew Rational wrote:

Hey, you’re the expert, and that’s why I’m asking you.

Ha! To be an expert one needs to have studied the subject  

Having seen a few alkali flats and climbed next to one in some godforsaken place down in Nevada/Arizona my view is;-
The local residents seemd to be social outcasts who spent their days polishing their machine guns and shooting rattlers, the climbing was absolute rubbish and the bolting button-heads whose strength I didn´t test. The lack of corrosion on the junked cars, abandoned buildings and deserted mines leads me to believe any kind of bolt would be acceptable but leaving the area for anywhere nicer would be preferable. I went to Cochise.  
Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Greg Kuchyt wrote:

That's what I would figure, I've never heard of roadside crags having bolt failures related to SCC, just an interesting point in the DAV release that made my eyebrow raise. Though as I re-read their release, that point is attributed to Fixe and not from a finding by the DAV. Maybe the context is slightly different when pushed through translation software too?

As translated...
"FIXE continues to attribute the problem to stress corrosion cracking and says that the problem does not exist in climbing gyms that are not in the immediate vicinity of sources of influence such as swimming pools, industry, busy roads, agriculture, etc."

https://www.alpenverein.de/bergsport/sicherheit/warnhinweise/update-zum-sicherheitsproblem-bei-umlenkketten-von-fixe_aid_32421.html

Well yeah, there´s some disagreement going on in the background that isn´t in the press releases, in fact a lot of disagreement! There are a number of other occurances of cracking in the chains (and the rings) which it´s hard to put down to being in some vile industrial area of pollution so Fixe are adding environments to the danger list as the numbers mount up. Quite how agriculture is causing a problem it´s hard to see and being near an outdoor pool in Germany is laughable, the water has (not suprisingly) to be drinkable.

The current interest from our side (I´m a member of the BMC Tech commitee) is two things (leaving aside the cracks). Firstly the recommended short-term fix was to add maillons to by-pass the failing links but as we see the next link has also failed which implies it wasn´t some problem with re-welding the first link but a general problem. The disturbing feature is that normally there is an element of fail-safe built in to the chain, even without the weld to bend open the link should require just over 6kN and clearly the chainset wasn´t subjected to a force of this level (as it was a vee chainset the force should have been over 10kN to fail). The second issue is that the "new" short-term solution from the DAV is a draw to the ring but we have seen cracks and complete failure of these as well, the fail-safe level of these is between 3 and 5.7kN which doesn´t inspire confidence.
John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 612

"Update 02/11/2018
DAV has issued an updated alert, following additional information and a statement issued by Fixe, the manufacturer. Fixe have stated that as the cause of the cracking is stress corrosion cracking (SCC), then this issue should only affect units manufactured from AISI 304 material, which are clearly marked "INOX". In addition, because SCC is linked to environmental factors, locations at risk are those in the vicinity of swimming pools, industry, busy roads and of course seacliffs."

Of all the cracked hardware I've seen on Cayman Brac, Fixe products were by far the worst.  They cracked in the least amount of time and usually in multiple places.   So I'm not at all surprised they are the first to crack pretty much everywhere, even non-tropical, non-seacliff areas.  

M Hanna · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 5

So does this same issue apply to the INOX inline chainsets? Not sure why it would be different as this end link is hand welded to the upper hanger....
Just read Jim's comments above and reread the data sheet, if marked INOX, these are subject too. Please correct me if I'm missing something.

Dang, we have lots of these in Washington state....

MH

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 15,932
M Hanna wrote: So does this same issue apply to the INOX inline chainsets?

fyi . . .
"inox"
is the French word for Stainless Steel.

PatMas · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
kenr wrote:

fyi . . .
"inox"
is the French word for Stainless Steel.

I understood it as a more accurate description than ‘stainless’ in-oxidizable is a much more accurate than stainless, cause that shit will stain

C. Williams · · the Climber Cave · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 1,258

If I am reading this correctly, all manually welded components on Fixe anchors manufactured from AISI 304 could develop cracks due to SCC? Have any of these failed units been found in North America?

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 612
C. Williams wrote: If I am reading this correctly, all manually welded components on Fixe anchors manufactured from AISI 304 could develop cracks due to SCC? Have any of these failed units been found in North America?

Welded (manually or automatically) doesn't really matter.   Yes, 304 (and 316) can develop SCC depending on several environmental factors (rock type, average temperature, rainfall, vegetation, age of the hardware, location).   Yes, SCC cracked hardware has been found in North America, mostly on the West Coast, since high concentrations of salt accelerates the development of SCC but inland areas are susceptable too, if other factors are present.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
C. Williams wrote: If I am reading this correctly, all manually welded components on Fixe anchors manufactured from AISI 304 could develop cracks due to SCC? Have any of these failed units been found in North America?

I´m currently investigating a load of these chainsets and a preliminary observation is that the manual welding isn´t specifically the culprit but the original factory welds on one type of chain used which have every appearance of being subject to crevice corrosion and the manual welding was done over this weld. The actual strength of the manually welded parts is without question i.e the welder was competent and worked correctly (albeit a bit untidily). Classic SCC is incredibly unlikely in some of the failure locations I know of and the list of "suspect" environments given by Fixe is laughable!

Rob warden The space lizard · · Now...where? · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 0

Watching this closely.

Glad I have been learning from my bad old days and adopting 316 from climbtech/teamtuff. It's like a dollar more than the expansion bolts I used before.

As a (bad) welder... fixes welds... are bad. Takes one to know one and such. 

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,346
PatMas wrote:

I understood it as a more accurate description than ‘stainless’ in-oxidizable is a much more accurate than stainless, cause that shit will stain

Stainless means stain-less. Not stain-proof. As in, it stains less than other forms of steel.

M Hanna · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 5

Thanks for the update Jim- much appreciated.

M. Hanna

climber pat · · Las Cruces NM · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 241
20 kN wrote:

Stainless means stain-less. Not stain-proof. As in, it stains less than other forms of steel.

Actually the meaning of less as a suffix is without.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/-less
C. Williams · · the Climber Cave · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 1,258
Rob the tricam wrote:As a (bad) welder... fixes welds... are bad. Takes one to know one and such. 

This was my thought as well. It looks like the cracks developing in association with the welds are occurring at the edge of the heat affected zone. Could Fixe possibly be using an improper procedeur with too much heat input? Austenitic stainless is pretty sensitive to heat input during welding.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
Post a Reply to "If you are interested."

Log In to Reply