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Issue With Gate Spring on Anchor Biners?


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

Was looking for any experience or insight with issues folks have seen with the actual spring holding the gate shut of Draco Keylock carabiners used on sport anchors?

EXAMPLE

I climbed several routes this weekend in an area in TX (Reimer's Ranch) where these Draco's are very common on the anchors and had issue with several of them.  I did not confirm brand (I'm not sure if Draco is Fixe's name or a generic name for that style) or steel type but feel its a pretty safe assumption they were SS.  Its a fairly humid and rainy limestone cliff so PS rusts very quickly, and the local climbers org is very good about only using SS.

The first issue, was four separate biners where the gate was stuck shut.  The gate opened maybe 5 degrees but certainly not full motion or close enough to get the rope in.  I say that to say the gate was binding at the pin hinge, not the nose.  The second issue was on two more biners the gate was completely free hanging, zero spring force to keep the gate closed.  My suspicion is the springs in the gate are carbon steel and have rusted.  They have since broken or fused in place resulting in the issues seen.  I occasionally see similar issue on a handful of other ones in the area but not this severe and not so many close together.

Adam Mitchell TX · · Austin, TX · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 5

Mike, I’m the Executive Director of TCC and have been dealing with these crappy anchors for some time. We are phasing all of them out but there are some crappy ones out there. They are actually PS and put in before our SS only rule. Really they should last longer but the spring is just really low grade steel and is breaking or freezing. Pretty bummer bc Travis County bought these for the development of North Shore.

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

Thanks for the update Adam!  Is there anything we can do to help with the issue?  I know we can donate to TCC (and I do) but is there anything beyond that?

Adam Mitchell TX · · Austin, TX · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 5

All good mate. Thanks for donating and encourage your friends to join and donate as well. That’s the biggest help. I changed a bunch of these today. 

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 15,907

Nowadays I've heard some of the leading Sport areas are installing convenient lower-off anchor hardware with no moving parts.
e.g. Team-Tough pigstail (tho I prefer to call it a "rams horn").
Not merely Stainless but 316 Stainless.

Ken

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 523
kenr wrote: Nowadays I've heard some of the leading Sport areas are installing convenient lower-off anchor hardware with no moving parts.
e.g. Team-Tough pigstail (tho I prefer to call it a "rams horn").
Not merely Stainless but 316 Stainless.

Ken

People at rumney have been using those for years now and I've heard it seems to work well once you get the noobs educated enough to use them instead of threading the chain or quicklink it's connected to. I'm thinking about installing one on a popular climb at the local sport crag to test the waters here.

Nate Doyle · · Sierra Foothills · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 39

Not sure why they would thread the chains when they can thread the horn. So easy and convenient.

Bruce Hildenbrand · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2003 · Points: 1,200

This is what you want for anchors.  It's hardened steel so it lasts longer.  It's anodized so it won't rust.  It's a wire gate so the gate won't break or stick.  And best of all it costs just $6.



http://www.climbtechgear.com/top-anchor-hook/
Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35
Bruce Hildenbrand wrote: It's anodized so it won't rust.
FYI, its not anodized, its galvanized.  The website says it zinc coated which implies that 1) its carbon steel, 2) its galvanized (or electroplated) to get the zinc coating which means its plated carbon steel.  Anodizing is a different process that is not really used on steels but is common on aluminum.  You can't anodize carbon steel.

Plated steel is not recommended (particularly for humid or wet cliffs) as it rusts relatively quickly.
Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 411
Mike Slavens wrote: FYI, its not anodized, its galvanized.  The website says it zinc coated which implies that 1) its carbon steel, 2) its galvanized (or electroplated) to get the zinc coating which means its plated carbon steel.  Anodizing is a different process that is not really used on steels but is common on aluminum.  You can't anodize carbon steel.

Plated steel is not recommended (particularly for humid or wet cliffs) as it rusts relatively quickly.

They use those anchors in the RRG. I can't speak to that decision making process, but I think I'd consider the RRG a humid, wet environment and I tend to trust the folks there to know what they're doing. It may be that they reserve them for very high traffic routes where the mussey itself will probably only be there a few years before worn beyond use. Swapping it for a 316 SS carabiner probably wouldn't reduce cost since it would wear through faster (thinner?). Also, it's the end of the anchor and therefore relatively easy to replace.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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