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Here are the anchors up top at High Anxiety.  Stainless Steel bolt on left is bomber, however, the two rusted bolts on the right should be replaced.
ID 111026728 ·

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Chris Walden
Sep 14, 2015
Here are the anchors up top at High Anxiety. Stainless Steel bolt on left is bomber, however, the two rusted bolts on the right should be replaced.  
When in doubt, 'ping' an unloaded bolt hanger and listen to its sound. A mid- or high-frequency metallic sound (best of all when it rings like a bell) generally indicates a mechanically sound bolt in a decent placement, even if there is visible surface corrosion present. A low frequency ring or a thud may (but doesn't always) indicate weak steel or unsound rock. Keep in mind too that the visible portion of a bolt (or piton for that matter) may look okay but the hidden part can be weakened or even rotten- another good reason to sound the placement to subjectively gauge its reliability. The older bolts on the High Anxiety anchor are either 3/8" masonry wedge type or 1/2" sleeve type with a 3/8" operating screw, and may not be of top commercial quality so they are likely to have degraded rapidly in Oklahoma's changeable wet weather. The spacer washer behind the center bolt's hanger suggests it is a sleeve anchor which loosened under use and was eventually retightened to the limit of its design expansion range. Further attempts to retighten at this point may overtorque and weaken the screw. Or, this bolt may have originally been placed in a slightly too-shallow hole. A spacer behind the hanger is at best only a temporary repair so the center bolt may be a candidate for replacement the next time a competent bolter is working in the area but for now it's okay since it's loaded only in shear while in use and is fully backed-up by two other bolts, one of which is reassuringly modern, strong and corrosion-resistant. Regardless, stay away from this center bolt or any climbing hardware with a wrench unless you are qualified and have permission. The depth of bolts is anyone's guess if you weren't there to see them installed but in this configuration there is no effective pullout force under belay/descent loads and the older units probably have a rated shear strength at least comparable to the breaking strength of the hangers. Obviously the newer and higher-quality stainless 5-piece bolt shown on the left is presently the key point of this anchor station. However the real weak links in this anchor, literally, are the cheap unrated hammer-links attaching the chains to the bolts but typically these will hold a ton so since the load is shared on three points, the likelihood of total anchor failure is practically zero. I think the best update for this station for now is new high-quality 3/8" chain and appropriately-rated quick-links on the outer bolts if not all three. Removing the old hammer-links is best done with a powerful bolt cutter or with vise-grips and a hacksaw, to avoid damaging the hangers. Then I would consider replacing the center bolt with a modern stainless unit such as a Power bolt/Rawl 5-piece or a Cobra Super-sleeve. Oct 24, 2015

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