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jkrueger

Bad Anchor Hardware

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What's the best long-term solution for anchor hardware that does little to inspire one's confidence?

I ran into this situation a couple of times last season on climbs at infrequently visited locales. One anchor consisted of 2 sets of rusting chains bolted to the rock and held in place by washers. The other contained multiple sets of slings tied through 2 hangers and what looked to be a hardware store rap ring. In both cases the bolts and/or hangers looked bomber, but everything else was questionable.

The climbs are worthwhile, and I plan on returning, so I figure I might as well do something about the anchors while I'm there. Any suggestions?

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Sounds bomber to me. Replace the webbing though if you want. Prety tame compared to most anchors you find/build in the mountains.

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Years ago I read an article about webbing strengths after sun bleaching etc. They took a bunch of old totally bleached out webbing from anchors in Yosimite and tested it. When it had no cuts or holes it tested out at 50% of it's original strength.

I always make sure old webbing is at least doubled. If it is, I'm happy. If you shop at the hardware store, take lots of epoxy to weatherproof anything that might rust.

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Sounds like you may be talking about Flagstone. If you are; most of the bad stuff is being replaced, slowly. Feel free to put in new bolts and chains if you want.

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I have a policy of always threading a new piece of webbing through the old anchors, no matter how many are already there, no matter how new they seem to be. It might seem excessive, but how much does webbing cost, and how stupid would the story be that lives on after you, that you failed to take such a simple step and then had the webbing (somebody else's old webbing) fail? Of course this is no help if the anchors themselves are no good.

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I get most of my rap slings thanks to guys like Norman Clyde, who leave extra bomber webbing in perfectly good anchors. My best score was a full set up of locking biners and sewn webbing somene had left on the anchors atop Orchard Rock when they rapped off. wait, you say - Orchard Rock has rap ring anchors. exactly grin.gif" border="0 BOOTY grin.gif" border="0

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norman i disagree with you on leaving all the slings at a rap or belay......how much of a cluster fuck do you need???

if there are good pices then leave it alone, if it needs a pieace add it, but clean off the rattiest slings

huge nests of slings only provide a false sense of security....and create confusion?!?!?!?

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Back to the original question -- I would suggest that you first ask yourself if the anchors are truly inadequate. If you do decided to upgrade them, try to leave the station better than you found it and to me this means leaving behind station that is strong and neat – preferably equipped with "name brand" chains or rappel anchors made by Metolious or Petzl or Fixe or some other climbing equipment manufacturer so that somebody who doesn't like the looks of hardware store chain or bleached webbing won't feel compelled to add to a growing heap of trash.

I like the hangers with a ring or two rings on them, made by Fixe, which leave plenty of room for a rappel rope and a ‘biner. Unfortunately, however, some climbers finding these anchors side-by-side seem to think they have to "equalize" the anchors and pretty quickly you have the cabbage patch that Erik complains of.

Be aware that simply removing and replacing a nut may weaken the original bolt if the existing nut is fixed by corrosion or lock-tite or if you crank the nut back on too tightly. Also, I am told that a nut installed a second time loses half its strength so you should at least replace the nuts if you remove one. If you have any trouble removing or reinstalling a nut and hanger, you should probably think about how to cleanly remove one of the old anchor bolts and adding a new one.

Are there any other ideas out there?

[ 01-31-2002: Message edited by: mattp ]

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I agree that you shouldn't trust a huge nest of slings - who knows how old they are, how long they've been exposed, when the knots will slip, how your luck is holding, etc. So, if in doubt, I would take out the old ratty crap and replace it with something I trust. But even though this will get me down in the moment, I feel it just perpetuates the condition... Before you know it there's a whole nest of slings up there again and Dru's got more booty.

What I'm looking for is the long-term solution to a station that is inadequate - do it once and do it right!

So, if there is are two existing bolts, nuts, and hangers that are bomber, can you add a couple of quick-links in place of the existing webbing mess? What about quick-links and some rap rings? Are quick-links even suitable for such an application? What about corrosion if the metals are not all the same?

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you need the $1200 electronic carabiner that was hyped on rec.climbing about 2 years ago. i believe Gander Mountain has some in stock. rolleyes.gif" border="0

seriously, though, quicklinks work fine, get the stainless ones though, and no need for rap rings as well unless you are worried about rope twisting. for building permanent stations on new routes I find a pair of bolts, hangers, lap links or quicklinks, and two 3" lengths of 3/8" stainless chain makes for a bomber rap station.

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I think most ratty old slings are pretty bomber. I've seen a few horendous fixed pieces (like ancient rurps and shit)in Yosemite with mystery sling that you wouldn't wanna walk your dog with...but it held fine.

I have never been so freaked out as I was by the anchors in Thailand...old, completley sunbleached, ratty, salt encrusted slings every where. But people trust them like there is no tommorow.

I go by the theory that if you leave a sling you should take a sling as well, or two.

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Fuck that. Your playing Russian Roullette with those gnarly old slings. Its cheap and easy to just replace them. I trust old cord alot more than I do webbing though.

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quote:

Originally posted by Lambone:
I think most ratty old slings are pretty bomber. I've seen a few horendous fixed pieces (like ancient rurps and shit)in Yosemite with mystery sling that you wouldn't wanna walk your dog with...but it held fine.

I go by the theory that if you leave a sling you should take a sling as well, or two.

Preparing to rap off of the Chopping Block in the southern Picketts, I backed up an old sling with a couple others and threaded the rope through all three. My two were a bit longer and so when I weighted the anchor, the old sling was the first to take the weight. It crackled, split and then fell apart. I used to trust ratty slings before then. Never since. Back them up. Slings are cheap.

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quote:

Originally posted by Dru:
I get most of my rap slings thanks to guys like Norman Clyde, who leave extra bomber webbing in perfectly good anchors. My best score was a full set up of locking biners and sewn webbing somene had left on the anchors atop Orchard Rock when they rapped off. wait, you say - Orchard Rock has rap ring anchors. exactly
grin.gif" border="0
BOOTY
grin.gif" border="0

The south Face of the Tooth has huge bundles of rap slings by summers end. Overkill? I think so.

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Leave a sling, take a sling or two... that seems an excellent rule of thumb!

As for stainless quick-links, that makes for an quick and easy (and relatively inexpensive compared to the electro-biner) solution when there are existing hangers.

Now, regarding the rusty chains secured by a bolt and a washer... I was hoping I could just remove the nut, add one of those hanger & rap ring combos, and put the nut back on. But if this is going to diminish the strength of the setup by 1/2, as Matt hypothesizes, then it won't be so easy. Is it best to strip it down to the bare hole and start over with all new hardware? What if the hole is either too deep or shallow - should I have a drill on hand just in case?

*Sexual pun not intended in the use of the words strip, hole, bare, deep or shallow. Smart ass retorts expected...

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Can someone drill new bolts on the side of Drury Falls so I can sport clip my way up it. If you leave ratty slings I dont care as long as I can clip those fat bolts grin.gif" border="0

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Fixed anchors on popular routes should:- Be simple- Be field maintainable- Be of easily ascertainable design- Be bomber- Be inconspicuous if possible

If they are bolts I think that they should not be of too new ( not time tested) or of home spun design. For example about 15-20 years ago Taper bolts were the rage. It was soon discovered that these were dangerous and they fell out of fashion. Washer/chain systems in place on many Si/38 routes are an example bad home spun design. Another example is the old Metolius cable anchor. These were a terrible design by an otherwise fine company.

A Fixe with the integral ring are nice now but on a popular route how fast will the ring wear out? A better solution in my book is a short length of chain attached to a regular hanger via a quick link. Think of painting the whole mess so it will not have too big of a visual impact.

If you are replacing a bolt don’t even consider anything less than 3/8” 1/2” SS is even better esp. if you are using a rotohammer.

Once you start messing with an anchor be prepared to replace a whole new one. Even if you don’t intend to, you might have to due to unforeseen circumstances.

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I didn't mean to suggest that removing and reinstalling a nut would "reduce the setup" by 1/2. I have been told that it reduces the nut strength by 1/2, but in most situations the nut itself is not the most critical part of the system. In a vertical or less than vertical location, any loading will mostly come as a shear pull on the bolt itself, with a relatively small load being placed on the nut. Still, if there is any truth to what I've been told, it is easy to replace a nut (they're cheap). There could be some conflicting metal issues, though, and I'm not entirely sure about this. Anybody know?

I suggested removing a bolt if you are going to add a new one because I find belay stations with a whole nest of bolts unsightly -- it is not uncommon to find four or five bolts at a belay on a popular climb, and the extra bolts tend to sprout rappel slings, even if there are new chains on two bomber bolts, because someone backs them up to the nearby old bolts "just in case." In my view, one of the primary reasons for re-doing a belay station is to reduce the visibility of these stations from the ground and it is the heaps of webbing that are so easy to spot – not the bolts themselves.

As far as re-using holes, I would not recommend pulling out a bolt and putting another of equal dimension back into the same hole unless it was a petzl 5 piece or similar bolt that can be unscrewed and pulled out without damaging the hole. To reuse a hole, you should generally re-drill the hole in the next larger size and install a larger bolt (remember, some bolts will leave a wedge or sleeve behind, and this will frustrate your efforts to redrill the hole). Alternatively, try to leave the cleanest hole possible and maybe even patch it -- then drill a new hole several inches away.

Puget is right -- if you start messing around with a belay station, be prepared to replace the whole thing after you break a bolt or drop something or ...

[ 01-31-2002: Message edited by: mattp ]

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quote:

Originally posted by specialed:
Fuck that. Your playing Russian Roullette with those gnarly old slings. Its cheap and easy to just replace them. I trust old cord alot more than I do webbing though.

I meant on lead, I'd never rap off a rusty rurp with mystery tat...

We replaced some of the old rope threads in Thailand, many are passed through sketcky looking pockest shocked.gif" border="0

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quote:

Originally posted by Lambone:
I've seen a few horendous fixed pieces (like ancient rurps and shit)in Yosemite with mystery sling that you wouldn't wanna walk your dog with...but it held fine.

Yeah, like that freakin 2 or 3mm ratty ass piece of cord on the fixed rurp on Touchstone, all frayed and bleached, I really thought it'd pop (I wasn't rapping off it) but it hung in there and is still there as far as I know.

Lammy's comment about taking one if you leave one is also my own feeling. Having to weed through tons of slings makes analyzing the anchor a pain. Routes like Ancient Art, the Lost Arrow tip, etc always have a shitload of slings in varrying degrees of decay. I once cut six sets of slings off the "sidewalk belay" on ancient art (and if anyone goes to do the LA tip sometime soon, take something to cut that damn cable off the anchor, thing stabbed the shit out of me).

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Ever notice that the poorer the anchor is, the more slings are on it to "back it up"? As if 20 slings around a pine sprig the diameter of a two-year-old's wrist sprouting from a one-inch crack somehow makes the pine stronger.

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Thanks everyone for all of the excellent info - much appreciated!

After grasping exactly what's involved and what can go wrong, I'm not about to start messing with an existing bolt until I am fully prepared to replace it with a new one in the event the worst should happen!

As for quicklinks - does anyone have a good recommendation and source for these? Quicklinks don't seem to be everyday items that the local climbing shop will keep on hand.

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stainless steel ones cost $3.50 CDN each at Home Depot or $2.00 each at MEC. Hmmmmmm. tough call there.

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