Bolt corrosion warning from the UIAA

Posted by Dan Middleton on 18/11/2015
Corroded anchor warning from the UIAA

As a sport climber do you assume that all bolts are bomb-proof? Well, maybe it's time to think again. The UIAA have issued a warning through the Safety Commission, which is an important read for anyone who sport climbs or equips bolted routes, especially in warm coastal climates.

Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is a bit of a bogey-man for anyone who works with or uses stainless steel. This dangerous phenomenom has been found to be the cause behind the failure of stainless steel anchors in several warm, coastal locations around the world.

Extensive research has lead the UIAA Safety Commission to issue a warning about SCC in climbing anchors. It's well worth a read and poses many questions regarding the future path followed by climbers when it comes to equipping bolted routes.

As the number of locations where SCC failures have been confirmed or are suspected increases, so the need for a cost effective solution becomes more desirable for route equipers. SCC resistant bolts are available in Titanium and HCR Steel alloys but are expensive compared to the bolts which have previously been used. Full scale re-equipping using these types of bolt may require a fresh look at how bolt funds are financed.

For the bolt clipper about to head somewhere sunny for a holiday, read the advice, be careful and think about contributing to the local bolt fund if there is one.

READ: UIAA warning on climbing anchor failures

Read the UIAA warning here

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