Monday, 02 July 2012 00:00

Warning Of Chloride Corrosion Of Anchors By The UIAA

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Warning Of Chloride Corrosion Of Anchors By The UIAA

07/02/12, Bern, Switzerland: The UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) states that there is an increased risk of corrosion caused degradation of anchors in marine and humid environment.


According with the UIAA, the risk of stress corrosion cracking (SCC) and galvanic corrosion is a well-known problem, especially when an anchor is mounted with different metal types. Additionally to that it has been discovered that in certain ranges of humidity, salt deposits on some kinds of stainless steel can cause chloride stress corrosion cracking much faster than expected. Chloride corrosion may cause not visible, serious damage to anchors and can even lead to a crack of it.



Photo: Petzl

Because of that, the UIAA started a working group to develop a new standard to choose the anchor suited to the environment. A big issue is to detect which location has a special risk of chloride corrosion, because such a decision is based on things like distance from the sea (or other source of salt), rainfall, humidity, temperature and wind conditions. The UIAA underlines that they work on a standard that is not only focused on chloride corrosion and other forms of SCC, but on all environmental caused corrosion degradation risks.

The UIAA Anchor Standard Revision Working Group presented the following recommendations on the recent UIAA Safety Commission Meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia:

  • Anchors should be classified in terms of their resistance to corrosion and to stress corrosion cracking
  • Standard tests and requirements are identified to rate anchors according to these classes

The UIAA Working Group recommends the following classes:

  • Class 1: High resistance to both general corrosion as well as to chloride SCC
  • Class 2: High resistance to general corrosion and moderate resistance to SCC
  • Class 3: High to moderate resistance to general corrosion and no specified/required SCC resistance
  • Class 4: No specified/required resistance to corrosion or to SCC

According with the UIAA statement a more detailed definition and the rationale behind these classes should be published with the proposal of the tests and requirements for the classification of the anchors. The UIAA points out the big issue, that the anchors on the market have no specified lifetime and the installed anchors are not always regularly inspected or replaced.
Consequently to the classification of anchors a statement of life time of the anchors and how to maintain and inspect them should be provided.

The responsibility should still be on side of the climber. The climber should evaluate if a route is safe or not. One recommendation of the UIAA is to gain information by local climbers about the durability and age of the anchors.

For the original press release of the UIAA follow the link.
The UIAA is an international federation of national mountaineering and climbing federations.


Read 1123 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 14:59
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