Old SMC hangers - how many were produced?

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Messages 1 - 20 of total 31 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Greg Barnes

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 3, 2009 - 04:08am PT
OK, weird question of the month award, at least weird as far as climbing-related...

Ed Leeper told me once that he'd sold between 80,000 and 90,000 of his hangers over the 20+ years he made them.

Did anyone here work at SMC and have any idea how many of the old thin SMC hangers were sold?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 3, 2009 - 04:10am PT
Well I still have a bunch of them, thin enough to still cut keyhole hangers out of them.



Used a bunch of them putting together Prodigal Sun as a clean route.
Then somebody went up there and replaced a bunch of buttonheads without talking to me first.
You wouldn't know who that was would you Greg?
Greg Barnes

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2009 - 04:38am PT
I'm sure lots of hangers never made it to the point of rusting away on the cliffs - my dad has 10 Leepers he bought in the '60s and never placed (half with 1/4" Star-Dryvins, half with thread-head 1/4" split-shafts).

Ron, if you're talking about 10 years ago, it was probably ASCA-sponsored replacement:

Prodigal Son Replaced all anchors and most protection bolts (16 total). Some bad protection bolts remain on last two pitches 09/99 Jason Stevens and Jared Nielson

I don't know if they talked to you or not. We do try to contact the FAs but we weren't so great about that early on.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 3, 2009 - 10:13am PT
If they had you might have gotten the name of the route correctly,..
Jeremy

Social climber
Hanging with your mom...
Mar 3, 2009 - 11:39am PT
Too many.

I saw more recently than one should see in a lifetime.

Quasi-bomber.
ec

climber
ca
Mar 3, 2009 - 12:07pm PT
Those old thin plated hangers have more problems than rust. I've found some where the 'arm' of the carabiner hole near the fold was broken for no apparent reason. There might have been as many out there as Ed Leeper's...
 ec
Darryl Cramer

Social climber
Mar 3, 2009 - 12:31pm PT
They are still around:http://www.smcgear.net/

They use to be located a couple blocks from my house but a few years ago they moved north of Seattle. I think the right question to ask is not how many hangers they sold but how many of each design/material type.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Mar 3, 2009 - 12:40pm PT
Guy around here shattered an ankle when one broke on him during a lead fall. Not good.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 3, 2009 - 12:50pm PT
They were what was available at the time. Certainly replacement when used as critical pro is warranted, however it is also the responsibility of any leader to carefully examine and understand pro history and potential flaws and act with appropriate skepticism and caution.

Seeing them as time bombs is a bit simplistic.
Strider

Trad climber
one of god's mountain temples....
Mar 3, 2009 - 02:26pm PT
Your advice seems contradictory Ron. On one hand you say that it is the responsibility of the leader to assess the situation and on the other hand you say it is too simplistic to say they are time-bombs... A bolt should be viewed as trustworthy (bomber) or not (time bomber), there really isn't room for a gray area in there, at least in my opinion. Most of the SMC's out there are pretty freaking old, using old compression bolts that are...spicy to say the least....

eh, just don't fall.

-n
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 3, 2009 - 02:52pm PT
Nick,

> A bolt should be viewed as trustworthy (bomber) or not (time bomber), there really isn't room for a gray area in there, at least in my opinion.

In my view, there's plenty of gray area, but at some point everyone has to decide if a given bolt is something they feel is safe enough to use at the moment. So the two views may be equivalent once you have to make this type of decision.

For first ascent belay anchors and free climbing protection, given the low cost of stainless 3/8" bolts, and good quality carbide tipped drill bits, there is little reason to choose 1/4" and/or nonstainless, except maybe if you are drilling from a difficult stance.

Replacing hangerless aid bolts is a much trickier issue, because you need to match the original concept of low visual impact and sometimes aid routes are designed to be somewhat scary.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 3, 2009 - 02:52pm PT
"Seeing them as time bombs is a bit simplistic."

Simplistic, yes. Time bombs, yes. I take it as an absolute. I have seen too many older (thin, plated) SMC hangers with cracks. A frequent site of cracking is from the bolt hole to the outer edge. The steel was brittle, or there was a manufacturing defect in the heat treating or plating process. They were dangerous junk when they were made.

I am not aware of any problem with the modern SMC hangers made from thicker, stainless steel.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 3, 2009 - 02:59pm PT
Thanks Clint.

Let me put it this way; I may have what looks like a bomber nut, but before I run it out I'll probably look for another just in case.
We know bolts do fail occasionally. Climbing has risks. We either deal with them successfully or quit climbing,.. one way or another.
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Mar 3, 2009 - 03:04pm PT
There is a two fold problem with old bolts.

Firstly folks in the old days generally held with the principal of the leader must not fall. Hence bolts were placed sparsely, it sucks to drill by hand from a stance, and the bolts might have held, but in general weren't tested by falling on them.

Secondly in the several decades since the bolts were placed they have been degraded through corosion and there is a cadre of newer climbers that think nothing of falling on lead.

Every piece of lead pro should be scrutinized weather fixed or placed by the leader. If a piece is suspect it should be backed up, the leader shouldn't fall, or the leader should replace that manky bolt before clipping a going.

If everyone carried a bolt kit, tuning fork and a few 3/8" ss bolts, the world would be a better place then relying on the efforts of a few dedicated souls to replace the many manky bolts out there.

Strider

Trad climber
one of god's mountain temples....
Mar 3, 2009 - 03:15pm PT
Clint wrote, "So the two views may be equivalent once you have to make this type of decision."
That is kinda where I was going with my comments. There is plenty of gray area when you think about the actual strength of a 1,5,10,30 year old bolt but it all comes down to, do you trust it and for me, that is a black and white question.

Piton Ron wrote, "I may have what looks like a bomber nut, but before I run it out I'll probably look for another just in case. "
Those were my thoughts Ron. I only commented because you were starting to sound like Werner with your enigmatic comments. =)

tolman wrote, "If everyone carried a bolt kit, tuning fork and a few 3/8" ss bolts, the world would be a better place"
Lord help us if that ever happens!

-n

tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Mar 3, 2009 - 03:20pm PT
My comment about the bolt kit is in regards to folks replacing mank when they come across it. Not that I want a bunch of goobers out there botching bolt placements.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 3, 2009 - 03:24pm PT
"If everyone carried a bolt kit, tuning fork and a few 3/8" ss bolts, the world would be a better place then relying on the efforts of a few dedicated souls to replace the many manky bolts out there."

...and there would be a lot more manky bolts out there.


I've seen Greg and few others in action and these guys are absolutely experts at placement/removal/replacement. They take it very seriously and take a lot of pride in craftsmanship.

the average climber, or in my case, below average climber, has probably never touched a drill. In thirty years I've placed less than 10 bolts. I'd have to place many, many more to develop the judgement, the swing and the tendonitis required to drill a dead straight 3/8 hole in Meadows granite...and stance drilling on lead is exponentially more difficult.

edit: tolman_Paul you beat me to it
ec

climber
ca
Mar 3, 2009 - 03:38pm PT
"I have seen too many older (thin, plated) SMC hangers with cracks. A frequent site of cracking is from the bolt hole to the outer edge. The steel was brittle, or there was a manufacturing defect in the heat treating or plating process. They were dangerous junk when they were made."

Most likely: hydrogen embrittlement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_embrittlement

 ec
Jingy

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Mar 3, 2009 - 03:38pm PT
why Greg?.. is there a recall comin? LOL


Now, more importantly... which routes have them as anchors?

Good luck
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 3, 2009 - 11:58pm PT
Compare and contrast the newer stainless steel SMC on the left with a top fractured (center)and intact (right) plated chromemoly SMC hangers.



Worth noting is the shift in position of the SMC stamp to allign with the long axis of the hanger on the reliable stainless version. If the bolt itself is rusting, it can be hard to tell the two hanger types apart other than by material thickness.


SMC claims that they have never had a failure with their stainless steel bolt hanger. I personally like the design and am happy to trade for Petzl Couers if anyone out there has a stash to trade. I have a lifetimes' worth of old bolts
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