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Gear

Hate Bolt Hangers That Spin? Check This Out

The price adds up at $5.95 a hanger, but pretty much all stainless bolting hardware is spendy. These are well worth it for a longer-lasting clip.

Pros

316 stainless-steel is thick (4mm), substantial, and bomber (25 kN)

 

Concave/conical design really does reduce spinning, especially on wedge bolts, which are generally more prone to spinner issues than five-piece bolts (e.g., Powers bolts)

Cons

Not yet available in a size that fits 3/8” bolts—which would be nice, since many first ascentionists use 3/8” wedge bolts on harder rock types like quartzite and granite, though the 12mm hole does fit Fixe’s Triplex wedge-style bolts


Price

$6

Brand

Metolius


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Most of us don’t bolt, or even really care about bolts. I get it. It’s expensive, time-consuming, generally thankless, and hard on the body. Witness all the Monday-morning “I was on Crimpy Headwall this weekend and the third bolt was spinning—someone should take care of it!” posts on Mountain Project. Fortunately, active first ascentionists and local climber orgs are more on it than ever with maintaining and updating climbs. But it’s an ongoing battle and always will be—many of the original sport climbs from the 1980s and 1990s still have their OG hardware, in various states of disrepair, and are only slowly being updated.

A huge problem with aging or heavily used bolts is spinning—the hanger spins, making the bolt hard to clip and potentially sawing away, micron by micron, through the shaft, creating a safety hazard. With wedge bolts, you may get a spinner because the nut and washer are coming loose, which is an easy fix—simple tighten them back down with a wrench and/or put some Loctite on the nut. But you also get cases where the entire stud is turning and the hanger is loose and will no longer cinch down. And with five-piece bolts, spinners can happen too—due to a loose hanger on a bolt that needs retightening, or again, the whole assembly spinning for some reason.

Metolius is looking to proactively address these issues with their Spring Force Hanger, which has a conical, concave shape on the rock-facing facet (so, convex on the climber-facing side) to exert, in their words, “constant spring force to keep bolts from coming loose.” I tested this by using them on a route I bolted last autumn, pairing them up with Fixe Triplex bolts, which have a 12mm diameter and can, like any bolt, produce spinners. 

Bolting is frustrating, shitty work—usually something goes wrong, even on the best of days: A bit breaks, or a bolt won’t tighten, or you can’t find solid rock closest to the clipping stance and have to improvise. I used the Spring Force on the upper clips of the route, rounding a hanging arête to a slab and on the very overhanging rock below. All three bolts I paired them with tightened down extremely snugly right away, with the conical hanger shape creating a stable bond with the rock—no bolting epics with these puppies.

We’ve been back to the route many days since and fallen all over the bolts (wish me luck—I ain’t getting any younger…or stronger either, apparently), and they have not loosened an iota. One of the bolts is up under an overhanging panel in a traversing situation, too—ideal for creating a spinner—but the hanger has not budged a millimeter despite repeated falls. This all bodes extremely well for Metolius’s new design, and I’ll keep an eye on the hangers this spring as the hangdogging/flailing/failure campaign continues.

On a final note, despite their raised shape, the hangers are still very easy to clip, with a draw or when stick-clipping up; the clipping eye is plenty big enough for all climbing carabiners on the market, lockers included.