Safety, UIAA

The UIAA Safety Commission held its latest online Plenary meeting from 8-9 November. The session was attended by six UIAA accredited laboratories, 14 internal Safety Commission delegates and 26 leading climbing and mountaineering equipment manufacturers, plus guests. 

Anchor Working Group

As reported by Commission member Stephen Gladieux (AAC, United States), the Anchor Working Group (WG) is interested in past and near-current manufacturing processes concerning materials and their susceptibility to welding and/or corrosion issues.  The focus is on welded components in top anchor assemblies. The welded components in a top anchor are often one of the locations most susceptible to corrosion, therefore, material selection as well as processing for both the weld and base material are critical. 

The WG is now conducting tests on the top anchors sourced from reports made to the UIAA Anchor Corrosion Project. The anchors from cliffs in numerous countries will be tested focusing on the composition and microstructure of the welding and of the Heat Affected Zone.  

The testing will also identify if sensitisation is present in climbing top anchors and whether or not it is caused primarily by material selection, the processing, or both. Sensitisation can be defined as a condition resulting from the material selection and a poor thermal control whereby solutional carbon combines with alloying elements such as chromium and molybdenum thereby depleting the HAZ of those elements. Such sensitization can result in significantly reduced resistance to corrosion. This work should be finished in 2022.

Other Topics

UIAA 126, Rope Clamps: has been updated, specifically the part 2.2.2 Determination of Strength to reflect the strength test 5.3 of EN567:2013. The revision can be downloaded here.

Static Ropes: It was determined that water absorption will not be included in the static rope standard. Work is still ongoing. 

Sharp Edge Testing of Textiles: The WG reported their findings, comparing sliding tests on granite bloc with 80kg: similar to cutting machine

Headlamps: The new WG group is making progress and hopes to submit a new Standard at the next Plenary meeting.  

WGs are preparing and updating the following standards: Ice Climbing structures; the addition of a ‘cable wire’ in UIAA 104 Slings; helmet rim impact; canyoning harnesses.  

Walter Siebert presented his work on lifespan of textiles to the plenary.  

Other important news from the Internal Commission was the nomination of Davide Rogora, CAI (Italian Alpine Club) as Expert Working Group member to the UIAA Safety Commission.

The next UIAA Safety Commission Plenary Meeting will be held from 1-3 May 2022 in Skopje, North Macedonia alongside the UIAA Management Committee meeting.