Identifying the world’s corrosion locations

Featured, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Safety

Over recent years the subject of corrosion has been a significant concern for the research arm of the UIAA Safety Commission (SafeCom). Commission members and external experts have invested significant time and resources into collecting data from climbers and running analysis of samples of faulty anchors.

The UIAA has recently coordinated this analysis to create a Google Map of known corrosion locations. This map is intended only as a reference to identify areas where examples of corrosion have been logged. It is designed only as an informative guide based on data received and assessed. It is not intended as a complete reference and is subject to changes beyond the UIAA’s control.

To support SafeCom with its analysis and to help add more areas to the map thereby improving the information available to climbers about dangerous or potentially dangerous areas to climb, a dedicated form is available to share information about corrosion or failed anchors.

In particular, SafeCom requires support with its research in following areas:

  • Environmental degradation: With respect to stress corrosion cracking and other types of corrosion: SafeCom is working on revising the environmental degradation aspects of the Standard 123 for rock anchors. SafeCom requires examples of anchor failures made of stainless steel. If you have any samples of failed anchors (either with cracks, and/or corrosion, or even suspected cracks) that have been used either indoors or outdoors, SafeCom would be very interested in more information. And ideally to examine them. You can supply information via the dedicated form.
  • Top anchors: SafeCom is working on revising its rock anchor Standard to make specific provision for top anchors, including how to test them, and what strength levels they should have. Top anchors are of specific interest because they usually include chains or links with welds or other joints, which could increase the risk of corrosion. SafeCom would like to see how these have performed in use in order to address these issues as part of the revision.

For more information about the stainless steel rock anchors corrosion, please refer to the UIAA paper on ‘Corrosion and Stress Corrosion Cracking Failure of Climbing Anchors’, first produced in late 2015 and updated in 2021. The document is available in English, French, Chinese, GermanItalian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Further Reading:
UIAA Safety Standards
123 Rock Anchors

Main picture supplied by Pan Mukola