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Old Bolt Hangers Tested - These Were RECALLED!!!


Ever get to an old hanger while climbing and wonder how strong it is? Bobby got his hands on recalled hangers, death hangers, niche hangers, discontinued hangers and we broke them all. A total of 27 tests. Some were old hangers that have never placed and others had been on the wall for 44 years. These include SMC "death" hangers and Leeper Hangers, recalled because they were so susceptible to SCC (stress crack corrosion) and could break under body weight. We have learned as a community that stainless steel hangers (for environments that don't need Titanium), made of thicker stock, are way better.


Left to right: Climbtech burnt, Moses, Sketch SMC, Better SMC, Metolius, Mammut, Petzl Aluminum

Our Results




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Leeper hangers were the first widely available commercial hanger. They were eventually recalled because they corroded quickly. Our tests showed the Leeper hangers we tested were super strong enough but there are Leeper hangers out there in much worse shape. Ed Leeper


SMC did not recall their hangers made from the 70s and early 80s, but redesigned them. You can tell it's an older one because the SMC logo is horizontal and slightly thinner than the newer vertical logos which are super safe enough.


All of our old, weird, funky hangers broke at much higher forces than climbers will ever generate in a normal fall. So should we trust old hangers? Maybe. We are more concerned about old bolts in the rock that are impossible to inspect. How well the bolt was originally placed, its age, the climatic conditions of the area, and corrosion are just some of the factors that play into this equation. The problem with some bolt hangers is they only allowed for 5/16 (8mm) or 1/4" (6mm) bolts making the hanger stronger than a bolt. And consider that most of what we tested wasn't very corroded.


In an ideal climbing scenario, you want the bolt to be the strongest part of a system. Overbuilt if you will bc it needs to withstand time, the elements and untracked use. Your personal gear can be weaker as it is is easy to inspect and replace when worn.


What's Next?

We broke other old hangers in this episode.


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Breaking Gear Fear

Edutainment has been a great way to help people understand their gear, and know the true limitations of it.  Watching HOW gear fails is more important than the force itself, as almost all gear is super good enough.  It's more important to share information on how to stay safe than it is to have a paywall.  We hope our stoke is contagious.

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