Why do You Care About Climbing Anchors? Product News

Climbing anchors may not seem to be the most exciting topic for UKC; what is there to know you might ask? Surely they are just the things we clip at the top of climbing walls, or maybe at some well-equipped sports crags?

But think about it, how do you know if the anchor you are clipping is safe? How many times have you found yourself at the top of a redpoint desperately trying to clip the 'chains', only to find a carabiner that is difficult to use?

For a long time, the climbing industry seemed to ignore these issues; seemingly unaware that it was possible to improve on the existing offering, leaving climbers to make do with whatever was available. Recent failure issues with one of the leading manufacturer's anchors has also raised questions over the suitability of available anchors, leaving climbing centres looking for a credible alternative.

Thankfully, the people behind the new STAL anchor system have approached the question from the point of view of both climbers and climbing wall operators.

With over twenty years' climbing, instructing, wall-building and technical advice experience, coupled with over a decade of engineering and fabrication knowledge in the climbing industry, Nate McMullan and Martin Roberts set to change the status-quo. Based in Sheffield, the STAL anchors are designed, produced and tested in the UK's steel capital and are beginning to change the clipping experience for climbers across the United Kingdom and further afield.

"As with all good inventions, simplicity is at the heart of the STAL setup"

As with all good inventions, simplicity is at the heart of the STAL setup. The innovative 'puck' design links the anchor to the climbing surface, stepping the unit away from the wall, alleviating friction wear and making the anchors easier to clip. From the puck, there are two independent chains, available in stainless or plated steel, to cater for both indoor and outdoor applications. The chains are linked together by a steel maillon, creating the redundancy that is key to any climbing anchor system.

Finally, and what should be of key interest to climbers and climbing wall operators alike, is the climber interaction-point, the clip. The recommended carabiner for the anchor is DMM's Alpha Steel snap-link, which combines a super-durable carabiner with the smooth clipping action of DMM's flagship sport-climbing krab. Whatever the choice of carabiner, the key feature of the STAL system is the user-replaceable nature of the final point, making STAL the most cost-effective anchor available.

"…the key feature of the STAL system is the user-replaceable nature of the final point, making STAL the most cost-effective anchor available."

If the anchor is to be used on bottom-rope climbs, then the carabiner can be swapped for a sacrificial maillon, providing a more captive environment for the rope, and a more cost-effective setup for climbing centres.

So all-in-all, it turns out that it is possible to talk about climbing anchors! Next time you are at your favourite climbing centre, think about the anchors and how easy they are to clip. If you're struggling, ask the staff if they are considering changing to STAL? It will save the centre money and improve climbers experience and safety!

STAL anchors can already be found at the leading climbing walls in the UK and beyond, including The Westway, Reading Climbing Centre, Transition Extreme, Harrogate Climbing Centre, Big Rock, Energise York, Indy Wall and many more.

For more information visit STAL Climbing's Website

26 Sep, 2017
The extra maillon between the two chains is absolutely baffling to me. I am not sure which failure scenarios it is supposed to cover. If an anchor fails, then all the force is reported on the other anchor. On the krab side, however the force is shared between 2 krabs. But we haven't fixed any real issue. If a link or a krab under the maillon fails, then all the force is reported on the other krab and transmitted to both anchors. But given the normal resistance of a single anchor, I don't see again what could be the problem otherwise. I guess if a krab fails and hte opposite anchor fails, it would catch the failure, but come on, really? However the extra maillon is causing a third horizontal force on a link designed to take tensions over its large diameter. Not a brilliant idea to say the least.
26 Sep, 2017
It might just be there to keep the chains together, and not be in place as a safety feature.
26 Sep, 2017
What is that, 8mm chain? Breaking load will be at least 60kN, probably a bit more. So much stronger than it needs to be that it really doesn't matter a toss if it's compromised a wee bit by that maillon.
26 Sep, 2017
I think "Product News" is actually a euphemism for "advert" isn't it? :)
26 Sep, 2017
Hi, The STAL Anchors are pretty over engineered and have a huge margin of safety in the design, in part due to a couple of anchor failures at walls in the UK where one side failed (not STAL!). The maillon is there for a number of reasons but mainly; it brings the chains together, as dell / deepsoup noted, acts as a final back up if one side fails (this is more likely as a failure of the bolt or improper installation) and accounts for foreseeable misuse (e.g. clipping one side or a variation on set up by the operator). The chain is M10 and very strong - we tested one side to failure and the bolt broke (M12 8.8) at about 40kn in shear and pulled in Axial to 51kn without failure (although heavily deformed). When doing the initial EN compliance tests we tried to break the chain (one side) but gave up when it bent the tester at 74kn - so we are very confident about the loading on the chain. Have a look at the site and download the user data for more information: http://www.stalclimbing.co.uk/
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