So 1/4" bolts, although not suitable for free climbing protection, are apparently still used for aid climbing to hold body weight, and for alpine rappels.

What I want to know is, what do you use for hangers on them? From what I can tell no one makes 1/4" hangers for aid bolts, do you just string them with a rivet hanger (which are twice as expensive as bolt hangers), or do you just use the 3/8" hangers? Is there something else out there that's made to be used as a hanger for a 1/4" bolt?

  • I always thought it was used to hang your own caps/hangers on :P
    – sridesmet
    Aug 6, 2015 at 14:20
  • They're probably forgotten or a work in progress (renewing the section)
    – sridesmet
    Aug 6, 2015 at 14:28
  • I always thought that 1/4" bolts were legacy protection from the early days of climbing. I never thought people were actively placing them today. That being said I understand why some people might consider them on remote routes where bolts need to be hand drilled, especially when on lead. I don't have any proof of this though which is why I'm only commenting.
    – Erik
    Feb 1, 2017 at 20:19
  • @Erik That's exactly why people still use 1/4" bolts, because they take less time to drill and they're smaller and lighter (and cheaper).
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:44

2 Answers 2


Finding quality 1/4" hangers has been problematic for a long time. There was a thread on the topic on Super Topo back in 2009. The best solution back then were the Moses hangers (Moses actually posted in the linked Super Topo thread). I cannot find the Moses Enterprises web page so they might be out of business, but it appears you can still get the hangers online (e.g., from Mountain Tools and possibly others). They cost about twice as much as typical bolt hangers, but in my opinion are better than rivet hangers if you are planning on leaving them behind.

  • I had heard about Moses hangers, but couldn't find them for sale anywhere. Why in the why are they so expensive?...
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 1, 2017 at 22:49
  • @ShemSeger they are a very specialty item. They are only useful if you are going to leave them behind in which case you should really consider not using a 1/4" bolt. For rivet ladders you do not need to leave hangers and the second can clean the rivet hangers.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 2, 2017 at 19:14
  • I'd like to use them to make aid ladders to access some high altitude caves. There's one cave near here called 'Cave of the Mastodon', which is pretty difficult to access unless you can fly: goo.gl/photos/k9wvCbucbtPzbyvZ9
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 2, 2017 at 20:23
  • @ShemSeger awesome photos. You should totally ask a separate question about how to handle bolting the approach (would want details of the rest of the approach, scale of the photo, and any bolting/drilling bans).
    – StrongBad
    Feb 2, 2017 at 20:34
  • I think for the most part it's aid-bolting. Drill a hole as high as you can reach, bolt it, aider up, repeat. The approach is a long 4x4 drive along a rough backcountry road (it claimed my muffler last time I drove it, most people take ATV's or hike) then a basic steep scree scramble up to the rock. In early summer there's ice/snow most of the way up, and it has been accessed before so there's probably still some pitons up there somewhere. It's in open wilderness, so there's no rules on bolting.
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 2, 2017 at 21:08

I do not know a definitive answer to this question, but as there is no other reply so far I will share what I know:

When aiding in Yosemite a fellow climber used nuts for this purpose. You pull back the actual nut so that a wire loop extends behind it. This loop is places around the bolt shaft and can even be tightened. According to him this works fairly well. Still he highly dislikes routes based mainly on bolt aiding and thus only had to use it on certain sections. Due to the weight it is obviously not practicable to use nuts if bolts are your main means of ascent. I once used this solution while freeclimbing a slab that has been cleaned of the single bolt in the middle, but I luckily did not find out whether it would have caught me (to be honest, I was amazed it did not drop from rope drag).

One advice with very limited scope: In Yosemite there is apparently much innovation done in garages, you can find a variety of (sometimes not so) useful gear. There you can get such bolt hangers, but you are well advice to test them in advance. In a field test 2 out of 4 broke loaded with bodyweight.

In short:
I do not know a specific product, but you can use the wires on nuts for occasional use. Homemade solutions are in this case very possible but always dangerous as not normed and thus tested.

  • Yes, I've used my nuts like this on hangerless bolts, you're essentially using them as rivet hangers this way. I had considered this as one solution, but I want to know if this is the standard practice these days or if people still make 1/4" bolt hangers, or if they do something new that I'm unaware of.
    – ShemSeger
    Aug 3, 2015 at 16:56
  • Well then this has to remain as the answer for them moment though unsatisfactory as I only know of this one method.
    – imsodin
    Aug 3, 2015 at 17:04
  • Maybe this is interesting to read: rockclimbing.com/forum/Climbing_Disciplines_C6/…
    – sridesmet
    Aug 6, 2015 at 14:33
  • @ShemSeger rivet hangers is what I thought you were asking about when I first read your question. imsodin I know Yates Gear was selling rivet hangers at one time, but I don't know if they still are. I'd definitely recommend contacting them before making your own. As you can see from the site they were/are cheap. FYI In interest of full disclosure, my dad makes lots of hardware for Yates like harness buckles and the expedition pickets but not the swaged stuff like rivet hangers So I do have a roundabout link to the company but not that product
    – Erik
    Feb 1, 2017 at 19:59
  • When I wrote this answer I just assumed hanger is an aid specific, rather improv like item - I never thought that hanger is the "normal term" for the thing you attach to normal sport climbing bolt xD I don't climb enough with English people (actually, hardly ever). Well, it seems my answer was still somewhat helpful, despite the wrong assumption - lucky me.
    – imsodin
    Feb 1, 2017 at 21:46

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