How to Engrave Rock Climbing Gear

Marking climbing gear is a challenge. Tape eventually peels off or gets destroyed. Nail polish, spray paint, and sharpie ink eventually wears off. Remarking your climbing gear is no-big-deal if you only have a simple rack. But, if you have a big wall rack, labeling hundreds of pieces of metal climbing equipment is not a fun task. I was in this exact situation a few months ago.

My climbing mentor told me to buy an engraver and engrave my initials into my climbing equipment. But messing with the structural integrity of carabiners and cams concerned me. So I did some research on the Internet.

Google “engraving climbing gear” and the results are a few forum conversations commanded by anonymous, supposed metallurgists and carabiner engineers. They all said, “Don’t engrave,” but I do not trust internet forums. So I continued my research.

After a little digging, I found a pamphlet produced by SMC. SMC, Seattle Manufacturing Corporation, makes hardware for climbing, rescue, and industrial use. They are a reputable manufacturer, and I trust their advice more than an anonymous forum user.

SMC says that engraving is okay, as long as you engrave to the right depth and in the right area. Here are links to the document, which you must read before permanently marking any gear.

So I bought a $25 engraver and engraved everything on a winter evening. I even engraved headlamps and other outdoor gear, because why not. Engraving climbing gear is an easy process, and here is a link to the Dremel engraver that I bought.

All SMC instruction manuals:

Permanently marking gear instruction manual:

And here is a second link to the manual should the SMC site not work:

Click here for an older, longer version of the manual.

Click here for a newer, shorter version of the manual.

Risk statement:

Engrave at your own risk. Manuals and instructions are not a replacement for common sense. Manuals and instructions are not a cure for stupidity or purposeless actions. I accept no liability for your actions.

One Comment on “How to Engrave Rock Climbing Gear

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