Montagu Update: New Anchors on Gospel Express and Quasimodo

Re bolting rock climbing routes

The quick clip anchors on the ‘old’ Gospel Express bolts with new backup

Big thanks to the individuals, CityROCK and Climb ZA for donating time, money and equipment to re-equip these routes.


As discussed in the forum, I left the two top anchors of Gospel Express:
1.) Because the bolts we removed were actually still looking good
2.) To see how long they last.
(I will at a later point in time attach another piece of chain to the other anchor).

The Bolting Fund is picking up momentum in the way of funding and we are looking to replace more anchors and lower off’s at the Steeple and Farside Crags.  Also on the agenda is equipping more popular routes with lower off’s, building up bad paths/bases and bolting easy routes.

As soon as time allows I will be building up the path and more standing platforms at the Bold and The Beautiful Crag –  At present there are only two platforms from a previous pathbuild and the path is in need of attention.

I am also working with the Montagu Municipality and Montagu Tourism to get the rest of Montagu in shape.
Much credit must be given to Stuart Brown of De Bos for his (behind the scenes) contributions to the climbing scene in Montagu over the years!!

Boschkloof remains closed but ever present in our thoughts and we are being given a tough time by the land owner who is denying us access.  The Mountain Club of SA is also assisting and be assured that we are looking into it.

As many of you already know, De Bos had a few incidents where children were stealing goods from the campsite.  Three kids were recently caught and handed over to the cops by Pete (Stuart’s brother in law – who is now helping with the running of De Bos).  A security guard is on patrol at the campsite during the day.

If you would like to contribute or help with any of the above causes, please donate (see below) or contact me to find out more.

General Costs of Bolting:
Each 316 Hilti mechanical bolt including Petzl hanger cost about R50, the drill bits are R175 and last for around 20 holes. Top anchor cost +- R200.
This comes to around R700 – R1000 per route on hardware alone!

Anyone who want to support the cause can deposit donations into the account below:

Bank: Standard Bank
Account Name: Lawson
Account Number: 07 616 676 7
Account Type: Pure Save
Branch: Constantia
Branch Code: 051001

Related Articles:

New quick clip anchors on Quasimodo

Re bolting rock climbing routes

The quick clip anchors on the ‘old’ Gospel Express bolts with new backup

Montagu Bolting Fund

Me making sure to saw through the right piece of metal!

Triple bolt anchor at the Scoop (see discussion in comments below)

Top anchors at Legoland

Triple bolt anchor at the Scoop (see discussion in comments below)

These top anchors should have mailons/chains attached to stop wearing

Shackles are not ideal and should be avoided

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12 Responses to Montagu Update: New Anchors on Gospel Express and Quasimodo

  1. Warren G Nov 1, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Thank you Justin and everyone for putting the time in and maintaining routes, but I must ask: is it necessary to add the additional 2 bolts and chains connecting them? It amazes me that some people are happy to repetitively take 6m whippers on one 10 year old bolt, and others demand 4 bolts on top anchors that see little more force than 2 adults sitting on them. It just looks so unsightly.

    Will this be the new standard for Montagu?

  2. Mic Nov 1, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    You don’t take 6 meter whippers on one bolt. More like 3 meter whipper on a system of bolts. If you are halfway up a 10 bolt route you have at least 3 bolts to break before you hit the deck. A top anchor system needs redundancy in the form of 2 bolts, since often these are all you are attached to.

    I do agree though that 4 bolts as tops is going a bit far, but Justin DID explain why. Re-Read the post.

  3. Geoffrey Nov 1, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    “As discussed in the forum, I left the two top anchors of Gospel Express:
    1.) Because the bolts we removed were actually still looking good
    2.) To see how long they last.
    (I will at a later point in time attach another piece of chain to the other anchor).”

    As stated above, this has been done only in the case of Gospel Express as we are running an experiment to see how long the top anchors will last.

  4. Justin Nov 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Tx Geoffrey.

    Rather than replace the two top anchors – leave the existing anchors in place and add one (new) bolt, to which the old two top anchors are backed up.

    Many years down the road, when the two old top anchors are removed you simply add another bolt next to the back up bolt.

    WRT looking unsightly – a thinner chain and shortening of the chain will have these top anchors (above) looking neat.

    Suggestions/comments welcome.

  5. Mic Nov 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    @Justin, Not really a gr8 idea to be replacing sets of bolts one bolt at a time. Cld lead to confusion. my 2c

  6. Warren G Nov 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I agree that this was discussed on the forum a while ago, and this is simply an article reflecting this. I can’t think of another route in the country that has this system installed and I have never heard (before this) of a call for one. In the context of what has been happening on this forum of late I think it is a shame that sport climbers are making such unsightly changes to their crags for marginal long term safety reasons. If I were a trad climber or boulderer I would be highly sensitive to any actions that sport climbers propose doing in my beloved areas, especially in the Cape, and especially right now.

    Ideally there should be two bolts as chains, why make the system so complicated? I bet you that as this is a beginner classic some will try thread through all 4 options made available to them, or some strange combination there of. I think all they -and certainly I- would want is a standard kept to so it can be anticipated.

  7. Mic Nov 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Warren is spot on actually. I wasn’t considering the beginner here.

    Also, a possible scenario: Some people clip into one of the bolts when threading the anchors to clean. Now, by this logic, consider knowing that Gospel has been retro bolted, one would assume the anchors are too, except that only one is new here. IMO you either do it or don’t do it, and I also don’t like the idea of setting a new system here. Every route has got 2 anchors. I’d guess that all of them have bolts placed at the same time, hence same age bolts. Justin, are you going to be around in 15 years time to replace that one bolt, and check on the other 2 that are now 25 years old? Also, is that chain hand or machine welded?

  8. Paul Nov 2, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Mic, why don’t you check on them in 15 years time ? I volunteer you for that job. Thanks for accepting !
    Thanks for all the great work Justin, it is greatly appreciated.

  9. Justin Nov 2, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Hi Guys,

    See the newly inserted pics (above/below) of top anchors at the Scoop and Legoland with 3 bolts – these were installed a long time back.

    Triple top anchor

    Triple anchor setup

    5 bolt top anchor

    To answer Mic’s Q regarding “being around in 15 years“… maybe I won’t be around, but the database of bolts placed in Montagu will.
    We are creating a DB of bolts placed in Montagu, so if you are bolting a route in Montagu please let me know –>

    In addition the Montagu Municipality who own and run the reserve (most climbing in Montagu falls within the reserve) have asked that all new routes be submitted for approval (this will be a speedy process).

    Is that chain hand or machine welded?” I have no idea, but it’s a helluva lot better than a lot of other thinner/quality chain that I have seen around (see pics above)!
    I will endeavour to have the chains strength tested.

    At present we (the community at large) are replacing bolts when we ‘think’ they need to be replaced or when they actually break (e.g. the bolt on Quasimodo/The Alley).
    What I would like to see is more data on how long bolts last. The more we know about the hardware we are using the longer we can use bolts safely and to their fullest.

    Personally I like my ‘Top 3 Anchor Setup’. Two is better than one and three is better than two. Furthermore: what will these routes look like in 120 years after many more bolts have been placed.
    The 3 bolt setup reduces the number of bolts placed overall.

    Lastly: If you as a climber would thread anything but the two large quick clip biners (in the image above). Please contact me or your nearest climbing guide for climbing instruction.

  10. Mic Nov 2, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    @paul: I forgot, there always needs to be one facetious comment.

    Justin, cool that there’s a database. I think that’s important. Your effort is commendable. I understand why you placed that extra bolt. I think if you do a chain test, be sure to do a twisted version as well.
    Those quick clip anchors are really cool. Any idea why the gate is positioned against the rock like that? To me that doesn’t make sense.
    Good on you for the effort btw

  11. Justin Nov 2, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I will mention testing the chain twisted to the tester.

    Quick Clip Anchors – wrong way round:
    Yes, they are in fact the wrong way round – this was a manufacturing mistake – discussions for importing more to SA are being made and when they land, we will be swapping one out for an outward facing clip.


  12. Pierre Joubert Nov 2, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Justin you doos! Can’t believe you’re actually out there doing this! All that effort! And money! And time! Why didn’t you rather just sit in front of your PC and moan about what other people are out there doing hey? The cheek.

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