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Top anchor backup

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:40 am
by Justin
Hi Everyone,

Geoffrey O'Connell has kindly donated money to re-bolt Gospel Express - which we will be doing this weekend.

My question:
Instead of replacing the two top anchors. I would prefer to leave them in place and rather back them up to an additional bolt.

I have an idea of how to go about this, but any suggestions / advice on how (setting up / linking) to do this would be appreciated.

Below is my plan - add one bolt to backup the existing two.

p.s. If anyone would like to donate money to re-bolt the neighbouring route (Quasimodo - the bolts are in much the same condition, see pic below) please get in touch with me -


Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:48 am
by Marshall1
Why back it up? Two TA are std in SA.

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:58 am
by Justin
Because the bolts on the route are old & not 316 Stainless Steel.

They appear to be corroding badly (see image below). Rather than remove the two Top Anchors - I would prefer to leave them in place (partly out of curiosity to see how long they last!). But I do believe that they should be backed up:


Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:10 pm
by Wayne73
How about two back-up bolts one for each top anchor, and connect the "link of some kind" to the mallions. Its proberbly overkill but rather safe than sorry.

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:27 pm
by Geoffrey
Why don't we just do the top anchors over then?

Less clutter ... and then everything on the route is newly bolted with Stainless Steel 316.

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:11 pm
by Justin
Can do (David also sent me a mail regarding this).

So... two new anchors (above), backing up the the old TA's, connected by chains and maillons. Going to make an interesting experiment seeing how long the old bolts last!

Anyone interested in sponsoring the neighbouring route??
We need around R1000 to get the job done + (any donations welcome :P

(would be great to have steel carabiners as top anchors for these two routes (for fast turn around times :thumright

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:10 pm
by robertbreyer
Why not use Raumer glue-in anchors like the ARF uses all over Cape Town?

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:16 am
by Geoffrey
I was pushing for that as well Robert, but I was told by ARF that they are not worth the trouble in Montagu ... see quote below.
"There is no reason why a good expansion bolt shouldn't last forever in Montagu. The big problem there is carbon steel bolts in damp positions or the cheap locally made UPAT 304 stainless steel bolts. Glue-ins are a mission."

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:08 am
by Scott
Put two of these at the top and everyone will like you.

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:32 am
by Warren G
I assume you will be taking Rogers suggestion and drilling them deeper then nessisary so that one day they be hammered in to hide them? on this topic is it possible to do the same on the existing old bolts? i have seen some neat jobs of then hiding the scar with sand and cement such that it just about disapears.

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:04 pm
by Andy Davies
Our philosophy should be to keep the crag as clean as possible so if we are worried about bolts breaking lets remove them and replace them with the right ones. I suspect that these bolts are carbon steel (Rogers favourite for Montagu and the pic looks like normal rust) so I actually wouldn't stress too much about them.

Feel free to discuss over a cold beer........ I lost interest in the forum when the "Illegal Bolting" thread was stopped - so much fun :evil:

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:47 pm
by Justin
Errr.. never mind the top for now. I went to inspect the bottom bolts again and while removing the bottom bolt of Quassimodo it popped off. See pic below.
I'll post more tomorrow.

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:34 pm
by Old Smelly
Would that be classed as a successful experiment then?

How old was the bolt & was it definitely carbon steel?

I think from this we can see a reason for the 316 Stainless Steel replacements.

What is your take on this then Justin?

I have seen some bolts in the free state that look badly corroded & they are nowhere near the sea, so maybe that is an oversimplification & everyone should be using stainless to ensure a good long life from bolts/ :)

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:11 pm
by Andy Davies
This is simple wastage corrosion of carbon steel. I suspect the hole was drilled perpendicular to the slab and moisture was able to collect in the hole and lead to the relatively quick corrosion in this "dry" area. Good job I never took that bet with Justin that the bolt was all good :jocolor:

Nice one Justin - good to have someone checking up on these things.

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:58 am
by Justin
Old Smelly wrote:Would that be classed as a successful experiment then?
How old was the bolt & was it definitely carbon steel?
- Yes, but now I have more questions!
- 15 years old, Yes

See: Bolt Failure at The Steeple

Good night :P

Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:06 pm
by Justin
Hi Everyone,

It's been a pleasure. Big thanks to those involved. I’ve detailed the costs of the various items so that you can get an idea of the costs that go into making sport climbing possible and safe.
And it don’t come cheap!

- Geoffrey O'Connell for sponsoring new bolts and hangers for Gospel Express (R550.00)
- Willem Boshoff for new bolts and 'quick clip' anchors on Quassimodo (R508.00)
- CityROCK for the 'quick clip' anchors on Gospel Express (R184.00)
- Justin Lawson (Climb ZA) for use of drill (+/- R7000), the drilling and drill bit (R175 per bit)
- ARF for use of their angle grinder (+/- R5000)

The re-bolting took about 10 hours most of this time went into the actual bolting which involved me deliberating and finding the best placement for the new bolts.
Geoffrey and Wikus removed the old bolt studs. We still need to go back and make the holes/studs look pretty.
Most of the bolts on Quassimodo broke off about 1cm deep while most of the bolts on Gospel Express were cut with the grinder.

I drilled all the new bolt holes extra deep so that these bolts can be hidden one day by being hammered all the way in.

I hope everyone is happy with the new bolt placements, so far the feedback I have received has been positive. One noticeable difference, is the height of the first bolt on Quassimodo. It's about an extra 30cm higher up and has changed the start of the route somewhat. Instead of starting alongside Gospel Express, you now start on the easy corner to an easy clip high up (+/- 3 meters of the deck) and then you move out onto the face.

Quassimodo has 'quick clip' lower offs now (you no longer need to untie at the top). As soon as the set for Gospel Express arrive, I will install them.
I have left the top anchors of Gospel Express in place and added a new bolt above to form a triangle (I moved the one lower off onto the new bolt for the time being). When I have the new lower offs I will configure the lower offs so that they run off all three bolts.

All in all, a good weekends work :)

I know there are a few other routes around town that could do with new anchors. Bolting is a rather a timeous & expensive endeavour. Rebolting often takes longer than bolting the first time round since the best placements have already been used.

General Costs:
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 – I’ve opened this savings account specifically for bolting in and around Montagu. I will keep a spreadsheet record of what was received by whom as well as outgoing expenditures.
Please email me the deposit slip & you are also welcome to include suggestions of whether you would like the funds to go to re-bolting or new routes.
Climb ZA’s emphasis right now is to bolt “lower grade” routes at easily accessible crags as this grows the sport.


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


Re: Top anchor backup

Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:57 am
by Turtle
Ah like it ah lot!