Let everyone know about any suspect/dodgy/misplaced bolts to be renewed or avoided.
21 posts • Page 1 of 1
Somebody tampered with the lower-off system I installed on my new route at Skoorsteenkop (\"kids day out\"). The system was set up in a staggered configaration with the top anchor being a 8mm snap link (galvanised industrial type) attached to a hanger and the lower, a 6mm mailon quick link (also attached to a hanger). Somebody replaced the snap link and quick link with D shackles. The snap link has a breaking strength of a ton when closed and 400kg when open. The quick link is even stronger. These stats were obtained from tests specfically done at RAU. The shackles that these were replaced with are weaker and are in my view are dangerous (rope running over the straight gate and thereby loosening the gate with disastrous consequences). Would the person who replaced the above system explain his reasons for doing so. I would also like the stats for the D shackles he installed and an explanation as to why his system was superior and why my system required replacing. ps the 6mm quick link, although more than adequate, was meant to be a temporary installation as I had forgotten to bring another snap link to the crag.
Firstly any tampering with fixed gear is completely uncool, removing (stealing) good gear and leaving junk behind is bordering on criminal and if anyone is hurt as a result you will be held criminally responsible! (Read jail time.) However Paddy the system you installed is not an acceptable top anchor. As strong as the units you describe are, they were not designed for climbing and should not be used. 6mm is far too thin a radius for optimum safety with climbing ropes, in addition this thin diameter will wear through very quickly with the friction of lowering. Please in future only use anchors manufactured by a recognised manufacturer of climbing equipment. The rings made by Faders or Hanger chain combinations from Sky are very reasonably priced (cheaper than a maillon / hanger combination) and will wear far better. We are trying to standardise anchors in the Cape to avoid any more close calls (or worse!)
Grigri. You obviously did not read my notice in full and you have diverted attention from the issue. As I have said the 6 mm was temporary. As regards your comment on stress on the rope, the anchor to which the 6 mm was attached was placed in such a way that the 6mm quick link functioned as a back up. The prime lower off was of an 8 mm snap link, that I had specifically tested at RAU's engineering department. These snap links are bomber (see my earlier comments for these stats + I have the results available for perusal). Based on these results I have absolutely no problem placing these as lower off. Also there is a significant advantage over the fader system. The rings on the fader system are not stainless steel and thus rust fairly quickly at our coastal crags (see the lower offs on the route to the left of kids day out). While snap links are also not stainless, they are easy to replace whereas the faders rings cannot be replaced without replacing the whole hanger system. My intention is to continue using these snap links with the only difference being that I will use 10 mm snap links - I hear your comment about rope wear on the link on lowering off.
Paddy firstly I applaud the fact that you are out there developing routes, congrats on joining the ranks of ou's carrying f-ing heavy packs and actually contributing something to the sport! The 6mm as a back up isnt great, most rope manufacturers recommend 8mm as an absolute minimum and 10-12mm as preferable. If your top anchor fails the scimpy 6mm link will be shock loaded almost certainly causing your rope undue stress. 8mm as the top (primary) lower off is also too thin, not from a strength point of view but because the thinner diameter places more stress on the rope and will wear through much quicker than the fat faders rings (If you dont like faders Sky (local is lekker!)make a hanger chain combo that is even cheaper than faders). Lastly, and possibly most importantly, If you use hardware that is not from a recognised manufacturer of climbing equipment and it fails hurting someone, you will be held responsible and will probably face criminal charges, the park may also be implicated in this instance for allowing sub-standard hardware to be installed on their land. A situation none of us want. If however the equipment was proper climbing equipment and it fails (having been installed properly)then the fault lies solely with the manufacturer and you and the park are let off the hook. I know at the moment its just me calling for standardisation of hardware, but you can expect this to become the norm in the near future. Then some poor bugger (like me) will have to spend his VCT (valuable climbing time) going to replace all of your anchors to bring them up to scratch. Please save us the mission and avoid putting yourself and the park at the risk of liability suites. The anchors you are at present using look fine on a spec sheet but as you can see they are not adequate for more than one reason. Please!! guys use only HILTI bolts and proper climbing anchors in future.
Youre right Paddy me lad I skim read youre post! Ive been on such a mission about bolts since the snapping bolt incident that I have simply leapt at any opportunity to bang my drum.Apologies for hijacking youre post! Stealing others gear is a nasty thing to do especially when a dangerous situation is created as a result. Snaplinks have been used in the past, Stainless ones are available from Yachting stores but cost a bomb. Ive seen snaplinks on a hanger linked to a higher back up hanger with chain. Awesome system as you dont have to untie just clip in and lower. drawbacks are the expense and that the gate on the link needs to be lubricated with rope-friendly stuff to keep it from siezing with time.
On another related topic. Just got further word about industrial snap links. Although bomber when in functioning order, they do have a problem in that the steel used in the gate spring is apparently highly susceptable to corrosion. Result is eventual snapping of the spring with the gate becoming useless. Holding strength then drops to 400kgs and the rope can also easily pop out (I would think). While one can then easily replace the gate at this point it would be unfortunate if it happened while somebody is lowering off or top roping off the link. I am therefore not going to be using these snap links unless I get confirmation that the spring is not a problem.
Your top anchor solution does not sound that bad Paddy. I have done worse for sure. In defence of Upat bolts: thousands have been used in the Cape and only one that we know of has failed. And in the diagram discription of what occured with this bolt it is clear that the placing may have been suspect or the rock a bit dodge. Climbing is dangerous. We will never eliminate all the risks.
Correction Derek several have failed, we just havent been told about it! This I have on very good authority from the guys that keep an eye on these things. Please, please people dont use these bolts, Im not saying they are death traps but their design and construction leaves a lot to be desired, and it is all to easy to place them badly. In addition they are the devil to remove. When you bolt a route you are responsible for the lives and limbs of every single climber who follows you up there (harsh I know but think about it for a bit), many of whom will not have the experience or sus to spot potential faults in the equipment, you owe it to yourself and them to use the best quality hardware, especially as it doesnt cost any more! On the topic of Snap link / Carabiner lower offs Ive seen industrial and Yachting links with wiregates (as found on most modern biners). These might well be worth checking out as the wire gate should be virtually hassle and maintenance free. This system has been used for ages at crags such as Malham cove in England, and over the years I have seen various companies advertising them. They fell out of favour for exactly the reason Paddy pointed out, the gate either seized up or ceased to function due to corrosion. This would be deadly in a toprope situation where forces regularly reach 400kg and higher (Always toprope off draws connected directly to the hangers!). If the wire gate solves this then these anchors would be the hot ticket for highway routes at very busy crags as they greatly reduce the amount of time taken to clean a route.
grigri, i disagree with your comment that the bolter is responsible for every person on his route. climbing comes with a big \"CLIMB AT OUR OWN RISK\" with too many variables to be able to blame the bolter as well. one must be aware of the dangers but I feel it wrong to place such a responsibilty, or even to imply it. Perhaps you feel 'in charge' of the bolting situation here, but, you're not, and I agree with Derek that I've placed many UPAT's and they're fine. stop trying to turn the sport into a tennis club dude. IT'S @ YOUR OWN RISK---ALWAYS.
paddy, ALL bolts are prone to SCC. It depends entirely on the condition of the rock and the climate. I agree that Hilti's are best suited to most conditions, however, since I have NOT read any scientific report with actual tests and comparisons being performed, under CONTROLLED conditions, by an official registered body, I'm afraid that we ALL are feeling around in the dark. Perhaps the MCSA needs to conduct such tests and then issue a formal brief as to which hardware is best suited. Perhaps we need to stop using machine made hardware store chain ontop of our routes too, as clearly this chain has very little lateral strength. I have read all the specs issued by UPAT and on those specs I used there bolts. A double collared bolt will have more holding power compared to a single collared bolt [hilti] especially if used in roof situations and in softer rock. As for you trying to bring \"morally culpability\" into the equation, perhaps you should stop using 'un-rated' untested and unsafe hardware tat on YOUR routes. I only place 90mm bolts and only use RATED ring anchors on my routes. Quite frankly, until some official tests have been conducted, I feel it unfair to just boycot UPAT like this when one bolt fails. What the hell are you guys placing expansions for in quartsitic sandstone within 2 km of the ocean anyway. ALL the crags should be glue ins. Thats what we did at Harrismith. It's all glue ins and they're safe. It may be more effort, but it's worth it. Just remember, you climb at your OWN risk.
Dude anyone who calls hinself 'Sir' bob obviously has an inferior superiority complex! I definitely dont imagine that I am 'in charge' of bolting in Cape Town, but if I was then perhaps there wouldnt be so many f-k ups! (You see now thats a superior superiority complex!). The MCSA has already issued an official request for people to stop using UPATS, read the posts from Brent, he chairs the Sport Climbing committee. The reasons for using HILTI are many and have been discussed in some detail in this thread and others. Perhaps you should take the time to read them before jumping in with your comments? Spec sheets do not reflect the reality of use in real life situations so dont base your opinions on them. Plans for further tests are in the pipeline. In addition there is evidence to suggest that twin sleeve anchors place exessive loads on the walls of the hole due to interference between the centers of stress created by the sleeves. Basically all I am trying to drive across is that people should equip routes in a responsible manner and use equipment designed for the purpose. The request to use HILTI's (issued by the MCSA) is pertinent to Coastal areas and Cape Town in particular. Comparing bolts Cape sandstone at the coast to those placed at Harrismith is just stupid! If you wish to use UPATS inland they are probably alright, as I stated in a previous post UPATS we placed 10years ago inland are fine showing no sign of corrosion. A point you would be aware of if you had bothered to read any of this! And by the way I hate tennis!
Greg, firstly,just to correct your english, it's an 'inferiority complex', and NO, I don't have one, but your attack on me is expected. I would argue that spec. sheets DO reflect real life usage as they are written for REAL LIFE users and have been tested scientifically for this purpose. I would like to see your evidence regarding the twin sleeve anchors please. Another joke is your statement \"Basically all I am trying to drive across is that people should equip routes in a responsible manner and use equipment designed for the purpose\". NO expansion bolt from UPAT or HILTI is purpose designed for rock climbing anchors. They are industrial anchors designed for holding sustained loads in concrete. The only purpose designed anchors are those made by Petzl and Fixe. Another note is that I looked at the picture of the Silvermine bolt and it is clearly rusted, perhaps caused by SCC, but without correct forensic research we do not know if it was not just incorrectly installed. I actually have been reading most of your bolting posts but I really feel that you are less than qualified to be dishing out facts like this. Let's see some scientific, metalurgical tests done, with controlled research and then let's talk. Please post a URL for that 'evidence' of twin sleeve anchors. As for my tennis comment, it was metaphoric, basically saying that people should be careful of trying to control things all the time. Sure, let's have regulations, but then let's do it properly.
Sir Bob you obviously know your stuff. What with the latest failure I thought I would read up on the stuff. Maybe you could help me as I am now confused. I understand that UPat bolts come in ss304 and ss316 grade stainless steel. Per the bolting article in SA Mountain Mag no 9, the latter shows significant resistance to pitting corrosion. Are you still happy to use both grades and if not how do you know you've purchased the higher grade bolt? Also pointed out in that article is that UPat bolts, being lathe cut, have minute surface cracks which act as crack iniators (forgive me Tony for the blatant plagirism) wheras Hilti bolts being rolled bolts, have compressive stresses that prevent crack iniating. Are you still happy to use UPat's? Also UPats use a double jacket system, with each jacket being narrow whereas Hilti use one broad jacket. Hilti, or at least their representative did, argued that a single broader jacket is better as it has a broader surface area to grab onto the rock (and is thus more likely to grab) and furthermore spreads this load over a broader area, whereas the narrow double jacket system, could result in the bolt being held by only one narrow jacket if the other does not grab onto the rock. Are you still happy to use UPat?
Dear Bob (and anyone else still awake, oh Bobs bored already [imagine how I feel][Bob try using a more subtle tone next time so people dont lose their cool, you'll get a better response]) my points are simply:- USE DECENT HARDWARE. We all know stud anchors are designed for concrete fixtures not rock climbing, but thats no excuse to use anchors that have been shown to be more prone to failure in costal conditions. The MCSA has called for end to the use of UPATs lets follow their lead. In addition lets see an end to the use of hardware store shackles, chains and other junk. There are excellent climbing fixtures on the market at reasonable prices, lets just use those and quit trying to invent systems of our own. BOLT RESPONSIBLY. I knew my comment about being responsible for all climbers repeating your routes would be contentious, but consider this: Many, many people will repeat your creations. You may think further bolts are unnecessary on stretches of rock you find easy but others may need the protection. How many thousands of rands were spent air lifting the foreign visitors off 'Sands of time' this weekend? All because the developer did not want to spend an extra hundred protecting it better! Even experienced guides have ground to a halt on that last pitch. Recently a friend of my mine had a nasty fall on another route, thankfully all that was seriously damaged was her confidence but it has set her game back dramatically. We all want to enjoy this amazing sport, you might find bad gear, poor placements and dangerous runouts entertaining but they scare the living crap out of everyone else! (Anyway nuff sed on my part as Im sure everyone is as bored by the sound of my voice as I am) Happy climbing for all!!