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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:00 pm 
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The scenario is this:

The spot for the bolt was chosen to be as good as any - solid rock, no flakes and little erosion around it. The hole was carefully drilled (of the right size and depth), cleaned and inspected. The bolt (of accepted type for the area, and supplied by a national non-profit) was inserted and tightened correctly.
... then a year or twenty later it fails.

The simple question is this:

Is the bolter, in placing a bolt, making any claim or warranty of the performance of the device?

Land owners get quite touchy about perceived dangerous activities on their land and many specifically disclaim liability. BUT what about the bolter? Sure the bolts were placed in accordance with good practice - but what about their fitness to perform that critical safety function? If it fails there is some legal fluff protecting the land owner (the disclaimer) but nothing on the bolter?

Those of you who bolt (regularly) are well practiced and may even be trained, but apart from the report on SACIN there is little testing or evaluation of bolts and so what feedback is gained from the process? How can any performance claim be made? Do you not worry that you may find yourself in the legal soup (hot water) if a bolt you placed fails?

meh.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:33 pm 
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Location: JHB
From what you have discribed, you have followed 'best practice' for the area and I can't belive that you could be found guilty of gross negligence. The problem I guess comes in when you have to consider the working life of the bolt, what is it? That varies a lot according to the environment in which the bolt is placed.

However the nice thing is that pro-active climbers should always be around (or at least I hope so), the guys and girls who go around replacing hardware before (hopefully) a catastrophic failure occurs. The big problem is testing suspect bolts, most are inspected visually which can be very misleading.

I gave a presentation at work some time back (ahhh engineers) about the fixed protection we climber use and the basics of climbing and mentioned this problem of testing suspect bolts; one of the older engineers in the company suggested just using a length of chain which would be attached to two bolts and jack that to a safe working load (say 10kN, since 90% of falls don't generated that type of load) and voila, you have two bolts checked and 'still safe' or a piece of chain with a hanger at the end of it. Perhaps it could be worthwhile trying to set something like this up?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:41 pm 
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Quote:
using a length of chain which would be attached to two bolts and jack that to a safe working load


Sounds really smart.

Could some bolt movement, but not failure, be expected? In other words would this sort of test reduce the expected life span of the bolts?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:51 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
Real Name: Derek Marshall
Bolts decay. Rock decays. +uncontrolable variables

gross negligence...no

Is the bolter, in placing a bolt, making any claim or warranty of the performance of the device? No. He/she has no control of the variables & is only bolting for his/her self. Others at their own free will & risk choose to follow.

Climbing is known to be dangerous


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:27 pm
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Location: East London
Real Name: Matthew Bekker
I must agree with Derek on this one,a bolter is mealy bolting a line because it looks good to him or to his friends he is not thinking i wonder if joe soap will like this line in 20 years maybe i should bolt it for him so in the future he will enjoy climbing it. NO! He is bolting that line cos it calls to him and his friends at that time and if someone decides to climb it the next day and it fails that his problem,then maybe he should spend the time and money fixing that bolt! Considering it failed when he was on it!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:04 am 
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I for one would find climbing VERY boring if the inherent risks were not there. Everyone (should) know/s that things can (and sometimes do) go wrong - that is the nature of the beast we call "fun".

Should tradsters sue landowners if they place shoddy gear and fall? I think not. Same thing applies to bolts. You are making use of someone else's preplaced gear when you clip bolts. It's up to you to decide if you are willing to take the risks.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:29 am 
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Location: Cape Town
I agree in principle that there should be no legal liability in terms of bolt failures; and that technically you are bolting the route for your own safety and no-one elses. However, the reality is something quite different. We have crags which get regular traffic, we have guide books which not only indicate where routes are, but also the perceived quality in terms of route quality. As a bolter you know that people will use your route (unless it is in the middle of nowhere), and therefore you should endeavour to bolt at both the correct locations, and with the correct hardware and bolting methods appropriate to the area.

I'd suggest going back and reading the article and the forum discussion that followed after an Australian climber fell to his death after foreign climbers used inappropriate bolting methods. If you were the one who bolted the route, could you live with your conscience? MarkM refered to best bolting practice for the area; and if you as a bolter follow the rules, then any failures in the distant future fall under "risks of the sport". This is very, very different from gross negligence.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Real Name: Greg Hart
We've been through this all before, a few times...
Both the landowner and the bolter would definitely be drawn into any legal proceedings in the case of a liability suit. Whether any blame would be found on either is anybodies guess and would depend entirely on the circumstance, evidence and the court's perception of the situation.

No performance claims can ever be made for the hardware itself as the bolts (mechanical) were not designed for climbing or placing in rock, something the suppliers are usually at great pains to point out to you when you buy them. Given this fact no climber can reasonably claim negligence of another party as they themselves chose to climb on equipment that was not designed for that purpose. Follow me?

Climbing is a risky activity, the doctors amongst us will attest to how often people get badly hurt pursuing the sport. If you chose to climb you are assuming those risks of your own choice. Any climber who sues is just doing the sport a massive injustice as there will always be negative fallout.

However, who knows how things will play out in a court room, its impossible to predict as there are to many variables. OH, and also; what Stu said - eat up! :wink: :jocolor:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:38 pm 
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As I understand this, it will come down to the reasonable man (woman are never reasonable :pig: ) arguement, if you have followed the procedures that any reasonable bolter would do you would not be found guilty as no one can prove negligence. If, however, you are using 70 mm bolts when everyone else is saying use only 90 mm then you may find yourself in a problem. But the real problem is going to be when someperson falls off your route trying to clip the second bolt and craters because the bolts are to widely spaced and not because of bolt failure (new can of worms). That is going to be hard to prove that the bolter was not negligent , but as I am not a lawyer this is just my opinion.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:22 am 
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Wayne73 wrote:
As I understand this, it will come down to the reasonable man (woman are never reasonable :pig: ) arguement, if you have followed the procedures that any reasonable bolter would do you would not be found guilty as no one can prove negligence. If, however, you are using 70 mm bolts when everyone else is saying use only 90 mm then you may find yourself in a problem. But the real problem is going to be when someperson falls off your route trying to clip the second bolt and craters because the bolts are to widely spaced and not because of bolt failure (new can of worms). That is going to be hard to prove that the bolter was not negligent , but as I am not a lawyer this is just my opinion.


Sorry, but that wouldn't work - many of the bolts on our sport routes still have 70mm bolts as it was deemed normal (safe) practise a few years back. Go back a little further and you have 8mm x 70mm bolts still pretending to offer adequate protection!! Bottom line is everytime you step onto the rock you put your life at risk, no disclaimer or waiver to be signed - and if anyone does ever take it to court, you'll find a whole lot of FA chopping their routes...


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