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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 6:53 pm 
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So got a decent sized (about 120cm) flake (see pictures below) that needs some attention. Have there been any specific methods developed for this or just play it as you see it?

The flake itself is thick and strong, but the amount of leverage you have is enough to remove it from the wall higher up just out of view of the photo. All I really need to do is ensure that the flake is not able to be levered outward away from the wall when cranking on the bottom part of the flake.

So I thought about sinking a 10mm hole about 20-30cm from the bottom; glue in a 8mm stainless stud; and attach a big washer, thereby removing any outward force when using it as an undercling or sidepull.
This also seemed the best option, as not only would accessing the space behind flake be difficult, but quite a bit of glue would be needed to fill the space.
Any thoughts or comments?

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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 10:48 am 
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I've got no prob with u doing that - I know its prob going to be for another stellar route at Paarl!

Ye have me blessin!
I have no other idea how to do it though...Paarl Rock is giving off flakey stones like my head does dandruff. :cry:
:mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 11:04 am 
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Real Name: Greg Hart
Stu firstly youre climbing the wrong type of stone completely! Paarl isnt called 'The Grey Death' for nothing!

However the flake will be real easy to fix. Use the best glue you can access, Hilti RE500 is the shit. First try and get a botlle brush in behind the flake and scrub out as much loose crap as you can. Then bung up the bottom of the flake with putty or lank prestik (this is so the slow setting [36-48 hrs] epoxy doesnt run and drip out the bottom). Place the putty deep enough in so that you end up with a decent hold afterwards. Attach the accessory tube to the applicator nozzle this will allow you to get deep behind the flake. If this is still too thick to fit, tape a straw onto the tube which should fit into just about any crack. Squirt that sucker as full as you can with glue, you will probably end up using most of a tube which at R380 a shot is rather expensive (dont bother with other cheaper glues, they wont work anything like as well).

In the end there are no guarantees, even though RE500 is the strongest stuff on the planet if there is too much dust or lichen inside the flake the glue will bond to that and not the rock which could mean that the flake will still peel off leaving behind an ugly mass of glue that will never come off the rock. Its best to actually remove the flake first and scrub the rock and inside of the flake absolutely clean with a firm brush and water, then you will be guaranteed a good bond. However' if the flake is large (ie too heavy to handle easily) this wont be practicable. You also generally need to drill a mechanical fixing right through the flake to attach it while the glue sets (unless it happily sits in place by itself - a rare occurrence!). This procedure is fraught with all sorts of problems. DONT use the hammer setting on the drill when drilling through the flake; it will shatter out and possibly break into pieces, just use the 'drill' setting and burn through a few bits to bore the hole. Ive used a theraded rod through the flake fitting into a stainless drop-in anchor in the rock face. The rod is later ground/broken flush with the flake and covered with glue.

After all this bits of the flake can still snap with use leaving an unusable and expensive glue job behind. This happened on Dark Angel at Kalk Bay after I glued on a hold. In retrospect I should never have glued that flake back on, I ruined a truely hard and spectacular move by doing so. My conclusion after this and other glue job experiences was that gluing is a waste of time and is akin to chipping in that it brings the rock down to your level of mediocrity. Purest approach (seeing as you have already bolted the thing) is to lever the flake off and man up to the the thin boulder problem that will likely be left behind. In future analyse the rock in far greater detail before reaching for your drill! Lines with dodgy rock like that arent real lines, there is a lot of better quality stone to go at without getting bogged down with with all these logistics. To add to your misery, even if you go to all the trouble of gluing it no-one will ever respect the route properly as it has been artificially enhanced, its not a pure line anymore. If you do glue make sure the job is invisible - and keep your mouth shut about it! LOL! - good luck, call me if you want to borrow an applicator for Hilti glues (they cost a bomb!) or need any further advice.


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Thanks for the response XMod, much appreciated.
Trust me dude, this route is well worth it, gonna be a really great single 45m pitch. In this case looks can be deceiving is an understatement, some great climbing to be had on jugs, edges, underclings, and even a dyno, not a sign of thin slab climbing to be found :wink:

What's your opinion on the FIS VS 300T glue, as I have about half a tube of that left I bought from UPAT?

It really is one of those flakes that you would prefer to leave on the wall, as the top (hidden) part forms a series of jugs, and while they might not be effected if I remove the lower part, I really don't want to take that chance. The picture really is a little understated as it's quite a sizable piece of rock to manage once removed.
I've toproped the line twice now and everything else goes, and would make a great addition to the exisiting routes there IMO, so it's a go :thumleft: As for opinions, not too bothered right now, just looking forward to getting on and sending that line of grips, so whether my 'artificially enhanced glue-job' sees a repeat or not is the last thing on my mind :)


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 7:15 am 
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X-mod, you can't have it both ways. On the one hand you give expert and detailed advice on how to commit the "crime" and then you say afterward that it is a "crime" to do it? Just make sure you cover it up properly if you do commit the crime?



I was crucified for trying to enhance a 5mm cam placement on TATWOC on Fountain Ledge some time ago that would have involved deepening by about 2mm an existing slot. I then managed to leave a nut in place which nobody seems to trust except me. So the pitch never gets done except by me.

And then, on Africa Lunch 23 there is a large flake that one uses with great respect but nobody would dream of gluing it in.... And that is on trad with gear well below the move.

C'mon guys. Leave your expensive glue at home or in the shops please.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:34 am 
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:? So when did reinforcing a grip become a 'crime' - and I'm not talking about chipping Snort.

Removing the offending flake would require some effort, and I certainly wouldn't want it to lose it's purchase and have it land on a belayers head, while trying to hold a flailing climber.

It seems to me this is very much a grey area - if you remove a semi-secure flake with force should it not be considered chipping? And yet leaving it there could prove very dangerous to anyone below - the shape of the rock below would channel all shattered pieces onto the belayer.

Sure I'm looking for excuses, but this is not TM, and besides I don't see why squirting in a little glue behind a flake should be such a big deal? Surely slamming in a long line of stainless steel bolts and hangers is a much bigger crime, or what exactly is the ethical dilemma here?


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:56 am 
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Stu chipping universally means making a hold or improving a hold. Deepening an existing slot which is then invisible to make a more secure placement for a tiny cam is hardly the same thing and equivalent to placing a peg which invariably deforms and "chips'' the rock. Anyway it was not done. sic!

In my view using glue to hold on a flake is unacceptable practice. The flake is good or it isn't and it is a standard and universal and reasonable practice to remove obviously dangerous and encumbering (smallish) bits of loose rock, lichen and foliage to improve routes provided it is done within reason.

Tony Dick and I recently removed a substantial flake - probably bigger than the one you want to glue on - on a route on TM called Left Wall that was bound to kill someone at some stage.

Tour de Force was a grade 23 route on TM and for a while had a flake glued on. Without the flake it is much harder and to date may have had one or two ascents. That's the way it should stay whether it is TM or elsewhere, bolted routes or not.

As X-mod says do what you will do but don't expect anyone to back you up...


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 11:51 am 
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Leave the flake alone, its part of climbing outdoors. If you want a controlled environment, go climb indoors.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 12:12 pm 
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You mean controlled like bolt ladders on trad/aid routes.
Like in everything else there are grey areas..


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Nothing wrong with reinforcing a grip IMO, plenty of reinforced grips around Montagu (without them the climbs would be a lot harder or not possible).
Pratleys Putty works well too.

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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:36 pm 
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Justin, there was once a route called Animal House that had a glued hold which was later removed and the Adam Ondra climbed the route.....sans glued hold. There is no shortage of rock to climb in SA....


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:17 pm 
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Jeez, these SPAM table ethics! Stu asked for advice on "how to", not an ethics debate. Because your mom wore a hat to church does not make it normative for all.

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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Guys.... it seems at the mention of glue everyone starts sniffing the stuff... Many classic climbs in the country, Snap Dragon to name but one, have by necessity due to traffic over time, had the need to have a critical hold reinforced in order to preserve the route in perpetuity for generations to come.

Imagine if Boven lost Snap Dragon or it became so difficult only a few could climb it ?

I agree with Snort that there is no shortage of rock in SA and as such I feel no need to drop to the level of "manafacturing" routes by gluing on holds, chipping etc. However I am comfortable with an existing feature being reinforced if it can be done to look as natural as possible.

To be a bit philosophical about it, it is a feature that has been there for millions of years so one could say who are we to just break it off or to counter that, to meddle with the natural course or erosion?. Then again having it ripped of by a climber weighting it during a climb is also meddling in the natural course of universal events. So in the bigger scheme of things preserving it for another 10,20, 30 years is neither here nor there in my book. However is a great line is the end result, I will err on the side of presevation.

Most big routes have some Choss removed that may be dangerous to climbers and don't affect the line. So two sides of a coin when route making. Some routes get a few kilos of rock preserved and some routes get a few to 100's of kilos removed.

I think the route builders we have around us today have done a pretty good job thus far of maintaining the fine balance and thus providing us with a most fantastic menu to choose from and I trust there judgement and encourage the up and coming ones to take note and continue the strong code of ethics we have in our country in terms of route development.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Let’s start by getting the facts straight. Adam did not reclimb Animal House without the glued holds, he climbed Mazawatee which is on the same crag but several metres to the right.

Next, there is a huge difference between gluing on new holds, ie chipping (like Sean did with Animal House or Snort did by chipping the gear placement or I did by gluing plastic holds onto a roof at The Mine) and merely reinforcing an existing hold. By Snort’s definition nothing was improved; reinforcing merely keeps things the same.

My view is that a route opener has the responsibility of a ensuring a reasonable measure of safety. In the case of country routes, this COULD mean that you write up you RD with a description of the loose sections and on a sport route it would usually mean cleaning the loose holds (and sometimes it makes much more sense to reinforce the hold rather than leave a ugly scar or further destabilise the route).

Personally I find it completely unacceptable for a sport route to have loose blocks that could hurt or kill either the climber or belayer.

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:14 pm 
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Hi Stu,

Judging by the photos the best approach would be to bung the bottom of the flake and fill as much as necessary with glue. Definitely clean the inside as best you can first with a bottle brush and water if necessary to remove any unwanted grunge, glue bonds to the first thing it comes into contact with, so let that be rock. For best results allow the rock to dry thoroughly before applying the glue. Larger flakes can sometimes be stabilised at key points to prevent movement without the glue actually being being physically enough to hold the thing there by itself. If there is no movement the flakes is less likely to be dislodged. Concentrate your efforts close to where you pull and where the flake intersects with the face. Larger spaces behind the flake can be spanned by gluing in other rocks. Drilling is invasive and will leave a visible mark or scar. You should try and keep what you do as invisible as possible.

Ethically gluing is a grey area on the edge of a slippery slope so lets not go there in this discussion! I have my regrets for things I should have tackled differently in the past but perhaps they are not relevant to Stu's route. The flake on Dark Angel. was small and posed no threat to anyone.

I need to do some of my own gluing sometime soon at Hellfire, where the scenario is more similar to your route, a large flake that you crank on needs to be stabilised as it will kill whoever pulls it off and it has started moving. Sport routes are meant to be safe, in the case of the Hellfire route I will have zero ethical qualms over putting glue behind that flake. I should have done it sooner!

Stu, gluing your route could be achieved without the glue being even visible and without any physical manipulation of, or damage to, the rock. Your infraction in ethical terms is therefore minimal! ;-). I have an applicator, brush and and old tube of epoxy (expired but should still work fine) lying around that you are welcome to use, or even better, lets go do the deed together, I havent been on the rock in ages it seems! Im not familiar with the glue you mention but whichever method of attachment you go for (if any) make sure the glue is a proper adhesive and not a mortar.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:57 pm 
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I'm with Guy. Loose blocks, holds & flakes can kill people. So take them off or fix them on, but do a nice job so Snort won't notice when he climbs the route :lol:

Stu et al - if you have any tricky bits and pieces that need reinforcing get hold of me off the forum.

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:23 pm 
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Thanks guys but it looks like quite a straight forward job so shouldn't have too many problems securing the bugger. Will let you know when it's done though so judgement can be passed :wink:
And it really is a great line IMO otherwise I wouldn't have bothered..


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 10:23 pm 
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Whilst entertaining to some degree on the forum...

Just do. Quietly is better


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