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 Post subject: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:45 pm
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Real Name: Franz Fuls
I am exploring Ermelo and surrounds for places to set up sport routes.
I cam along this crag that runs for approx 5kilometers. Most of it looks climbable, some routes will be a serious challenge.

The face is SUPER flaky though. No effort needed to remove chunks of flake from the face. The swallows have evacuated their homes in the roof, probably because of flake falling with our recent good rains.

I am no rock engineer of geologist. Can anyone tell give me an opinion on whether this is good for bolting please? Can such a face be properly cleaned?
The pics attached will give you an idea. Note that this is not the highest part of the crag, and there are plenty overhangs. Not all of it lands in a stream either.

Please note that I cannot at this stage give details on the location as I am setting up discussions for proper access with the landowners, but access routes are reasonable for a car with good ground clearance.


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File comment: Overview of part of the crag.
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File comment: Flake detail 1
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File comment: flake detail of the roof
flake detail on roof.jpg
flake detail on roof.jpg [ 41.59 KiB | Viewed 4349 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:18 am 
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Real Name: PW Nel
What type of rock is it? It looks brittle..but sick too climb on!break the flakes off and drill a few holes...see what happens


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:58 am 
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Having no formal geological training my opinion should be seen as just that.

Having grown up in the Freestate I'm familiar with the different types of sandstone.
Usually the good and boltable layer is clearly visible as a more stable stone (on the last photo: the very top of the cliff above the overhang, as well as the 1m wide band in the middle bottom black and white streaked part)

The rest of the rock looks like 'Shale'
Shale is a also a sedimentary rock and of a similar chemical compound as normal Free State Sandstone, but due to age and pressures have not hardened into boltable or climbable stone.
Usually Shale can be broken apart by hand, and has a sandy texture to it.

So in my opinion:
No, you cannot bolt that cliff.

But contact a qualified geologist. Maybe he'll think that I'm, as DJ Fresh would put it: "talking kak"


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:21 am 
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Real Name: Willem Boshoff
i'm not going to throw-in hann's disclaimers: that rock is not good for bolting, period. the texture is clearly that of the soft stone you find in the freestate / kzn drakensberg foothills. grips are going to continue to break and bolts can pull or break the rock. it's just not worth it - only rock that is clearly safe should be bolted.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:39 am 
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Real Name: Justin Lawson
IMO it doesn't look good for climbing/bolting. You might be able to get a stable anchor in the grey stuff, but the white rock makes me think of beach sand set with a mild glue :)

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:56 am 
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Even the black and dark grey is of a similar compound as the white sandy vertical beach sand.
It simply has a growth of algae on it making it black.

As far as boltability goes it is still a no-go.

This rock layering is quite a problem in the Freestate.
Often a grand and inviting solid sandstone rock has a 5 to 20 meter later of shale as base.
This shale is usually eroded to form a cave or overhang, unprotectable and unclimbable at the bottom of the said cliffs, making them inaccessible.

Pity actually.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:13 am 
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A classic example.

See the 'caves' at the bottom of the faces.

These caves are usually very soft and brittle thus making it unclimable and unboltable


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1.1224188220.is-this-south-africax.jpg
1.1224188220.is-this-south-africax.jpg [ 55.55 KiB | Viewed 4163 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:23 am 
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@Franz: Close to Fouriesburg?


Last edited by pierre.joubert on Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:55 am 
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Real Name: Greg Hart
Ja, Im afraid I also agree with Hann's assessment, the rock just doesnt look consolidated enough. Unfortunately most of the sedimentary rock in that region has not undergone the same pressure and heat that might fuse the individual particles of the rock. There are parts of the softer sandstone that seem fused or have a patina (like a 'varnish') that makes them solid enough to be suitable for climbing, but these are usually small isolated sections of cliff that dont offer the kind of scope that would make development feasible/desirable.

The TM series sandstone is a lot better bet but you'd have to look closer to the coast to find gold. Ive done a fair amount of prospecting and its often disappointing how close to french limestone some of our rock looks from far, but when you get close you realise its uncolsolidated or chalky. Keep looking! Well done for keeping the exploratory spirit alive!


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:38 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
(ps: sorry if i came over negatively in my post; thinks it is really cool that you are exploring for new climbing areas :thumleft: )

as an aside, in terms of ethics, i believe there is a profound responsibility on bolters to ensure that routes only go up on safe rock. a climber is never relieved of "climbing at your own risk" but there is always an implicit trust in clipping that 1st bolt that the route would be safe (unless clearly indicated otherwise).


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:11 pm 
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I disagree with you Mok. Climbing is definitly own risk but if a bolter has been grossly negligent and has bolted in a public access area, i reckon he is liable for damages. Not to start an arguement or anything.

So Franz, I cannot tell if that rock is safe or not but I would make sure before you bolt, and even though I do not know them personally I respect the opinions of Xmod and Hann.

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:27 pm 
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"Climbing is definitly own risk but if a bolter has been grossly negligent and has bolted in a public access area, i reckon he is liable for damages."

How does one deem "grossly negligent"? Standards vary from area to area and there is NO hard and fast legislated method. One could argue that bolts placed too far apart could be grossly negligent. You could then argue that an old route, having SS drop ins is negligence, since titanium glue ins should be the de facto standard.

Show me one bit of legislation that could stand up in a court. If you climb, it's at your own risk. Climbers need to asses the situation, and climb based on their own skills and limits. I very much doubt there's any leg to stand on in a court. I could be wrong, and if I'm proven so, you can bet that every route I've ever bolted will be chopped.

Regarding this rock, sorry, it looks dodgy for bolting. Reminds me of Harrismith rock, where the sun baked areas are good, but the rest is rot. Areas like Cyclops have a mixture of this, Alternative rock has a band of this rock too. The routes change from year to year as flakes get pulled off etc. All I can say is that if you do choose to bolt this, be sure to use long glue ins, and by long I mean 200mm +.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:14 pm 
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Real Name: Donovan Craig
Hann wrote:
A classic example.

See the 'caves' at the bottom of the faces.

These caves are usually very soft and brittle thus making it unclimable and unboltable


BUT DAMN... look at those boulders :shock: :shock: :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Sigh...

Where is my big hex when I need to swing it at a head....
:jocolor:


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:49 pm 
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Real Name: Donovan Craig
Hann wrote:
Sigh...

Where is my big hex when I need to swing it at a head....
:jocolor:


Why Whad-I-say? :?


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:45 pm
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Real Name: Franz Fuls
Hi all,
Thanx for your valuable input. Regardless of legal points of view I would not sleep well knowing a climber met his/her end on an unsafe crag introduced by me.
When in doubt, put a post on the climb.co.za forum!

The pix I showed is at an area where there is ZERO sun, so your combined logic prevails. No bolting here.
There are other parts of the crag that gets plenty sun, but I dare not venture deeper into the property before I have permission from the landlord. No need to make them unhappy prematurely. Who knows, maybe some of it is solid.

There are other crags in the area that I have noticed, some of them are north facing so should be baked harder. Also some bouldering opportunities.

If you are keen on exploring, send me your details to franz.fuls@gmail.com
Once I have permission from a couple of landowners we can look at the crags in more detail. I can arrange accommodation in Ermelo for an exploring team...


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:55 am 
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Before you start drilling holes let somebody with specific knowledge have a look at the rock.

Sun does not make any difference to the type of rock.
Sun may only bake the external layer of the Shale, creating a 5cm layer of 'hard' rock. This layer breaks off after time.

Make sure the rock you are bolting is a proper sandstone. The type that old bridges, farmhouses and the Union Building is built from (And even the Union building's sandstone is busy 'melting', really)


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:39 pm 
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Real Name: Everyday Troll
I say, SCREW ALL THE OPINIONS, but take safety precautions, dont fall on bolts not tested a few times and learn to bolt before just going at it. We all know chosspile next to the Hartebeespoort dam, when one of the best climbers in SA scouted it out he said its to chossy to bolt, few years later look where we are. It takes time, look for good solid lines and things are going to break, swinburne is utterly crap rock yet it was bolted, I believe they use longer bolts, dont know any specifics, but dont just not do it.

Remember its about quality, not quantity! And if u cnt climb it, doesnt mean it doesnt deserve some bolts:D

eT


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:58 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
Real Name: Derek Marshall
I'm with Forket. Take a hammer to bash off the loose stuff. Scope it well there must be something.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:44 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
putting a drill in the hands of an itching cowboy bolter is like putting a gun in the hands of a 4-year old..... by the looks of it this rock is nothing close to chosspile's "quality". but if i'm wrong i will apologise :mrgreen:

as to the issue of personal liability - there was a rather serious discussion on the topic referencing to the death of an australian climber on a route bolted by east europeans in Oz. They willfully ignored specific instruction given to them by locals and used bolts with a smaller diameter than the norm in an open and regocnised climbing area; resulting in bolts that were so badly fitted that they could be pulled out by hand. that was probably as reckless and grossly negligent as it gets; directly resulting in the death of a fellow climber. a shiny new line of bolts in an open climbing area implies that certain basic standards were adhered to; failure to adhere to those endangers others. climbers know rock & bolts decay over time so need to assess the risk themselves on old routes - no liability there imho.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:21 pm 
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My point was in reference to the Oz incident mentioned by Mok where bolting was done against the recommendations of the locals. I am not trying to start a debate or arguement or to be hit in the head by a big hex.

I think it is cool that Franz is looking for "new" rock, so I am not trying to put a damper on the phsyc. Just need to take due care.

9ja there is no legislation stating that you must not bolt kak, SA is on the comman law system so the laws are made up by the courts as we go. The state would need to prove negligence, as long as you can show due care in the process of bolting you will not be found guilty or liable. Due care will involve comparing your techiques and equipment to the others of the time. The risk of bolt spacing is clear to see and evaluate by the climber. SS bolts are the norm so would not be seen as negilgent. I am not a lawyer so feel free to get a second opinion before going to chop your routes. If anyone would like to argue or debate further pm me and we can do it via email without rehashing old threads or hijacking new ones.

-edited for grammer-

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:55 pm 
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Real Name: Franz Fuls
I love the feedback I am getting here.
Be assured that I will make doublesure before creating new routes on virgin face. I will also not do it alone. I guess we can see this post as part of an informal 'due diligence' and so far most responses are on the cautious side. I thank all for your honesty.
I have some experience in occupational health and safety, and as such I do not like taking unnecessary chances. If anyone will be challenged for liability after an incident in which a climber was injured because of suspect bolting practices, the Occupational Health and Safety Act will certainly be quoted in court. The main issue to be debated in such a case will probably be the foreseeability test, and competency of the person installing the bolts. If you can foresee that anchors will fail, or rockfalls injure someone on a new route and you still bolt it, the plaintive's attorneys may very well have a field trip with you. To my knowledge we have not had such a case yet in SA tough, but I surely do not want to be the first.

Rock on!


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:17 pm 
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AFAIK there is no legal precedent in SA for liability claims against a landowner, bolter, equipper, bolt supplier, driller or trad route FAist for any injury/loss. If anyone has any ideas of trying to make this into the type of nanny state we see over the seas by starting such legal proceedings, I GUARANTEE you that remuneration for the damage your head causes to my #11 CAMP hex will be sought in (bush) court. :thumleft:


Last edited by pierre.joubert on Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:32 pm 
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Real Name: Greg Hart
Yeah, definitely dont want to put a dampner on exploration so am sorry to sound negative. In the first photo, if the white scoops lower in the pic are sandy then the rock is unconsolidated (lovely word!) and most probably not that suitable for bolting. Long, 200mm glue ins can be used in surprisingly crap rock to gd effect but you definitely want an expert placing them to make sure they are sound, bolting in soft rock requires a lot of cleaning out of the drilled hole and specific glues (with grout) to work. Even then its important to note that such bolts rely entirely on the accumalitive strength of the larger cone of rock they engage. If the rock is really crap........... well, lets not go there!

Id say keep looking, there are definitely small pockets where that type of rock becomes passible for climbing and maybe ok for bolting. Very definitely enlist the aid of an expert bolter if you decide to go for it as that rock type is problematic. Glue-ins are absolutely essential for such soft rock even if there is a patina as the patina is often only a cm or so thick.

Hell forget the drill and go bouldering! At least with bouldering - so long as the rock dont break off in ur hands its cool to climb.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:36 pm 
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Oh nice PJ! You wanna beat someone with a HEX after theyve been injured climbing!?>?? WTF??????????


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:55 pm 
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Only if they sue :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
ja, i concur it will be a horrible horrible day if somebody get sued for bolting (a service rendered to the climbing community afterall) but i think we're all in agreement that bolting should never be taken lightly and that bolters should exercise due care. take me for instance, i would love to bolt but i know i lack the experience so i allow the guys with the know how to get on with it :mrgreen:

but seriously, i think it would be cool for not-yet-bolters to find out who is bolting where they are climbing and contribute bolts / hangers / samies / whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Back to the original topic. I'm going to have to shoot from the hip here and say, after looking at the photos, this 'crag' looks rubbish. The first picture clearly shows powdery, flakey sandstone. Useless for climbing on. The second pic is unclear. The third picture shows a very low, concave face, with maybe a move or two to top out on. It's even dodgy for bouldering unless you like hitting the bottom of the scoop on landing.

Now if you say there's lots more rock in the area, I'd say move on to that. Take lots more pix. A good way to get started is to get yourself some slings and webbing so you can set up topropes and try some of this rock out first hand. I think when you are on it and everything's breaking off in your hands you'll see what I mean. Keep hunting though. Remember that there was a time when 'Boven was undiscovered too. The climbs are out there, especially in the Freestate. Don't waste bolts on crap routes.

As a side note, I'd really like to get to the bottom of this whole liability issue. I'll start another thread for that. I know there are a couple of lawyers who climb as well, and I'd love to hear their side of this. Too many opinions and no facts. Comparing Oz law to SA is apples to oranges.

@ Pierre, you made me laugh with that post. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:18 pm 
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Dont worry about bolts, a 6-inch nail should go into that stuff without too much trouble. Keep on searching. A


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be bolted?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:15 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Craig Burden
I haven't really read other peoples reply's. Why not just boulder, its not too high!! I'll show those pics to my dad, he is a geologist, but first impressions by me are bad!

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