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 Post subject: Who's Responsible?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:59 pm 
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Dealing with the latest bolt failure in kleinmond, curious to know the policy reguarding bolting in general. I know that all bolts wherever the may be are to be treated as suspect and the onus of safety is purely on the climber at the time,but to what degree is the route setter responsible should bolts fail prematurely ie: after a few months of normal wear


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:30 am 
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Well, technically the \"route setter\" was GOD (or whichever creator you believe in). I don't think it would be a good idea to blame him.

I think you mean the first accensionist (person who put in the bolts) I am no lawyer type, but think it would be difficult to get a conviction through laying a charge. Although if someone could prove that the bolter was blatantly negligent, it could go to court.

Lets hope this never happens, or else climbers may stop developing routes, for fear of possible prosecution.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 11:55 am 
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I don't really see how the FA could be blamed. What about trad routes on marginal gear then? Should the FA carry every other ascents risk cos a piece popped or an in-situ wire broke?

I don't think so.

It's up to the person climbing the route to make the call as to wether or not they are prepared to accept the risk (whatever it may be) in climbing a particular route (be it trad or sport or even bouldering).

There is currently no set minimum std. as to what hardware should be used. It is strongly advised that people use nothing less than SS 10mm bolts when equipping new sport lines, but ultimately there is no-one policing this and even if there were what would happen to an individual 'caught' using galvanized bolts. More than likely nothing would happen and people would happily clip those bolts until someone deems them 'suspect' and takes it upon him/her self to replace those bolts.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:58 pm 
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You are responsible for your own safety! If we all start sueing each other this whole sport may as well pack it in for good!

However; if there was gross negligence on the part of the bolt placer, eg: the bolt was placed in an obviously loose and detached flake and in the resultant accident people were killed or seriously injured then there may well be consequences for the bolt placer. I think it would be extremely difficult to prove this negligence in the normal course of events (bolts arent usually placed in detached pieces of rock). With all the recent bolt failures I wonder how many of the weak bolts were overtightened, increasing the likelihood of SCC? Could this be construed as negligent? Additionally, re-tightening may have been performed by someone other than the original bolter, so who do you blame?. Which brings us back to the original point: we are all responsible for our own safety.

Morals: Place bolts as safely and correctly as possible. Do not overtighten bolt-nuts, hand tight is about right. Look after your own ass, if the gear looks dodgey dont do the route! Forget sport climbing and take up trad or bouldering!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 3:33 pm 
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Curious whether there have been any similarities in external signs of wear relating to the silvermine and kleinmond bolt failures? are we simply going to go about replacing all bolts at crags where single bolt failures have occured. Are efforts been made to inspect crags like Kalk bay which are subjected to far worse conditions than other crags?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:54 pm 
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I'm not sure how the ARF are selecting the routes that get re-bolted, but regardless it is an extremely difficult (near impossible) task. I stand corrected but both the bolts that have failed in the Cape looked okay.

It's really hard to tell whether or not a bolt is good by simply visually inspecting it. Chances are if you speak to guys/girls who have pulled old bolts they'll tell you that a couple looked bomber and pulled/broke quite easily while one or two that were rusted to hell took a lot of effort/patientce to reomve.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:19 am 
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ATC as I said in previous postings all the bolts that have failed had very \"healthy\" looking exteriors. Whereas some rusty old bolts at \"The Hole\" were difficult to extract. Checkout the failed bolt on the botom of the ARF page.

ARF has made a decision to replace the most high risk anchors - ie they are near the coast and the routes are regularly used.

Regarding responsibility - my personal opinion is we are all responsible for our own safety and in addition we should be \"our brothers keeper\". So if you see a bolt that is knackered then take the initiative to have it replaced, properly. We cannot expect first ascentionists to maintain their routes and the let the freeloaders ride the system.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:24 pm 
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Take responsibility for yourself.
Good job to everyone contributing to the ARF!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:27 pm 
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I agree with Andy Davies' comment about replacing the most important bolts, to me a good place to start is top anchors / belay stances.

On a normal lead if a bolt goes you might fall hard but its not the end of the world, the bolt below or below that should catch you - I always worry that I abseil down on the anchors and they are both old, one is loaded more than the other, the one pops and the impact on the second lets go.

I suppose it can happen in both abseil and climb instances but when I climb I am hoping not to fall, when I abseil I am relying purely on the rope - messes with my head.

I still remember the sound of the chains (cheap hardware chain, and expansion bolts in sand stone) creaking as my buddy lowered of \"rhino on the steps of city hall\" in harrismith.

When is ARF coming up country?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:53 pm 
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Know What you mean Mark :shock: Abseiling off rusty chains aint fun, not as though you got any bolts underneath you in case something pops. Anyone got any other dodgy abseil stories?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:54 am 
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Interesting that you mention \"rhino on the steps of city hall steps\". When we did the route last December I was rather impressed with the condition of the 10 year old bolts. Looked like they had been placed the day before, shiny as hell!
Come to Cape Town, 10 year old bolts are a different story. :cry:

It would be cool if someone would invent a hand held x-ray type device that could check for signs of corrosion ect. It awesome that these routes are being re-bolted, but you probally find that 99% of the bolts are OK. Just the odd one that is dodgy.
I agree that top anchors should always be replaced though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:37 am 
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A couple of people have just say go trad climbing instead of sport then you dont need bolts - while there is merit in relying on your own gear (less doubt) some of you trad okes are not so well.

One trad climber (cant remember who) told me about how they lowered off a bush :shock: and while his buddy was descending he watched the bush slowly becoming unrooted :shock: supposedly it was the only way they could get down?

As far as I'm concerned bring on the nice shiny bolts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:48 pm 
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With regard to tightening bolts. If we're talking about expansion bolts, these only expand properly if they are tightened to a particular torque so \"hand tight\" isnt good enough. While a bolt under tension might encourage SCC, this is better than a bolt pulling out completely (rather than shearing or breaking) because it was not expanded properly. With glue-ins, this is not a problem, so hand tight is fine. What is being used in the Cape, cos up north pretty much everything is expansion.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:12 pm 
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Hector I think Greg means once you have set the expansion bolt using a torque wrench you loosen the nut slightly to reduce the stress in the bolt. I don't think it is necesary to have it as loose as hand tight, but it does make sense to only \"nip\" the nut holding the hangar in place.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:59 pm 
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I am refering to the usual stud anchors, once the bolt is set it wont (shouldnt) loosen, they are also self setting (if you pull out on them they set harder) so there is no need for excessive tightening of the nut. If you are putting in a new bolt tighten it up hard to set the sleeve then loosen it completely, retighten it just enough to keep the hanger from spinning no more.

By hand tight I mean as tight as your hand can squeeze the wrench around, if you are getting your whole arm behind it youre overdoing it ( once the nut is flush with the hanger try keeping your arm still and turn the wrench by squeezing your fingers shut, note hand tight does not mean tighten by hand only! :roll: ).

Adequate torque would be about 18-22Nm (The maximum for stainless steel bolts is 25Nm) which is not that tight. If you are planning on placing a lot of bolts then try to borrow a torque wrench or at least tighten a nut a few times at the correct torque setting with a torque wrench so that you get an idea of how much force is involved, with a bit of practice its possible to get quite accurate.

I am not referring to the 5 piece rawl expansion bolts which are seldom used locally.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:22 pm 
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Thanks for informative responses


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:16 pm 
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So who is responsible?

Bolts & hangers left in a cupboard at home would last a couple of thousand years. Best posible life. Placing them permanently on a crag they would have a safe life span of about 15 years. But would be subjected to obvious variables, like: weather, heating, cooling, freezing, sunlight, seepage, salt, posible galvanic corrosion, elements in rock type, over torque, loading & if hole drilled is to small(worn bit) bending & compression. Who can control or predict all the variables? Who can take responsibility for the forces of nature?

Is an FA responsible for loose rocks on a route? The rocks may have been secure when he/she opened the line. All rock is subject to natural forces of decay. For example the block with top anchors that fell from the top of Higgovale Quarry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:25 pm 
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SA has a small climbing community and we usually turn to the courts as a last resort. The States has a huge number of climbers and Americans seem to enjoy litigation. If a FA is going to be sued, it will probably be in the States. Has anyone heard of this happening there?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:08 pm 
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Endless variables :lol: Yes we know that bolts are subjected to a variety of conditions. Should we rather perhaps be focussing on the people putting in those bolts and whether they actually know what the f-ck they doing. I know that the recent bolt failures are entirely due to general wear and external factors but should we not try and regulate bolting more? Rather having fewer good quality routes than those that are falling to pieces and will continue to do so. As I understand it, to be allowed to bolt a route one must obtain permission and only once the route has be assesed and checked can bolting commence.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:40 pm 
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ATC, which routes in particular are you refering to when you state \"Rather having fewer good quality routes than those that are falling to pieces and will continue to do so.\"?

Also you say that bolting should be more regulated and that bolters should know what the f-*ck they're doing. What is the proposal here, to start a bolting school? Who's going to run this and who's going to pay? Should a small fee be levied for everytime a 'regulated' route gets climbed or bolt gets clipped? Chances are climbers will skip those routes cos most of us are tight when it comes to forking out cash to actually climb! There are very few people opening new lines as is and I doubt there are going to be many climbers who aren't already bolting wanting to cough up cash to learn how to bolt.

There is no governing body overseaing who puts bolts in place. The only time you need permission to place a bolt is if the area/crag you plan to bolt requires you to do so and even then no-one is going to be going through your bolting credentials.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:05 pm 
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ATC, how would training or bolters \"actually know what the f-ck they doing\" have prevented the bolt failors that we have seen so far? Except with regards over tightening.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:27 am 
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That's a really good idea ATC!
I have not been trained how to place bolts and was wondering if you could bolt a new line at Paarl for me. I marked all the holes yesterday even the ones under a nasty roof (read: aiding), so it will only require one full day... maybe two?!
Let me know when you are free...


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