Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

What your instructor never taught you. Continuing your education and learning from others. Climbing safety topics and accident/incident discussions.
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SNORT
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Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

http://www.climb.co.za/forum/viewtopic. ... =4182&sid=

This accident serves to illustrate the inherent danger of, and should be considered carefully by anyone that does roped climbing on bolted routes. There are two clear indisputable messages:

1. It is simply not reasonable to assume that a bolt or any fixed piece or even a removable piece of gear is fail safe.

2. Two ropes are safer than one.

I was abseiling from the top of the 3rd pitch of Automatic of the People some years ago and swung across to the top bolted anchors of Andy De Klerk's (then new) route. As I grabbed for the hanger on the bolt the whole bolt came out. It appears that a 10mm hole was drilled but a non-metric slightly smaller diameter bolt was placed. So these errors can be made by the most experienced of climbers.

Since then I do not trust climbing sport routes at the 1st, 2nd and most especially the 3rd bolt. Most if not all sport routes should have double bolts, or very, very close spacing of bolts close to the ground to ensure that one is never dependent on only one bolt to prevent a deck fall.

I don't think that there is a single exception at crags like the Mine and the Hole where failure of the 3rd bolt will not result in a deck fall from as high as 10m! This is not reasonable. Surely? I almost always take cams with me to these venues.....

This is worth debating.....


paddy
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by paddy »

One of the points raised in the article was doubt that even two ropes would have helped. In this light, to me this accident raises issues more around the responsibility involved with bolting. Climber's literally place their lives in the bolter's hands -so take the time to get it right.

So what does this accident highlight to me about bolting.
1. Make sure you understand the rock medium (one thing that was noticeable to me in the Blue Mountains was that all placements I had seen were glue in's. To my mind whoever placed these dodgey bolts should have tried to understand why this was the case).
2. Understand the potential fall lines.
3. Use friggin decent sized bolts (this also applies to lower-offs).
mokganjetsi
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

i've been blissfully unaware of bolt failures until recently and have been a happy climber. on major venues where routes get a lot of traffic should one suppose the bolts are good (unless rusted)??

an interesting development would be if the bolters were tracked down (in the blue mountain case) and sued in court - they clearly went against accepted practice and some direct instructions; bolted the route in a way that left the protection dysfunctional and left no warning that their bolts were not according to the norm..... i'm not a legal expert but somehow the words "gross neglect" comes to mind. imho those guys are responsible to some degree at least because when you bolt a route you do it in the knowedge that other will climb it (very likely) and they will assume that at least normal standards have been applied - one can obvioulsy never assume that a bolt is fail proof, but for heaven's sake, these guys placed 8mm bolts (if i remember correctly) that could be pulled from the drilled holes by hand!!!
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bigbatman
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by bigbatman »

This is a very disturbing topic. I also climbed obliviously with regards to bolts. Bolting is a very serious practice that HAS to get done properly. 100's and 1000's of climbers will test the bolts over time. Bolters cannot afford to get it wrong.

Perhaps some people are too eager to "Open a new route" and do so without the proper knowledge of how to do so safely.

Are there any rules that apply to this or can anyboby just walk into a crag a bolt a route?

I feel sick :puker:
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frosty
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by frosty »

Now i know that a lot of people are very busy working to replace bolts in the western cape that have been failing, but almost every climber i know who climbs moderate to easy lines on a more casual level seems blisfully unaware that many of the bolts they are climbing on are possibly very dangerious! Feel free to correct this list but i would avoid - lakeside pinnacle, peers cave, mine(Routes that have not been retro bolted.) sideline and maybe some others? Secondly when top roping(Yes i know there are no leads falls and you have two anchors - therefore less chance of a bolt breaking but you never know when a failure will happen) please leave if possible most of the draws in place as a safety net. Personally i feel way safer on even slightly dodgy trad placements than old bolts which unlike trad you cant see how easy it may be for them to come loose! :shaking:
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justin
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Post by justin »

With regards to the Western Cape... the first round of bolting done was by a relatively 'small group' (in comparison to other countries) of people who bolted often. Upon the first bolt failing at Silvermine Main Crag (the bolt failed when a climber (who was luckily on toprope) clipped into a bolt to rest). It was then that ARF (Anchor Replacement Fund) was set up.
The reason for most failures around the Western Cape has been corrosion and so a new standard of 316 steel bolts was set in place (informally). Which means that someone could go down to the hardware store, buy some washing machine type rivets and go bolt a route :thumleft:

The aim of ARF was to raise funds for new anchors and then to replace (and remove) the old ones.
To date ARF has been very successful in re-equipping crags around the Western Cape. The success of ARF is attributed to cash sponsorship from industry players, individual donations from climbers and volunteers giving up their climbing time to replace bolts (The sponsors and 'most' of the people who donated money are listed on the ARF page.

I'll post a list of routes / crags that have been re-bolted soon.

Please check out the ARF page also worth looking at is the ARF / bolt reports (on the ARF page)

Volunteers are always welcome. If you are keen to help out please email Ross McBride at skysite@mweb.co.za. If you have never bolted before this is a great way to learn how.
justin@CapeTownClimbing.com
SNORT
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

The very nature of bolted sport climbing is based on the premise that the bolts are fail safe. And yet there is no enforced standard whatsoever around the world. Suing one for gross negligence is a waste of time, money and energy. How many climbers are sue-able? In any law suit of this nature the base legal costs would be at least R100,000.00 and if contested would amount to about R500,000.00. Few young climbers that are putting up routes have liability insurance or personal assets. And suing is unlikely to improve standards.

I repeat what I said before. It is simply "not reasonable to ever trust fixed gear placed by someone else. And as long as one thinks one can, then accidents will happen.

It is for this reason that I advocate judicious modification of the rock in certain circumstances to allow for removable protection placements which would include removable bolts. The problem is that there are no real precedents to do so in SA and definitely little acceptance of the concept as has been highlighted in the recent posts on climb.co.za. So I certainly cannot see that this problem can ever be solved as one simply cannot police the bolting of routes at any one crag never mind around the world.

It would also appear that the vast majority of sentiments expressed in these recent debates would rather have a bolt placed on a trad route or leave it X-rated for someone "good enough, bold enough or crazy enough" to do rather than engineer a permanent placement for a permanent placement.

I do not consider this sentiment reasonable or logical but then that's my view.

So bolts will fail and people will be seriously injured die from time to time. Climbing is dangerous and too often deadly! Period!
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fanta
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by fanta »

SNORT wrote:It would also appear that the vast majority of sentiments expressed in these recent debates would rather have a bolt placed on a trad route or leave it X-rated for someone "good enough, bold enough or crazy enough" to do rather than engineer a permanent placement for a permanent placement.
Sorry for drifting off topic here but as you all know I get revved up far too easily when the words "bolt" and "trad route" get used in the same sentence. The "vast majority of sentiments" you speak of Snort, from and on this Forum... ARE sport climbers. They want to see bolts everywhere where it would be cool to climb period! As a Trad climber I don’t want to see bolts on Trad routes.

What happened to Nick Kaczorowski was a terrible accident both for his family and friends with him that day. Bolts give people a sense of security. Nice big fat ropes give climbers a sense of security. Personally I crap myself when climbing on single rope... I'd rather climb with two and deal with the extra rope management. Can you imagine the anger and hurt of being Nicks belay partner at the time of the accident. I wonder how the guys feel that placed those bolts... by placing, modifying or giving the impression that your route is safe for others to climb and then having an accident like this happen. I think I'd rather open an X rated route and have known as an X rated death route so that when go off and decide to lead it YOU KNOW WHAT YOU IN FOR if things go wrong!! As apposed to making others think its fine now that I have "Doctored" it.

Snort has his views I have mine, you left with the judgement to figure out whats best for you. Rest in peace Nick.
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XMod
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Firstly there is an accepted and enforced standard for bolting in the Cape. I went to great lengths to argue the use of a certain standard of bolts after the Silvermine breakage. Since then there have been other breakages involving the old U-Pat bolts, one resulting in injury to a climbers back (at the Hole). The standard that has been agreed on is enforced, but unfortunately only in 'retrospect' when climbers repeat a new route and can see what there. One cant legally simply go and bolt without first applying for the correct permission, presumably at that point applicants are made aware of the standards to be applied (?). Personally I think anyone wanting to start bolting should first have to attend mandatory training, although even this would not arm them against all the pitfalls as each bolt placement is unique in some way. Certainly all climbing shops worth their salt only carry the approved equipment in stock. Again I have made a point of fishing any dodgey gear out of the bins at climbing shops and telling the owners to get rid of it.

Secondly Blue Mountain Sandstone is very different to local rock in that it is a lot softer. In the accident in question it seems the holes where drilled with the incorrect sized bit and were not cleaned out properly. Obviously these are mistakes any bolter should be at pains to avoid. New routers must just stick to the standards that have been evolved, and, when developing on the peninsula or at Kleinmond (ie near the sea), consider getting ARF trained personnel to equip the line so that it is done with glue ins from the start.

Charles I find your using this tragic accident to bang your rock altering drum to be in very poor taste!
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lelikegogga
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by lelikegogga »

Charles I find your using this tragic accident to bang your rock altering drum to be in very poor taste!
Agree.
Russell Warren
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Russell Warren »

While I sympathise with the climber, his family and his friends in question here I believe that the risk associated with sport climbing for the average climber starting his climbing career is still much smaller than the risk associated with a climber starting Trad climbing. I think to say that you should never trust a bolt is pushing it a bit. If one looks at the amount of traffic sport climbs see then I think the danger is still fairly low. How many people do we know of that have been injured due to bolt failure in the history of sport climbing in SA? How many people do we think sport climb every weekend in SA? My philosophy has always been to learn technique and get stronger on what I perceive to be safer sport routes to give me a bit more strength, endurance and technique to make my trad climbing a bit safer.
nosmo
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by nosmo »

Exactly what I thought when I read your post SNORT - bad taste man.
SNORT wrote:It would also appear that the vast majority of sentiments expressed in these recent debates would rather have a bolt placed on a trad route or leave it X-rated for someone "good enough, bold enough or crazy enough" to do rather than engineer a permanent placement for a permanent placement.
[emphasis added]
...my choice, as someone who climbs more sport than trad (and I feel you regarding the differences and the allure of trad)
fanta wrote:They want to see bolts everywhere where it would be cool to climb period!
Get your head out your bum, sir.
Sticking everyone climbing sport routes into a category... makes people stick you into a category (one of old irrelevant trad climbing ballies that swig whisky on their little ledge and shout at the kids to get 'off their lawn').
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fanta
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by fanta »

nosmo wrote:Get your head out your bum, sir.
:) I'm sure you understand what I'm getting Nosmo without taking me too litereally :thumright
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XMod
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

I think the only debate that should arise from this incident is about the enforcement of local regulations over visiting climbers. We have have very evolved and high standards with regards to bolting, all of which has been well documented and is widely known. The question is whether these regulations are enough and whether they are being enforced properly. There has been more than one incident of visiting climbers bolting in SA without permission and with substandard equipment. Unsanctioned development, particularly in sensitive areas, can impact on access rights and, as seen in this accident report, lead to tragic results.

Climbing is not safe period. The moment you leave the ground there is an inherent danger. The idea that 'sport climbing is safe' seems to me to be a line the industry sells people. It can be safer than trad (not always at all) if high safety standards are adhered to.

What else can one say, hearing of accidents always leaves me feeling hollow. Check that gear guys! Bounce test the damn things if you are at all unsure.
SNORT
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

X-Mod, this is not the first time that I have brought up the issue of the danger of the first 3 bolts on a sport route on climb.co.za. And you do not allude to that issue in both your posts. Also there was a forum topicjust prior!!!! to this news called: See viewtopic.php?f=19299&t=4182&sid=

As you know I am in the business of fixing people - in fact no less than 40 of my mates have had serious injuries from climbing, paragliding, base jumping and the like. Quite a few dead from climbing!

The other part of my business is compensation claims after personal injury. So as much as any one I am the coal face of tragedy all the time and I deal with this stuff in my personal capacity as well as professionally.

When one posts something about a tragedy such as this then the most important thing that should emanate from it are the lessons to be learned. The fellow who wrote the news item as well as some of the replies gave out several "messages" that are vitally important and completely misleading and wrong in my opinion!!!!!

These are the 3 wrong "messages" that I interpreted from the posts:

1. When something goes wrong: blame someone else. There was talk of suing!
2. 2 ropes would not have made any difference!
3. It is "reasonable" to trust a single bolt!

Despite your assurances of the standards of bolting in the WCape, you know and I know that there are many dodgy bolts in the Cape. And the tone or the message that one can take from your first post but more or less corrected in the second suggests that everything is under control and that the bolts are by and large safe! And getting better all the time! Well I think that is "runeasonable" to give that assurance, portray that tone or give the message. Because that is the message that people can and many will take. Most if not all routes in the WCape and elsewhere rely on a single bolt for the first 3 clips or so to prevent a deck fall. and probably more than half are now old!

So then you can consider it my discussion tasteless if you want, but either one accepts that injuries and tragedies will occur! Or one can consider alternatives of safety. Espousing a certain standard that cannot be consistent, that cannot be verified, that cannot be enforced 100% and that is not constantly tested and maintained is .......??????

I have been criticized for abseiling of a single nut but this is a piece of gear I place and test..... Every weekend probably hundreds of climbers in SA and tens of thousands around the world commit their safety to a single bolt! I shall trust the single nut anytime!


Russel, your point is well made but again you send out what I consider the wrong message here. When one trad climbs one accepts the danger and nobody is ever going to blame anyone, consider a single rope safer than two or consider it reasonable to trust a "single" piece -even a bolt!. (And yes abseiling off a single piece can be considered "unreasonable" and I don't recommend it to anyone even though I have done it)

The fact is that sport route bolting has only been around for about 20 years in SA and any good ole bolt should last as long as that and even longer. (I took a 3 meter fall factor 2 fall on a 20 year old 1/4 inch rivet onto a static daisy chain in Yosemite some years ago and it held!)

The bolts are aging, eroding, and deteriorating..... And nobody is gonna replace them well enough and fast enough....

It is just a matter of time - not if, but when! - a bolt fails locally and someone dies!!!!!! Sorry if that sounds tasteless.... But maybe this is what's needed to remove complacency and there is no doubt in mind that that is the prevailing sentiment of most if not all sport climbers and that is the fundamental difference compared to most trad climbers. Even I was complacent and trusting of bolts when first starting to climb at the Mine and the Hole long before the ARF started its work and long before a bolt failed locally. Many years ago my friend Clive Curzon informed me of a failure of a top anchor at the Arrapales in Aus merely from lowering off and since then I sh!t myself. There is one route at the hole that if one falls clipping the last bolt before the anchor and it fails you are in for a deck fall! It's the 24 in the middle - forget the name. That's about 20m up...... I saw a Spanish dude get a draw out, pull the rope and fail to clip and then fall at least 15m. One bolt between him and the pearly gates. I always place a cam there.

Another message that I can take from this is that I shall seriously consider removing every bolt I have ever placed. I don't want anyone's death or injury attributed to a bolt I placed and that failed...Nobody is gonna retrobolt some of the bolts I have placed at Blouberg in 30 years time....Too remote, too hard.. And they will all eventually fail!.

(Essays are my style - you don't have to read em....)
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by nosmo »

@fanta: I do, I do :D

I'd like to know how the FA went on this particular route... The only way the bolt could've pulled out when Nick rested bodyweight on it, is that the FAist bolted it on rap and then onsighted it, with a follower probably doing the same. Ignoring local practice (using expansion when most other bolts -1000s in the Blue Mountains - are GLUE-INs), being tremendously stupid (regarding the drill-bit size vs bolt diameter thing) and plain sloppy (not cleaning the holes). Exceptional circumstances with a tragic end.

Eish, the dude had no chance. RIP man.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Eish the old mans off again.......and no Im not reading it. Nothing you say will stop me clipping them and liking it so rant on!
My first post in no way suggests that our bolts are safe, their not, ARF are doing much to change that though. I was merely pointing out that there is an accepted standard (something you refute in your posts!) which has evolved and that if this were adhered to reasonable safety standards would be assured. Im going to do the glue in certification this year and try to do my bit to improve the situation. What are you doing to improve it? (seeing as how its in your personal and professional best interests and all - aside from tyrading against bolts and drilling fixtures on TM that is?)
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

Your last post is anything but constructive X-mod. It's about messages and lessons man. I don't at all refute that there is an accepted standard of bolt insertion and maintenance. But the apparent accepted standard of bolt placement which you will not address is my contention that one is entrusting one self to just one bolt at the first 3 clips on most sport routes! Are you saying that that is reasonable and acceptable as a standard that only 1 bolt is sufficient between you and a deck fall?
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Russell Warren »

I would contend that one well placed bolt in solid rock is more than ample to prevent a groundfall. My argument is backed up by the many people taking falls on bolts every weekend with just about neglible amount of bolt breakages.

I think there is a bigger problem with bolters not necesarily understanding the geometry and possible weakness in rocks near cracks etc. or with bolts being placed in such a way that the carabiner gets loaded over an edge. As stated earlier in my view a well considered bolt placement (by well considered I mean you consider all aspects i.e. suitable anchor type for the area and type of rock, placement of the bolt taking into account the things mentioned at the start of the paragraph and high enough above the groung to avoid a ground fall) is more than good enough to abseil off or fall on. A second bolt is clearly better, but in my view overkill. The problem comes with time as Snort alluded to. If you use the wrong bolt for the area the time to failure is a lot quicker. That said a rolled expansion bolt in a very dry area that is not overtightened could possibly last a century or more.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Russell Warren »

Snort this question is for you: Would you say that you would trust a nut placement over a bolt placement that you yourself had placed after careful consideration ignoring the debate as to whether you should or should not be bolting at all or your ethics around that issue. This is a question to be answered on technical merit only.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Guy »

The facts here are pretty simple fallas.

The bolter messed up

In this case it is pretty clear that the bolter really messed up (wrong bolts, wrong drill bit, uncleaned holes etc) and unfortunately the consequences his errors are so horribly tragic.

Bolts are mostly safe

You're being excessively cautious not rely on something that works perfectly 99.999999% of the time.


Beyond these facts about this accident, some other thoughts are:

Climbing is dangerous

Compared to most other activities, climbing is a dangerous sport. We all know this. There is no need to increase the risk with stupid behaviour (eg lowering off one bolt). We certainly don't want to start suing other climbers, because that will stop routes being opened or landowners allowing us to use their land.

Bolting routes requires effort and thought

Speaking for myself, I make a huge effort to place bolts in solid rock, where the biner will not get some weird loading and the falls are as safe as possible. This is generally harder to get right on easier routes that have ledges or are less than verticle. Find out what bolts you can use (the Cederberg permit is explicit about this) and make an effort to place them properly.
There's no point being pessimistic, because it probably won't work
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

Phew, it is getting hot in here….. to clarify my comment on suing: it was not about passing the buck or getting bucks; but about responsibility and accountability on the side of the bolter. If you fall through the protective railing at a shopping mall and blam you face to pieces on the ground floor methinks you have more than a fair chance in court even if there was no guarantees given as to the soundness of the rails – a fairly duh example on the principles of “reasonable expectation” and responsibility. This has to my knowledge not been tested legally in the climbing / bolting world and I really do not care if it ever will be BUT it is a friggin serious issue if someone DIED because of BAD / NEGLIGENT bolting practice given that the is an expectation that a certain standard would be adhered to. Please do not go into an endless legal argument here; my point really is that there is an IMMENSE responsibility on the bolter’s shoulders to obtain the necessary information, experience and equipment to ensure that you adhere to best practice and hence “safe” bolts. The low number of bolt failures in SA does show that bolters are responsible and for that, and the “service” they render all climbers, I’m very very thankful.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Guy »

I agree that bolting is a big responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. To reiterate my earlier point, the biggest risk is (generally) on easy routes where the climbers are likely to be less experienced and there is a better chance of hitting something if you fall.

My general rule for placing a bolt is to think what happens if I fall while clippping that bolt (ie slack in hand then falling off). This will also mimic a fall onto that bolt and the bolt breaks. If I am in doubt about the number of bolts, then I almost always place an extra one. Some people think this is overbolting, but I'd rather spend an extra 10 seconds clipping another bolt than risk a serious fall.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Snort wrote:
'And yet there is no enforced standard whatsoever around the world.'
There is in fact an established standard locally for the equipping of new lines.
Think how safe Arrow Final would be with a nice shiny line of clips up it! :wink:
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by nosmo »

Oh Greg... SNORT might just make the next nut he bashes yours. :lol:
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

Russel, now we are getting to the crux of the debate that has so drifted from the first post on this thread. I wish to get back to the debate that I raised. But first to answer your question.

I would trust any and I mean any piece of gear, bolt, peg or trad placement of my own over any bolt placement that I have ever come across placed by others. But this is not the debate I raised.

I would never trust myself to taking a fall on any single piece of gear (bolt, peg or whatever, even if I placed it! And that's the debate. You need two placements - always - between you and deck fall! Lets stick to this aspect! Please. And let's debate this. Nobody has taken up this thread in any meaningful way. All the other stuff is for another thread....

To illustrate my point:

This last week Tony Dick and I climbed a new route on TM called Africa Edge that needs some verification and this was climbed by Willem, Tini and Himself on Sunday. So I shall publish it soon. The first pitch seemed very bold with and an RP and a half-in cam at about 4m. I graded it severity grade S3. Which is well short of X-rated. But if you do fall and pull your gear you should not die but...

However, I did it again after that and found a better nut placement that still is not bomb proof and is directional. But I would trust that over a bolt at any arbitrary crag but I will try damn hard not to test it with a fall. And that's the difference with sport climbing - the inherent assumption that the bolt won't fail!

Now the route does not require some crazy head-point but is serious if you do not know how to competently do trad. You are almost soloing and don't worry - I aint gonna engineer it. I led it on-sight ground up with no pre-inspection and no idea of the difficulty. The pitch is grade 21 and there is still lichen and some friable holds.

I still trust myself with my gear more on that pitch than on any bolted route!

When I climb a route that has only fixed gear (bolts or pegs) I also would like to assume the highest piece will hold my sag or my fall but, I also want a back-up second piece - always! And that's why there are two bolts at lower offs!

There are many trad routes that have single fixed pieces between you and a deck fall: Technicolor Darkness and Stem Gem are two that actually have bolts but because you are tradding you know not to trust em. Or it least you should know....I shit myself on both till I get a higher placement
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by bigbatman »

Personally I think anyone wanting to start bolting should first have to attend mandatory training
Agreed!
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Snort: you are bending the debate to your own ends. In the accident in question it would have made zero difference how many bolts were beneath the climber they were all junk. If it were unreasonable to trust a single bolt dont you think a different standard would have been applied worldwide? As Guy points out its pretty paranoid not to trust something that works 99.999999% of the time (and Im not refering to old substandard equipment here). By your reckoning we should all use two biners on our atc's (wait a minute how can I fit two atcs onto my two biners?) two harnesses, double ropes etc etc. Do you really trust your ten year old belay biner/grigri/atc implicitly????? Is that belay loop on your harness really going to hold? Hell it killed Todd Skinner! Oooh maybe the guys who made my rope messed up, maybe two ropes wont even hold......C'mon bru get real, one correctly placed ARF bolt is way stronger than any of the dinky wires on your rack, and thats irrefutable fact. Secondly redundancy in bolting is something any bolter worth their salt takes into account, not all of the old routes will comply with this, not all situations allow you to stop and clip - result some routes are a dangerous yes, this is climbing not bowls!

The only worthwhile debate here is whether acceptable standards are being applied locally, and yes they are. The situation is far from perfect but ARF are working to fix that, how are you contributing toward this effort?

FYI the removable bolts you are so fond of were never designed for lead free climbing but were made for aid climbing only as a replacement for rivets. A removable bolt of the strength required for safe free leading requires a 16mm hole to be drilled, now I dont know of any battery powered drill that can handle 16mm holes. The only cases where removable bolts have been used extensively has lead to the holes being damaged during falls as the cables cut into the rock. The holes are now useless and look suprisingly similar to the peg scars that litter US granite. Is this the new standard you wish us to follow???

What the climbing community should be doing is writing to Chris McNamara (as I have) in vast numbers requesting that Tortuga titanium bolts be brought back into production (the aerospace company that makes them is too busy building spaceships). These are the only long term solution, being corrosion free with an expected lifespan of over a thousand years.
As these amazing (and ridiculously expensive) bolts are not available at present the next best (and affordable) solution is stainless steel, which is what the ARF are using.
Please stop trying to equate your experiences on trad to what is happening on the sport cliffs, there is no relation.
PaulB
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by PaulB »

Ignoring the fact that most of the time, in most situations, it's pretty safe to trust a well-placed bolt, most sport routes do have some redundancy: bolts are closely spaced near the ground and more spaced higher up (or should be). Anyway, I don't get you Snort, you want to make the sport safer yet you revel in hard trad routes? Seems more far more useful, personally, to overcome the mostly irrational fear leading a sport route, than the rational fear of leading a hard trad route.. But I guess your point is that we think of sport climbing as safe and should be more wary. Good, lets take the lesson, check fall zones, sharp edges, rock type etc and bolt accordingly. And when climbing other people's routes, especially people with no track record, it's wise to look for signs of dangerous bolting.
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XMod
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Real Name: Greg Hart

Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Aah! A rational response - thank you Paul! I woud definitely take the advice of people like Paul and Guy who have a vast amount of experience with bolting. Patently there is a lot more to bolting safely than meets the eye. Again do the local standards need review? This is worth debating, not whether we should all switch to removable bolts at a cost of over R240 each which will damage the rock irreversably in time.

Lesson for the average climber: Stop! Look carefully at the route you want to climb, are there any particular dangers involved? When was it bolted (if more than ten years ago maybe just avoid it until the equipment is replaced), what condition are the bolts in? Think before you commit to the route, dont just clip in, in blind trust.

Lessons for local bolters and ARF. Think the equipping process through very carefully, discuss it with experienced climbers, take into account the run of the rope, falls, redundancy etc. ARF have a policy of just replacing what is there and not rethinking the bolting, I think this is wrong, there are several routes that could really benefit from an extra bolt or two, please guys study the equipment carefully before simply remaking the same mistakes the original bolter made. In the old days people were still thinking in a bold trad kind of way and as a result many of the old routes do not comply with modern standards. Surely if a committee of ARF personnell recommend and extra bolt the FA should have no choice but to agree to a change in equipment layout. Many minds are stronger than one when it comes to solving problems of this nature. FA's must realise that a route is not their personal property but is put there for all to enjoy.

Climb safe people, contribute to the ARF!
Last edited by XMod on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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