/ Failures of stainless steel bolts on sea side crags

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Peter Herold - on 03 Jun 2012
From http://www.sardiniaclimb.com/NuovoScEng/ListaNewsEn.html

"27/05/2012- TAKE CARE! Following two cases of expansion and glue-in bolts in good condition breaking, probably due to galvanic currents, you should never lower off just one bolt or nor belay yourself on just one bolt while threading a belay. When abseiling, you should never abseil off just one anchor point if the anchors are not joined together. The instances of failure have occurred next to the sea, but it has not yet been possible to establish the precise cause of the problem. Provided people pay extra attention and follow these suggestions, we can avoid bad accidents and keep climbing in relative safety in marine environments."

A communication published by the Sardinian branch of the Italian Alpine Club (if anyone wants a copy email me, it's in Italian) updates this and reports similar breakages of STAINLESS STEEL bolts in marine environments in the USA, Thailand, Caiman Islands, Calanques and (in a Remy brothers report just circulated) in Kalymnos. The Kalymnos cases were due to the steel having less chrome than stainless steel should have, but we have learned that fully certified stainless steel can corrode much faster than people thought in marine environments: analysis of the Sardinian bolts from Bidiriscottai, Cala Gonone and Masua showed the cause was "pitting" corrosion in stainless steels meeting certification standards.

We're talking of two cases among thousands of bolts, but everyone here wants to alert people to this risk, which you minimise by following the advice above particularly on sea side crags (I hope you do this anyway on all crags!): never lower off just one bolt or nor belay yourself on just one bolt while threading a belay. The leader should thread the belay, not the second. When abseiling, you should never abseil off just one anchor point if the anchors are not joined together.

As an immediate step to increase safety, at French stances (two offset eye bolts) at sea side crags a piece of kevlar will be used to join the bolts so that they back each other up even if people don't follow the rules above. You could consider leaving one yourself -:) In the longer term, hot-dipped galvanised bolts with min 25 microns of zinc coating will be used by the sea instead of stainless steel bolts.

Please circulate this info as widely as possible to your climbing friends.

Peter peter@peteranne.it
davy_boy - on 03 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold: corrosion also depends on the grade of stainless bolts as these tend to come in 2 common grades A2 and A4. A2 bolts are the most common type but will corrode under certain chemical and marine environments where as A4 grade bolts are designed for marine environments as they have a higher content of molybdenum to improve corrosion resistance. in my experience galvanised bolts dont last that long in marine environments based on my job offshore working with steel every day
duzinga - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold: I thought galvanized bolts were bad idea near seaside as well? What grade are the steel bolts that failed? That would be helpful to know.
Peter Herold - on 04 Jun 2012
Hi, all the answers to the questions you have posed have been thoroughly discussed in UIAA documents, the Rémy brothers report from Switzerland and the people involved with bolting in Sardinia, including the bolt suppliers. The "simple explanation and steps to solve the problem" pdf in Italian contains photos from http://www.substech.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=pitting_corrosion&s=pitting which explains pitting corrosion in English. Everyone is surprised to find that glue-in stainless steel bolts can be subject to this sort of corrosion, while the problem of stress corrosion cracking with expansion bolts in marine environments was known. As stated by the UIAA HOT DIPPED galvanised mild steel bolts with a zinc layer of at least 24 microns (5 times the 5 microns of ordinary galvanised bolts) should have a service life "only a little less than that of comparable stainless steel units".
jimtitt - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:

It should be noted that the issue of corrosion in stainless bolts is somewhat more complex and extremely controversial, the use of galvanised bolts even more so especially if you are French!

Despite your implication to the contrary I am not aware that galvanised bolts are accepted by the UIAA for award of Safety Label UIAA123 unless they have made an exemption without publicising it. As no galvanised anchor currently (or ever has) held the Safety Label one can safely assume they have not approved this choice of material. From my personal contact with Safety Commission it appears unlikely they ever would.
UIAA123:- "Rock anchors shall be manufactured from corrosion-resistant material with properties at least equivalent to material number 1.4307 in accordance with EN 10088-3:1995 or, what concerns corrosion resistance, equivalent material, except number 1.4305."

Apart from the issue of corrosion the visual effects of using galvanised bolts are to be deplored and should be of considerable concern to climbers.

Al Evans on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to jimtitt: AS it's now 20 years since the stainless staple appeared at Portland, and they had an assumed lifespan of 20-25 years, is much monitoring/replacement of early staples underway yet?, I noticed when I was climbing there regularly some 10 years ago that there were signs of what definitely looked like erosion to me , where they entered the rock.
The Ex-Engineer - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to various: My material science and chemistry background is rather dated, but IIRC virtually all chemical processes have a highly non-linear and generally _exponential_ dependence on temperature.

As such, my gut feeling is that even the moderate temperature differential between Portland and locations like Sardinia and Thailand will have a massive difference on the lifespan of identical bolts.

If anyone has any information to either confirm or refute this, I'd be interested to know.
remus - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Al Evans: Im not sure how extensive the monitoring/replacement of staples at portland is but it's certainly happened on some scale, there was an article on here about it if I remember correctly.
jimtitt - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
Corrosion in stainless is related to temperature but also other factors, the typical British weather probably playing a major role in keeping the bolts at Portland relatively clean!
There are hundreds of thousands of bolts in places with temperatures similar or higher than Sardinia with no major problems and temperature isn´t particularly the critical aspect in practice.
Timmd on 04 Jun 2012
jimtitt - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Timmd:

And before someone mentions titanium bolts!

The one you linked to have not been available for many years, they could not anyway have been sold in Europe as they are too weak and experience in the USA showed that they are possibly not the most reliable of products. I have one customer in the Carribean who is ripping all of his out.

Titanium bolts at the current state of the metals market are commercially unrealistic and climbers would not pay for them.
Peter Herold - on 04 Jun 2012
@jimtitt: The UIAA web site is down, look for 3/2000 helmut microys' article re HOT DIPPED galvanised bolts in the Calanques as a solution to Stress Corrosion Cracking. Or email me and I can send you the documents.

In Italy there is no current supplier of hot dipped glue-in bolts (expansion bolts can't be treated in this way, the tightening of the nut would strip the galvanising), we have to work out how to get them produced, and in the mean time we will join the bolts of French stances at crags exposed to lots of wind off the sea with kevlars.

ciao Peter
jimtitt - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:

I´m well acquainted with the article which was a discussion document.The proposal was rejected by the UIAA and was never official policy, only stainless steel is acceptable to the UIAA.

It is disengeneous to put it mildly for someone to reference this article as portraying an official UIAA view when it does not.

If you want you can confirm this with Charlet-Moser or I can put you in contact with the person on SafeCom who is doing the research into sea-water resistant bolts.

Using galvanised bolts is in my opinion a mistake.
jon on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:

> we will join the bolts of French stances

What's a French stance, Peter?
lithos on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to jon:


from the OP ....

>As an immediate step to increase safety, at French stances (two offset eye bolts)
jon on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to lithos:

Alright then, WHY call them French stances? Is it something Italian?
lithos on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to jon:

no idea :-) maybe the Italians think they were 'invented' in Fr or are
more popular in Fr ? maybe just a shorthand way or refering to the style?

Maybe there is a list of styles vs names ? doubt it but things often get names associated with places (Yosemite bowline etc)
Peter Herold - on 04 Jun 2012
@jimtitt: The person you should talk to about content (and I'm sure he'd welcome the input) is Corrado Pibiri subribanti@hotmail.com
Direttore CLUB ALPINO ITALIANO SEZIONE DI CAGLIARI
Istruttore Nazionale di Alpinismo

I merely translated into English on Maurio Oviglia's request the warning he published on pietradiluna on facebook and then Maurizio published these on the Italian and English versions of sardiniaclimb.com. Since not all climbers may access sardiniaclimb.com, I relayed the alert here as requested by Corrado for English-speaking climbers.

Corrado circulated a summary document in Italian, "Il fallimento degli ancoraggi in acciaio Inox" describing the two Sardinian cases with photos and proposing the HOT DIPPED solution, with as other attachments
1. the Microys document
2. another UIAA document you are also probably familiar with "Extreme caution advised for anchors in tropical, marine areas" 19 Oct 2009 This document based on the Domenican Republic regards stainless steel fixed anchors, meeting the UIAA safety standard, which broke at well below the certified strength. "The corrosion in this particular locale appears to be accelerated by the proximity of the sea and year-round warm, wet weather." - not the case in the Mediterranean, thank goodness.
3. The Rémy brothers alert about bolt failures in Kalymnos

As I said in my opening post, if you want, I can forward Corrado's email to you. Just let me have your email, write to peter@peteranne.it

ciao Peter
andyathome - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:

Peter I think a quote from your OP is relevant:

'never lower off just one bolt or (sic) nor belay yourself on just one bolt while threading a belay. The leader should thread the belay, not the second. When abseiling, you should never abseil off just one anchor point if the anchors are not joined together.'

That's simply normal good practice, and no-one should be hanging off a bolt without a rope tied in the the harness in some fashon as back-up anyway, and should prevent worries.

Presumably all of these reported 'breakages' caused slight soiling of underwear rather than fatality?
jimtitt - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:

Not sure I need to get involved in an Italian debate on bolting, I´ve done that before! Probably the best thing is for Corrado Pibiri to contact the UIAA direct and get the information first hand. Apart from anything else I would be seen as having a commercial interest in the outcome.

More relevant is whether you want to see your cliffs turned into a scrap heap, many of the places I´ve visited where galvanised bolts are use (electro-plated or hot dipped) suffer from leaching of the zinc killing the algae and leaving awful white streaks below the bolts.
Here´s a photo of Omis in Croatia for example where the cliff looks like a photo-topo:- http://www.omis-croatia.com/Climbing-Omis-q7id272z1.aspx and this has been a problem at places like Castle Hill in N.Z. as well as huge numbers of French cliffs, there was a thread on this here last year or so about Mont St Victoire if I remember correctly.
After the zinc is worn through especially on the lower-offs then you get the rust streaks as well on the white which make things considerably worse!
jimtitt - on 04 Jun 2012
andyathome - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to jimtitt:
To be honest, Jim, that photo does not look a lot worse than the state of the rock at places like Budinetto and Poltrona in Sardinia; or Coudon in France. It's surely pretty normal to be able to spot sport routes, and the individual bolt placements, by the white 'run-off' streaks like that?

And chalk does the same thing - but that's a side issue :-)
Rob Kennard - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Al Evans: I personally have not witnessed any visible signs of corrosion to a staple, Al.
I do however know of 4 staples coming out due to a failure of the glue/ metal or glue/ rock interface. NEVER lower off a single staple!
As you allude, there are quite a few examples of the rock eroding away around the staple, the worst of which (Price of Silence)is used as the logo for the Dorset Bolt Fund( http://www.dorset-climbing.com/dorset_bolt_fund/ )

Rob
JWB - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold: In waht cicumstances did the failures occur? Was it a leader fall ie dynamic loading? Was it a lower off under a static load?

We are going to Sardinia in September so obviously would like to be fully aware of the issue.
The cad on 05 Jun 2012 - 88-149-142-42.dynamic.ngi.it
NEVER LOWER OFF A SINGLE STAPLE: this is the golden rule.

OK, but... what about those places where the lower off is made ONLY by a single staple? (e.g. several sport routes in San Vito Lo Capo)
kinobi - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold: and to Jim Titt:
Dear Peter, Dear Jim,

the discussion mentioned by Peter was started by a relatively low number of people. The suggestion to use Zinc Galvanized gear comes from a very limited number of people. All of this people, speak for themselves and have no "official" position in UIAA. Only a limited small number of equippers agrees in what they suggest. The fact that their letters were published in web sites and widely circulated, does not prove they are right. They are individual opinion. I disagree in what they suggest as "solution" of a problem. For me they just make the problem bigger.
UIAA does not suggest the use of that gear in any enviroment (for sure not in marine).

However the problem the talk about EXIST on SS 304. In fact, some brands make AISi 316 gear for some reasons.
So far, as far as I know it, in Sardinia the problem was on 2 points (one glue in, one bolt). In Kalymons should be two points, and the supplier of that bolts awknowledged the problem.

Said that, the French stance is a poor way to do belays, that were/is used for "cost oriented" equippers AND because of maintainance in marine enviroment is a problem = the less gear, the less to care about. Still widely used in the Finale Ligure's area.

Finally, it does exist Glue ins from Fixe-Tech Rock not made from Stainless Gear. They are not hot dipped, and, my experience, is that they will rust in not marine enviroment in about 15 years. They are not widely distributed, since almost nobody uses them.

Peter: I am placing two belays in a cliff near to your house: one galzanized, one SS 304. Please check them, and keep us updated how things goes. The galvanized one should rust in 1 year. The other one should be ok for a 10 years. Because it has a ring (no carabiner/s), it has only one (1) safety point once you lower off.
Ciao,
E








kinobi - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to The cad:

I only point out that anyone bolting in San Vito Lo capo, pays the gear they use.
I am sure they accepts volunteers to add the extra point at belays.
Best,
E
Peter Herold - on 05 Jun 2012
@Jim, the UIAA has been informed of the issue and I am informed that they are actually working on it, let's hope they pull their finger out. As a bolt producer yourself (“Apart from anything else I would be seen as having a commercial interest in the outcome”) maybe you could also chivvy them. The bolt producers and people who bolt should be having this discussion.

@JWB: the bolting in Sardinia is generally very safe as people who have been here can tell you and the Pietra di Luna guidebook tells you when there are potentially dangerous situations, eg for Buchi Arta before Loius Piguet renewed several of the stances: “…the anchors often have only one bolt (and use a “golfaro”, a ring which screws onto the bolt in place of the hanger and which you can lower off. Their use is not advised for climbing, they are not as safe as a normal bolt and are not homologated; in Italy they are not used), which is not acceptable in such a popular sports climbing crag.” As the documents on the UIAA web site show, there have been stainless steel bolt failures even though the current (quite old) UIAA standard certifies stainless steel bolts and, let’s say, this info wasn’t made that widely available nor did the UIAA pull its finger out to update the standard. I contrast this with the aviation industry, where there is a culture of “share when you find a problem so we can understand and find a solution before it happens to other people”, both for piloting and especially for maintenance. Aircraft routinely have maintenance issues which get resolved by people sharing info and working together to find a solution…

(I translate from Corrado’s pdf): At Bidisriscottai right by the sea Cala Gonone May 2011, a heavy climber fell onto the last bolt before the lower-off. It failed and he cracked some vertebrae. In May 2012, on the Masua sea cliff in the SW of the island, as a leader prepared to thread the belay and self-belayed to only one of the two offset eyebolts that formed the stance, when it hung off it it failed. He only scared himself since all his draws were on the route below, but had he been a second cleaning the route who’d done this, s/he would have died. Hence the rules above:-
* never lower off just one bolt or nor belay yourself on just one bolt while threading a belay.
* The leader should thread the belay, not the second. THIS IS NEW – OFTEN THE LEADER WOULD HAVE THE SECOND CLIMB TO STRIP THE ROUTE AND THREAD THE BELAY, PARTLY TO AVOID WEAR ON THE LOWER-OFF
* When abseiling, you should never abseil off just one anchor point if the anchors are not joined together.
* As an immediate step to increase safety, at French stances (two offset eye bolts) at sea side crags a piece of kevlar will be used to join the bolts so that they back each other up even if people don't follow the rules above. You could consider leaving one yourself -:)

I did this joining work yesterday for 8 of the 9 stances at the crag of the Porto di Santa Maria (as well as bolting new routes I do the maintenance in the area we live) and inspected the glue-in bolts. As far as I could see none had signs of pitting corrosion. The only bolts with signs of corrosion (and this crag is right by the sea) were some stainless steel expansion bolts I’d put in after we removed a loose flake half-way up the crag, they are not critical (other bolts close below), and a 7b our Czech friends made me for Xmas one year “To Peter” with expansion bolts. For a long time I have had a To Do to rebolt this, I had bought the stainless steel glue-in bolts but will now wait pending the outcome of this UIAA investigation. The potential danger comes not from 7b’s, though, but from 5’s and 6’s, due to the numbers of people climbing them,

If you want any updates, email me peter@peteranne.it

AND I mentioned Sardinian cases. Logically safety issues are the same at all sea-side crags.
The cad on 05 Jun 2012 - 88-149-142-42.dynamic.ngi.it
In reply to kinobi:
> (In reply to The cad)
>
> I only point out that anyone bolting in San Vito Lo Capo, pays the gear they use.
> I am sure they accepts volunteers to add the extra point at belays.
> Best,
> E

Oh, really?!?
So next time I'll go there (or elsewhere) I'll remember to take with me also my drill and some bolts to finish the job.
Thank you for pointing this out! :)

kinobi - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to The cad:
I apologize from "poor" Italy. Just the guys have less money here to give to charity. Carry the drill, or just some cash.
But, may be I am wrong: may be these points were placed by germans...
Ciao,
E
kinobi - on 05 Jun 2012
jimtitt - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to The cad:

Which routes at San Vito have only one bolt/staple? All the routes we have bolted have two bolts but there are other people who have bolted, sometimes not as well as we would prefer. If we know which routes we can do something about it next time we are there.
The cad on 05 Jun 2012 - 88-149-142-42.dynamic.ngi.it
In reply to jimtitt: Hoo, difficult question... I've been there last November so it's quite hard to remember.
However I'll try to recall at least the sectors where we've climbed and I'll let you know.
Thanks in advance
jimtitt - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:
> @Jim, the UIAA has been informed of the issue and I am informed that they are actually working on it, let's hope they pull their finger out. As a bolt producer yourself (“Apart from anything else I would be seen as having a commercial interest in the outcome”) maybe you could also chivvy them. The bolt producers and people who bolt should be having this discussion.
>


The UIAA have been working on this for a long time, I wouldn´t wait for them to re-bolt!
They have a newer guy working on it nowadays who I have a lot of correspondence with but the issue isn´t actually very simple as getting the appropriate materials in the sizes we use and at a price climbers will pay is impossible. In fact it probably won´t ever be resolved on commercial grounds and the disparate views held by members of the UIAA. Judging by previous efforts any recommendation will be confused and ignored by everybody.

The UIAA isn´t really the place for industry to chivvy, it is a platform for the interests of mountaineers and they are responsible for their activity or lack of it. The industries organisation is CENORM where the compusorily requirements for Europe are established and they permit any material to be used at the manufacturers discretion.

The poor sales of the high-grade (1.4462) stainless steel bolts we make shows clearly the ultimate lack of interest of climbers in this problem or that the problem is of less concern than other aspects of bolting and climbing safety which certainly is the case.
lmarenzi - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

Thank you very much Jim.

I don't know anything about bolting but I have read a few climbing related posts on the internet in my time, enough to recognize ultra high quality advice when I come across it.

Have an unofficial UIAA 1.456 DIN A3 Castlemain XXXX Lifetime Valuable Posts Award from me.
The cad on 05 Jun 2012 - 88-149-142-42.dynamic.ngi.it
In reply to jimtitt:
> Which routes at San Vito have only one bolt/staple?

Here are the routes I remember.
Note: my memory is less than perfect and for sure this list is not exhaustive.

Pineta sector
- Spigolo: 1st pitch is ok (if I'm not wrong), while the 2nd pitch ends with a single bolt with a maillon rapide on it.
- Via Rossa

Campo Base sector
- Miracoli
- Ladri di Moschetoni

Sinistra Pietra sector
- El Bahira
- Burning Fat
- White Shark
- Cha Cha
- Rumba

jimtitt - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to The cad:
> (In reply to jimtitt)
> [...]
>
> Here are the routes I remember.
> Note: my memory is less than perfect and for sure this list is not exhaustive.
>
> Pineta sector
> - Spigolo: 1st pitch is ok (if I'm not wrong), while the 2nd pitch ends with a single bolt with a maillon rapide on it.
> - Via Rossa
>
> Campo Base sector
> - Miracoli
> - Ladri di Moschetoni
>
> Sinistra Pietra sector
> - El Bahira
> - Burning Fat
> - White Shark
> - Cha Cha
> - Rumba

The first two are from Joseph Gstoettenmayr and normally you get a large single lower-off and a back-up bolt beside, long time since I did Spigolo but you might be right about the single bolt on the second pitch.

Miracoli and Ladri di Moschetoni are from Daniel Arena, what he gives you at the top depends on what he has available. He´s Italian.

El Bahira, Burning Fat and White Shark have always had two bolts at the top and since last year have a pigtail in the lower bolt joined into the upper bolt by chain which I fitted (they are my routes).

Cha Cha and Rumba are from Joseph as well, I´ve never climbed them so no idea what´s up there. Normally he uses his version of my Monster Hook which is an enormously strong thing made of 12mm 316 stainless bar, these we are quite happy to place as single points for lowering.

It´s worth noting that in the German speaking part of the climbing world (and a lot of other places) a single-bolt lower-off is absolutely standard, even the DAV bolts this way. I personally normally fit two bolts but it isn´t nescessarily intended you lower on both, the second is so top-ropers can fit two opposed draws.
There is no seperate standard (either CE Norm or UIAA Safety Label) for lower-offs, they treated as simply another rock anchor, the UIAA only recommend two bolts on multi-pitch belays, the standards only defining an anchor and not its application. There are ways for a climber to add reundancy without adding extra bolts at the anchor if they wish.
Of course if someone wants to give me the best part of £20,000 I can arrange for chainsets to be fitted to all the routes at San Vito!
lmarenzi - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

You are right that single bolt lower-offs are standard in many places. The north ridge of the Badile (15-20 muni rings) in Switzerland springs to mind. The descent was fitted by Swiss Moutain Guide Bobbi Goette.
Peter Herold - on 05 Jun 2012
"You are right that single bolt lower-offs are standard in many places. The north ridge of the Badile (15-20 muni rings) in Switzerland springs to mind. The descent was fitted by Swiss Moutain Guide Bobbi Goette."

The post is about sea side crags and bolt failures there, completely different corrosion environment and people should realise this (as UIAA documents say). Today I was climbing on a crag only a couple of km from sea but not affected by breezes off the sea, bolts looked new. What works on Badile isn't applicable in safety terms.
In reply to kinobi:
> Example of poor belay.
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoxcSgUDBJ8

Out of interest why do you consider that a poor belay, it uses two separate glue-in bolts?


Chris
lmarenzi - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:

"The post is about sea side crags and bolt failures there, completely different corrosion environment and people should realise this (as UIAA documents say). Today I was climbing on a crag only a couple of km from sea but not affected by breezes off the sea, bolts looked new. What works on Badile isn't applicable in safety terms."

Point taken.

Its freaks me out as much as anyone that bolts that say 24kn on them look good can just snap off under bodyweight. I think everyone appreciates you bringing this to the attention of the climbing public.

Unfortunately the way forward is not so clear though ...
jimtitt - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:

However you introduced the subject with your statement "never lower off just one bolt or nor belay yourself on just one bolt while threading a belay" as this merely makes it more difficult for equippers in areas where one bolt is sufficient and the norm and even more difficult for climbers brought up with the two-bolt concept when they visit areas abroad. Perhaps it would have been better to have included a qualifier about areas where the bolts are known to be suspect or liable to unusual corrosion.
jimtitt - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to kinobi)
> [...]
>
> Out of interest why do you consider that a poor belay, it uses two separate glue-in bolts?
>
>
> Chris

The top ring is orientated incorrectly so the the rope drags on the rock. Otherwise it´s good to go.
Cellinski - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to lmarenzi:

While this is correct, Munirings are no longer placed here in Switzerland and in the meantime are deemed as "not safe". In many places, a back up bolt has been placed besides the Munirings.
In reply to Cellinski:
> (In reply to lmarenzi)
>
> While this is correct, Munirings are no longer placed here in Switzerland and in the meantime are deemed as "not safe". In many places, a back up bolt has been placed besides the Munirings.

What is seen to be the problem with Munirings, they are some of the most substantial pieces of 'iron-work' I have ever clipped?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=155386


Chris
The cad on 06 Jun 2012 - 151.80.207.73 whois?
In reply to jimtitt:
Thank you for your reply.

> It´s worth noting that in the German speaking part of the climbing world (and a lot of other places) a single-bolt lower-off is absolutely standard, even the DAV bolts this way.

True. But this doesn't necessarily mean that it is safe to do so in every environment and/or circumstance.
scott titt - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to The cad:


> Pineta sector
> - Spigolo: 1st pitch is ok (if I'm not wrong), while the 2nd pitch ends with a single bolt with a maillon rapide on it.


First off, they are not staples at San Vito

P2 Spigolo ends with a two bolt belay (you were not at the top of the route). Spigolo was climbed ground up as a way to the top of the cliff, the belay is on safe ground at the top.
The cad on 06 Jun 2012 - 151.80.207.73 whois?
In reply to scott titt:
> (In reply to The cad)
> P2 Spigolo ends with a two bolt belay (you were not at the top of the route). Spigolo was climbed ground up as a way to the top of the cliff, the belay is on safe ground at the top.

OK, thank you for pointing this out.
I (mis)took the in-situ maillon rapide as a mark for the route's end.
Peter Herold - on 06 Jun 2012
"However you introduced the subject with your statement "never lower off just one bolt or nor belay yourself on just one bolt while threading a belay" as this merely makes it more difficult for equippers in areas where one bolt is sufficient and the norm and even more difficult for climbers brought up with the two-bolt concept when they visit areas abroad. Perhaps it would have been better to have included a qualifier about areas where the bolts are known to be suspect or liable to unusual corrosion."

"27/05/2012- TAKE CARE! Following two cases of expansion and glue-in bolts in good condition breaking, probably due to galvanic currents, you should never lower off just one bolt or nor belay yourself on just one bolt while threading a belay. When abseiling, you should never abseil off just one anchor point if the anchors are not joined together. The instances of failure have occurred next to the sea, but it has not yet been possible to establish the precise cause of the problem. Provided people pay extra attention and follow these suggestions, we can avoid bad accidents and keep climbing in relative safety in marine environments."

It says quite clearly "next to the sea,... in marine environments."

Similar post on planetmountain.com http://www.planetmountain.com/News/shownews1.lasso?l=1&keyid=39611 in Italian "Sicurezza dei fix per l'arrampicata in ambiente marino" ambiente marino = marine environment, with photos of French stances and broken bolts
Cellinski - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

The ironwork is indeed solid (maybe not for marine environments), but they are much shorter (7cm I believe) than they appear. And, it's just a single point: the rock around can always fail, especially because of the shorthness of the anchor.
Peter Herold - on 07 Jun 2012
Having started this post, I'm not going to monitor it further. People seem to have got the message. The last post closes it nicely: "And, it's just a single point: the rock around can always fail." OK, this is very rare if the route is well-bolted (I have often shifted the position of a planned stance if the rock didn't sound alsolutely solid when you hammer it to where it's "rock solid")

So most people, given the choice, would always make sure they belay to two points, in the mountains as well as in a sea cliff environment, and you will climb safely.

Happy climbing! Peter
cuppatea on 07 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
> (In reply to various) My material science and chemistry background is rather dated, but IIRC virtually all chemical processes have a highly non-linear and generally _exponential_ dependence on temperature.

True, but with respect to metal isn't the issue the heating/cooling when the alloy is formed?
I'm wondering if the heating/cooling cycle is more important when it comes to chemicals like epoxy rather than metals?
I have been wrong before.
galpinos - on 07 Jun 2012
In reply to cuppatea:
> (In reply to The Ex-Engineer)
> [...]
>
> True, but with respect to metal isn't the issue the heating/cooling when the alloy is formed?

I believe the Ex-Engineer was refering to temperature in general.

In the case of austenitic stainless steels (as these 304L bolts being dicussed are), stress corrosion cracking due to chlorides is more prevalent at elevated temperatures (greater then 50 degC as standard).
risby - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold: "never abseil off just one anchor point if the anchors are not joined together"

Nobody else has mentioned this so maybe it's just me that finds this phrase confusing.

It implies you may have set up several anchors but then only use one of them. Why would you do that? If you have several anchors joined together are you then using one anchor point? No, the anchor points are where attachments are made to the cliff or crag, surely.

Wouldn't the phrase "Always anchor a belay or abseil to several points" be simpler and more clear?
duzinga - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to risby: I am sorry but I think the sentence is as clear as it could have been. Your "corrected" version is actually confusing.
JJL - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to risby:

The "anchor points" in this case are bolts. Pete means don't thread just one of a pair of anchor bolts unless they are linked (with chain or kevlar)
andyathome - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to JJL:
+1 We are talking bolted lower-offs here; not a couple of wires.
risby - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to JJL: Ah, yes. I see.
jimtitt - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to risby:-

Those things up there which are usually called bolts are technically called "rock anchors" as in UIAA123 Rock Anchors or EN959 Rock Anchors. Peter is correct.
Scott_vzr on 09 Jun 2012
Muinirings

There are funny huge square loops with long rods at Vallorcine near Chamonix. Some pitches you only have those unless you use a bolt - on a route - above or below them.

It's the metal in the rock that is the issue, you can't inspect it. Also the cemented in ring bolts, how are they affected by the chemical reactions in limestone ?

So chemical reactions inside the limestone plus - lightning strikes, salt air, water, acid rain..........
ads.ukclimbing.com
cuppatea on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Scott_vzr: When you look at it like that maybe trade is safer :D
Scott_vzr on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to cuppatea: AH, you got my wee hint .......
jimtitt - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Scott_vzr:

Muni rings are considered by the Swiss to have the same holding power as the normal wedge bolts, that is perfectly adequate. However as they are usually found singly on multi-pitch routes the recommendation is that more than one party should not belay on them at the same time and that belays should be equpped with a second bolt. No failures have been recorded.
This is the information published in Die Alpen by the Swiss Alpine Club.

lmarenzi - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Cellinski:

Munirings are fine to rap off, they were only set a few (4?) years ago. That is why Bobbi Goette put them there. They are only partially on the route up.

Always nice to have back ups, but the extra bolts you refer to will have been placed so that people can set up multipitch belays that might need to take factor 2 leader falls as well as the belayer's weight and that is a different kettle of fish.
WarthogARJ on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Peter Herold:
L&G,
Sorry for the slow reply to this thread, but I wasn't a member of this forum before.

I'm the South African Delegate to the Safety Commission of the UIAA. And I'm a materials engineer. Plus I'm on the Working Group that's working on the revision to the UIAA Anchor Standard 123.

We're aware of various failures to anchors, caused by a number of mechanisms. The one that has got the most discussion in the past 5 years has been chloride stress corrosion cracking (SCC) but there are other failure modes that are just as serious.

We did a survey of anchor failures and found that as many as 20% of anchors in some hot/tropical locations had suffered either cracks or severe corrosion. Some of these failures are very likely due to SCC. Without a detailed individual metallurgical analysis we cannot say exactly how many were due to SCC, and how many due to other corrosion causes. But many have cracks that are characteristic of SCC. And these problems are not restricted to hot/tropical areas either, altho the incident rate in other areas is lower.

And looking at the photos of the failed anchors reported on the Italian site in this thread, it seems to me that SCC is a possible culprit:
http://www.planetmountain.com/News/shownews1.lasso?l=1&keyid=39611#

However, even if they aren't due to SCC, they are still failed anchors. And it's a problem.

We have re-issued our 2009 warning/caution in the UIAA Newsletter, see here:
http://www.theuiaa.org/news_375_Safety-Commission-issues-update-of-corrosion-notice-for-anchors-in-m...

In addition, we will be posting updates of our work there in case you want to check again.

The overall issue of environmental degradation (i.e corrosion as well as SCC) of climbing anchors is not an easy subject to address. Not only is it a fairly complex technical subject, but the economics of bolting adds difficulty. Climbers, especially bolters, can tend to be quite short of money and are thus very cost conscious, altho they place little monetary value on their time. So the anchor selection process in climbing is done quite differently from in industry.

Plus there is usually no specified lifetime for climbing anchors, nor frequently any regular inspection and replacement system, unlike in industry. There are exceptions to this, but it tends to be done on an ad hoc basis.

We propose a three part solution to address these issues:
(1) Anchors be classified in terms of their resistance to corrosion and stress corrosion cracking
(2) Standard tests and requirements are identified to rate anchors according to these classes
(3) The UIAA issue some recommendations about what anchors to use where, and help pass on any other good ideas on how to address this issue

We believe that the following anchor classes would be appropriate:
Class 1: High resistance to both general corrosion as well as to chloride SCC
Class 2: High resistance to general corrosion and moderate resistance to SCC
Class 3: High to moderate resistance to general corrosion and no specified/required SCC resistance
Class 4: no specified/required resistance to corrosion or to SCC

We're still working on the best way to specify each class.

Class 1 is likely going to be anchors made from extremely corrosion resistant materials such as 904L, 254SMO and some titanium alloys.
Class 2 will likely be 316, perhaps only the 316L grade of 316. We need to think about that.
Class 3 is 300 and 304 grade stainless steel.
Class 4 is for indoors, altho swimming pool locations, if any, are a special case.

It's perhaps somewhat simplistic to characterize the anchor class just by the materials used to make them. However maybe that will work. It would be very nice if we can come up with a simple means to classify them.

So the idea is that when you buy an anchor, it will be designated as one of these classes by the manufacturer. And the end-user (you) will need to decide what class anchor to use where. That is going to be difficult to nail down in many cases, however we will all learn as we go on.

Please note that we are NOT going to try to "ban" any type of anchor, altho some types of material are known to cause problems, such as type 303 stainless steel. But in that case, it can still be given a class: in the case of 303, likely Class 4: indoor use only.

Also note that we see no fundamental problem with using thickly coated galvanized anchors, like the French use on the coast. Indeed, in many cases they have been used quite successfully. The issue with them goes back to what I said earlier tho. They do not tend to have a very long service lifetime, quite often under 10 years, and then need replacement. However when the galvanizing is either worn away, or is corroded, the underlaying steel starts to rust and this is usually quite obvious, and gives notice that they need replacement. So in effect, quite often they are "fail safe".

The problem by contrast with many 300 series stainless steels (like 304 and 316) is that when they start to crack/fail, it can be very sudden, and often there is no obvious warning beforehand.

But it is not our aim to try to tell people that all 300 series stainless steels are "bad" (300, 304, 316) just because of a relatively small number of failures. However they CAN fail, and are quite capable of causing serious injury or death. So we need a way to decide when 304/316 can be used safely and when it is not appropriate.

What we expect is that if climbers aim to bolt for longer times, say a 50 year lifespan, then they will want to use a higher class. And the initial greater cost of this anchor class will be substantially diluted by the longer lifetime. And the idea of a 50 year lifespan is not unreasonable: that's considered "normal" in the construction industry.

Please note that a lot of this is still a work-in-progress and we still need to get our detailed plans approved by the entire Safety Commission. However we presented these ideas at the latest meeting in St Petersburg and they were favourably received.

Anyway, sorry for the long email, but that's what we're working on. Your comments are welcome.

Alan Jarvis
MCSA Delegate to UIAA Safety Commission

earlsdonwhu - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to WarthogARJ: It is good and reasuring that efforts are being made to understand the problems.


"So the idea is that when you buy an anchor, it will be designated as one of these classes by the manufacturer. And the end-user (you) will need to decide what class anchor to use where and processes involved."

I suppose an issue is that the end user is not just the bolter but all the rest of us who follow later. How long will it be before it is expected for info on the bolts used to be published in guidebooks? Will we get to law suits if someone is deemed to have used the wrong materials and an anchor fails? I hope not.

WarthogARJ on 30 Jun 2012
In reply to earlsdonwhu:
Good questions/points.
This information should already be archived so everybody can see it, but in practice isn't done very often.
My personal feeling is if bolters do not keep track of what was used and make a public record of it, then they should consider letting someone else bolt.
The route has been there for many thousands of years without bolts: what's the rush to drill holes in it and do it badly? Rather do it right the first time.

I think the most practical way to record the details would be online, that way it could be updated.
And even have the potential of people putting comments on a given route about anchor issues.
I'm going to talk with a couple of web masters about sites they run: maybe we can get some examples going.

The legal issues are quite complex and usually differ from country to country.
My understanding is that in general, mountaineering/climbing is understood to be an activity where you assume the risk upon yourself.
Altho the property owners might assume some liability for accidents.
But then surely the aim is to reduce/prevent accidents?
And do the best that you can.
And tell people what you have done so if it is wrong at least they can know that.

I think the best way to keep access to crags open is to use long lasting bolts and inspect and replace as required. And have a bolting fund to pay for bolts that are on the "approved" list for that area. That way individual bolters are not tempted to use sub-standard anchors just because they are cheaper.

And I'm not advocating mass bolting: the usual ethics apply. But just if you do bolt, bolt well.

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