/ Low vis bolts - any use?

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planaire - on 23 Feb 2013
Hi, I'm developing a low visibility load bearing fixing system for conservation sensitive sites. The originally envisaged use was for venues that required easily rigged/derigged lighting with minimal visual impact when not in use. But the system has applications in any situation for which a low visibility anchor is required.

What I've come up with is an expansion bolt with a face that easily and safely locks and unlocks to a receiving unit. The exposed part of the expansion bolt is low relief and can take a number of durable finishes - brick, concrete, stone... etc. Dependant upon the surface (the more uneven the better) they can be very difficult to spot, even up close.

I'm already looking at the potential for use as anchors for roped access in the built environment, but the system could just as easily be used to protect bolted rock climbs.

Advantages:

- Very low visual impact.

- The bolts would offer no protection to anyone climbing without the necessary receiving units, so bolted and traditional routes could exist side by side.

Disadvantages:

- Cost! For the time being they're likely to be prohibitively expensive.

I'm wondering whether there'd be sufficient demand to invest time developing a climbing specific version of this concept?
wiwwim - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to planaire: They have a similar system in blue mountains australia. Low visibility bolts can be sketchy if you want to onsight a route as you can spend too much time hunting around for the clip. w
jimtitt - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to planaire:

There have been (and are) a number of low-visual impact systems. Often they are merely a symptom of climbers deluding themselves about their overall impact on the surroundings. Bolts themselves, particularly glue-ins are quite suprisingly hard to spot for the general public.
The US route is generally to camouflage the bolts and some do it very well indeed which makes finding the bolts a pain in the neck to put it mildly, the coating inevitably leads to a safety compromise anyway and is widely discouraged for this reason (there is no such concept as a `durable coating´in a bolting context).
The Australian idea with hangerless `carrot´ bolts is rapidly falling out of favour for a number of good reasons.
Bolted and trad climbs exist quite happily side-by-side anyway (or less happily but that is to do with the preferred style of climbing, not bolt visibility in general).
jon on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to jimtitt:

> hangerless `carrot´ bolts are rapidly falling out

There you go Jim.
planaire - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to jimtitt:

- "there is no such concept as a `durable coating´in a bolting context"

Without going into detail, it's a finish not a coating.

In reply to jimtitt:
> Bolts themselves, particularly glue-ins are quite suprisingly hard to spot for the general public.

All the bolts around my area (granite) are now painted grey glue ins and I agree, you have to look carefully to seem them BUT I've seen pictures of limestone crags in France and Spain where every bolt has a line of a lighter rock below it, often a meter in length it looks like. Don't know how it happens but very clear visual impact.
planaire - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to jimtitt:

So low visibility isn't as much of an issue with climbing anchors as I'd thought (and poss not desirable) - how about the advantages of a locking system which renders anchor points useless without a proprietary receiver?

Might this be a partial solution to complaints that bolt protecting routes removes the risk?

Or have got that the wrong way around? Apologies, my interest in the subject was piqued when I heard it discussed on Radio 4 a couple of weeks back and might easily have got the wrong end of the stick.
jon on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

You mean like on Enty's photo: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=167744 I'd say itwas the zinc in the galvanizing - the ones on this photo are actually cable tensioners glued in, not designated climbing equipment and as such are hot dip galvanized(?) - it doesn't seem to happen with SS glue-ins. Jim what's the story?
EddInaBox on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to planaire:
> how about the advantages of a locking system which renders anchor points useless without a proprietary receiver?
> Might this be a partial solution to complaints that bolt protecting routes removes the risk?

If you can get a piece of trad protection in it (nut, cam, whatever) or you can use it as a hand or foothold, or you can see it at all, then it won't go down well.
planaire - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to EddInaBox:
> (In reply to planaire)
> [...]
>
> If you can get a piece of trad protection in it (nut, cam, whatever) or you can use it as a hand or foothold, or you can see it at all, then it won't go down well.

I'm pretty sure it would pass everything but the 'can see it at all' test.

But I get the feeling that in this case a partial solution is no solution? ;)
jimtitt - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:
That´s just the typical zinc leaching and killing the algae that makes the rock darker coloured, happens with any of the heavy metals, copper, cadmium plating etc. The zinc forms a layer of zinc carbonate (the white powdery covering) and this dissolves in acid rain to produce zinc sulphate. You can buy this to get rid of algae or as moss killer.
You can see it really well (or badly) at places like Omis and loads of French crags as the FFME bolts are hot-dip galvanised. The better ones get a red streak down the middle of the white from the rust when the plating gets worn through. Don´t need topo´s any more though!
Stainless form a carbonate so you don´t get the problem.
scott titt - on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to planaire:
) - how about the advantages of a locking system which renders anchor points useless without a proprietary receiver?

Try a search on here about the Edwards system, just what you are describing but not a success.

> Or have got that the wrong way around? Apologies, my interest in the subject was piqued when I heard it discussed on Radio 4 a couple of weeks back and might easily have got the wrong end of the stick.

A very American viewpoint in that radio 4 piece, not very applicable to Europe

And surely the rope access part of what you propose is covered adequately by the world leaders in fixings, Fischer, with a Hammerset sleeve and a Cover Cap?

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