/ NEW ARTICLE: Funding Re-bolting - UKBoltFund.org

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UKC Articles - on 20 Apr 2012
A lower-off bolt eroded by direct top-roping at the Cuttings on Portland, 4 kbOver a year after the launch of UKBoltFund.org, Alan James looks at how the various bolt funds around the UK are doing in terms of money and volunteers.

Do you clip bolts? If so, read on...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4578

steve taylor - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks Alan - we've just received two very healthy donations to the Dorset Bolt Fund as a direct result of your article.

We're currently debating the best solution to the wearing of bolt belays on the popular easy routes and none of the solutions are cheap, so this sort of publicity really helps.

Mind you, toproping through your own quickdraws, rather than the bolts, would solve the problem too.

Steve
Dorset Bolt Fund
Dave Musgrove - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to steve taylor:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> We're currently debating the best solution to the wearing of bolt belays on the popular easy routes and none of the solutions are cheap, so this sort of publicity really helps.

It is an expensive and potentially labour intensive business, Steve. In Yorkshire I solved it by applying for replacement stainless steel maillons, chain links of various lengths (1,2 and 3 links) and spring loaded belay clips from the last round of the BMC Better Bolts Campaign. That way I can rig up a 'Y' hang to virtually any configuration of double glue-in lower-off before they get worn to a critical point.

We haven't got many staple belays in Yorkshire but we are noticing similar signs of wear on double DMM eco bolts and Fixe Glue-ins.

I realise it won't eradicate wear on the new clips, and it could be argued that it will only encourage more direct top-roping, but these clips can be replaced via the maillons with much less cost and effort than having to try remove and replace glue-in bolts.

Worth investigating if the BMC has another round of bolt give-aways.

Dave




matt perks - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: There have been a few mentions recently of top-roping through the lower-off and I completely understand, and have witnessed, the way it causes damage.

If working a route on top-rope for a red-point then obviously you have the rope through your draws because you need them in for the red-point anyway. Also, if climbing with other regular climbers of a reasonable standard, when someone fancies a play on something too hard for them that someone else has just flashed then, again, there's no problem with top-roping through the draws and just pulling up on the rope or a handy clip if the crux proves too hard to free, and threading the lower-off when done.

But if climbing with relative newbies, or the gf*, or working with clients, the options are more of a problem because if you put the rope up through quickdraws for them then you have to go up again afterwards to get the draws back, either because you can't trust them to thread the lower-off safely, or because they can't haul themselves past the crux. Now if you're going to have loads of people on the route then that's not really an issue but if you're climbing with one other person then you end up doing every route twice whilst they do it once, so they spend a lot of time belaying and watching you climb, which is maybe somewhat at odds with the aim of the day. I will freely admit that a few years ago when I used to take clients on Portland I would use Triple Slabs and Fallen Slab for most of the session, top-roping off a sling and screwgate, and collecting the gear from above at the end, but often do Slings Shot as the last route of the day, for a bigger challenge, and top-rope my client(s) on that through the lower-off for the reason given above. And when I used to climb with my gf/wife I used draws for a couple of years and then started threading the staples because it gave me the willies watching her untie 20m up. Mostly this was psychological (I never had the same feeling if all the draws on the route were clipped because she'd led it, but the eggs are more visually in the one basket when the rope is freely flapping in the breeze) but sometimes she had a bit of a struggle if the staple eyes were really tight or she would look a bit shaky if she hadn't done it for a couple of months. In the end I concluded it reduced my stress levels considerably if I did the threading. I was aware of what I was doing to the lower-offs and made some (insufficient) contributions to the bolt fund. I know these probably don't match my personal impact on the Portland bolts and certainly don't reflect my appreciation of all the staples that have gone in to replace the original expansion bolts on routes that otherwise I couldn't have climbed, but I did think, at the time I was working, that I had covered the cost of the massive replacement belay on Slings Shot and the cost of the wear on other lower-offs when I threaded those for the missus, which eased my conscience a little.

Clearly, you can make the argument that sometimes doing what's right is not the same as doing what suits you best but I think, given the decisions I made with open eyes, getting everyone to top-rope through draws is always going to be a problem, and every team will always have to lower-off the staples once per route per session anyway, so the wear will never be eliminated. It's pretty clear to me that promotion of the bolt funds is the way forward. Of course, the availability of equipment is not the same as getting it onto a route but I think the more successful the fund is, maybe the more the chance of momentum developing and more people getting involved. Maybe not?

Anyway, giving it some thought has made me feel mildly guilty...

...about the amount of rambling I've just subjected you to. Cheers.

*the reference to gf here does not imply any unjustifiable, and possibly illegal, opinion regarding the climbing abilities of gfs in general, it reflects only the authors personal, and miserably limited, experience of gfs.
matt perks - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to matt perks: Christ, I can't shut up...

As a further thought, the lower-offs in the Owens River Gorge had two clips and then, between them and at a slightly higher level, an open hook (just a short bar with a 90 degree bend and a flattened end through which a hole was drilled to take the bolt) which fitted like a replacement for the hanger on an expansion bolt (so it could be replaced with a spanner). I think the idea was that the hook took most of the thrashing whilst the two normal clips provided the security. When the hook got worn it would have been a quick job to replace. I haven't seen this anywhere else so have no idea if it works well or not. Also the ORG environment is dry as a bone and absolutely nowhere near the sea so I think the hooks could have been mild steel without creating a corrosion problem. Anyway, I can't imagine Jim Titt and others haven't seen/thought of/thoroughly researched and rejected this. And also, there wouldn't be room between most existing lower-off staples at Portland to drill a third hole. But just a further idea.
steve taylor - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Dave Musgrove:

Hi Dave. Sounds like a way forward. It looks like Jim Titt makes/supplies all of the required components - I'll do some sums when the red wine has worn off in the morning.

Matt - I've top-roped through the bolts many times myself, before Portland became so popular and it was realised that it was causing a problem. You would think that people seeing the bolts are becoming worn-through would wonder "why?" and change their habits. You have to wonder...

Cheers
Dave Musgrove - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to steve taylor:

Doing the sums from the bolt-products web-site may make it seem quite expensive. I think the bulk-buying power of the BMC was what made it viable. Jim Titt is/was a local south coast activist himself once I believe so I'm sure he'll do you a good deal?

Dave
steve taylor - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Dave Musgrove:

I know Jim and climb with his brother Scott, so should be able to sort out a decent deal between them. With Scott as the next BMC President who knows what discounts will be on offer ;o)
old skool on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:

Whatever happened to the Cumbria Bolt Fund?
zero six - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to UKC Articles:
It baffles me a bit that no-one else seems to have copied the way we rig lower-offs on NW limestone because it does seem like the best solution to me. The simplest option and the most efficient, in terms of time spent placing and replacing, is just a stainless maillon with a freely rotating stainless ring on each lower-off bolt. This setup is good both for leaders and top-ropers (the rings never wear in the same spot). No ugly chain 'equalizing' - which in practice is impossible (and totally unneccessary) to properly equalize, no awkward and pricey 'clipping' biner with its inherent maillion, which some climbers will still (wisely) want to back up for top-roping - thus negating some of the convienience of the design.
This setup also doesn't seem to encourage the leaving-behind of backup biners, which are conspicuous by their absence on NW lime but which I keep seeing on chain and maillon rigs elsewhere, because it's clean and obviously bombproof - relatively speaking.
It's also one of the cheapest options - rated stainless rings and maillons from China aren't expensive compared to some of the chain, maillon and clipping biner setups I've seen elsewhere.

Just a thought.
steve taylor - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to zero six:

What grade of steel are you using for the maillon and ring?
scott titt - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to steve taylor:
> (In reply to zero six)
>
> What grade of steel are you using for the maillon and ring?

Chinese grade.

Jonathan Emett - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to matt perks:
> Mostly this was psychological (I never had the same feeling if all the
> draws on the route were clipped because she'd led it, but the eggs are
> more visually in the one basket when the rope is freely flapping in the
> breeze)

get the last person doing the route to clip the last 'runner' bolt to the belayer's end of the rope, before going up to the loweroff and rethreading. That way if they screw up the rethread, so long as they are still tied to the rope, they won't fall to the ground.
steve taylor - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to scott titt:

Ahh - are you back?

Did you/Jim get the message about holding-off on making the pigstails?
zero six - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to steve taylor:

Steel?
Tin's cheaper.

We use 316 grade steel. From China.
Rob Kennard - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I chopped two bolts last week, Bruce. Fancy sending me some money? Unfortunately the DBF replaced them almost immediately...
unknownclimber6 - on 29 May 2012
is there any bolt funds in Scotland?
Steve Long - on 30 May 2012
In reply to UKC Articles: At last night's BMC Cymru meeting a problem was highlighted that we would feel could be at least partially addressed by education. There has been a spate of removals of "maillons" which were attached to bolts. These had been added to the lower-off points to reduce friction damage to the fixed gear - its much easier to replace a link than to replace a bolt. For those who don't know what a maillon is, they are similar to karabiners but with a screw-sleeve opening rather than a gate. The ones used for lower-offs are steel. They are extrememly strong and usually require a spanner (or very strong fingers!) do undo. Our guess is that some people have mistaken them for "crag booty" i.e. gear left by mistake or by retreat, and haven't realised that they are undermining the fforts of the fixed gear work. Any help with publicing this problem would be appreciated!
Voltemands - on 30 May 2012
In reply to Steve Long:
Our guess is that some people have mistaken them for "crag booty"

That's a very polite way of saying, "stop robbing the gear, you cheeky gits". I would doubt there are many people at all who don't know that they are not for taking, selfish buggars. Great shame.
Simon Caldwell - on 30 May 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
I would have assumed they'd been left by someone retreating (and would nhave left them there for the next person to retreat).

Wouldn't putting glue on the screw prevent their removal?
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