/ NEWS: Bad Bolts at Smalldale in The Peak - UPDATED

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richardh - on 07 May 2012
Hi,

Yesterday, climbing at Smalldale on a newish route - Summat Outanowt (7a), two of the lower bolts pulled out with the tension of the rope on lowering off. On examination the glue hadn't gone off, and I hadn't noticed on the way up that it hadn't...I presume the glue had set on the 6th because I sat on it rather than fell on it.

just to exercise caution until the local powers that be - who have been notified - get time to go out and have a proper look.

Cheers.
Neil Foster - on 07 May 2012
In reply to richardh:

FFS!

That is terrifying, and simply unforgivable.

Thank you for posting your warning. Hopefully people will read it and pass the information on before someone gets killed...

Unfortunately we have been here before. Did you read my post at the end of this bizarre thread?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=502128&v=1#x6851793

I am simply astonished that lessons appear not to have been learned, particularly when this very issue has been aired and discussed so recently.

It also seems odd to me that this particular route required re-bolting, as it is one of the most recent routes on the Main Wall, having only been put up in 2007. I repeated it shortly afterwards, and the bolts seemed like solid modern through bolts - they weren't glue-ins / staples.

Is it really the case that such bolts are reckoned to only have a useful working life of less than 5 years now...?

I strongly advise people to stay away from Smalldale until the true state of the fixed gear can be properly assessed, and any that is not fit for purpose be replaced, by someone properly competent to do the job.

Neil
richardh - on 07 May 2012
In reply to Neil Foster:

I hadn't seen that post no, but interesting to read certainly.

I suppose my view may echo that of your friend's - should the placer have checked the glue had set - yes, should the climber have checked the bolts were safe before relying on them - yes. Did either party do that in this case, it would seem neither did.

Will I habitually waggle glue-ins in the future - I think so ...

I guess I feel responsibility lies somewhere between the two, but also agree that if it happens once, one would hope lessons would remain learnt.
ERU - on 08 May 2012
> It also seems odd to me that this particular route required re-bolting, as it is one of the most recent routes on the Main Wall, having only been put up in 2007.

WTF? It's been rebolted already? So the bolts had a 4-5 year lifespan? Try putting that argument to the Trad climbers out there who worry about the world being bolted up!

> ... and any that is not fit for purpose be replaced, by someone properly competent to do the job.

Who put these bolts in? What's the history? People will want to know and avoid the first accessionist's routes in the future. Does this mean we now need to list 'all' the re-bolters names in guidebooks now? Just to stay alive.
Si dH - on 08 May 2012
In reply to ERU:
I thought most of Smalldale was Gary G's work in which case people will have to limit themselves if they want to avoid all his routes...?

We have updated this news item with some more information following a site visit yesterday.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67105

Alan
ERU - on 09 May 2012
> A number of routes which may have been affected were checked by the re-equipper
So WHO is this mystery re-equipper?

> .. with no problems reported, and the two missing bolts were replaced.
I'd say that two bolts coming out under the tension of the rope is a problem!!! Is there some sort of cover up?
Skyfall - on 09 May 2012
In reply to ERU:

One can only assume it's GG and his name has been withheld from all reports for fear of being sued...
highclimber - on 10 May 2012
In reply to richardh: The 'apology' email is quite amusing. it basically says 'oops, sorry, it won't happen again'. I'd quite like to know why the bolts failed.
In reply to highclimber:

The OP said 'the glue hadn't gone off" - what more would you quite like to know?


Chris
999thAndy on 10 May 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> The OP said 'the glue hadn't gone off" - what more would you quite like to know?
>
>
> Chris

Why did the glue not set? - could be important to know for other bolts in other crags.
Paul Robertson - on 10 May 2012
In reply to 999thAndy:
> Why did the glue not set? - could be important to know for other bolts in other crags.

I'd also be interested to know why the glue didn't set, and also how the re-equipper can be sure that all the other bolts are 'fine'
JLS on 10 May 2012
In reply to Paul Robertson:

>"I'd also be interested to know why the glue didn't set, and also how the re-equipper can be sure that all the other bolts are 'fine'"

Perhaps you'll do the public spirited thing and put your hand in your pocket and pay for every bolt to be load tested.

May be you've spent hundreds of pounds placing bolts and have never made a mistake, I've no idea. If you have then well done, if not perhaps take is easy on the people who put in as much as they take from the sport.
ERU - on 10 May 2012
> ... put your hand in your pocket and pay for every bolt to be load tested.
It seems a simple 'pull on them' would suffice in this case. Yes or No?

> May be you've spent hundreds of pounds placing bolts and have never made a mistake.
I have and do. A few simple checks (by hand) after the glue has set would speak volumes. If I was trying to break records I'd probably not have the time to do that however.

> ... if not perhaps take it easy on the people who put in as much as they take from the sport.
So, out of interest, how would you 'value' adding in a maimed or dead human into your equation? Is that putting in or taking out? How does that balance this equation up?

richardh - on 10 May 2012
In reply to highclimber:

in short, the 'bolt' didn't fail in that the metal was perfectly intact, but the placement failed because the glue hadn't set.

reasons for glue not setting - primary reason I can think of is that the glue gun that I've used in the past consists of two separate tubes, which when mixed in the correct proportions and exposed to air, then set and harden. if there's a blockage in one part of the nozzle, or one cylinder runs out ( less likely) the mix will be wrong, then you stick the bolt in a pile of goop that is never going to 'go off' or harden. you can't check for an hour or two - and it's temperature dependent - as it won't have set, and drying times depend on the glue type.

as for someone else saying 'how can it be checked', on a non-scientific level - simple - give each other bolt a sodding hard pull and waggle, if it shifts it's not good.

Graham Hoey - on 10 May 2012
In reply to richardh:
if there's a blockage in one part of the nozzle, or one cylinder runs out ( less likely) the mix will be wrong, then you stick the bolt in a pile of goop that is never going to 'go off' or harden. you can't check for an hour or two - and it's temperature dependent - as it won't have set, and drying times depend on the glue type.

In the previous failure on Long Wall, I believe that the hardener ran out before the resin.

My understanding is that it's good practice to squeeze some of the mix out onto a lump of rock after you have finished putting in the bolts and leave it for a while, checking it to see that it is going off before leaving the crag.
Neil Foster - on 10 May 2012
In reply to richardh:

'Is this a cover up?' asks an earlier poster.

I can't answer that, but I do find it remarkable that 2 bolts could be removed by simple outward pressure from a rope, and yet every other bolt on the line - which would presumably have been placed at the same time, using the same equipment - turns out to be 'fine'.

Still, perhaps I shouldn't be that surprised. Afterall, I predicted to others that this would be the exact outcome of the self-audit, some 24 hours before the inspection took place...

Neil

remus - on 10 May 2012
In reply to Neil Foster: That's quite a serious accusation. Got anything factual to back it up?
Skyfall - on 10 May 2012
In reply to remus:

You may or may not be aware of the history behind this.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=502128&v=1#x6851793
Simon - on 10 May 2012
In reply to Neil Foster:

The bolter says he has sorted the Smalldale bolts.

The twin nozzle glue gun apparently malfunctioned on the first two he placed (on prussic).

We all make mistakes - but should they be so important as to risk lives?

I'm sure lessons will be learned again.

I don't think we need another bolt debate at the next BMC meeting as there is so much more to discuss & it took up far too much time for members that are Hill Walkers - rather chaps have discussions outside of the meeting & start to get a consensus?

Si

ads.ukclimbing.com
remus - on 11 May 2012
In reply to JonC: There may indeed be some history here but that is no basis for fresh accusations that, as far as I can tell, have no basis in fact.
Enty - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Graham Hoey:
> (
>
> My understanding is that it's good practice to squeeze some of the mix out onto a lump of rock after you have finished putting in the bolts and leave it for a while, checking it to see that it is going off before leaving the crag.

That's what we used to do. And, if we couldn't check the bolts on the same day just after installation, we'd put a tag on the first bolt saying something like "new bolts not been checked - please don't climb"

E
Michael Ryan - on 11 May 2012
The below from the BMC’s

Bolt Guidance Document
Part 2: An Installers Guide

Glue & Glue-ins


No specific glue type or chemistry is recommended in this document, since it
is not the place of the BMC to recommend commercial products and more
importantly, there is a bewildering selection currently available [epoxy,
methacrylate, urethane, etc and all combinations], plus a new one may
become available tomorrow. An appropriate glue will usually be a product
that needs to be sourced from an industrial supplier, who can advise you on
the products that will best meet your requirements.

Before gluing, it is essential that the drilled hole is free of debris and
dust.


Inadequate cleaning will result in a poor bond between the resin and the
rock, which can dramatically reduce the pull out strength of the bolt. Thorough
cleaning with a hole cleaning brush should followed by blowing out with a
blower pump, with this process repeated at least 3 times.

Use a glue which is specified for, or with a good history of use in, rock anchor
applications, either in civil engineering or as part of a commercial bolt-plusglue
kit (e.g. Petzl Collinox + Ampoule) and not one bought off the shelf of
your local DIY store. The latter may be cheaper, but may lead to serious
problems to you or to others repeating your route. The story of glue-ins failing
after only two years by adhesive degradation, might have been as a result of
a polyester DIY glue being used, since there is industrial experience of
polyester not being resistant to strongly alkaline ground waters, e.g. as found
percolating through wet concrete, and wet limestone may be less alkaline, but
still sufficient to accelerate decomposition

Glues need handling and using with care – always following the
manufacturers instructions. The types used for bolts usually come in a unit
with two sealed tubes. This needs a specified gun, which is matched to the
glue cartridge and which bursts both tubes simultaneously, then extrudes the
contents out into a static mixer head. The mixer head is also matched to the
glue and is a removable nozzle with an internal structure that ensures
complete mixing. Serious accidents can happen if the two parts that make up
the compound don’t properly mix as the resulting paste will remain as just that
and not harden. It has been known for one tube to burst but the other to
remain intact inside the gun. A small amount should always be discarded from
a new nozzle, as the first part will not have mixed properly.

Once happy with the mix, but before use in the bolt holes, a test sample
should be kept and inspected later to ensure that hardening has taken
place.


continued
Michael Ryan - on 11 May 2012
Care should be taken to place enough glue in the hole. The anchor should be
inserted with a 360-degree twist to ensure all of the keying features are in
contact with the glue (due to the need for two holes the described twist cannot
be achieved with staples). A small amount should extrude and any excess
carefully removed with a cloth.

Some bolts are fixed by drilling a hole to a specified depth and diameter,
inserting a sealed ampoule of glue (that contains separate compartments
containing the two compounds, the resin and its hardener) and then the bolt.
These are particularly useful if only one or two bolts are being placed. It is
essential for the hole dimensions to be correct; otherwise there may not be
enough resin to form a decent bond. Some manufacturers’ instructions
indicate that their glue requires the bolt to be placed in the drill chuck, the
ampoule broken, and the glue vigorously mixed by the multiple turns resulting
from a quick pull in the trigger. With some bolts this cannot be achieved so
can only done by hand. For one commonly used glue, at least 25 turns will be
needed – the more the better but you need to check the manufacturers
instructions. Care should also be taken that the ampoule itself is broken into
small pieces. Volumes and mix ratios are critical with these glues, so never
mix components from different suppliers.

Glue manufacturers usually specify the diameter of hole, which is required for
a certain diameter bar. For 10 mm diameter bar the specified hole is often
12mm but this does vary from glue to glue. It is important you get this right as
too much or too little glue can result in a weaker placement. In some tests
bolts placed with an interference fit i.e. a 12mm bolt in a 12mm hole, were
found to be poorly bonded, whereas too big a hole and the resin may not cure
properly.

For correct curing, some glues need to achieve a minimum temperature, the
heat being produced by the chemical reaction they undergo as they cure.
Placing a large piece of metal (that acts as an excellent conductor) into the
glue means much of the heat is not retained and the glue can fail to achieve
the required temperature.

Therefore this type of glue may be unsuitable if used when bolting on a ‘too
cold to climb’ winters day. Other glues need a combination of time and/or
elevated temperature to react until completely cured, i.e. a longer time at
lower temperature, or vice versa. For this glue type, any conducting metal in
contact will only alter the time to achieve cure, not prevent it. Therefore this
glue can be used on a cold bolting day, but the time to cure may be longer
than that quoted by the manufacturer, for more ideal conditions

Most glues require dry conditions to maximise adhesion to the rock and to the
steel, therefore glue-ins should always be placed in dry rock. One study
showed that the pullout strength was reduced by 27% in damp holes and 57%
in wet ones. A special glue may be available, if wet conditions are
unavoidable.

As always, read the manufacturers instructions, because glues specified for
use with bolts or for outdoor application will have already considered all these
issues.

If glue-in bolts are placed and the installer has to leave the crag before
the curing time has elapsed it is a good idea to leave a note indicating
that the bolts haven’t been checked.

Neil Foster - on 11 May 2012
In reply to remus:
> (In reply to Neil Foster) That's quite a serious accusation. Got anything factual to back it up?

It isn't an accusation at all, and it is wholly factual.

I said that I find it remarkable that only 2 of the bolts placed (presumably) at the same time had failed so catastrophically, whilst the rest were all fine. Fact - I do find it remarkable, though I wasn't present when the route was inspected, so I was careful not to say anything more categorical than that, because I don't know for sure.

I also said that I predicted 24h before this inspection that this would be the outcome. Fact. I did predict that.

I have also had the misfortune to abseil down a route on which a good friend had suffered a very serious accident when a glue-in failed, and on that occasion I pulled out every other bolt by hand, with no force required.

This was an extremely sobering experience which has perhaps made me extra cautious / concerned, when it comes to this particular type of fixed equipment.

The most useful thing that could come out of this would be if all equippers placing glue-ins were fully aware of best practise, and followed this at all times. But I do think that having proper awareness of the true extent of the problem, is important too. And whichever climbing area we are talking about, I'm not convinced we have that yet...

Neil
Offwidth - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Simon:

"I don't think we need another bolt debate at the next BMC meeting as there is so much more to discuss & it"

I think I have to disagree. If we have more bolt problems in the peak I suspect most attendees would want it airing and may wish to discuss it (including actions to investigate and resolve the situation). Not everyone spends their life on the internet.... this may be news to some at the meeting.

The bolt discussions last time may have been long but they were neccesary and most people seemed to think it had a good result (working party with interested parties from all sides). Its not likely discussions this time will require anything like as much time and in any case it needs to be balanced against the importance and urgency of the other business on the agenda.

Especially given what I experienced a few years back (before Matt took over), I'm very happy to see the Peak area meetings continue to grow in attendance and import: key activists are turning up and important discussions are going on that I certainly feel are moving us forward. I think Neil is doing a fabulous job as chair. I also think the links through UKC and UKB have really helped with this but they don't cover the full audience.
Enty - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Neil Foster:
> (In reply to remus)
> [...]
>
> It isn't an accusation at all, and it is wholly factual.
>
> I said that I find it remarkable that only 2 of the bolts placed (presumably) at the same time had failed so catastrophically, whilst the rest were all fine. Fact - I do find it remarkable, though I wasn't present when the route was inspected, so I was careful not to say anything more categorical than that, because I don't know for sure.
>
>

Hi Neil. If I remember when you equip a full route with glue-ins you drill all the holes first then rap down putting all the bolts in so you don't waste any glue. Could the tube have blocked halfway through this process ensuring a few good bolts then maybe the last two with no hardner?

Amazed that someone glues bolts in then leaves the crag without checking them.


E
gethin_allen on 11 May 2012
In reply to richardh:
Out of interest, does anyone know if someone who put in a bolt that then failed resulting in an injury/death could actually be sued, and whether or not (if they were a member) the BMC's third party liability insurance would cover them?
MJ - on 11 May 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:

Any in-situ gear put in by an individual is in essence put in entirely for their own use and anyone using it thereafter does so at their own risk.
Not so sure about organised bolt funds though.
Enty - on 11 May 2012
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to gethin_allen)
>
> Any in-situ gear put in by an individual is in essence put in entirely for their own use and anyone using it thereafter does so at their own risk.

I hope that is the case - what a slippery slope if it was anything else.

> Not so sure about organised bolt funds though.

Food for thought.

E

remus - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Neil Foster: Perhaps I'm just being overly cynical, but to me this post (quoted below for clarity) clearly insinuates the person in question is lying to cover their own back.

The statements you made in the post are indeed factual, the insinuation however has not been supported with facts (though I suppose it wouldn't be an insinuation then.)

"Is this a cover up?' asks an earlier poster.

I can't answer that, but I do find it remarkable that 2 bolts could be removed by simple outward pressure from a rope, and yet every other bolt on the line - which would presumably have been placed at the same time, using the same equipment - turns out to be 'fine'.

Still, perhaps I shouldn't be that surprised. Afterall, I predicted to others that this would be the exact outcome of the self-audit, some 24 hours before the inspection took place...

Neil"
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Enty:

I wouldn't be so sure at all about the legal position. I would be astonished if there were no duty of care in law on people placing bolts for public use. I'd imagine the BMC insurance covers that liability, but if I were equipping routes I'd be checking that.

By contrast I can't see why bolt funds should be liable (leaving aside the question of what the legal personality of a 'bolt fund' actually is) unless it's the bolts they supply which are defective, which isn't usually the case.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 May 2012
In reply to richardh:

I'd be interested to know the general view about two questions:-

1. Regardless of whether they should or not, when the punter goes out for a day at a sports crag, does he or she in fact do anything other than rely upon the bolts blindly?

2. How rare an event is it that the punter rocks up to a sport crag, tries a sport route, weights a bolt and the thing simply pings out?


Before recent events, I would have said that the answers were:-

1. 99% of climbers, including some very experienced and generally safety-conscious ones, do not make any effort to check the reliability of bolts they're clipping.

2. Very rare indeed. The only three occasions I know of are the Australian fatality in 2009, the Long Wall episode and the present one.



Is that the general view? There seems to be a school of thought different to mine which holds that bolts pop all the time, it's no big deal and the punters clip bolts at their own risk. I hadn't previously appreciated this.

jcm

Skyfall - on 11 May 2012
In reply to remus:

My earlier post linking to the other thread was genuinely in case you didn't realise there were some history here - but now I see you posted on that thread too so must have been aware of it.

As regards the parts your quote from Neil's postings (and I don't know Neil personally at all incidentally so have no axe to grind), I myself thought exactly the same about the likely outcome of a self audit of the bolts. Anyone with a slightly cynical mindset (which let's face it most of us have - you included by your own admission) would probably have thought the same. So you seem to be cynical enough to have a pop at Neil but yet not cynical enough to query the real problem with the bolts and what has actually happened. Why the misdirection? Do you have any personal connection to this in any way?
remus - on 11 May 2012
In reply to JonC:
> (In reply to remus)
> As regards the parts your quote from Neil's postings (and I don't know Neil personally at all incidentally so have no axe to grind), I myself thought exactly the same about the likely outcome of a self audit of the bolts.

You didn't broadcast that view on a public forum, though.

>Anyone with a slightly cynical mindset (which let's face it most of us have - you included by your own admission) would probably have thought the same. So you seem to be cynical enough to have a pop at Neil but yet not cynical enough to query the real problem with the bolts and what has actually happened.

I have very real misgivings and queries about the whole situation. I would prefer to have straight factual information about what happened rather than people's grudges and second guesses muddying the waters.

>Do you have any personal connection to this in any way?

None whatsoever.

Skyfall - on 11 May 2012
In reply to remus:

> I have very real misgivings and queries about the whole situation.

I think it's a sad day when people are scared to air those misgivings in case they end up being sued. Which is what you seem to be driving at, rather unfairly and unhelpfully in my opinion. You say you have no connection to this, yet it is coming across as slightly threatening, rather than simply as an impartial warning and I am left wondering why.

I do agree that Neil's personal connection to this story means he is not the most objective observer, but that doesn't make it wrong of him to say something. In any case, I don't read his post as an accusation, just expressing some cynicism about the way the 'investigation' has been handled. Which I have to say I agree with.
Dave Garnett - on 11 May 2012
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to richardh)
>
> I'd be interested to know the general view about two questions:-
>
> 1. Regardless of whether they should or not, when the punter goes out for a day at a sports crag, does he or she in fact do anything other than rely upon the bolts blindly?

How much can you actually do to check bolts? Mostly you are on the route and committed anyway, unless you have some reaosn to suspect the gear (in which case, I wouldn't be there anyway).

I think bolts are fundamentally different to pegs, for instance. With pegs the assumption is that they deteriorate with time and it's your responsibility to make some assessment of their current state (and you can see, at least to some extent). With bolts, I don't think the same attitude applies at all.
Offwidth - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I know people who've done a lot of peak bolt clipping. Their view is many peak bolted routes are not really sport routes.. although the issue is more rock quality and bolt placement (not the bolts being bad). I think John has an axe to grind (maybe for good reason but I can't say), however I'd expect better than the following disingenuous nonsense from a lawyer, experienced guidebook activist and climber:

"There seems to be a school of thought different to mine which holds that bolts pop all the time, it's no big deal and the punters clip bolts at their own risk. I hadn't previously appreciated this. "

remus - on 11 May 2012
In reply to JonC:
> (In reply to remus)
>
> [...]
>
> I think it's a sad day when people are scared to air those misgivings in case they end up being sued. Which is what you seem to be driving at, rather unfairly and unhelpfully in my opinion.

Not at all. I dislike this sort of thing because it's where rumors come from, and more often than not those rumors end up being bollocks and doing real harm to a person. c.f. Markus Bock ripping Gaskins a new one.

> I do agree that Neil's personal connection to this story means he is not the most objective observer, but that doesn't make it wrong of him to say something. In any case, I don't read his post as an accusation, just expressing some cynicism about the way the 'investigation' has been handled. Which I have to say I agree with.

Why didn't he just say "I don't think a self-audit was appropriately impartial"? No room for misinterpretation, no harm to anyone.

By the way I agree that a 'self-audit' seems like a pretty poor way of going about things. If nothing else it is a lot more credible if you have two experienced bolters' opinions saying the same thing than one.
shark - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Simon)
>
> "I don't think we need another bolt debate at the next BMC meeting as there is so much more to discuss & it"
>
> I think I have to disagree. If we have more bolt problems in the peak I suspect most attendees would want it airing and may wish to discuss it (including actions to investigate and resolve the situation). Not everyone spends their life on the internet.... this may be news to some at the meeting.
>
> The bolt discussions last time may have been long but they were neccesary and most people seemed to think it had a good result (working party with interested parties from all sides). Its not likely discussions this time will require anything like as much time and in any case it needs to be balanced against the importance and urgency of the other business on the agenda.
>
> Especially given what I experienced a few years back (before Matt took over), I'm very happy to see the Peak area meetings continue to grow in attendance and import: key activists are turning up and important discussions are going on that I certainly feel are moving us forward. I think Neil is doing a fabulous job as chair. I also think the links through UKC and UKB have really helped with this but they don't cover the full audience.


Hi Offwidth

As you know I'm generally against a policy but after picking the brains of various activists I drew up an alternative guidelines document which is back with Ian Milward but also posted it up on UKB just now: www.ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,19758.30.html
Dave Garnett - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)
>
> I know people who've done a lot of peak bolt clipping. Their view is many peak bolted routes are not really sport routes..

Really? So, people shouldn't be surprised if bolts come out when they fall on them, or even attempt to lower off?

Without commenting on the Smalldale issue (since I have no idea what happened) I think people are entitled to expect that bolts are placed with appropriate care. The possible legal implications are depressing but, I think, inescapable. it's not as if this hasn't been foreseen in bolting discussions in the past (mostly as an argument for not allowing it, admittedly).

Either a route is a sport route, where you can reasonably expect the protection and lower off to be reliable, or it isn't.

Other fixed protection is different. You put a peg in where you can, because nothing else will go. There is an acceptance that it may be marginal and you accept that when you lead the route. You also accept that it might be rusted through and be unreliable. If you're not happy with it, you may be justified in replacing it (that's a whole other argument). Similarly threads: you judge whether the tat is new enough the trust and the thread is big enough. In both cases, the fixed gear will not be the only thing between you and the ground (or, if it is, you know that the route is serious and you might be soloing).

With a bolted route, you accept that there is no other gear. It's not the difference between a well-protected crux and a big whipper, it's the difference between fun and death. On the other hand, you assume that the bolts are well-placed. The bolter doesn't have to compromise with shallow or expanding cracks, or fragile threads, so there's no excuse for not making every bolt a solid one.

If you're saying that Peak limestone is the home of adventure bolting everyone better start carrying a rack to back up with trad protection, and it's back to E grades.
Skyfall - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I'm not quite sure what Offwidth was driving at - whether he meant the general combination of factors means that it's not like bolt clipping in some Euro destinations (which I do agree with), or whether he just meant bolt spacing (which I would also agree with except that many areas in France are not dissimilar) or whether, as you seem to think, simply bad bolting. Now there are some pretty woefully bolted routes out there (with some ancient gear as well looking more like can ring pulls than bolts) which could also be what he means.

Overall, it ain't Kaly and, personally, I don't treat it like a day bolt clipping abroad. However, I don't expect bolts to pull out on me. As to whether I check bolts, not really other a cursory look to see if they are rusted to bits, ancient, or too spaced to make it an enjoyable experience.

johncoxmysteriously - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

>I'd expect better than the following disingenuous nonsense from a lawyer, experienced guidebook activist and climber:

"There seems to be a school of thought different to mine which holds that bolts pop all the time, it's no big deal and the punters clip bolts at their own risk. I hadn't previously appreciated this. "

You think, do you?

Strong words on your part, albeit unfortunately totally misinformed.

Check out the UKB thread on this subject (I would link but AJ's software won't let one), and in particular the observations I quote below from petejh, who I believe is a prominent North Wales re-equipper.

"Place enough bolts and you will place some bad ones. Rolling eyes are a tosser's response. It happens more often than the punter ignorant of equipping/reequipping realises and most of the time, thankfully, nobody gets hurt.

Dangerous game climbing"

">He's done it before and a friend decked out. Doing it once is bad enough.
..

That's unfortunate but it happens."

">I clip into bolts after placing them and jiggle around on them. I'm pretty lax and impractical but didnt need IRATA training to think of doing that.

...

You might. There are valid resons why that isn't always (or even often) done though - one is the cure time required for glue-in bolts, around an hour, and the unavoidable thing called 'life' which presses on your time. Standard practice is to do test blobs at start and finish and if these are ok it's a good indication that all the bolts in between are ok. You'd think that would be good enough but I've pulled the first bolt out of a route after re-equipping with glue-ins - the rope coming tight from the belayer whilst I was lowering off the route after climbing it being enough to pull the bolt out; both test blobs had set perfectly; go figure. I was obviously blindly trusting that it would be ok. Test blobs at every bolt is not practical nor good for the state of the route, and would use up more glue. All the active re-equippers I know in North Wales have had glue-in bolts not properly set on them despite following a sensible procedure.

Don't blindly trust bolts unless you're a sheep."

Rather striking observations, I thought. I'll await your apology.

Meanwhile, I'd be interested to hear what some other punters ignorant of re-equipping think, or perhaps even some sheep.

jcm

johncoxmysteriously - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

>I think John has an axe to grind

As to my axe, by the way, GG (no reason not to give him a name) solicits donations for his activities from the public via his website. I think the public is entitled to know that he's now twice placed bolts which have simply pulled out, in one case badly injuring a climber, in the other not. I'm surprised to hear that you think that's a controversial view.

My question remains and I'm truly interested to hear the answer; how often does this happen? Has it ever, for example, happened with one of Pete Oxley's rather numerous bolts in the SW?

jcm
Coel Hellier - on 11 May 2012
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Meanwhile, I'd be interested to hear what some other punters ignorant of re-equipping think,
> or perhaps even some sheep.

As a punter who only occasionally sport-climbs (and who has never placed a bolt) I would somewhat naively just assume that all the bolts were solid and reliable (this thread is somewhat eye-opening).

Having said that, to some extent so-called-safe sport climbing sometimes gives me the willies, because with trad I'd usually have at least 3 or 4 pieces between me and the deck, whereas with sport climbing you are often totally reliant on one bolt. (That is one reason I was interested in DMM Shadow Secure krabs, though since these haven't come to market perhaps they don't work as well as hoped).
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> Check out the UKB thread on this subject (I would link but AJ's software won't let one),

You should be able to - we don't have a block on links from UKB.

Alan
shark - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH: > [...]
>
> You should be able to - we don't have a block on links from UKB.
>
> Alan

I tried a few links which came with the following error message:

Your message was NOT submitted because of the following error(s):

A website link in your message (thelinkwhichcannotbelinked) isn't correct (webpage not found)
Please correct these error(s) and re-submit your message.


Obviously I can't post the actual link because it comes up with the same error message
In reply to shark:
> I tried a few links which came with the following error message:
>
> Your message was NOT submitted because of the following error(s):
>
> A website link in your message (thelinkwhichcannotbelinked) isn't correct (webpage not found)
> Please correct these error(s) and re-submit your message.

Curious. This seems to work - http://ukbouldering.com/

It must be connected with what response, or not, the link checker is getting from the deeper links. I'll get Nick to look into it. We have had UKB links in the past so I am not sure what has changed.

Alan
richardh - on 11 May 2012
In response to Simon, and in agreement with Enty:

I can't see anyone glueing on a prussic, you get to the top and glue on the way down for efficiency. prussic backup maybe.

The situation would be entirely compatible with a blockage appearing in your nozzle or one tube running out after expending it on the holes above.

It would also compatible with me sitting 14.5 stone on the 6th bolt and it not pulling out or giving any indication of being loose. I can guarantee with the looseness of the second it would have pulled if the sixth had been loose, it was over an overhang and the pull would have been outwards.

the angles would increase the amount of leverage the further you went down, but I didn't notice anything on the third.

In response to John Cox:

i think one does assume things are safe. perhaps everyone should always question that assumption with any bolts.
salancaster - on 11 May 2012
In reply to richardh:

Nothings safe with you sat on it Rich!!!!
jimtitt - on 11 May 2012
In reply to richardh:
I´ve glued probably several hundred routes going up the rope.
richardh - on 11 May 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

sure, out of curiosity why?

separately, there seems to be a level of antipathy here - I was just trying to point out that the scenario where the bottom two came out but not the rest was not entirely implausible. I could understand it.
shark - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to shark)
> [...]
>
> It must be connected with what response, or not, the link checker is getting from the deeper links. I'll get Nick to look into it. We have had UKB links in the past so I am not sure what has changed.
>
> Alan

Thank you

jimtitt - on 11 May 2012
In reply to richardh:

Just works out that way sometimes, especially if you drill a couple or three routes side by side it´s easier to glue them all in one go by going up and back down swinging over or changing ropes. Jumaring carrying enough batteries and all the bolts and glueing stuff for 40 or 50 bolts to glue from the top would be madness! And walking up to the cliff top isn´t often an option in a lot of places.
I´ve onsight solo´d a route drilling and gluing at the same time as well, possibly the ultimate ethical style for a bolt route if such a concept exists:-)
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> It must be connected with what response, or not, the link checker is getting from the deeper links. I'll get Nick to look into it. We have had UKB links in the past so I am not sure what has changed.

Now fixed. UKB is running a plugin called 'Bad Behaviour' that was incorrectly telling us their forum page links were wrong.

http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,20035.0/topicseen.html

Cheers
Simon - on 12 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Simon)
>
> "I don't think we need another bolt debate at the next BMC meeting as there is so much more to discuss & it"
>
> I think I have to disagree.


Me too Steve, I don't want to take this along the lines that x is more important than y, but we do get accused of talking about climbing at every meeting and sometimes the Access issues, which are inclusive of our hill walkers are put on the back burner or left in their entirety...

Henry, Rick, Adam & I were afforded 10 minutes or so to report on the access issues that we have worked on for months and I have received much feedback that it was not enough and the bolt debate took over so much they do not wish to return to such a meeting that does not represent their interests.

It's a fine line that Neil & Moff have to tread and I do not wish to do their job for them, they are fantastic, however I and others do feel that the ratio of discussion needs to be balanced - it's no fault of anyone - just that the peak area is so bloody busy at the moment!

Again it's been so bloody busy so far this Spring - wait until the next meeting - we are getting exhausted...


Si

PS: BMC - Guidebook - Over The Moors - Out in May! ;0)
shark - on 12 May 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC: In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
> [...]
>
> Now fixed. UKB is running a plugin called 'Bad Behaviour' that was incorrectly telling us their forum page links were wrong.
>
>
> Cheers


Thanks Nick

I'll ask the guys about this plugin
Skyfall - on 12 May 2012
In reply to jimtitt

> I´ve onsight solo´d a route drilling and gluing at the same time as well, possibly the ultimate ethical style for a bolt route if such a concept exists:-)

Isn't that how the Remy brothers bolted Motorhead and Septumania at Eldorado, Switzerland and why a) it's hugely run out and b) the bolts are generally after the cruxes ? Kind of makes sense when you climb them but still a scary proposition, never mind the FA...
jon on 12 May 2012
In reply to JonC:
> In reply to jimtitt
>
> [...]
>
> Isn't that how the Remy brothers bolted Motorhead and Septumania at Eldorado, Switzerland and why a) it's hugely run out and b) the bolts are generally after the cruxes ? Kind of makes sense when you climb them but still a scary proposition, never mind the FA...

If there were two of them it couldn't be solo, Jon... The original bolts were placed by hand as far as I can remember, but they weren't glue ins, - it would seem Jim's were. Lots of people bolt on the lead as it's sometimes easier that way as you often can't get to the top to put a rope in place. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=184101 http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=105499 However, doing that with glue ins would require that you didn't weight the bolt. A friend of mine gets around that by drilling shallow holes as he climbs and places removeable bolts, then deepens the holes and glues in the real thing as he comes down.

jimtitt - on 12 May 2012
In reply to shark:

You might want to reconsider the material requirement calling for 316 or better (in Europe the correct designation is 1.4401) since these are generally not available (through bolt excepted). There are no hangers in 1.4401 available as far as I am know (apart from myself) and only one other company makes a 1.4401 glue-in bolt.
1.4301 (304) has perfectly adequate corrosion resistance for most areas in the UK and the world.

It might also be relevant to point out, despite the BMC documents implication to the contrary, that only chemical mortar approved by the manufacturer of the bolt may be used for the bolt to conform to EN959. Certification is only valid for tested combinations of mortar and bolt.
There are good reasons for this as I know only too well myself, for example I have bolted a sector using a (UK sourced) mortar which turned out to rust the bolts at a horrific rate due to the filler used.
Another example is a test series which I have done along with the cavers in the U.K. where we tested a commonly available, good quality mortar. Despite the mortars previous good reputation in its country of manufacturer (and coming from one of the world leaders in the field) the results were far below what was anticipated which was finally identified to be a problem with a different (non-ETA) mixer nozzle being supplied in Europe.
It is worth noting that the BCU spend a lot of time and effort before deciding what to use for their cave bolts, they ran a test series of 100 bolts with 30 for each mortar they were considering and I independently tested another 30 to confirm their results.

The method recommended to test glue-in bolts by the German Alpine Club(DAV) is to clip a karabiner crossloaded in the eye and attempt to rotate it with one hand. Tests show that a bolt which will withstand this will hold about 8kN which should usually be adequate.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Skyfall - on 12 May 2012
In reply to jon:

Sorry, yes, obviously it was on lead. d'uh!

Apologies to Jim for a more pure form of bolting... ;)
jimtitt - on 12 May 2012
In reply to JonC:

On harder routes my purist ethics get dropped!
andyathome - on 12 May 2012
In reply to jimtitt:
Jim,
Would you say that the 'norm' is to have a start sample of the mortar so you know the system you are using is working and samples through the day? I know that in a climbing context that could be a total pain. Talking to some guys in industrial applications they will often put a samples on card at regular intervals (timed etc.)to see if the mortar is setting as it should and to have a record to check next day.
jimtitt - on 13 May 2012
In reply to andyathome:

I can´t speak for the norm, only what the guys I bolt with do. You learn from experience with the mortar you are using exactly how much to pump throught to get the right colour which is usually more than it generally says on the instructions. At the end of the tube you will always have the nozzle covered in sticky stuff which will harden anyway as a test sample. I don´t know anyone who makes test blobs since one has the bolts themselves directly where you are working to see if it has gone hard. Normal experience is that the test blobs are all over the place anyway, hair removal along with ones trousers and taking a hammer to your bootlaces is normal and confirmation the mortar has set!
Industrially a steel setter might be using 20 or 40 tubes in a day so needs to keep some track of what is what but we would normally only be using 2 tubes anyway which makes things easy to control.
The critical thing in my opinion is to pump loads through at the start, depending on the filling and storage one component (normally the resin) comes into the mixer nozzle before the other and you really want to be sure that the colour is correct. Some products are worse than others in this respect. It´s also important to always carry spare nozzles and be prepared to change at the first sign of something untoward happening, forcing the mixture through is a guarantee of bad mixing.

And no, I´ve never had a bolt not go hard but I wouldn´t exclude the chance of it happening, maybe even on the cliff I´m going to work on today. Of course the bolts I use are virtually irremovable once they are placed even if I forgot the mortar altogether so not such a problem.

ClimbUK - on 13 May 2012 - www.climbukltd.com
In reply to jimtitt: With the mortar that we use the hardener is more viscous than the resin and can sometimes be a bit reluctant to appear, especially if the tubes have been stored in the cold. A useful tip is to leave the nozzle off for a moment and check that both resin and hardener are flowing. Of course as you say you should also be looking at the colour of the mix as this is the best indication and does involve 'wasting' a fair bit of resin until hardener and resin are fully mixed.
fwh1 - on 14 May 2012
> just to exercise caution until the local powers that be - who have been notified - get time to go out and have a proper look.

A thorough technical investigation is needed if anything helpful is going to be learned from the incident.

For a resin bolt to pull out (i.e the rock is not affected) then it comes down to hole preparation, a failure of the resin system, and/or installation of the resin and bolt. There's not enough facts on this forum to take it anywhere without a site investigation and analysis of the bolt and 'cured' resin.

Personally having performed bolt pull tests to failure on resin and expansions, resins if installed correctly often fail in a gradual manner with a high load required to keep pulling the bolt out so something unusual has happened here if the other bolts were/are fine.

I always check the date on the pack, make sure it is not split and that the dispenser is working correctly. I use the plastic bag to 'shoot' the initial discharge of components into so I know the material is being dispensed correctly. As Steve has commented, then the mixer nozzle goes on, charge the nozzle with resin then discharge the required number of trigger pulls. If you check the plastic bag that alone can tell you whether the resin has reacted i.e indication there's a problem, even though the mix is not complete. The mixer nozzle is also useful for confirming a reaction as the cured resin in the nozzle was just behind the last discharge of resin used for the last bolt.
tlm - on 14 May 2012
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> My question remains and I'm truly interested to hear the answer; how often does this happen? Has it ever, for example, happened with one of Pete Oxley's rather numerous bolts in the SW?

There was a problem at Portland at one time years ago, but I have no idea of who placed the staples at the time.
Nic on 14 May 2012
In reply to tlm:

>>>There was a problem at Portland at one time years ago

I think this was more to do with the shape of the staples (i.e. a straight legged U rather than one with kinks) and the failure of the adhesive properly to adhere to the stainless steel, even when fully set.

From experience, for any glue-in bolt to be pulled out easily must mean a *complete* failure of the resin system. If it set even halfway, they're very hard to extract (NB my experience is from test holes, not the real thing in case anyone is worrying!)

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