/ Bolt failure on North Wales limestone

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Following a catastrophic failure of a bolt on a relatively newly developed crag on the Great Orme and as there could potentially be other routes similarly equipped, the BMC has issued some urgent advice on the use of "Thunderbolt" bolts as climbing anchors.

More info on this on the BMC website:-
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bolt-failures-on-north-wales-limestone

Elfyn Jones
BMC Access & Conservation Officer (Wales)
puppythedog on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales: oh dear. Any tips on how to know whether Thunderbolt anchors have been used?
Tris - on 29 May 2013
In reply to puppythedog:
> (In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales) oh dear. Any tips on how to know whether Thunderbolt anchors have been used?

The link he posted has pictures and section called 'How to identify "Thunderbolt" bolts'
puppythedog on 29 May 2013
In reply to Tris: that'll teach me, I'd already read the article/page from a link on Facebook but didn't notice that bit at the bottom. It is unlikely to affect me and I was as mucha s anything asking the question to give it a bump for others to notice.
muppetfilter - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales: What kind of moron uses these anchors for protection....Lucky no one was killed.
Steve Perry - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales: Thanks for posting this.
simondgee - on 29 May 2013
In reply to muppetfilter:
What kind of moron blindly clips gear they no nothing about?
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to simondgee:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
> What kind of moron blindly clips gear they no nothing about?

Virtually everyone who ever goes sport climbing.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Good grief. Is the first ascentionist/equipper of these routes known?

jcm
muppetfilter - on 29 May 2013
In reply to simondgee: I have had a bit of a look at the bolts specifications in question and it seems very popular with the Satelite dish fixing community. I personally don't carry a hydraulic pull test rig to the crag ... Do you ?

While lots of people sadly have an incorrect perception that sport climbing is inherantly safe one of the risks shouldn't be that the bolts are only suited to moderate loading holding up IKEA shelves ...
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to muppetfilter:

No it f****** should not.

The equipper of these routes needs to be identified, named, shamed, discouraged from ever wielding a drill again and preferably prosecuted.

jcm
muppetfilter - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: What worries me is I remember a few threads on here from people asking "I have found these bolts in B&Q " "How do I bolt a route"
WILLS - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales: thanks for posting this. by the sounds of it i would say the bolt had taken a shear load before this incident. the low forces simply pulling the sheared head from the remains of the resin. without seeing the sheared portion of the bolt i couldnt tell. M8 is a little on the small side.
sure the BMC will get to the bottom of this.

simondgee - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: exactly ...buyer beawre...bolts are just pro put in by somebody else
...would you climb on a line of insitu nuts without eyeing them as you clipped them?
Malham used to be peppered with stud bolts didn't mean they were any good likewise some of the bolts at St. Bees you could take out by hand...if you want to climb in gear tested environment you will need to pay your £7 and stay in doors. And unless i'm mistaken the BMC would not get involved in testing anchors on somebody else's land?
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to muppetfilter:

Yikes. If this link is to be believed the equippers of this crag were two very experienced climbers.

http://news.v12outdoor.com/2011/08/20/creigiau%E2%80%99r-heulog-%E2%80%93-new-sunny-sport-venue-on-o...

These two can't have done this, surely?

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to simondgee:

Oh, get a grip, man. What is your point?

People going sport climbing clip the bolts and rely on them. There's no point saying they shouldn't. They do. All of them. Fact. Deal with it.

jcm
simondgee - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: Whats your point? It is quite likely that this is the only time someone picks up an SDS and uses an industrial fixing why is it a surprise that testing and quality system of trial and error system is live failures.
of course we could get MTA accredited courses on shoving bolts in...maybe the engineer who taught you to put in bolts, which ones to use in which substrate and how to test them could help?
Feel free to blindly assume it was the hand of god that put them in but I don't.
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to simondgee:

I have no idea what you're trying to say.

jcm
simondgee - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: ffs its not difficult..how do you know a bolt is good? How do you know the person who put it in did it well and tested it? If not, your part of the test.
highlander1 - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Joncoxmysteriously:

Having read the above replies to Elfyn's post. I can confirm that the link above DOES NOT relate to the names of anybody who has inadvertantly used incorrect fixings at the wall. Please dont turn this into a witch hunt. We are all working together with Elfyn and the BMC to rectify the problem as soon as possible, At the end of the day we are all climbers and we assume the risks and hazards asscoiated with everything that makes climbing what it is; an adventurous and fun sport.
muppetfilter - on 29 May 2013
In reply to highlander1: While I agree that to mention the names two well known and experienced climbers is not a good idea, I very much doubt either of them would have been involved in such a poor bolting installation.

We aren't talking about a "problem" but what could be deemed negligence in a court of law. This isn't part and parcel of climbing, this is someone effectively setting a boobytrap through their ignorance.

If strongly voicing condemnation of such a stupid act deters others then some good could have come out of this, maybe leading them to seek out training and information on the best practice for placing bolts.

The scary thing is these bolts were placed a few years ago so how many more are lurking ready to snap...
Eric9Points - on 29 May 2013
In reply to simondgee:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously) ffs its not difficult..how do you know a bolt is good?

I don't know. Could you tell me how I can be absolutely certain a bolt is going to hold a lead fall?

I'm sure others would be interested as well.
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to highlander1:

>We are all working together with Elfyn and the BMC to rectify the problem as soon as possible

Well, yes, but the "problem" is that we have a dangerous idiot in our midst who needs to be stopped before he kills someone, and we need to identify how it was that he thought he was doing was OK and do everything we can to ensure that others don't make the same mistake. I don't see how we're going to achieve that in the most effective way without a witchhunt.

jcm
MJ - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Are these the bolts in question: -

http://www.grampianfasteners.com/thunderbolt.aspx

http://www.orbitalfasteners.co.uk/en/products/m8x100-hexagon-head-apt-anchor-zincyellow-plated

If so, would I be correct in saying that they aren't stainless or even galvanised, but zinc plated only?
fil-p - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: I might of guessed that you would be part of another bolting debate. First it was regarding the damage at the works, and now this. Do you ever find time to climb ?!
stewieb on 29 May 2013
In reply to MJ: Based on the BMC article the bolt in question are Thunderbolt M8 100mm self-tapping bolts. The technical data for them http://www.parkinsgroup.co.uk/uploads/prod/TBtech_8.pdf gives a safe working load for shear strength at 7.5Kn in C20 concrete when used properly. I don't know a lot about what bolts are normally used for this type of anchor but this doesn't sound a lot considering they have not been installed according to directions either, they should be in an 8mm hold and tap their own thread not be resin fixed where there is a greater chance of flex occurring.
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to fil-p:

What, at 9.45 on a Wednesday night in London?! Anyway (a) it's my rest day, and (b) this is hardly a "bolting debate". And, while I'm at it, WTF IS THIS 'MIGHT OF' WHAT ARE YOU SOME KIND OF ILLITERATE PEASANT?!?

In reply to simondgee:

I sense a Hooker-style quagmire looming, so I'll only say this once.

1. Without getting too epistemological about it, obviously you don't *know* the bolt won't pull.

2. You know the bloke who put it in knows someone might well be killed if it pulls, so you hope he's taken care to put in right. In exactly the same way that when you go driving you hope the driver of that lorry coming the other way isn't lighting a fag at the critical moment.

jcm
Eric9Points - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to fil-p)
>
> What, at 9.45 on a Wednesday night in London?! Anyway (a) it's my rest day, and (b) this is hardly a "bolting debate". And, while I'm at it, WTF IS THIS 'MIGHT OF' WHAT ARE YOU SOME KIND OF ILLITERATE PEASANT?!?
>

I feel it only fair to point out that you have definitely missed out a comma there and probably a full stop or a question mark.

In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:
The point of the article is to warn climbers of this issue - it's not to point fingers or apportion blame. A simple mistake (although potentially very serious)by possibly a couple of local climbers who've done a huge amount of work in developing some very popular climbing venues should not lead to a vendetta or some of the vitrolic comments made here. Lessons have been learnt and its time to move on to sort out the issues.....the people involved have been very open and honest about their mistakes and naivety and what appears to be extremely bad advice given by the retailers who sold them these bolts.
Elfyn
tlm - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:

Quick. Someone get Johnny a valium.
ads.ukclimbing.com
paul__in_sheffield - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales: I thought that equipping new sport routes would be covered by the NW Bolt Fund, so there isn't any motivation to scrimp on gear and equip routes out of the Screwfix catalogue.
In the same vein, I was surprised that relatively lightweight single drilling wire staples had been used on newer routes at Castle Inn Quarry. It doesn't cost much more to put in a two hole SS staple, or a more substantial expansion or glue in? I don't want to seem ungrateful to the FAs, but if it gets done, it needs to be done properly in the first place. As JCM points out, we all put our trust in this.
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

>....the people involved have been very open and honest about their mistakes and naivety and what appears to be extremely bad advice given by the retailers who sold them these bolts.

So come on, Elfyn, who are they? This secrecy is entirely out of place in a responsible national organisation.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:

I felt that once I went capital I should aim for telegram-style [absence of] punctuation.

jcm
kristian - on 29 May 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:
> I was surprised that relatively lightweight single drilling wire staples had been used on newer routes at Castle Inn Quarry. It doesn't cost much more to put in a two hole SS staple, or a more substantial expansion or glue in?

I suspect these will be the Bolt products 6mm twisted leg bolt. They may look a bit disconcerting but are far better than a U bolt staple. It is after all a 12mm hole and perfectly suitable for compact limestone. I however would have opted for the 8mm version on a high use crag.
MJ - on 29 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Lessons have been learnt and its time to move on to sort out the issues...

We seem to still learning after about twenty years or so...
Sorry if that's a bit flippant, but I remember similar discussions being made in similar circumstances when sport climbing became popular.
I honestly thought acceptable and agreed bolting systems had been agreed upon years ago.
What lessons will be learnt this time?
Equippers/bolters working on a personal level will obviously try and find ways to reduce costs and why shouldn't they? Some of them spend a fortune in time and money equipping crags and hats off to them for doing so!
However, would it be possible for any such ideas to be looked at and 'approved' by the BMC before they are used? This service being Free of Charge to the requestor.
In this case, a simple paperwork examination and/or a phone call to the supplier would have stopped them being used.
simondgee - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: Once again... it aint hard...
but clearly is for you ...but you go ahead and keep on lobbing on gear that you can whinge about that if it fails that its someone elses fault when you know that there is no system of qualifying what you dropped on...did the F.A.ist's intend to put in bolts that would fail...no...did 10, 20 30, 50 people climb past the bolts and notice they were different looking and not question that? Presumably yes. You are the test system. If you don't like that improve the system. Do tell though have you ever placed a bolt?
Skyfall - on 29 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

John I think you are 100% correct that, apart from bolts clearly rusted to f*ck or made of tinfoil, we all put our trust in them. There is not other real option (other than not to climb on bolts). A visual inspection will not tell you whether a bolt may fail.

Interestingly, in Sicily recently, we encountered several loose bolts (and one on a lower off) in one sector. It made me stop and think I must say but, other than obviously loose bolts, there was little you could do to tell whether any particular bolt was ok (it seemed to be a glue issue, not the bolts per se).

Anyway, for all that, I still think we should be careful not to turn this into a witch hunt of the bolters in this instance. We don't really know why this happened. On the other hand, I agree that the BMC should not just sweep this under the carpet (as I suspect has happened on one or two occasions previously).
Kevster - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Some of the comments on this thread are embarrassing to say the least. Pitiful at times.

The OP was done for a reason, maybe another thread to debate the merits of different bolts? As a climber, I welcome meaningful information and the efforts of others for making the routes accessible to climb in a relatively safe manner.

It isn't a school play ground out there. We all climb by choice.

johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to simondgee:

I still have no idea what you're trying to say. On the other hand, you have at least managed to make it clear that, whatever it is, it won't be interesting.

jcm
paul__in_sheffield - on 30 May 2013
In reply to PeteHarrisonmustbebanned:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
Paul_in_sheffield - the 6mm Bolt Products bolts you saw Castle Inn are excellent for their intended purpose - much better than stainless staples, times have moved on from those.

Pete, thanks for this. I had just come back from a clipping trip abroad where new routes mostly had fat expansion bolts and/or what looked like 14mm glue in ring bolts. From the viewpoint of high use and longevity, I guess 6mm wire just looks flimsy even though its fit for purpose. Didn't stop me clipping them though!
Rachel Slater - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

I'm suprised no one googled these routes and the fist ascents. I couldn't find 'one ard 1-der' but i found 'simpli-city' pretty easily. http://news.v12outdoor.com/2012/04/12/simpli-city-f6a/
jimtitt - on 30 May 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

While you might not be so used to them as other types 6mm BŁhler style bolts are immensely strong, more so than almost any expansion bolt, staple or single shaft 10mm rod bolts and much more reliable. The Bolt Products 6mm rod bolts will hold thousands of falls which would break all the rest of your climbing equipment.

Jim Titt
Bolt Products
jkarran - on 30 May 2013
In reply to WILLS:

> thanks for posting this. by the sounds of it i would say the bolt had taken a shear load before this incident. the low forces simply pulling the sheared head from the remains of the resin. without seeing the sheared portion of the bolt i couldnt tell. M8 is a little on the small side.

There's a picture in the article.

It broke cleanly mid length (~15-20mm below the head), it also appears to be corroded around the break. Looks to me like it was either over tightened to failure when installed (or enough to crack the plating) or it's cracked under tension where the corrosion got started. That or there was an included weakness in the material.

8mm core + threads is pretty similar to a standard metric M10 in cross sectional area (~13% difference).

Let's hope there aren't too many of these out there to clear up and that this is an isolated failure.

jk
paul__in_sheffield - on 30 May 2013
In reply to jimtitt: Hi Jim, I absolutely concur with your analysis of the 6mm rod's characteristics, it's just they 'look' flimsy. It probably says more about me than the bolt. Mind you, I was happy with Bancroft's ancient bolt on Darius so I'm probably not a great judge.
No matter how mechanically appropriate the bolt is, it is a really sobering thought that not only do some FAs think it's ok to use bolts for fixing tv aerials, the same crew may have been mixing cement, cleaning holes, drilling appropriate depths and diameters with the same cavalier disregard for common sense.
Fraser on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

I'm not quite clear on something here: why would you resin in a threaded bolt rather than use it as part of an expansion-type fixing?

> "Thunderbolt" bolts are self-tapping threaded bolts with a fixed hexagonal gold coloured head. The one that snapped was an M8 x 100mm that had been placed in a drilled hole and resined in place with a Petzl hanger placed on the bolt...."

I've never bolted a route, but I'd always assumed the equipper uses either an expansion bolt (ie threaded shank into an expanding sleeve, and no resin) or a resin-held "staple-type" fixing. This seems to be a hybrid solution. Can anyone enlighten me?
jkarran - on 30 May 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

You can see why they might have thought them appropriate. On paper at least (screwed into concrete) the ultimate failure numbers in tension and shear (24/30kN) look adequate and they're passivated. My guess is they thought the glue would further limit corrosion or they don't screw into limestone as well as they do into concrete so they drilled oversize and improvised.

jk
digby - on 30 May 2013
In reply to simondgee:

> What kind of moron blindly clips gear they no nothing about?

Not me! I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of all bolt types from every aspect of engineering so I can instantly spot a rogue fixing. I also have x-ray vision and can tell if the bolt is corroded internally and whether the resin is sound.
No sir, no moron me. I no everything.
paul__in_sheffield - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to simondgee)
>
> I have no idea what you're trying to say.
>
> jcm

Hi John, simondgee's message is that in sport climbing, we're each of us conducting long term stress and fatigue tests on installations of uncertain characteristics. We know the statistical characteristics and hence reliability of bolts in appropriately prepared placements, however without an overarching compulsory training and accreditation/inspection/samples/sign off procedure by an authority, then we all play roulette on a regular basis.

I'm not sure what the ultimate message is. We probably have to ask whether we are happy with 'climbing is a dangerous sport etc etc' and just suck it up. My take on this, and yours too I think is that you're supposed to be able to put risk out of your mind on Sports routes and just get on with climbing. I agree that we should be able to trust FAs to exhibit due diligence, but it appears not to be the case.
So, does the installation of safety equipment require a more formal approach as it does in other sectors? Also, are we prepared to pay?
Sorry to you both if I've misrepresented your posts.
Kemics - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

I think a bit of the problem is people get caught up in the glory of FAs. Really if you equip and develop and area, you're taking on a certain amount of a responsibility. If you can't afford to buy the proper equipment, you shouldn't be putting up new routes. I know bolts are very expensive and that a well bolted route equipped with a lower off could cost close to £100. But i'd rather see fewer routes which are better and more considerately equipped than junk bolts fired into choss :)
Ally Smith on 30 May 2013
The big-yin's opinion:

Elfyn - I realise you're trying to calm a shit-storm in tea-cup on here but I don't think you should be trying to downplay this guy's actions as down to naivety and 'being given bad advice'. It was 100% his responsibility to make sure he knew how to do a proper job and not end up killing or seriously injuring someone through poor workmanship when he made a decision to bolt routes. From what he's said to you he has so clearly made a decision not to research good practice beforehand - or he's willfully ignored it - we don't know which. That has led to someone having a close escape, it could have easily been very different. Information on good practice is easily available to anyone who can be bothered to look for it. He's acted completely irresponsibly - his bolts were blatantly unsafe from the instant he equipped his routes - we only know that in hindsight because nobody knowledgeable enough was bothered to go and climb those mediocre piles of choss. For being such a negligent dangerous person he deserves to made an example of to others.

JCM - you're right, damn it. The guy was completely negligent. Anyone equipping routes these days has no excuse for not knowing good practice.

Kristian - yes the Castle Inn are the 6mm BP / Paul_in_sheffield - the 6mm Bolt Products bolts you saw Castle Inn are excellent for their intended purpose - much better than stainless staples, times have moved on from those.
Coel Hellier - on 30 May 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> So, does the installation of safety equipment require a more formal approach as it does in other
> sectors? Also, are we prepared to pay?

Hmm, I think I'll answer "yes" and "yes" to those.

Like everyone here, I've headed up sports routes relying on the bolts and trusting that the people who placed them knew what they were doing. And it is worrying if people who don't really know what they are doing take a DIY approach to it.
ian Ll-J - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Hi Elfyn

I agree with you that this should not have been a witch hunt, but now that a name has been put forward, no doubt you are actively checking out this individuals other new routes? Has anyone checked his additions in the slate quarries?

Keep up the good work.

Ian
martinph78 on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Has anyone put a notice at the venue in question, and others that may be in doubt?

Not everyone reads UKC or the BMC website (shocking, I know!).


Don't want to be reading about someones death next week. We can all proportion blame on the individual who bolted the route, but as an organisation aware of the problem I think that the BMC has a duty to ensure the safety of other users.

Personally I'd pull all of the suspect bolts as they are NOT suitable for the job. I've used them for fitting worktops and wouldn't trust my life to them.
Simon Caldwell - on 30 May 2013
In reply to simondgee:
> did 10, 20 30, 50 people climb past the bolts and notice they were different looking and not question that?

I've seen the photos and still wouldn't recognise them as looking at all unusual. Presumably nor would anyone else who's not experienced in actually bolting routes (ie the vast majority).

I take your point about not blindly trusting bolts though, and in future will take along enough equipment to remove them all so I can inspect them before trusting them.
Michael Ryan - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Second bolt failure in a week.

Bolt ripped out at Giggleswick North

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=550043&v=1#x7347379

The BMC are very pro-active as regards bolts and have how to bolt workshops so that new routers can learn best practice.

and of course

Better bolts campaign 2012-13: great news for 'sport' climbers (all climbers actually)

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/better-bolts-campaign-201213-great-news-for-sport-climbers

Michael Ryan - on 30 May 2013
and.....

Bolts: essential knowledge

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bolts-essential-knowledge

....essential reading for all climbers who go sport climbing...it's all about education!
johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

I really donít get this no-witchhunt stuff.

No-one says the proprietors of the Lyme Bay Canoe centre (or whatever it was called) shouldnít be subjected to a witchhunt. Itís only luck that they killed someone and this fellow (letís call him Jim Kelly pending further investigation/confirmation, shall we?) didnít.

This sort of thing is totally unacceptable. Itís what killed Nick Kaczorowski, and it will kill someone here if itís allowed to spread. We need to do everything we can to stop it, and naming and shaming people who are guilty of it is obviously something which might help in that direction.

After all, this is why we shoot admirals on their quarterdecks, isnít it? People put up new routes in large part so they can boast about it. If they know theyíre going to be publicly humiliated if they do it wrong, that might encourage les autres.

Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is likely to increase as a result of the BMCís foolish look-everyone-can-place-bolts policy?

jcm
Neil Williams - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

You are aware, though, that the ultimate extension of this is that the same requirements will apply to bolting routes as to constructing an indoor climbing wall?

That said, this has to some extent put me off trying sport, at least with trad I and only I am responsible for how good the protection is.

Neil
johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Not sure what you mean by 'the ultimate extension'.

My take would rather be that we have to police ourselves if we want to avoid outside interference as much as possible, and that we should use every useful measure in order to see for ourselves that this sort of thing doesn't happen.

jcm
martinph78 on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
>
> Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is likely to increase as a result of the BMCís foolish look-everyone-can-place-bolts policy?
>
> jcm


No.

I also think that the landowner would have wanted to know that the person installing the bolts, and the equipment used, were up to standard before giving permission for the crag to be bolted. Does this not happen, and if not, why not?
ads.ukclimbing.com
johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

It's an interesting question what happens in, say, Cheddar Gorge, where the landowner does interest itself in this sort of issue.

Most landowners however are not consulted about bolting on their land.

jcm
doylo - on 30 May 2013
There really is no excuse for this in this day and age. This is not just a simple oversight, it's a reckless stab in the dark that could have had disastrous consequences. With the experience, knowledge and resources that we have in the local area it is just unfathomable to me that someone would think that cheap throughbolts from the builders merchant could be suitable bolt protection. Good work Elfyn and co for moving fast on the issue.
xplorer on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Why do you find it so hard to be a normal human being, you don't even climb any more.......
Neil Williams - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

"Not sure what you mean by 'the ultimate extension'."

I mean if people want to be able to be 100% sure, the only way is that a bolted bit of rock is seen as the same as a bolted bit of plywood. So you (not you personally, obviously) want a company to sue if it goes wrong, proper insurance etc.

Devil's advocate to an extent, of course.

Neil
Andy Say - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

>
> This sort of thing is totally unacceptable. Itís what killed Nick Kaczorowski, and it will kill someone here if itís allowed to spread. We need to do everything we can to stop it, and naming and shaming people who are guilty of it is obviously something which might help in that direction.
>
> After all, this is why we shoot admirals on their quarterdecks, isnít it? People put up new routes in large part so they can boast about it. If they know theyíre going to be publicly humiliated if they do it wrong, that might encourage les autres.
>
> Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is likely to increase as a result of the BMCís foolish look-everyone-can-place-bolts policy?
>
> jcm

I'm not sure that naming and shaming...and blaming is totally appropriate in all situations. Checking a first ascentionists details is pretty simple and a lot of the time they will have bolted the route - but not always! If it gets to the stage of a local enthusiast unilaterally deciding to re-bolt a load of routes its not quite so easy to apportion 'blame'. And the process of vigorous 'blaming and shaming' is probably likely to make any such person keep very quiet and bury their drill at the bottom of the garden. A 'quieter' approach is, I would have thought, more likely to get somebody to talk to the Elfyn's of this world and admit they've goofed; and provide a list of the routes upon which they've goofed allowing some remedy.
johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Andy Say:

>And the process of vigorous 'blaming and shaming' is probably likely to make any such person keep very quiet and bury their drill at the bottom of the garden

I don't follow you. That's the desired result, isn't it?

jcm
shark - on 30 May 2013
the BMCís foolish look-everyone-can-place-bolts policy?
>
> jcm


I don't think their policy on encouraging people to responsibly and competently place bolts is foolish. Everyone has to start somewhere.

A lot of bolts need replacing and not enough are prepared to do it. Unsurprisingly. Implying a huge knowledge barrier is wrong and unnecessarily offputting for those who might otherwise be inclined to get involved.

Anyone should be able to competently place good bolts if they follow the guidance best practice advice here: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bolts-guidance-documents

I think for the novice (or the veteran happy to cut corners) a through-bolt has less margin for error than a glue-in. The through bolt can be immediately tested and isn't reliant on correct resin mix or being based its use-by date and is easier to remove. I appreciate that the end product isn't quite as longlasting.

Andy Say - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
Sorry. I thought you were wound up about potentially dangerous bolts rather than just bolts per se.

Applied to Lyme Bay; it would never have happened if we simply banned kayaks?
johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Andy Say:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
> Sorry. I thought you were wound up about potentially dangerous bolts rather than just bolts per se.

I am. You've lost me.

If naming and shaming Mr Kelly causes him to bury his drill at the bottom of the garden, that's a good thing, isn't it?

jcm

johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to shark:

It's not so much a knowledge barrier as a responsibility barrier. I dare say you're right that it's not difficult to get the necessary information, but what sometimes seems to be missing is an understanding of climbing reality and a grasp that this stuff actually matters.

I suspect, not terribly seriously, that we'd be better off if the BMC established a list of local testpieces and discouraged anyone from placing bolts who hadn't passed the necessary test of their mettle.

jcm
shark - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

If you place the bolts as directed by the BMC they will be good bolts. The responsible will have an interest and most likely follow what the BMC recommends.

The irresponsible will have no interest or knowledge in what the BMC has to say and plough their own furrow - that includes activists and as appears to be in this case uninformed newcomers.
Neil Williams - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

A case for more standardisation? i.e. "If you don't use this specification of bolt and this way to fix it, it'll get removed"?

That said, I suspect the BMC wouldn't want to take responsibility for it, because that could I guess result in legal action taken against them in the event of a failure.

Neil
IainRUK - on 30 May 2013
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
> If you place the bolts as directed by the BMC they will be good bolts. The responsible will have an interest and most likely follow what the BMC recommends.
>
> The irresponsible will have no interest or knowledge in what the BMC has to say and plough their own furrow - that includes activists and as appears to be in this case uninformed newcomers.

If it's the person named then they aren't a new comer and are a pretty prolific bolters new routers in North Wales.. and to be fair I've never heard of an issue with their bolts before..

But I do think their name should have been released as then people can climb a route knowing their could be a question mark, but they have set up a number of lower grade routes in the quarries which I think are popular with no issues and they must have been fairly well tested by now.
Coel Hellier - on 30 May 2013
In reply to shark:

> The irresponsible will have no interest or knowledge in what the BMC has to say and plough their own furrow ...

I presume that (and here I'm open to correction from the thread's resident lawyer), that anyone placing bolts could "reasonably foresee" that others might attempt the climb relying on them. Thus they would owe such persons a duty of care, and could be either civilly or criminally liable if they were negligent in that duty (meaning performed it to well below accepted standards).
Stone Muppet - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> If naming and shaming Mr Kelly causes him to bury his drill at the bottom of the garden, that's a good thing, isn't it?

So you think it's good that his other mistakes go undiscovered, and that we lose somebody who is otherwise demonstrably keen to help with equipping crags, and who is likely open to some reeducation at this point. I hate to think what your other good ideas are! Chances are the poor chap would be willing to name and shame himself if it wasn't for that kind of attitude.
shark - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to shark)
>
> [...]
>
> I presume that (and here I'm open to correction from the thread's resident lawyer), that anyone placing bolts could "reasonably foresee" that others might attempt the climb relying on them. Thus they would owe such persons a duty of care, and could be either civilly or criminally liable if they were negligent in that duty (meaning performed it to well below accepted standards).


Its not been tested as yet but you could reasonably assume they could be found negligent if they hadnt followed best practice. The issues were covered here http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php?topic=20035.0 following the bolt failure at Smalldale
fil-p - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: I am so glad that you feel happy to correct people's grammar on here. I've come to the conclusion that you do this as you genuinely know jack sh*t about climbing. I know that it isn't a bolting debate, but neither was the works, but you felt that you should still put your two penneth in. I think that you should change your forum name to a more appropriate one like " thrush " as you really are nothing more than an irritant.
Eric9Points - on 30 May 2013
In reply to fil-p:

You know, one click on the profile button and 30 seconds of reading would have saved you from making an idiot of yourself in public.

But then again not checking who you're insulting is really just the sort of thing you would expect from an idiot.
paul__in_sheffield - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to shark)
>
> [...]
>
> I presume that (and here I'm open to correction from the thread's resident lawyer), that anyone placing bolts could "reasonably foresee" that others might attempt the climb relying on them. Thus they would owe such persons a duty of care, and could be either civilly or criminally liable if they were negligent in that duty (meaning performed it to well below accepted standards).

+1
I think it's pretty obvious that 3rd part liability insurance may become necessary for route equippers, although that could be said for climbers in general.
andyathome - on 30 May 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to fil-p)
>
> You know, one click on the profile button and 30 seconds of reading would have saved you from making an idiot of yourself in public.
>
> But then again not checking who you're insulting is really just the sort of thing you would expect from an idiot.

If you'd included a quote from the post by fil-p it would have saved me some RSI scrolling back up through shed loads of posts to work out what you were making a point about!
andyathome - on 30 May 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> +1
> I think it's pretty obvious that 3rd part liability insurance may become necessary for route equippers, although that could be said for climbers in general.

So is THAT included in the standard BMC member insurance?
andyathome - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to Andy Say)
> [...]
>
> I am. You've lost me.
>
> If naming and shaming Mr Kelly causes him to bury his drill at the bottom of the garden, that's a good thing, isn't it?
>
> jcm

I think the point was that if you are obsessing about this ONE particular instance then maybe getting 'them' to stop drilling until they've been re-educated is valid. But in the wider scheme driving those 'guilty' of dodgy bolting underground out of fear of 'shaming' if they've made a mistake might be counter productive. Unless you are called Gary Gibson, of course. It would be good if got his resin mixes totally sorted finally.

It might be equally 'good' to get a clear declaration, without blame, of errors made. I believe that the NHS is grappling with just such a situation?

colin struthers - on 30 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Whoa!

"Dangerous idiot"

We need "a witch hunt"

Wind your neck in man!

Your tone suggests you think that this was some kind of malicious act. Unlikely. Its almost certain that this happened as a result of a genuine error. Have you never made a mistake yourself?

The guys responsible are probably feeling pretty mortified at the moment. And yet they are the sort of climbers who put their own time and money into equipping routes that we all enjoy. They are, essentailly, some of the good guys.

Fortunately no one has been injured and lessons will undoubtedly be learned.

FYI even the most experienced bolters in the UK have (very infrequently) made mistakes in the past. Given the tens of thousands of bolts placed in the UK over the last 25 years some of them will undoubtedly be less than 100% safe. This is inevitable and climbing, even on bolts, remains a dangerous activity.

Obviously with sports routes we want the protection to be as good as we can make it and we do need the BMC to continue to provide guidance and training in relation to placing fixed gear. Perhaps we also need to accept that the climbing community as a whole should pay for the gear that is used on sports routes, rather than leaving it up to individuals to fork out their own money (and perhaps be tempted to use cheaper kit that they have not realised is inadequate).

In the case of these N Wales routes, would there have been a problem if the BMC support for the N Wales bolt fund had allowed the money to be used for new routes rather than just for the replacement of worn gear on existing routes (as the cutrrent rules state)?

These are all things we need to be thinking about. But one thing we probably don't need to consider is a lousy little witch hunt orchestrated by small minded people like you.
Coel Hellier - on 30 May 2013
In reply to colin struthers:

> Its almost certain that this happened as a result of a genuine error. Have you never made a mistake yourself?

I've certainly made plenty of mistakes, but I don't think I've made mistakes that could well have got someone else killed. That's why saying it was a good-faith genuine error is not quite sufficient.

> Perhaps we also need to accept that the climbing community as a whole should pay for the gear that is used on sports routes

I'm willing to contribute to bolt funds for decent-quality sports climbs. (I'm more dubious about paying for, and thus encouraging, bolting of any old choss; there does seem to be a quantity-not-quality attitude toward new sports climbs in some areas of the UK at the moment.)
johncoxmysteriously - on 30 May 2013
In reply to colin struthers:

Of course I don't think it was malicious, just irresponsible and stupid.

Of course I've made mistakes. But I don't think 'mistake' adequately describes using inadequate bolts like this.

Nor do I see much merit in considering the feelings of these people to any great extent. That isn't the important issue. The important issue is what we can do to make sure that other dangerous idiots aren't tempted to do the same thing.

This stuff does kill people, you know.

>FYI even the most experienced bolters in the UK have (very infrequently) made mistakes in the past.

You really don't go on these forums much, do you?! Still, I'll consider myself informed. Thanks for that.

jcm
Neil Williams - on 30 May 2013
In reply to andyathome:

Don't know. It might well be included (by way of not being excluded) in the liability clause in some home contents insurance, though. Cycling commonly is, it certainly is in mine as I asked them the question explicitly, I think in response to a debate on here ages ago.

Neil
winhill - on 30 May 2013
In reply to colin struthers:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)

> Perhaps we also need to accept that the climbing community as a whole should pay for the gear that is used on sports routes, rather than leaving it up to individuals to fork out their own money (and perhaps be tempted to use cheaper kit that they have not realised is inadequate).
>
> In the case of these N Wales routes, would there have been a problem if the BMC support for the N Wales bolt fund had allowed the money to be used for new routes rather than just for the replacement of worn gear on existing routes (as the cutrrent rules state)?

It would be good if we could develop the idea that FAs and equippers take a responsible view and don't claim routes they've skimped on.

Just because it's not malicious, it doesn't follow that it's not unethical.
incog - on 31 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: After all, this is why we shoot admirals on their quarterdecks, isnít it? People put up new routes in large part so they can boast about it. If they know theyíre going to be publicly humiliated if they do it wrong, that might encourage les autres.

Well done jcm, you've read Voltaire, but you need to keep up; no admiral has been shot on his quarterdeck since the 18th century. Poor old Byng should be allowed to RIP. I bet he never guessed he'd be mentioned in a UKC debate. I can't add anything to the bolt discussion but would take issue with your comment that people put up new routes mainly to boast about it. Nonesense. Have you never considered the motives of exploration, or personal challenge, or the thrill of finding an unclimbed line and wanting to find out if you are up to it, regardless of any bragging rights. You should get out more.
johncoxmysteriously - on 31 May 2013
In reply to incog:

>Have you never considered the motives of exploration, or personal challenge, or the thrill of finding an unclimbed line and wanting to find out if you are up to it, regardless of any bragging rights.

Good God, man, we're talking about poxy thirty-foot 6as at some pile of choss on the Ormes. It's hardly 'exploration' or 'personal challenge'. Get over yourself.

And anyway, no, of course I've never experienced any of those thrills. What do you take me for?

jcm
paul__in_sheffield - on 31 May 2013
In reply to andyathome:
> (In reply to paul__in_sheffield)
> [...]
>
> So is THAT included in the standard BMC member insurance?

I think the 3rd party insurance for equipping with safety equipment for other's use is outside the BMC personal cover and would be significantly more expensive. I'm guessing it would also contain caveats regarding training etc as discussed in this thread.
ads.ukclimbing.com
paul__in_sheffield - on 31 May 2013
In reply to colin struthers: Colin, I can't find any reference or statement in this thread which suggests that this was a malicious act, and maybe JCM's suggestion of a witch hunt is a little strong. I think you would have to agree however that reckless endagerment is likely to cause strong feelings irrespective of whether it was through lack of information or 'may be tempted to use cheaper kit'. However, your assertion that 'they are some of the good guys' because of the time and money they put into bolting is not really correct. The 'good guys' in any field of endeavour are the ones who conduct due diligence (or even basic common sense) when taking responsibility for other people's lives and well-being.
I would support your suggestion that the 'climbing community' should pay for the gear and training etc. although I can see a horrible 'sport vs trad' debate opening up when trying to work out a method.
Just out of interest, I just tested initial due diligence with something called 'google' which I believe is widely available. When I searched for 'installing bolts for climbing' I found this handy information page (with lots of others) from the BMC
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=216
bpmclimb - on 16 Jun 2013
In reply to all:

Posts pointing out that the placing of sub-standard bolts wasn't a "malicious act" are a waste of space. Of course it wasn't! Deliberately booby-trapping a sport route with the express intention of hurting people? Come on!

However, IMO there's more to it than just an "honest mistake". The climbers must have been aware that there are a range of products out there, some more suitable than others - what climber isn't these days? I find it hard to believe that anyone bolting numbers of new sport routes has no idea at all of current best practice, and it seems very likely that these new-routers decided to cut corners to save money.

As for using BMC-sponsored bolt funds to equip new routes: out of the question, as far as I'm concerned.

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