North Wales Limestone Bolt Wear - A Solution

© Chris Parkin
ECO WEARnot a new un-bleached cotton fashion range but a serious climbing problem!

See a photo of the problem : here

Many of the DMM Eco bolts used as lower-offs at the top of routes on Lower and Upper Pen Trwyn, Llandudno, North Wales are starting to show signs of wear due to the practice of lowering off and top roping with ropes threaded directly through the bolt eye. See bad practice and a solution : here

Some of this wear is serious and well beyond the DMM recommended limit.

Most of the bolts are still soundly fixed in the rock but if the wear is to continue replacement will be required. An awkward, difficult and expensive task that costs at least £14 per double lower-off plus all the effort and associated risks to the volunteers who will have the task to drill and install.

To address the problem the BMC and The NWBF (North Wales Bolt Fund) have recently purchased 300 marine grade stainless steel maillons and 300 marine grade stainless steel certified welded rings - this is sufficient for 150 lower-offs and should be sufficient to sort most of the popular routes on upper and Lower Pen Trwyn.

The rings are certified to 4,750 kg so even big George Smith and big John Dunne can be sure they will take the strain

Installation has started with a maillon and ring on each of the two lower-off bolts - this is been done by trained volunteers who are also testing the bolts at the same time.

Severely worn bolts all be replaced.

Now you know what is been done and why please use the rings to thread your rope. Do not thread the maillons. Do not thread the bolt eyes.

For the scrap-men and magpies out there, please leave the shiny new kit in place it cost £9.05 per lower-off station!

If you use a lower-off without rings then lower off your own draws except the last person. If you plan to top rope then get some screw-gates on until your done.

Big thanks to all involved.

The NWBF is currently in debt by over £500 and is in need of financial assistance, please send donations to:

Lon Brynteg,
Glyn Garth,
Menai Bridge,
LL59 5NU.

Any one interested in helping out with the re-bolting of routes on the Ormes should check out

In related news, Dan Middleton (BMC Technical Officer) reports that on 18th July The North Wales Bolt Fund held a bolting workshop at Bus Stop Quarry, Llanberis. Despite the best sunny weather for over a week, more than 20 local climbers attended. Participants learnt how to use the petrol and battery drills, and how to place expansion bolts. Pull out tests of the expansion bolts used on the slate gave good results considering the nature of the rock. All except one (which managed to find a dubious bit of rock) held at least 9 kN.

Some of the issues affecting resin bolts were covered, and some of the resin systems were looked at. Some very encouraging pullout tests were made on some DMM Eco-bolts and Fixe eyebolts. Using a range of different epoxy acrylate resin systems, all held in excess of 15kN.

Full report at

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21 Jul, 2007
I've met German climbers who abseil rather than lower off thus reducing the wear on the bolts....
21 Jul, 2007
Why not just put a screw gate on the bolts that are starting to show signs of wear then replace the screwgate when it wears out? You could use a threadlocking adhesive to keep the gate locked thus eliminating the possiblility of theft. Or a mallion for that matter...
21 Jul, 2007
Well volunteered Eric. The rings will last a lot longer than a straight maillon or screwgate. Long term it will work out cheaper. People tend to try and nick screwgates and maillons even if threadlocked, but with the rings at least the lower off looks like a proper unit rather than abandoned gear, so hopefully they'll think twice. Also, the rings sit more perpendicular to the rock, less wear on your rope. Give Chris Parkin a shout for when you're ready to help out with the installation.
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