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Bolts - Use or Lose?
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By craig512
From Nor-Cal
Dec 4, 2008
This is the move after the dyno, pretty reachy!
Thanks for the debates guys, this thread clearly illustrates the different opinions of many route setters/cleaners. When creating this thread, I didn't want to start a "Wedge vs Sleeve war". I was just looking for some advice on Wedge bolts; as Sleeve bolts are far to expensive in SST.
It's the collective opinion of all parties involved in developing the cliff that 3/8" SST Wedge bolts are what will be used. We'll undoubtedly use the Red Heads or the Thunderstud.
In the environment they're being placed, I expect them to last well beyond 20 years.

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By craig512
From Nor-Cal
Dec 4, 2008
This is the move after the dyno, pretty reachy!
Update to one of my above posts.
I found the RedHead Trubolt online here for just $0.86 each.
This puts it more in line with the Thunderstud in terms of shear strength and price comparison.

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By Dan Levison
From Boulder, CO
Dec 4, 2008
personal photo
Ron Olsen wrote:
Agree, Dan. Do you know where you can buy the 3/8"x3" stainless-steel Hilti KB3 at a reasonable price? $4.37 each (the price quoted by Hilti) is a bit steep for me.


Ron, here you go ($3.40 each):

ecrater.com/product.php?pid=17...

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By craig512
From Nor-Cal
Dec 4, 2008
This is the move after the dyno, pretty reachy!
Hey...what gives?
Same site, same product, same seller...different price.
ecrater.com/product.php?pid=17...
$2.20 per...

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By Dan Levison
From Boulder, CO
Dec 4, 2008
personal photo
craig512 wrote:
Hey...what gives? Same site, same product, same seller...different price. ecrater.com/product.php?pid=17... $2.20 per...


My mistake; I quoted the SS 316 version, not the SS 304, which is what Ron is looking for...

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By Brian in SLC
Dec 4, 2008
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
craig512 wrote:
Hey...what gives? Same site, same product, same seller...different price. ecrater.com/product.php?pid=17... $2.20 per...


One is 316 (marine grade and usually more spendy) and the other 304 stainless.

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Dec 4, 2008
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
Dan Levison wrote: Ron, here you go ($3.40 each): ecrater.com/product.php?pid=17...

craig512 wrote:Hey...what gives? Same site, same product, same seller...different price. ecrater.com/product.php?pid=17... $2.20 per...

Thanks for the info, guys! I updated the table I posted previously to reflect the lower prices of the Hilti KB3 and the Redhead Trubolt.

So the 3/8"x3" Hilti Kwik Bolt 3 in 304 stainless steel is available for $2.20 each ($110 for a box of 50) with free shipping.

That's not too much more than the $1.80 each I paid for Thunderstud 304 stainless steel bolts.

I'll definitely check out this source for my next bolt order. (Of course, I still have about 80 Thunderstuds to use up before I run out...and with 6" of snow on the ground, and more still falling, it will probably be a while before I can get out again to work on new routes...)

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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Dec 4, 2008
So Bob and Ron....just curious how many bolts have each of you replaced in your long careers? I find that people often have many misconceptions on the process, especially if they have not done it before. BTW I can spot a epoxied hole in a matter of seconds but maybe that's just because I know what to look for. My point was just that if we think " No big deal we will just drill another hole" we end up making decisions that may not be the best in the long term. As for hammering the bolt into the hole...if it was NOT drilled deep enough then you have really screwed the pooch when you try to remove it.

I agree with you both that here in Colorado, SS wedge bolts should last for a good long time. I placed over 200 at my own expense before I started getting better hardware from the ASCA. My concerns with the wedge bolts has more to do with the low torque settings and the inability to know when and if the bolt really needs to be replaced. If Locktite is not used they tend to become spinners and are then retightened later. Hopefully whoever retightens the bolt does not overtighten it....the scary thing to me is not being able to know.

Personally I bolt all my new routes with SS Triplex bolts. My routes tend to be desperate, and are all bolted on lead. A single bolt is often keeping me from the hospital, so I want to make SURE it is a bomber bolt both for my sake and anyone else who repeats it. Because of the cost I only put up a couple routes a year. That is just MY decision. I know that properly placed a 3/8" wedge bolt is bomber. That said I have funked out several that were not so well placed.

So the moral of the story is, if you are using SS wedge bolts to make sure you use Locktite and bring a torque wrench until you have the feel of a properly tightened bolt. Then we can all be happy knowing the bolt will last for a long time and not worry about it.

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By Brad "Stonyman" Killough
Administrator
From Alabama
Dec 4, 2008
Starting the second section of Live to climb anoth...
"I overdrill all my holes to allow this".
I do also Ron, for that same reason.

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By Strider
Dec 5, 2008
Kevin Stricker wrote:
So Bob and Ron....just curious how many bolts have each of you replaced in your long careers? I find that people often have many misconceptions on the process, especially if they have not done it before.


I am curious what misconceptions you see? I am really NOT trying to antagonize you or troll you at ALL. I was just thinking that this thread has a lot of really good info and you appear to have some really strong views on the bolting process backed by some good experience and I really would like to hear it. Would be a great read and a great addition to the thread over all. What is your bolting modus operandi?

And a huge thanks to Ron, Bob, craig, etc... for some great thoughts on wedge bolts specs. I have always been comfortable with the Power's and it's strength rating but this thread has given me something to chew on...

-n

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Dec 5, 2008
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
Kevin Stricker wrote:
So Bob and Ron....just curious how many bolts have each of you replaced in your long careers? I find that people often have many misconceptions on the process, especially if they have not done it before. BTW I can spot a epoxied hole in a matter of seconds but maybe that's just because I know what to look for. My point was just that if we think " No big deal we will just drill another hole" we end up making decisions that may not be the best in the long term. As for hammering the bolt into the hole...if it was NOT drilled deep enough then you have really screwed the pooch when you try to remove it.

My bolt replacement experience falls into three categories:
1. Replacing old 1/4" bolts.
2. Moving poorly positioned bolts that I placed.
3. Replacing improperly placed bolts that I placed.

1. Replacing old 1/4" bolts.
I have helped a friend do this on several occasions on routes in Eldorado, Boulder Canyon, and the Flatirons. My friend used the method described in How to Rebolt:. Insert a tuning fork under the hanger, pound it with a hammer to get the old bolt part-way out of the hole, then use a crowbar to pry the bolt out the rest of the way. Then redrill the old hole to 3/8", and install a modern bolt and hanger. In a few cases, the old bolt would not come all the way out, and it had to be chopped off flush with the surface of the rock and a new hole drilled.

Here are photos of some of these old bolts:
An old 1/4" x 1.25" Rawl buttonhead bolt...
An old 1/4" x 1.25" Rawl buttonhead bolt with a Leeper hanger, removed from the summit of Like Heaven.

Not very confidence inspiring!

One of the old 1/4" Rawl buttonhead bolts tha...
One of the old 1/4" Rawl buttonhead bolts that Bruce removed from Night Vision.

Would you trust this to hold a leader fall?


2. Moving poorly positioned bolts that I placed.
Sometimes a bolt is too high for a shorter person to clip from a good stance, and needs to be moved down about 6". In this case, I remove the nut, pound the bolt into the hole (all my holes are over-drilled to allow this, without fail), cover the hole with clear silicone caulk, and smash a small piece of rock into the caulk with a hammer. Tap the rock pieces a few times with a hammer to make the pieces smaller, and the hole has virtually disappeared. Then drill a new hole in a better position, and install a new bolt and hanger.

3. Replacing improperly placed bolts that I placed.
I have sometime used a worn drill bit that produced holes that were slightly smaller than 3/8" in diameter. The clip on the bolt can get hung up at the edge of the hole, and the bolt won't go all the way in the hole. In this case, you have to try to pry the bolt out of the hole by using a prybar under the hanger and cranking like mad. After some fiddling, the bolt usually comes out. If it does, you can re-drill the hole with a new drill bit, and install another bolt in the same hole.

But sometimes you can't get the bolt out, and you have to chop it off flush with the surface of the rock. I've tried using a hacksaw to do this, but it is usually simpler and more effective to smack the bolt back and forth with a hammer until it snaps off. Then cover the chopped bolt with caulk and rock pieces. Then drill a new hole not far away (with a new drill bit!) and install a new bolt and hanger.

Moral of the story: don't try to get too many holes out of a drill bit, and always have a spare drill bit on hand. When it starts taking a lot longer to drill a hole, you have a good idea that the drill bit is worn, and should be replaced before you run into trouble.

Also, I try to be very good about removing rock dust from the hole before driving the bolt. I use a blow tube (about 3' of surgical rubber tubing) and a test-tube brush to clean out the holes after drilling. I think this helps reduce the incidence of spinners (bolts that won't tighten down), and helps keep moisture from staying in the hole.

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By Brian in SLC
Dec 5, 2008
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Couple of shots of some bolts pulled in a couple locations:

Bolt pulled from Lower S Curves, Big Cottonwood Ca...
Bolt pulled from Lower S Curves, Big Cottonwood Canyon. Placed 1990, pulled 8/11/2003.


Above bolt placed in 1990 in the Lower S Curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Pulled 2003. Bolt is a Rawl/Powerbolt grade 5 and hanger is a stainless SMC.

Bolts pulled from Division Wall in American Fork C...
Bolts pulled from Division Wall in American Fork Canyon. Placed 1991? Pulled 10/23/2004.


Bolts pulled in American Fork. Placed in the early 90's, pulled in 2004. Bolts are Rawl/Powerbolts grade 5 and hangers are Petzl stainless Coeurs.

Close up of bolts pulled in AF on Division Wall.  ...
Close up of bolts pulled in AF on Division Wall. Pulled 10/23/04. Placed in the early 90's.


Closeup of above bolts.

I was kind of surprised that at about the same age, the bolt that was pulled out of really compact quartzite in the upper most picture was in much worse shape although fairly functional. The hanger was a spinner and I wasn't able to tighten it prior to removing the bolt. The sleeve and cone were fairly corroded (sleeve in pieces).

The lower bolts were in the limestone in AF, which I usually think of as fairly porous. They were very functional (felt bad about yankin' them). Almost no mass loss due to corrosion. Not what I expected at all. Cones and sleeves were in very good shape.

Another observation, is, that I hear folks talk about being concerned about mixing plated hardware with stainless. I really didn't see what I'd call enhanced galvanic type corrosion near the hanger/washer/bolt interfaces on any of these placements. Note that these came from the Wasatch in Utah.

-Brian in SLC

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By Dan Levison
From Boulder, CO
Dec 5, 2008
personal photo
Brian, all the bolts in your photos appear to be in good shape. Sometimes a light layer of surface rust slows/prevents additional rust/corrosion. Would be interesting to test those bolts in their current condition -- I bet the specs would come in similar to those of a new Powers 1/2" bolt...

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By Brian in SLC
Dec 5, 2008
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Dan Levison wrote:
Brian, all the bolts in your photos appear to be in good shape. Sometimes a light layer of surface rust slows/prevents additional rust/corrosion. Would be interesting to test those bolts in their current condition -- I bet the specs would come in similar to those of a new Powers 1/2" bolt...


They're 3/8" bolts, but, yep, probably very near in shear strength for sure (just not much material loss) for at least the 5/16" fastener part of the bolt placement. The upper bolt might not have faired so well in tensile (or shear with respect to the sleeve being almost gone), but, was kinda corroded into the hole with the cone appearing to be in pretty bad shape. Locked in there pretty tight, though, and it took some effort at removal (you can see from the head of the bolt that folks had tried to tighten it over the years, most likely. That bolt head was almost worn round).

The AF bolts were probably very near full strength, I'd imagine.

So, reasonable 13 year data from a couple of different types of rock.

Be interesting if Greg or Mike (ASCA guys) had some older Rawl/Powerbolt 5 pieces they've pulled. With the power drilled sport climbing boom only in the late 80's, early 90's, the length of time on those bolts is pretty limited. Prior to that, especially in quartzite, you don't find much in the way of 3/8" bolts. Even in LCC on the granite, its pretty uncommon to find older, hand drilled 3/8" Rawl/Powerbolts. Mostly smaller studs and buttonheads.

-Brian in SLC

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By Brian in SLC
Dec 5, 2008
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Aha, knew I had another shot of a bolt pulled...

Anchor bolt on Glass Ocean in Big Cottonwood Canyo...
Anchor bolt on Glass Ocean in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Fixe stainless hanger and grade 5 Rawl/Powerbolt.


Anchor bolt on the Glass Ocean in Big Cottonwood. Hanger is a Fixe stainless, bolt is a 3/8" grade 5 Rawl/Powerbolt. May have been placed in 1988 (date route was established), pulled in 2006.

Not sure on the placement date, though, because the balance of the anchor was slings around a block and a bolt/hanger that was a 5/16" or 3/8" button head (along with all the lead bolts on the route, and, they appear to still be bomber) on an SMC hanger. So, maybe a later bolt placement. Probable due to age of bolt hanger (30kN Fixe hangers only available for a shorter time? Reduced from 40kN I seem to recall at some point a few years back). Plus, that long of a bolt more than likely wouldn't have been hand drilled back then in quartzite.

Bolt had pulled part way out of the rock and was not in that great a shape in terms of its function as a tight anchor. Was sticking out as far as the picture shows, but, had become loose and was out of the placement by around 3/8" or so. Not able to be tightened.

-Brian in SLC

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Dec 5, 2008
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
Brian in SLC wrote:
Aha, knew I had another shot of a bolt pulled... Anchor bolt on the Glass Ocean in Big Cottonwood. Hanger is a Fixe stainless, bolt is a 3/8" grade 5 Rawl/Powerbolt. May have been placed in 1988 (date route was established), pulled in 2006

Were you able to get all the pieces of the sleeve out and reuse the hole, Brian? Looks pretty rusted.

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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Dec 5, 2008
Glad to hear about others replacement efforts. I like the clear silicone idea Ron, I have always used a 2 part solid epoxy, will have to give it a try.



Bob D'Antonio wrote:
Go do the PTL Club route on the Dome in the SP...1/4 inch nail drives with crap hangers.


You mean these Bob?
PTL Club old Bolt.
PTL Club old Bolt.


This was the only bolt that pulled the cone as well as the nail with a funk or two. Several others had the nail head shear off and several of the aluminum homemade hangers broke during funking. 1/4" button heads are BOMBER compared to 1/4" star drives.

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By Brian in SLC
Dec 5, 2008
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Ron Olsen wrote:
Were you able to get all the pieces of the sleeve out and reuse the hole, Brian? Looks pretty rusted.


Nah, drilled right through them. Easy money with a carbide bit. Best to use an older worn out bit to do that dirty work, though, as it does tend to wear them out. Then ream the hole with a "good" bit after the sleeve and cone is gone.

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By mtnkid85
Apr 26, 2009
Bumping this old thread,

Craig did you end up going with the Redhead Trubolts? What are your feelings on them now? I can get a pretty good deal on them locally, and am strongly considering them for backcountry not often repeated rap anchors in granite.

Anyone found a better price on the Hilti KB3s in SS?

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By Ben Caruso
From Blowing Rock, NC
Mar 27, 2013
Searching for info on split drives hasn't brought much, so I'll tag into this thread rather than start another:

Anyone have any relevant information on the modern usage of modern 1/4" split drives, say from Powers or Confast?

Looking to for something for blank bits on high routes in foreign places, that will probably never see another ascent. Looking for info from those who know...

And- at the risk of getting attacked- I'll also ask if the tie-wire types have any practical use, say if you swedged a cable in the hole like a RURP.





I know, I know, I'm gonna die.

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By Rob Dillon
Mar 27, 2013
Some good beta here Ben:

supertopo.com/climbing/thread....

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