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Bolts for Limestone How Long?
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By mountainlion
Sep 27, 2012

I have been sport climbing for 3 months (came from trad background in Jtree/tahquitz but now live next to a sport crag in the philippines). I have put together a drill kit and am looking to develop the upper pitches of the local crag (1st pitch is well developed). I have been researching types of bolts but haven't seen much info on the length a bolt should be for high quality limestone. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to give some tips if you have any about methods as well. I will be practicing on rock to small to boulder on before I take the rig to the crag. Thanks


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By Brian in SLC
Sep 27, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

High quality limestone? You could go as short as 3" methinks.

From what I've seen in Thailand, you'd want to go a touch longer, and, you'd want to make sure its glue-in Titanium.

Anything else and you're waisting your time.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Sep 27, 2012

For good limestone 80mm is the standard for both bolt-in and glue-in. Glue-ins have a far better lifespan than bolt-ins, like vastly longer!
Iīve a customer who bolts actively there, I see if I can contact him otherwise guangzhou on rc.com is the man for all things SE Asia wise.


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By Brian in SLC
Sep 27, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Jim Titt wrote:
For good limestone 80mm is the standard for both bolt-in and glue-in. Glue-ins have a far better lifespan than bolt-ins, like vastly longer! Iīve a customer who bolts actively there, I see if I can contact him otherwise guangzhou on rc.com is the man for all things SE Asia wise.


Jim, do you know if the PI is prone to the same issues as Thailand when I comes to using steel bolts (stainless or otherwise)?

I'd think so. Fairly nearby. Very similar conditions.


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Sep 27, 2012
The Shield

You have the same issues we do in Thailand. Steel is a waste of time, money, and rock space. You need titanium glue ins. Any tropical area within 25k of the ocean will have this problem.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Sep 27, 2012

Brian in SLC wrote:
Jim, do you know if the PI is prone to the same issues as Thailand when I comes to using steel bolts (stainless or otherwise)? I'd think so. Fairly nearby. Very similar conditions.

Who knows, the corrosion problems are localised and there are plenty of routes in SE Asia bolted with normal gear which donīt give problems. Most of the bolts we supply to that part of the world are 316 glue-ins and the rest 2205 Duplex stainless.
The forthcoming (possibly) UIAA guidelines for bolting in tropical areas with corrosion problems (not all areas do) will include 2205 and some titanium alloys though which ones I donīt know yet and I donīt think they know either. Until a titanium bolt gets through EN959, proves to have long-term fracture resistance, consistent weld quality and a satisfactory design the grade(s) to be used is still up in the air.


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By mountainlion
Sep 27, 2012

Thanks for the replies to all. I have also noticed that the rest of the world uses the metric system. I had been planning on 3/8 diameter bolts but now think it is probably a better idea to use the metric system here. What is the diameter bolt equivalent to use? Thanks again. Hope these questions are'nt annoying but I want to become proficient and do a good job.


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By mattm
From TX
Sep 27, 2012
Grande Grotto

mountainlion wrote:
Thanks for the replies to all. I have also noticed that the rest of the world uses the metric system. I had been planning on 3/8 diameter bolts but now think it is probably a better idea to use the metric system here. What is the diameter bolt equivalent to use? Thanks again. Hope these questions are'nt annoying but I want to become proficient and do a good job.


Jim can give first hand advice but I'm pretty sure 10mm is standard for mechanical bolts (Wedge or Through bolts being standard). For glue ins, 12mm with Jim's bolts being my top choice in that size range.

Speaking of... when do we get to see B.P. Bolts in North America?


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Sep 28, 2012

The standard bolt-in is 10mm, 8mm ones donīt achieve the required Euro standard. Some people use the 12mm ones on the principle there is more metal and so a better reserve if they do corrode.
They are easy to get in 316/A4 which is the grade you want to be using but hangers in 316 arenīt so easy to find.
But due to the design bolt-ins are always going to be more likely to corrode and Iīm of the opinion that even a 304/A2 glue-in is going to be more reliable long-term than a 316 bolt-in as well as being probably cheaper. I rarely use bolt-ins for this reason.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Sep 29, 2012

mountainlion wrote:
I have been sport climbing for 3 months (came from trad background in Jtree/tahquitz but now live next to a sport crag in the philippines). I have put together a drill kit and am looking to develop the upper pitches of the local crag (1st pitch is well developed). I have been researching types of bolts but haven't seen much info on the length a bolt should be for high quality limestone. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to give some tips if you have any about methods as well. I will be practicing on rock to small to boulder on before I take the rig to the crag. Thanks

If you have only been clipping bolts for three months you should not be bolting anything. The best option would be to follow someone skilled in your area. Find out what the locals are using, and if what they are using is working and holding up overtime. As far as bolt length goes, 2.5" is fine if it is solid limestone. But be aware that even solid limestone can have small sections of really crappy and low density rock at times. If you encounter this, you will need to use a longer bolt in that section, preferably a glue-in.

In the meantime here is some reading material for you:

www.bolt-products.com/Glue-inBoltDesign.htm


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By mountainlion
Sep 29, 2012

Thanks 20kn I saw the bolt products article but hadnt read it when doing research. I will be bolting with the people who have put up the
existing routes at the crag. I have more resources to spend on climbing than they do and will be getting instruction and practicing before bolting on the crag. I will also be sharing the bolting responsibilities (alternating) with them to gain as much experience as
possible beforehand. I don't want to mess up my juju in the area by
bolting something that sucks or something they had their heart set on.
Peace


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By jasoncm
Sep 30, 2012

Sorry to Hijack the thread but...

Jim, I have sent you an emails and a private message and got no replies. I purchased a bunch of your 6mm twisted rings and have been bolting a few routes in sandstone in northern Australia.

I have had big troubles getting your bolts to sit flush in a 12mm hole. I have tried a few different 12mm drill bits and even ran the drill back and forth a number of times but still had problems getting the bolt all the way in, even with a hammer. I ended up using a 13mm drill bit so I could use the last of your bolts.

Have you or any customers had problems with this? I was going to try a 1/2" bit but couldn't find on.

Looking forward to your reply.

Jason


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Sep 30, 2012

mountainlion wrote:
Thanks 20kn I saw the bolt products article but hadnt read it when doing research. I will be bolting with the people who have put up the existing routes at the crag. I have more resources to spend on climbing than they do and will be getting instruction and practicing before bolting on the crag. I will also be sharing the bolting responsibilities (alternating) with them to gain as much experience as possible beforehand. I don't want to mess up my juju in the area by bolting something that sucks or something they had their heart set on. Peace

How far is the crag from the ocean? Also, note that if you are going to install metric diameter bolts, you MUST use metric SDS drill bits. Do not interchange metric bolts with imperial bits or vice versa!


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 20, 2012

Jim Titt wrote:
Who knows, the corrosion problems are localised and there are plenty of routes in SE Asia bolted with normal gear which donīt give problems. Most of the bolts we supply to that part of the world are 316 glue-ins and the rest 2205 Duplex stainless.


Jim, you seem to know quite a bit, but here's more information for you and the others.

Stainless bolt corrosion is NOT localized, it's world-wide. Currently on the list of "bad" places: Cuba, Kalymnos, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Hawaii, Viet Nam, Calanques, and the Philippines. Cayman Brac and Thailand were bad, but both places have rebolted with Ti and all new routes are Ti. Hawaii and Brazil are following suit.

Contrary to earlier thinking, bolts do not need to be exposed to sea water to break!

We know for sure that 316 stainless breaks quite quickly. But I'm very interested to hear what you have to say about the 2205 bolts. What can you tell me?

Jim Titt wrote:
forthcoming (possibly) UIAA guidelines for bolting in tropical areas with corrosion problems (not all areas do) will include 2205 and some titanium alloys though which ones I donīt know yet and I donīt think they know either. Until a titanium bolt gets through EN959, proves to have long-term fracture resistance, consistent weld quality and a satisfactory design the grade(s) to be used is still up in the air.


Ti Type 2 and "6,4" alloys are good. They've been tested in the lab and on Cayman Brac for 13 years and in Thailand for about 10 years.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 20, 2012
El Chorro

Don't ignore what people are saying about Titanium bolts. Using even the best stainless expansion bolts is useless. I havent placed nearly as many bolts as Sam, but I've done enough bolting in that part of the world to know that you need glue and you need Titanium.

Cantabaco is similar to some of the limestone in Thailand and ultimately it was formed in the exact same way. There is vegetation on top and it gets a lot of rain in monsoon season. There are varying degrees of the problem, but it absolutely exists at all limestone areas near the sea.

Don't be cheap. Do it right so people like me dont have to do spend our own money fixing your problem.


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By Brian in SLC
Nov 20, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

John Byrnes wrote:
Jim, you seem to know quite a bit, but here's more information for you and the others. Stainless bolt corrosion is NOT localized, it's world-wide. Currently on the list of "bad" places: Cuba, Kalymnos, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Hawaii, Viet Nam, Calanques, and the Philippines.


I'd be curious to know the details of "stainless" bolt corrosion around the Med.

climbkalymnos.com/?p=2837

www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyi>>>

There was an issue on Kalymnos with the recalled and defective Rocklands bolts...but...other than that...stainless hardware seems to fair well there.

Calanques?


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By Colin Kenneth
From Berkeley, CA
Nov 20, 2012
A well-spent Saturday night. All of the college kids are back, and even so, I had the best seat in Boulder to myself. <br /> <br />Bear Peak, from my front door to front door in just under 4 hours, including riding my bike each way to the trailhead, and 20-30 minutes at the summit.

A bit off topic:

Your thread title makes the grammar unicorn cry.


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By AndyMac
From Center, CO
Nov 20, 2012

Colin Kenneth wrote:
A bit off topic: Your thread title makes the grammar unicorn cry.

internet grammar trolls = waste of life


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 20, 2012

Brian in SLC wrote:
I'd be curious to know the details of "stainless" bolt corrosion around the Med. climbkalymnos.com/?p=2837 www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyi>>> There was an issue on Kalymnos with the recalled and defective Rocklands bolts...but...other than that...stainless hardware seems to fair well there. Calanques?


Kalymnos: I've first hand reports from several climbers, including Sam Lightner (Hi Sam), that the bolts there show the classic signs of SCC. With all those stalactites, I have no doubt.

Also, just last week, I heard from a very reliable source that the local Dept. of Tourism has hired a full-time bolt replacer. This is his M-F JOB! Unfortunately, they're ignorantly replacing the stainless expansion bolts with stainless glue-ins, so they'll have to replace them with Ti within 5 years; a total waste of time and money.

Calanques: The last time I was in France, 2004, I spoke with the President of the Verdon Climbing Club (the "Comme un Lizard" guys). At that time they were already replacing corroding hardware in both the Verdon and Calanques, where he climbed every winter. I think part of every FFME club's membership dues went to replace old hardware. I can't say that all or most of the problems they had were from SCC, especially in the Verdon, but we did discuss the problems in the Calanques at length. From his description of broken stainless bolts it's extremely likely they have SCC problems.


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By Brian in SLC
Nov 20, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

John Byrnes wrote:
Kalymnos: I've first hand reports from several climbers, including Sam Lightner (Hi Sam), that the bolts there show the classic signs of SCC.


Haven't been there since 2006. Stayed at the same place as Aris, and, got to chat with him a bit about the fixed pro, along with climbing there for a week. Some junk, but, mostly old plated hardware that hadn't been fixed. Sounds like Petzl did a fair amount of testing in 2009 and didn't see an issue with the sample of 50 bolts/hangers they looked at:

Ás intended we tested all the anchors collected from Kalymnos. After analysis of the collected hangers, we did not notice any specific problem. We did not notice any traces of failure or crack and the resistance was above requirement. It is an interesting result and it means that with a regular replacement and maintenance, from the collected hangers we tested, the equipment of the routes at Kalymnos does not present any resistance problem. However, due the proximity of the sea and the real risk of corrosion, we encourage you to: a) Keep checking the corrosion of the anchor, b) replace in case of any doubt and c) keep an updated guidebook and history (web information…). For your information, we had a report of low resistance anchors by the seaside, under tropical conditions. We collected hangers in different locations such as Madagascar, Dominican Republic and we found out that 10 to 20% of analysed hangers had a really poor resistance, below standard. UIAA and other manufacturers are going to make a warning on the web to inform people about this phenomenon and advise climbers to care and check anchors before climbing.

John Byrnes wrote:
Calanques: The last time I was in France, 2004, I spoke with the President of the Verdon Climbing Club (the "Comme un Lizard" guys). At that time they were already replacing corroding hardware in both the Verdon and Calanques, where he climbed every winter. I think part of every FFME club's membership dues went to replace old hardware. I can't say that all or most of the problems they had were from SCC, especially in the Verdon, but we did discuss the problems in the Calanques at length. From his description of broken stainless bolts it's extremely likely they have SCC problems.


Geez, those FFME hangers even show up on routes in Utah...ha ha...



Climbed in the Calanques a bit. Again, most the junk was plated hardware. Ditto Finale Ligure on the sea. Ditto Corsica, Mallorca, Costa Blanca...

Such an enormous amount of stainless fixed hardware on and near the Med.

Daunting issue...thanks. I think. Ha ha!


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Nov 21, 2012

John Byrnes wrote:
Hawaii and Brazil are following suit.

I happen to be one of the primary route developers in Hawaii, and I have been here for the last five years. We started using titanium seven years ago. Nearly every questionable bolt has been replaced already. So I think followed would be a more appropriate word. :)

As far as 316 goes, it can last a long time in a marine environment, it just depends on where it is placed and what application it is used in. The life rails on many boats are only made out of 316, yet they obviously hold up. But I believe the main reason for that is because the boat and its rails are constantly splashed with water which does not allow salt crystal to sit in any one place for a long time.

I have placed a few 316 and 304SS glue-in bolts in Hawaii and they are doing fairly well. The 316 bolts are doing better than the 304, but with ten years on the clock with the 304SS glue-ins, they are still operational. One key component in determining how long a bolt will last in a marine environment is the type of bolt it is. Bolts with exposed threads are a very big no no. I have seen 316 wedge bolts require replacement in only a year in Hawaii. Likewise, again the smooth glue-in 304s are lasting ten times longer. If you stick with 316 glue-ins, you can expect a reasonable lifespan in many environments. But again, as Jim said, corrosion is very localized. Two crags only 1,000' apart can subject drastically different corrosion patterns if one is windward of the salt air and the other is leeward. The windward side could require 2205 or titanium where the leeward side could get away with 316. Also, temperature has an effect on SCC. You are much more likely to see a bolt suffering from SCC in Thailand than you are in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter).


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Nov 21, 2012

The failure of the Rockland bolts in Kalymnos was due to an incorrect steel quality being used and they were replaced with their normal 316 hangers.
There are other areas particularly in Italy with hangers from another company where imported (non-European) stainless was used which have also had to be replaced.
The issue of whether 2205 anchors are suitable in Thailand is impossible to say without either installation and observation in the affected areas or specifying a suitable test to replicate accelerated local conditions. Neither of which are the manufacturers affair in a general sense as we are neither the installers in the area nor standards authorities. The UIAA and the local activists are unable to give us a test protocol.

Currently titanium bolts are extremely unattractive as a commercial proposition and not only due to the material costs. Their reputation at least in Europe was tainted by the shockingly low failure loads when the previously commercially available bolts where independantly tested. To regain any confidence in Titanium bolts to make them a marketable proposition we would need to manufacture and pay for a large independant testing program far more rigorous than would normally be nescessary and the market is not large enough to warrant the costs.
I would expect a development and testing cost of at least $5.000 and donīt see the market at the moment allowing this to be recouped within a reasonable period. That no manufacturer makes titanium bolts is a fair indication of the limited commercial possibilities for an extremely limited market. The thought of looking at say Cuba as a potential market is laughable for any major manufacturer, they probably have less than a days production for us in total bolts on the island and no money either.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Nov 21, 2012

Jim Titt wrote:
That no manufacturer makes titanium bolts

That is not true. I know you have heard me say I have installed countless titanium bolts in Hawaii, I have probably mentioned it 20 times on this forum. Plus, I know Josh showed you his titanium bolts at the conference. Titanium bolts certainly are manufactured, just not under a known climbing company name. United Titanium of Ohio makes countless titanium bolts, some of which we have used at our crags. They make great titanium u-bolts that hold nearly 40kN. As far as the tests you mentioned, I would like to see the actual test. The titanium u-bolts we have installed have proven to be very safe and reliable. We have installed nearly 500 of them, all of which have taken lead falls, and we have not experienced any failures, bending or unusual results. Many people have referred to some mysterious testing of titanium bolts that yielded some horrendous result, such as you claimed, but no one has ever provided a copy of the test. Furthermore, I am not sure that testing of the Tortuga bolt, no matter how bad, can appropriate create a valid blanket statement that all titanium bolts are bad. There are multiple titanium bolt designs out there and there are countless titanium alloys and manufacturing processes. So to say that all titanium bolts are unsafe as a result of the testing of only one product is silly.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 21, 2012

Ryan Williams wrote:
Don't ignore what people are saying about Titanium bolts. Using even the best stainless expansion bolts is useless. I havent placed nearly as many bolts as Sam, but I've done enough bolting in that part of the world to know that you need glue and you need Titanium. Cantabaco is similar to some of the limestone in Thailand and ultimately it was formed in the exact same way. There is vegetation on top and it gets a lot of rain in monsoon season. There are varying degrees of the problem, but it absolutely exists at all limestone areas near the sea. Don't be cheap. Do it right so people like me dont have to do spend our own money fixing your problem.


Ryan, I WISH there were more people like you! People who understand and have reached the right conclusions. (See my post in "Bolts Bolts Bolts".)

This issue goes beyond climber safety and the money and labor it takes to rebolt. It is ultimately a sustainability and access issue, and if we expect to be able to climb in these areas in the future, we need to STOP denying what the real situation is, and only use titanium in corrosive areas.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 21, 2012

20 kN wrote:
I happen to be one of the primary route developers in Hawaii, and I have been here for the last five years. We started using titanium seven years ago. Nearly every questionable bolt has been replaced already. So I think followed would be a more appropriate word. :)


Excellent! I have wondered what the current situation was in Hawaii. It's my understanding that Hawaii is mostly basalt/igneous rock. We are VERY interested in obtaining samples of cracked stainless bolts that were not placed in limestone. Can you send me some? Please!


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 21, 2012

Jim Titt wrote:
Currently titanium bolts are extremely unattractive as a commercial proposition and not only due to the material costs. Their reputation at least in Europe was tainted by the shockingly low failure loads when the previously commercially available bolts where independantly tested. .... The thought of looking at say Cuba as a potential market is laughable for any major manufacturer, they probably have less than a days production for us in total bolts on the island and no money either.


Jim, my goal since 2000, when we made the first Ti bolt, has been for a climbing manufacturer to provide a Ti bolt as a regular product. Back then, everyone was denying that stainless would not work, and today I STILL see that ignorance in the majority of climbers.

The pull-tests in question, where the Tortugas failed close to 9kN, were always questionable. I don't know who did them, how accurate their results were, or where to get a copy of the test summary. The results were not repeatable. Like 20kN, I have 13 years of practical testing in Cayman Brac on over 700 titanium bolts and am quite pleased with them.

I also know that the UT bolts far surpass all UIAA standards for strength, and MY STANDARD for corrosion resistance. I TRIED to get the UIAA to adopt a corrosion standard back in 2000-2003, but the bolt manufacturers resisted it, siting all the things you just did. THEY WERE WRONG, AND ARE STILL WRONG.

I have two professional metallurgists on my team here in Colorado, one of which works with Ti everyday in the aerospace industry. You seem to work for a bolt supplier. What if I told you that we know how to manufacture a Ti bolt, with an expected strength of 40kN and a manufacturing cost (after tooling costs) of about $4? With a Petzl Collinox going for about $18 and only lasting a few years, it's a no-brainer.

And as far as the market for these bolts, it's just now entering it's growth phase. How many stainless steel bolts do you think have been placed in the Mediterranean? A hundred thousand? Five hundred thousand? And in Asia? The Caribbean? South America? These ALL NEED TO BE REPLACED.

As I said before, this is ultimately a sustainability and access issue. Stainless breaks and will continue to break. Climbers will be hurt and/or killed. Governments will put an end to sport climbing in these areas, and THEN who are you going to sell bolts to?


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