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Dealing with missing bolts/pitons on desert aid
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By Brian C.
From Longmont, CO
Nov 9, 2011
On Blanca after traversing from LB
So all of my aid experience has been in the desert so this is mostly geared toward that. I wanted to know the best overall way folks deal when standing in your aiders on something way harder than you can free climb staring into an empty hole (or old stardrive that can be pulled out by hand). Until now I've used various ways to bypass these (stick-clip, hooking) but wondered what everybody else does. Is there something standard you carry on these desert routes if you know that there will be missing bolts?

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By slim
Administrator
Nov 9, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
if i know ahead of time that it might be an issue, i bring a tent pole with a long piece of cord (wilth loops every 4 feet or so) and a hook taped to the end. you can fish a hook through the eye of a bolt pretty easily from quit a distance. also, with the pole being bendable, and having the piece of cord to help guide it, you can kind of curve it around features like bulges, minor aretes, etc.

another option is to hand place a pin, but you kind of need the right size and length. not knowing these details ahead of time can get heavy (ie carrying a selection). another option that only works in certain cases is a 'sideways' placement of a tricam. yet another option i have used is to literally throw a large hex (again with a really long cord) into a crack that was about 20 feet overhead. you'll want a helmet for this last option :)

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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Nov 9, 2011
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protec...
why not just bring a small drill kit with some new bolts and do some maintenance?

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By Scott O
From California
Nov 9, 2011
Batman Pinnacle
For that, I use hooks.

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By Brian C.
From Longmont, CO
Nov 9, 2011
On Blanca after traversing from LB
Thanks for all the good ideas so far. I hadn't thought of using a pole to get a hook into a bolt. Seems easier than trying to get a taped carabiner attached. Hand placing pins would also work and the size would be easier to guess since most crappy placements are the old 3/4 star drives.

rock_fencer wrote:
why not just bring a small drill kit with some new bolts and do some maintenance?


Not a bad idea but I don't feel that I have the bolting knowledge to really do anybody a favor.

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By JPVallone
Nov 9, 2011
rock_fencer wrote:
why not just bring a small drill kit with some new bolts and do some maintenance?


+1

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By Brian in SLC
Nov 9, 2011
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Epic stick clip on a tent pole. Big reach. The Epic holds a carabiner open, and, can also hold a variety of cams too, so, you can plug in a cam from a distance too. A bit of duct tape, and, you can attach a hook, etc.

I popped a Kor rivet on Dolomite Spire a bunch of years ago. I stick clipped a fixed piece past it. Long reach on both counts (feller is TALL).

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By Eric Fjellanger
Nov 9, 2011
Me on top of Chianti Spire
It's a good question, so I did a little googling and came up with this: crystalcanyons.net/Pages/TechN...

Some interesting ideas there, as well as some really scary ones.

I know in granite it's common to use a bathook in an empty (or intentionally very shallowly-drilled) hole, but I don't know if sandstone is strong enough.

slim wrote:
yet another option i have used is to literally throw a large hex (again with a really long cord) into a crack that was about 20 feet overhead.


Well that is nuts, my hat is off to you sir.

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By cheifitj
From Boulder, Colorado
Nov 9, 2011
Casual Route Pitch 3  Photo by Mark Cushman
Brian C. wrote:
Not a bad idea but I don't feel that I have the bolting knowledge to really do anybody a favor.


I am with you on this one.
When ever I see someone ask about learning the proper ways of adding or updating bolts. Lots of answers are always, "It's pretty simple, drill a hole and put in the bolt", followed by "It's actually much more complicated then that and you shouldn't just go out and do it."

I would still love for some real instruction on this, I am happy to buy someone dinner in exchange for the lesson as well.

-Jon

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By Stone Nude
Nov 19, 2011
When dumb people have disposable income, hilarity ...
Find out who your local ASCA badasses are, buy them a few beers, carry all the heavy shit, get up close and personal and learn firsthand how the process goes. Once you know the basics, you can start doing replacement on out-of the way, more obscure stuff. By the time you're dealing with way soft rock and trade routes, you want to have experience galore so you don't put in a botch job and leave more empty holes. My bet is a lot of the Zion bolts could use glue-ins, which is ten times again a complicated, messy, and annoying public service, but they do last like all hell when installed correctly. PM when headed to Vegas and I'll do a day with you, maybe next year we can hit up Zion and make some beat down route pretty. That work?

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