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Where to find 1/4" bolts?
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By Scott Bennett
Nov 7, 2013
photo by Forest Woodward

I'm looking to buy a handful of 1/4" expansion bolts, for drilling on alpine granite. These look good:

https://www.fastenmsc.com/p-99715-power-bolt-hex-head-14-x-1>>>

But they're only sold in boxes of 100.

Does anyone know of a place that sells 1/4" bolts individually? I'm in Boulder, so I'll try McGuckins, of course.

Or maybe someone here has a few lying around that they wanna sell?

Also, looking for hangers for said bolts, let me know if you have any info.

Thanks
Scott


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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Nov 7, 2013
old 1/4" bolt.

Fish Products.......Russ Walling. He has 1/4" bolts and bolting materials.
Fixe Hardware (www.fixehardware.com).......Kevin Daniels. He has the goods.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Nov 7, 2013

Scott Bennett wrote:
I'm looking to buy a handful of 1/4" expansion bolts, for drilling on alpine granite. These look good: https://www.fastenmsc.com/p-99715-power-bolt-hex-head-14-x-1>>> But they're only sold in boxes of 100. Does anyone know of a place that sells 1/4" bolts individually? I'm in Boulder, so I'll try McGuckins, of course. Or maybe someone here has a few lying around that they wanna sell? Also, looking for hangers for said bolts, let me know if you have any info. Thanks Scott

Shit, $90 for 100 1/4" Power-Bolts?! I have bought 75 1/2" x 4" Power-Bolts on eBay for $40.

Anyway, search eBay. There are tons of people selling bolts on there and you are likely to find a far better deal on eBay than you will from Fixe or elsewhere.


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By Max Supertramp
Nov 7, 2013

why not just go with 1/8 inchers?

how's about some 1/16ths? or are ye scared?

i mean, if it's real alpine shouldn't some good 1/32nd'' steel bolts do ye?


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By Bruce Hildenbrand
Nov 8, 2013

As JLP points out, those bolts aren't really 1/4" as the bolt in the middle which you tighten is probably 3/16" or even 1/8". No reason not to drill 3/8" even in alpine situations. And, please use stainless steel.

Doing first ascents is cool, but it is important to be responsible about it as well.


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By mucci
From sf ca
Nov 8, 2013

Quite a learning curve to 1/4" drilling.

What type of bit/drill/rock/hanger etc all makes a huge difference in the placement.

Forget SDS bits for 1/4" button heads, you will screw up about 70% of the placements due to dinner plating.

17/64ths High Speed Steel bits are the standard bit for 1/4" buttonheads. Learning curve on those too, in terms of sharpening and drilling style.

There is a place for 1/4" drilling. I think the notion of drilling 3/8ths in the alpine is not applicable, both in weight and time.

Look on ebay, buy a old rawl holder that comes with some #12 bits, and practice.

Buy your buttonheads here:
www.mcmaster.com/#standard-anchors/=pa9hl9

Then start scrapping for hangers anywhere you can. SMC made the 2nd generation fatter and more robust, perfect compliment to the buttonhead yet it is stainless steel. That combo is fully bomber, and easy to remove when a replacement is needed.

DO NOT USE PIKA HANGERS! They are a faulty design and will lever out the bolt during an extreme load.

Bottom line, learn the skill of drilling before you go out and make it count.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Nov 8, 2013

Bruce Hildenbrand wrote:
As JLP points out, those bolts aren't really 1/4" as the bolt in the middle which you tighten is probably 3/16" or even 1/8". No reason not to drill 3/8" even in alpine situations. And, please use stainless steel. Doing first ascents is cool, but it is important to be responsible about it as well.

The machine bolt in the 1/4" Power-Bolt is #10 diameter. However, Powers uses grade eight alloy steel for their machine bolt on the hex head Power-Bolts, which means a 1/4" Power-Bolt is stronger than a 5/16" wedge bolt. The 1/4" Power-Bolt has a max strength of 15.2kN in shear, which is nearly as strong as some [crappier] 3/8" bolts.

However, interestingly enough Powers gives the same load data for both the stainless steel and carbon steel versions of the 1/4" Power-Bolt, which sounds like BS to me. Grade eight is at least 150,000 PSI strength, where 304 SS is typically 65,000 - 100,000 PSI (for A2-70). Powers even claims the stainless steel they use for their Power-Bolts is manufactured "with a minimum strength of 65,000 PSI," which is not even remotely as strong as alloy steel.


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By Bruce Hildenbrand
Nov 8, 2013

I guess the real question is what is the intended purpose of the bolts? If they are intended for belay anchors or free climbing protection please think about the route over time and those who will follow your ascent for years to come. To me that means 3/8" and stainless if possible.


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By Bruce Hildenbrand
Nov 8, 2013

20 kN wrote:
The machine bolt in the 1/4" Power-Bolt is #10 diameter


A #10 bolt is .190". 3/16" is .188". Basically the same size.


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By Brian C.
From Longmont, CO
Nov 8, 2013
On Blanca after traversing from LB

Mtn Tools sells them individually.

mtntools.com/cat/rclimb/bolts/02bolts.htm


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 8, 2013
Stabby

I hope they are for hanging pictures or bolting a toilet down onto a basement floor. Looking at your profile you clearly are not a noob. There would be negligible difference in hand drilling a 3/8" hole instead, and then this guy won't have to follow you and replace them.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Nov 8, 2013
modern man

just drill a 1/4" hole and pound two 16 penny nails into it then hitch it bro


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By Gunkiemike
Nov 8, 2013

Compromise? Use 5/16" 5-piece Powers bolts. Signif faster to hand drill than 3/8 and they're real bolts. True, they'll need to be replaced with stainless fatties at some point, but they are appropriate for alpine FAs IMO.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 8, 2013
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Go with 3/8th.. They are the new quarter-incher. 2-1/2 inch hole in less than 20 min. You're strong enough to hang out the few more minutes to drill it, especially since you say you only need a handful of them. If these are belay bolts, consider a couple of RBs? They don't need to be that deep.


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By Patrick Shyvers
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 10, 2013
Me

Basically every book I read that covers fixed gear claims that any and all 1/4" bolts should not be trusted. Have things changed, are modern 1/4" bolts trustworthy?


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By Greg Barnes
Nov 10, 2013
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Needle. Photo by Josh Janes.

Modern 1/4" buttonheads are exactly the same as old 1/4" were when they were new (but modern hangers are better). As far as 1/4", no one uses anything except buttonheads, everything else is sketchy (relatively speaking). They are trustworthy to a certain degree - after all they were the mainstay of climbing for decades.

Brand new 1/4" buttonheads are pretty darn good, but on the other hand there've been "bad batches" or bad individual bolts that snapped during/right after/soon after installation (I've heard that there were also bad batches or bad bolts even with 5/16" and 3/8" buttonheads). The sketchy thing is the snapped soon after ones (like a bolt that just fell off on one of Bryan Law's routes in Tuolumne the following year, a climber clipped it then kept climbing and the draw pulled off the bolt which had been fractured a little below the surface - and Bryan places 1/4" bolts better and more carefully than nearly anyone - just a bad bolt).

Put it this way - sometimes key pro bolts on older routes were "doubled" on the first ascent. So you get to the bolt and there's two of them both placed on the FA - then the cruxy runout. Those guys knew they were not that bomber.

I still use 1/4" on first ascents if the stance is bad, then try to go replace quickly (sometimes the same day). Easy for me since I am very experienced at pulling and expanding 1/4" bolt holes. I do it a lot more often now since I have chronic elbow tendonitis, I didn't use 1/4" for a long time.

If I were bringing bolts for a lightweight alpine ascent, I'd bring two or three 3/8" since I'd trust one of those to rap off, but I'd have to drill two 1/4" to trust for a rap. And then there'd be no need to go replace/upgrade them (replacing is easy on cragging routes, not so easy on alpine). Chances are you'd never use the bolt kit, but if you did you'd want a strong bolt.


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By Scott Bennett
Nov 11, 2013
photo by Forest Woodward

Thanks for the input, everyone.

I think we'll go with the 5/16" x 1.75" 5pc Powers Bolts, here:
mtntools.com/cat/rclimb/bolts/02bolts.htm

Will probably bring some Fixe 1/4" x 1.25" buttonheads, too.

The Moses hangers, also on Mtn Tools, look great.

Thanks,
Scott


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 11, 2013
Stabby

I don't think they even make that size, and I'm not sure why some bolts are described as carbon steel, which means they are 'naked' (un treated or plated) steel. Not sure why you are adamant about ignoring all the requests to go with 3/8"s, but WTH. I have an idiot stepson who deliberately goes with the opposite advice I give him so I'm used to it.

There is a White Cap store in Denver at roughly 1st and Kalamath. You can buy units by the piece vs. the box. Call it a cash sale, I think they will sell them to you (construction supply). If not, pm me and you could use my account.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 11, 2013
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

curious, do you want/care if anyone repeats the route? If not soon, then in the next 10-20 years?


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By manuel rangel
From Tempe, Arizona
Nov 11, 2013

I've been working a ground up ascent in the southern AZ backcountry and using 3/8" bolts. It really isn't that big a problem. If you have a stance and feel ok then bang away. It will be a better route for it.


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By Scott Bennett
Nov 11, 2013
photo by Forest Woodward

As to why we're looking to drill smaller diameter bolts:

The routes we're considering will be long, ground-up attempts, in remote environments and tight weather-windows. In order to approach such objectives with an appropriate safety margin, we want the option of placing bolts in order to safely get off the mountain (whether that means going up or down).

A 3/8" bolt is 150% the diameter of a 1/4" bolt. When drilling from a bad stance, with the back of an icetool, that makes a huge difference.

While I'd certainly prefer to never drill anything anywhere, I realize that there are situations in which "up is down". That is to say: bailing down the route is sometimes more time-consuming and/or hazardous (potentially exposed to seracs, for example) than continuing up and over. In such situations, placing a bolt quickly to surpass an otherwise unproctectable section would be prudent, in my opinion.

Thanks to everyone for their input.


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By Peter Jackson
From Rumney, NH
Nov 11, 2013
Just in case the two big belay anchors aren't obvious enough for you, here is where to find the belay station.

Scott Bennett wrote:
As to why we're looking to drill smaller diameter bolts: The routes we're considering will be long, ground-up attempts, in remote environments and tight weather-windows.


You can get them here: www.fixehardware.com/shop/bolts/powers-ps-1/4-x-1-1/2-button>>>

My experience with Fixe has been that my order arrives about a week after I place it. I live in NH.

Note that the OP has an appropriate backcountry alpine use in mind, and has been thoughtful in his selection of this gear. If you're reading this thread later and haven't already picked up on the consensus, these bolts are probably not appropriate for anything other than this very specific use case.


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By Scott Bennett
Nov 11, 2013
photo by Forest Woodward

Sorry to have been vague in my original post. I just had a simple question, and didn't want to engage in too much internet "pre-spray".

Here's a photo from a recent trip to Alaska's Revelation range, the sort of environment where a few tiny bolts in the pack could make a big difference.

Revelations
Revelations


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By PatCleary
From Rohnert Park, CA
Nov 11, 2013

Wasn't there someone around here that found that with good bits a 3/8" actually placed faster than a 1/4"? I think the suspicion was that the additional stiffness resulted in better force transfer? Please don't take this as criticism, I've never placed bolts, and certainly not with tools.

Pat


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By Crotch Robbins
Nov 11, 2013

The amount of rock you have to drill out to place a Rawl 5-piece 5/16ths is much closer to a 1/4" than 3/8". A good compromise IMO. Easily removed and replaced when needed and good strength in alpine granite. Scott, I've got a box of them in my garage and am happy to send you a handful if you want to play around with them.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Nov 11, 2013
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

PatCleary wrote:
Wasn't there someone around here that found that with good bits a 3/8" actually placed faster than a 1/4"? I think the suspicion was that the additional stiffness resulted in better force transfer? Please don't take this as criticism, I've never placed bolts, and certainly not with tools. Pat


3/8" bits drill faster than 1/4", but a 1/4" bolt is only 1 1/2" long, much shorter than your 3/8 x 2 3/4.

I haven't drilled any quarter inchers, but I've pulled 10 or so, they come out incredibly easy. It took me around 30 minutes to place a 3/8 x 2 3/4 bolt in yosemite granite, and that was with a D5 hammer and hurricane drill, stuff you're not going to be carrying in the revelations. drilling with a lightweight holder and an ice tool is truly a last resort, but you'd be stupid to not have that along "just in case".


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