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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

 Page 3 of 10. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 120 | 121 to 140 | 141 to 160 | 161 to 180 | 181 to 196
Author
BOLT WARNING - Pierces Pass, Blue Mountains

nmonteith
16/01/2009
9:47:22 AM
I'll try and get around to updating the Safer Cliffs site with more emphasis on glue-in bolts.

One of the MAJOR downsides with glue-in bolts is that they require a lot more knowledge to get them right. There are so many common mistakes that have occurred with glue-in failures as well - things like badly mixed glue, expired glue, shafts not notched, grease left on shaft, metal diameter too small, no enough glue, hole not cleaned, rock temp too hot, water in hole - it's WAY complex and easy to get one of these things wrong. There has been many more glue-in failures than expansion bolts overall. One of the advantages of expansions is that when you tighten them up you 'feel' that they are locking up and holding weight. It's a self test. It's much harder to test glue-ins - the main problem is that you need to wait for a few hours before you can test them - and then the only way of testing them is by putting some sort of bar through the eye and levering on it. I don't know of many people who do this.

This is what surprises me so much about these dodgy 8mm trubolts on the BB-RHV route where the accident occured. The bolter would have immediately known the bolts were not even remotly tight, as SImon demonstrated when he wound them up with his own spanner and the thread stuck out WAY more than the original placement.

macciza
16/01/2009
10:44:54 AM
On 16/01/2009 nmonteith wrote:

>This is what surprises me so much about these dodgy 8mm trubolts on the
>BB-RHV route where the accident occured. The bolter would have immediately
>known the bolts were not even remotly tight, as SImon demonstrated when
>he wound them up with his own spanner and the thread stuck out WAY more
>than the original placement.

The bolts may have originally been tight to some extent. they wound out after re-insertion after removal.
Proper testing would have quantified the original tightness of nut, and pullout strength, hole diameter etc
Unfortunately this is no longer possible and so these facts will never be known for certain
I think it would be good to actually good to pull test the LunchLedge bolts to ascertain their strength.
Sorry to end up seeming like some 'Devils Advocate' - just concerned about the issue as a whole

I do not think 'timeliness' is as important as accuracy in the reporting of this incident. And as to avoiding a repeat incident,
apart from it being extremely unlikely - there are perhaps better ways of dealing with the situation and it's legalities.
I was unable to find out if an official report is completed yet which suggests the matter may be ongoing.


manacubus
16/01/2009
11:25:37 AM
Testing the original strength is irrelevant Macca. They were shit bolts, unsuited to the application. They came out.
dfinnecy
16/01/2009
11:31:38 AM
The Pinnacles in CA are total chosspiles. For some reason they are a fun place to
climb too. But anyways, after half a century of mechanical bolts at the pinns some
guys who are upgrading the bolts there are moving to glue. Maybe Mikl or Neil turned
some of them while they were over there. I know a route called Feed The Beast got a
glue in years ago after the crux bolt claimed an ankle.

Have you ever seen a Star Dryvin? Some really old Star Dryvins at the Pinns are still
solid while other types seem to get wobbly after a few years.

Smith could use some glueins.

The good Dr
16/01/2009
11:36:52 AM
Regarding the reporting, if the situation is similar to Victoria, it is the coroner who compiles the findings in these situations if it is deemed necessary to conduct an investigation. The police will provide information and resources. This process can take some months (even years) depending on how complex the investigation becomes.

Relevant to this was an investigation a number of years ago of a training accident during a Vic Police S&R training exercise. It was an internal police investigation. The report took many months to be released and is very comprehensive. One element of the findings was the unintentional disturbing of evidence by climbers at the accident scene. This complicated the assessment of the cause of the accident. Just a point to note for those trying to establish what sadly occurred. Also remember the coroner and police have considerable expertise and resources for investigating accidents (that most of us do not have)

pmonks
16/01/2009
11:40:32 AM
On 16/01/2009 nmonteith wrote:
>I don't think i've clipped a single glue-in bolt in the USA - and climbed
>at about 40 crags in about 15 states.

It's highly unlikely anyone would come all that way to climb at The Pinnacles or Mt Diablo or any one of ten thousand other local crags in the US, so it's not at all surprising that you didn't see any of this stuff. It's like someone coming to Australia then choosing to climb exclusively at Mt Keira (not that I'm knocking Mt Keira, but you get the idea). ;-)

>Is there more use of them now Peter?

No most of these crags have been climbed on since at least the 1960s and many of them much longer than that. The first recorded climbing in The Pinnacles, for example, was in 1935.

It's just inevitable that convenient but mediocre crags are popular with locals but aren't well known elsewhere - that's a big part of the reason so many Sydney crags are so popular.

BTW, most of those crags you list have harder types of rock (granite, trachyte, limestone, harder sandstones, welded tuff, etc.), so it's not surprising that you didn't see glue-in bolts. That doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of soft rock crags in the US, many of them with rock that's considerably softer than the Blueys. Also don't forget that the sandstone that you're probably used to (particularly Arapiles sandstone) is actually not typical for sandstone - it's been partially "cooked" which has hardened it up considerably.

> Those crags you mention sound freaky! :-)

The Pinnacles is something else. The (few!) trad routes I've led there were shit scary. And it's not like they're dicey placements either - if the rock were better most placements would be bomber.

As for bolting, my old (1995) Pinnacles guide has this to say (abbreviated):

"Rock compression strength varies greatly at The Pinnacles, from the light/white colored 'dirt' to the granite hard rhyolite knobs (with every density in between). Bolts often are placed in the darker, moderately sound breccia, where water erosion has leached minerals to harden the surface. With the breccia, darker is better, although hidden flakes and hollow spots are also a factor. ... All breccia is soft relative to granite, so when a bolt bends slightly under load, the rock can begin to crumble at the surface of the hole. This distorts and flares the hole, and can lever the bolt in a downward direction against its roots. Thus the 'pullout strength' of the bolt is critical. In harder rock, 'shear strength' is more important.

...

There are three types of bolts - compression, expansion and glue-in. Compression bolts (split-shaft Rawl Drives) should not be used at Pinnacles. ... Expansion bolts of at least 3/8 inch diameter are better. The best kind are the 'torque bolts' (Rawl Bolt, Petzl and Metolius S.S.), .... A close second is the Star 'screw out' or wedge anchor, ... The old Star Dryvin ... is barely adequate. ... Glue-in bolts have superior strength and durability in soft rock ... and will be used for belay/rappel anchors and as replacements for old protection bolts."

As for Mt Diablo, I wouldn't lead trad there at all - the rock is simply too soft to hold anything. In fact of the half dozen or so routes I've done there, there's only one that I've led, and it has relatively new glue-ins (and from the amount of detritus it looks like the bolts have been replaced several times). It's also only 5.9 (~18), so I'm also reasonably confident I won't fall off it.

There's a 5.11 next door with similar equipment that I've thought about leading, but with a fall almost certain I'm not sure I'd want to trust the bolts enough to try to on-sight it on lead.

>And yes, in my drilling experiance, the Sydney Sandstone is WAY harder
>than the Bluies in general

It sounds like you've only placed bolts in some of the best bits of rock in Sydney (Bondi, Earlwood, etc.). Try bolting something at North Coogee or below the Bronte Cutting or on the northern side of Barrenjoey or ..., then let me know whether you still think Hawkesbury sandstone is stronger (in general) than Narrabeen sandstone! ;-)
simey
16/01/2009
11:54:34 AM
On 16/01/2009 manacubus wrote:
>Testing the original strength is irrelevant Macca. They were shit bolts, unsuited to the application. They came out.

Although these bolts might not ideal for Blueys sandstone, it sounds like they would not have failed if correctly installed.

What gets me about all this talk is the fact that for years people have been relying on carrot bolts in Blueys Rock. I would have thought carrot bolts are potentially far dodgier than expansion bolts.

BlueyCanyons
16/01/2009
11:57:15 AM
Firstly I must say I am not very experienced in bolting new routes.

But for years I worked as an excavator operator around sydney and have hammered hundreds of tons of sandstone all over the area.

As people I am sure are aware sandstone strenght varies greatly some of it powders very easier (often a yellow or purple colour is very soft) and some is extremely hard ( I often found the hardest has a white and purple tinge to it when broken). But in saying that I could remove sandstone from the same small area and encounter both types hard and soft. Also from looking at it I found it near impossible to judge what time of sandstone is underneath the weathered surface. I think assuming in any case that an area has hard sandstone or soft sandstone is never a smart thing to do. I have encounter sandstone that has a strenght to it that I would never expect an expansion bolt to pull out from and some that I would think twice about trusting any comonly used bolt lenghts or diameters.

Part of my role was also installing rock bolts, the type you often see on the side of free way rock walls. In sandstone the engineers always used the glue in type. The only time I never used the glue in type was up the coast and we had to drill much deeper, form memory nearly 3 times and used a special anchor called a platypus bolt.

I think the main thing this highlight is that people who are not experinced in placing bolts in a region should not do so without previous bolting experince and some advice from locals on what tyoe of bolts they have found are suitable and long lasting

nmonteith
16/01/2009
11:57:16 AM
>On 16/01/2009 nmonteith wrote:
>>Is there more use of them now Peter?

I was actually asking if you see glue-in anchors commonly in the USA these days! Sorry about the confusion.

I guess the only real point I was trying to make is that most 'bolters' in the world use expansions - even in soft rock (like your Pinnacles). To 'expect' overseas climbers to know not to put expansions into the Bluies is a big call....

Some sort of campaign is needed (a full page in the next guidebook??) could be a way of educating them.
mikl law
16/01/2009
12:12:12 PM
On 16/01/2009 simey wrote:
>Although these bolts might not ideal for Blueys sandstone, it sounds like
>they would not have failed if correctly installed.

From the information that Simon Carter found it seems they are designed for caving and aid, and not for climbing falls, but would probably be passable in hard rock

> I would have thought carrot
>bolts are potentially far dodgier than expansion bolts.
I agree, I think that a full-sleeve type dynabolt, 12mm x 100 mm would have to be stronger for a single use, in fair rock. Fatigue is an issue that worries me with them (and with carrots too)
hipster
16/01/2009
12:17:15 PM
Both these groups of bolters wre told by locals NOT to use expansion bolts in Blue Mountains rock. They went ahead and bolted against locals' wishes, and that's the disappointing thing.
Macciza what is acting appropriately. I would say acting appropriately is ensuring that no-one else goes off-route and dies. How long do you want to wait?? Till another accident?? Because, thanks to Simon, we know that these bolts are a time bomb and whoever goes up there next will surely not top out. There's 3 pitches of these rubbish bolts, and I'm sure Simon looking at a couple of them will in no way effect any Police investigation. It aint CSI, you clip a quickdraw to them, pull out and hey-presto!
There's plenty of climbers who don't know that an accident happened, and a tiny little sign at the top car park hardly cordons off the whole area as a crime scene. What if someone parks in the bottom car park for the walk in?? They'll know nothing.
Plenty of local climbers met these foreign climbers. Maybe it wasn't suggested strongly enough what would happen if they didn't want to bolt up to the very high standard the locals used.
Anyone who speaks Polish please e-mail those tools and tell them their routes above the lunch ledge have been removed, if they want any of their crap gear back to e-mail me and they can have it.
Ado

DaCrux
16/01/2009
12:48:19 PM
I have contacted them but they seem to think it’s their god given right to bolt anything they like. They supposedly spent a long time (meaning a few days) “analysing” the rock, and they consulted two climbing gurus Simon Atkins and Tom Oczapowski. They claim that it’s supposedly common practice in the Blue Mountains to put up new climbs using expansion bolts (which are then replaced after a couple of years). The bolts were allegedly placed in “quartzite veins” not sandstone. Then I copped abuse for supposedly suggesting they caused Nick’s death – which I never did. I think they were simply desperate to put up some new routes just so they could mention that they used “ultralight Bosch gear” – as it was one of their sponsors.

pmonks
16/01/2009
1:01:24 PM
On 16/01/2009 nmonteith wrote:
>I guess the only real point I was trying to make is that most 'bolters'
>in the world use expansions - even in soft rock (like your Pinnacles).

Fair enough. Although I should reiterate that it's been recognised for at least 15 years that glue-in bolts are preferable at The Pinnacles and other soft rock crags in CA (if not other US soft rock crags).

And to clarify, the point I was trying to make is that the Blueys isn't softer than 99.9% of crags in the world - there are plenty of crags elsewhere that have softer rock. Perhaps the combination of soft, muddy interior coupled with hard ironstone "skin" makes it somewhat unique, but even then places like Red Rocks in Nevada are somewhat similar (albeit much drier).
hipster
16/01/2009
1:03:25 PM
Don't know Tom so can't speak for him. Simon Atkins would definately have not told them it was OK, he bolts religiously with glue-in rings. Dr Chris also met them and told them not to use expansion bolts. They established these routes 10 metres to the right of a couple of ring-bolted routes, and 10m to the left of a line of rings, so it was pretty obvious what they should have used.
devlin66
16/01/2009
1:08:46 PM
I am ropeable (pun intended). Look, I know 8a.nu is not the be all an end all of climbing media, but, maybe a post should be put up in their forum with a link to this thread and the one talking about Nick. Maybe we can them shame them in front of a large climbing audience.
dalai
16/01/2009
1:14:55 PM
On 16/01/2009 nmonteith wrote:
>I don't think i've clipped a single glue-in bolt in the USA - and climbed
>at about 40 crags in about 15 states.

Climbed at a similar list of crags like Neil listed. Most were expansions in the States, though the crag Sunny and Steep at Red Rocks already had rings on some (can't recall if not all) routes in 95.

nmonteith
16/01/2009
1:49:09 PM
On 16/01/2009 hipster wrote:
> Plenty of local climbers met these foreign climbers. Maybe it wasn't
>suggested strongly enough what would happen if they didn't want to bolt
>up to the very high standard the locals used.

I'm being the Devil's Advocate here... but -to an outsider the Blue Mtns (especially Pierces Pass) is full of bent rusty bash in carrot bolts! It's hardly a benchmark for high quality standards. Bunny Bucket just to the left is 'famous' for having so many of these bash in 'piton' bolts we call carrots - which are totally baffling to most OS climbers.
hipster
16/01/2009
2:41:58 PM
Neil most of these rusty bent in carrot bolts were put up by dudes before the widespread use of glue in carrots or rings, or by dudes having a real adventure and going ground up, which is always fair play. Devil's advocate blah, both groups were told what to do to establish rap in sport routes ad they didn't do it, end of story.

anthonyk
16/01/2009
2:56:54 PM
On 16/01/2009 manacubus wrote:
>Testing the original strength is irrelevant Macca. They were shit bolts,
>unsuited to the application. They came out.

its still important to leave evidence as it is instead of making your own judgement. the whole area is closed isn't it, no one should be climbing there. if you're still concerned, go to the first bolt on each climb and hang a warning off it.

if its already been decided that those bolts aren't suitable you shouldn't have to mess around with them to confirm that. if its ambiguous its very important to see if the bolts appeared to be solid when they were placed, ie they were tight. removing them and putting them back in just messes up that information.

On 16/01/2009 hipster wrote:
> Anyone who speaks Polish please e-mail those tools and tell them their
>routes above the lunch ledge have been removed, if they want any of their
>crap gear back to e-mail me and they can have it.

maybe someone should ask whether they did the BBB-RHV route first before laying into them

nmonteith
16/01/2009
3:04:38 PM
On 16/01/2009 hipster wrote:
>Neil most of these rusty bent in carrot bolts were put up by dudes before
>the widespread use of glue in carrots or rings, or by dudes having a real
>adventure and going ground up, which is always fair play.

???!!! We're talking about Pierces Pass here aren't we? 90% of the rusty carrot bolts have been added there in the last 15 years. The new Polish expansion bolts were considerably better than most of the new carrot bolts in the area. Just a few weeks ago a 5+ pitch new route was established on rap by a 'local' climber with 2 inch long non-stainless bash-in carrots only 50m from Lunch Ledge. Are you planning to go and remove all those bolts and post them back to the bolter? (probably easier just to return them next time you go climbing with him...)

I think there needs to be a clear distinction here. The recent Polish bolting above Lunch Ledge was in fact pretty good quality. Not absolute best practice - but much better than most of the recent carrot bolting activity out there. I was told by 'someone' that they couldn't remove these Polish bolts because they were totally bomber, so they just removed the hangers and nuts. I can totally understand that the Polish climbers are upset that people are implying that their bolts could or did kill someone. These Polish climbers might not have totally followed the 'letter of the law' from the locals - but climbing is that sort of sport! We also don't tend to follow the exact letter of the law about where we bolt most of the time either...

The bolts on the variant to BBB are the ones that we should be strongly complaining about. Whoever placed them should be lynched...

Let's get back on topic and find the 'real' culprits of this accident and not bring some other guys into the fracas.... :-)

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