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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

 Page 1 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

garbie
10/01/2009
10:14:34 AM
Have these expansion bolts been removed? I heard that the cops were going to remove them? Are there more on other routes?

In the longer term, should the climbing community do something to avoid this situation, where arguably inadequate bolts have been used? And what does "inadequate" mean?

I think the coroner may be investigating, but if there are still bad bolts up there, climbers should know, to avoid another accident.

Macciza
10/01/2009
12:39:57 PM
On 10/01/2009 garbie wrote:
>but if there are still bad bolts up there, climbers should know, to avoid another accident.

Have placed warnings/issues on the ACA site - Can someone do the same here and at the SRC?

Also currently a NPWS sign is posted at the Pierces Pass carpark.

"ATTENTION CLIMBERS
Rock climbs and abseiling routes in the immediate vicinity of Bunny Bucket Buttress near Walls
Lookout are closed due to an ongoing police investigation.
Penalty $300
Please contact NPWS Information Centre 02 4787 8877 for further details."

Please stay away until the due process has completed; however long that may take.

nmonteith
10/01/2009
9:10:09 PM
As a general warning all expansion bolts should be treated with a big degree of caution in the Blue Mountains. You can identify expansions when you see a nut and a fixed hanger which can be unscrewed with a spanner. If a bolt wiggles in the hole and/or the thread on the bolt is exposed more than a cm above the nut then don't ever trust it! Downclimb the route rather than trusting your life to a potential danger.

This is what an expansion bolt looks like...


There are known expansion bolts right of Bucket Bunny Buttress and on two routes above the Lunch Ledge at Pierces Pass. Keep off these routes.

Any further questions get in contact with me direct via email.

p.s. Expansion bolts are generally fine in most other climbing areas of Australia if installed correctly.

nmonteith
12/01/2009
3:37:31 PM
The incident in which Nick died is currently under investigation by the police and Coronial services. To avoid causing any further grief to Nick's family and close friends - many of whom read Chockstone - please refrain from speculating about the cause of the accident. If you believe you have information that may be relevant to the investigation, please contact the police. If you want to read the accident report, it can be found at this URL.

http://groups.google.com/group/australian-accident-register/browse_thread/thread/d70ea9d59198ccb7

Moderator Edit.
An updated version of the AAR report is found here.
http://groups.google.com/group/australian-accident-register/browse_thread/thread/9802f0848b29891f
Onsight
14/01/2009
12:30:21 PM
A lot of the information so far made public about the accident and the bolts on this climb is inaccurate. In an effort to clear up a few questions Iíve inspected the scene of the accident and closely inspected the bolts.

Here is my personal report on the accident and the bolts

I strongly recommend that everyone reads it especially if you are planning to climb in the Blue Mountains. Not every climber reads this forum but this is the quickest way to get the info out there.

NOTE: Unless it has occurred in the last few days, so far the bolts have not yet been removed from this climb.

So far the route near BBB is the only one that I know of around here where these bolts have been used. There may be other routes. The bolts can be identified by the ď22KNĒ, ďRaumerĒ and ďItalyĒ stamped on the bracket.

One of the problems is that from casual inspection the bolts look good (aside from being expansion bolts). There is NOT a lot of tread showing above the nut. Even so the two I tested pulled out under far less than body weight.

The bolts on three climbs which start on a nearby ledge have been removed by some climbers. These bolts were not the same as those on the route near Bunny Bucket Buttress and were almost certainly equipped by different climbers. Iím told they were relative good bolts but since they were expansion bolts they were removed anyway. It seems some climbers have decided that expansion bolts arenít going to be accepted around here as permanent anchors. I think thatís good.

Iíve discussed this with Neil and heís agreed to open this thread up for discussion. As always, we ask if people be respectful and consider whoever might be reading any comments.

anthonyk
14/01/2009
12:55:56 PM
oh.. thats a very useful clarification, from reading the AAR report I had interpreted it very differently.

geez.


phil_nev
14/01/2009
1:10:06 PM
Thank you Simon, I am really glad to know a bit more of the story and your report covered a lot... Much appreciated.

nmonteith
14/01/2009
1:11:43 PM
Firstly - thanks for such a thorough report Simon!

Some info about the bolts in question...

Those hangers are bomber (22kn), but the 8mm size of the trubolts is alarmingly small. The only time you could get away with using those bolts is on solid granite in an alpine environment where you don't expect to be falling on them too often (smaller diameter is easier to drill with a handrill!). However, an 8mm trubolt when installed correctly in Bluies sandstone should easily hold a persons body weight and a medium sized fall.

The major problem to me is the installation of these 8mm bolts - my hypothesis is that the hole was drilled with a weak drill or a blunt drill bit - and thus it easily created a larger hole than the bolt in very soft Bluies sandstone. Those bolts (truebolt design) require a very specific hole size - only a few mm differences and the cone doesn't grip. A truebolt requires several heavy blows with a hammer to insert it into the rock (unlike a dynabolt which you can insert with your fingers). Truebolts act like a carrot bolt - they are actually pretty bomber without tightening them up if the hole is the correct diameter. To make them go to maximum strength you then tighten with several full turns of spanner after hammering them in. The fact that Simon could pull it in and out with his fingers shows the hole was NEVER small enough for a correct installation..

When correctly installed these style of bolts ARE good enough in the short term - but only in 10mm or 12mm size. Their long term use after repeated falls is where they cause problems as the rock crumbles around the bolt and it requires constant re-tightening. Eventually they will loosen enough that they will fall out after several years. The 'other' bolts placed on the single pitch routes on Lunch Ledge use a similar bolt design (but larger diameter) to these dangerous ones on BBB-RHV - the difference was they were installed correctly. The guys who tried to remove them could not get them out - and merely removed hangers and nuts to 'disable' the bolt placements.

This style of bolt is bomber when found at most crags in Victoria, Tassie and Queensland, but not in the Blue Mountains.
patto
14/01/2009
1:43:54 PM
Thank you for a very informative report Simon. While it is important to have respect for those close to Nick I believe it is equally important that we are made aware of what occured. Like anthonyk I too was left with a vastly different impression of the event that the AAR report.

It amazes that these bolts where left in place by those placing them. In almost anything other than climbing this would be well beyond "exceptionally poor form". Criminal negligance comes to mind as these where a time bomb waiting to go off. (I almost hesitate to use those words. Negligence requires a duty of care and ultimately if legal duty of care enters the climbing world with any substance I fear for the future of the sport.)

Thankfully the vast majority of the climbing community are VERY considerate of the safety of others. Whether they are placing/replacing bolt and anchors, informing others of potential danger or just avoiding disturbing loose rocks. (Unlike the golfer who had me dodging golf balls while climbing the watchtower face.)

I am currently greatly concerned about having the authorities and bureaucracy involved in this issue. Knowing the nature of our government I am not hopefull of seeing anything positive to come from it. It will be very interesting to see what happens.

The climbing community is already quite good at ensuring any bolting that does happen happens properly. This event has reminded us all to be vigilant about who and how our cliff are bolted.

anthonyk
14/01/2009
1:52:49 PM
On 14/01/2009 patto wrote:
>Thank you for a very informative report Simon. While it is important to
>have respect for those close to Nick I believe it is equally important
>that we are made aware of what occured. Like anthonyk I too was left with
>a vastly different impression of the event that the AAR report.

I've emailed Lucas Trihey about clarifying the AAR description, there are some ambiguities it seems.

..::- Chris -::..
14/01/2009
2:12:39 PM
Thanks Simon, your report bought tears to my eyes, and filled me with anger... this accident is totally f'd Nick did nothing wrong he did want any of us would do.....

These people who bolted this route *MUST* know what they have done or contributed in! I'm quite upset now so i'm not going to comment more but at the very least (IMO) they need to know.

Kind Regards,
Chris.

nmonteith
14/01/2009
3:56:04 PM
Treat any single anchor with caution - not matter how bomber it appears. Test each bolt by wiggling it with your fingers before committing your life to it. If it moves it will probably come out with minimal load. Use double ropes and be willing to retreat (by downclimbing) if required. Just like trad climbers learn about what sort of gear to place in each crack - a sport climber needs to recognize when a bolt is possibly dodgy as well. Educate yourself on how bolts fail and who put the bolts in. Bring a few bits of trad on any multi-pitch route even if you don't think you'll need it.

..::- Chris -::..
14/01/2009
4:48:11 PM
Yes this has opened my eyes to a few things I should add to my safety repertoire.

Macciza
14/01/2009
6:08:37 PM
On 14/01/2009 Onsight wrote:
>A lot of the information so far made public about the accident and the
>bolts on this climb is inaccurate. In an effort to clear up a few questions
>Iíve inspected the scene of the accident and closely inspected the bolts.
>
I hope that this and any other 'personal' initiatives have been cleared with relevant authorities.
My concern is that such activities may taint any evidence that may be needed.
I had hoped to eventually read an official report that actually documented relevant values and details.
Are Police able to post something here re the process that should be followed.

Despite what one personal feelings may be of involvement of authorities in this matter, they are and/or
should be involved and we as a community will be under scrutiny as well. Lets all act appropriately.

Condolences to all concerned and apologies for not being at the service.

stonetroll
14/01/2009
6:36:05 PM
We'll allways remember you Nick.

Epic Steve
14/01/2009
8:22:22 PM
Such a loss that such a young, energetic, enthusiastic and so well loved climber, should succumb to an unfortunate combination of events that led to his death...as they say, it never is one thing that causes a given accident, but a combination of many less obvious events, in a particular sequence in time...making a seemingly minor error in route finding, climbing above the ironstone layers of rock and finally the one thing most climbers would ever expect to happen...a bolt failure under body weight loads...!

How often does anyone get a chance to pre test bolts whilst climbing a route...other than the usual monster double bolts at most belays...pretty much never...especially if you are pushing your grades!!! We all expect bolt failure to be something removed from the equation, unless we are in the mountain regions...

R.I.P and climb well with the big fella on belay for you upstairs...............

Safe climbing to all

Steve
Onsight
14/01/2009
8:45:01 PM
On 14/01/2009 Macciza wrote:
>I hope that this and any other 'personal' initiatives have been cleared
>with relevant authorities.
>My concern is that such activities may taint any evidence that may be
>needed.
Thank you for your concern Macciza but I can assure you everything has been done legally and for the better of the climbing community.

>I had hoped to eventually read an official report that actually documented
>relevant values and details.
>Are Police able to post something here re the process that should be followed.
I don't know if the police are likely to post here or not. You can always contact them and ask them about any report and if/when it's likely to be available.

>Despite what one personal feelings may be of involvement of authorities
>in this matter, they are and/or
>should be involved and we as a community will be under scrutiny as well.
>Lets all act appropriately.
I guess you are right: the police are involved to some degree since there has been a fatality here. I don't think that should not replace "personal responsibility" and "self regulation" though. Personally I think the most appropriate thing at the moment is to get the information out there and ensure there isn't another accident like this.

pmonks
15/01/2009
7:37:59 AM
On 14/01/2009 nmonteith wrote:
>Test each bolt by wiggling it with your fingers before committing your
>life to it. ...

Couldn't agree more. I did Bentrovarto at Sublime Pt about 10 years ago and there's an unlisted sport route that crosses the traverse at one point, which had a convenient double bolt anchor with two new looking glue-in ring bolts.

After clipping into the anchor we realised something didn't look right, and (after beefing up the anchor with some natural pro!) we were able to pull both RBs straight out of their holes, albeit with some help from a nut tool.

Turns out the glue hadn't set - presumably it was a two part epoxy that hadn't been mixed properly when the bolts were installed. But at first glance the bolts looked great - no visible sign that the glue was no good, bolts didn't move when we clipped them etc. etc. It wasn't until we started playing around with them that it became apparent how completely dodgy they were.

I shudder to think what would happen to anyone who tried to repeat that route. Assuming they didn't fall off and unzip all the bolts on the first pitch, they're now going to get to a belay ledge with no anchor (unless they'd carted up natural gear - there was plenty of natural pro on offer).

Does anyone know anything about that route? Apart from the bolts, it looked pretty good - the Bentrovarto wall is pretty impressive.

tnd
15/01/2009
9:19:09 AM
On 14/01/2009 nmonteith wrote:
>Test each bolt by wiggling it with your fingers before committing your
>life to it.

The principle of always being at least slightly sceptical of fixed pro is certainly something that people should take away from all this.

A conversation at Nick's funeral with some climbers was enlightening to me. One or two of us who have experience of bolting mentioned how it should be reasonably obvious if one gets off route on BBB, as the bolts change from carrots to shiny expansion bolts and hangers. However others there said that they really wouldn't see the significance of that as they don't know the technicalities of bolting.

So Simon's report should be of great help in enabling people to see what can go wrong and to think about the piece of metal they are clipping into. I think anyone who climbs should learn a little bit about bolting so that they can recognise the different types of fixtures and make an informed decision. Neil's article at http://www.safercliffs.org/code/bolt_guide.html is a worthwhile read for any sport climber.

This tragedy has been awful and we have to educate people so that it can't happen again.

pmonks
15/01/2009
10:29:29 AM
On 15/01/2009 tnd wrote:
>Neil's article at http://www.safercliffs.org/code/bolt_guide.html
>is a worthwhile read for any sport climber.

Except that it neglects to mention the inappropriateness of certain types of bolt in certain types of rock (ie. expansion bolts are inappropriate in soft rock, including Sydney, Blue Mts, Central Coast, Nowra sandstones).

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There are 196 messages in this topic.

 

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