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|Fixed gear failures in Australian climbing
Previous title: "Bolt failures in Australian climbing"
Note: Post has been updated several times, last update 16/03/2022
Does anyone have a list of recent bolt failures - I'm trying to get a bit of a list going that can be used for educational purposes ?
Objective: Provide some sort of data to help out with the next:
-User guide to using bolts
-Bolting guide update
-Rebolters appreciation meeting/beer fund donations
I'll try to keep the scope to more modern fixed anchors (or those anchors which at first glance would appear to be modern anchors) eg. mild steel carrots would not be included (Typically pretty easy to spot), but stainless carrot bash ins would be (as they could be confused with glue in SS machine bolts), as would ring bolts placed with silicone only on the outside and no glue/grout.
Will plan to add other fixed gear notes as a separate list (eg. shifty lower offs, a few permadraw rope cuts etc.)
Obviously, all climbers are responsible for their own safety including their use of fixed gear.
Borrowed from ASCA (US), but likely equally applicable here in Oz:
“Bolts used for outdoor rock climbing in the U.S. have historically not been regulated
or certified in any way. Historical practice is to use bolts which are nowhere near any
‘reasonable’ level of safety compared to the standards of modern society, and even
the bolts used now to establish new routes and replace old bolts are not certified or
regulated in any way. Limitations due to ease and speed and type mean that even
many bolts used by the ASCA are nowhere near what would be considered acceptable
safety margins in other walks of life such as the modern construction industry. No
bolt is ever guaranteed, and trusting a bolt with your life is always a gamble.”
Inclusion: failure of bolt/hanger/bolt-glue interface/glue/glue-rock interface/rock blowout and failure of rock feature.
Including incident, near miss and incidental identification:
QLD - Ninderry - Bolt in loose loose rock - 2020 (near miss)
ACT - Canberra Molonglo River - Sewer Wall - Sewer Wall - Expansion bolt in loose block - 2019 (near miss)
NSW - Rosa Gully -loose block with glue in in-situ found below Funky Moves - 2016
WA - Mountain Quarry - "Death Star" 2012 - Part of route fell off with bolt
NSW - Northern beaches - large block with 3*carrots now at base of climb ?date - Source: CW
Rock blowout: (eg. soft rock, close to edge, short bolt etc)
NSW - Mount Keira - Sand Pit Wall Entrance - Glue in P bolt - rock failure/blowout of 2nd bolt lead fall - August 2021 (Minor injury)
NSW - Central Coast - Koolewong - Lara Street Crag - GIMB - rock failure/blowout - 2021 (?near miss)
NSW - Illawarra and Shoalhaven - Kiama - Bombo Quarry - hanger/GIMB - probable SCC/SSC failure of 304 GIMB with hanger (failure at neck/head of bolt) - 2020 (near miss). First known SSC event at this crag.
QLD - Fredrick's - ?lightening vs stainless dynabolt - hanger and broken bolt found at base of climb 2021
NSW - Sutherland - Bluebell - 304 SS - SCC failure of 2nd bolt (Abnormal metalurgy/swimming pool wash over as possible contributing factors) - ledgefall, broken ankle - 2013
VIC - Gramps - Taipan - Anchor bolt - Eye bolt cement screw style failure at neck of eye bolt- ?damaged due to over torque installation +/- steel corrosion - Early 2000s
Failure at Metal-glue interface:
TAS - Sisters Beach - smooth shafted glue in home made SS U bolts installed, Bolts reported to have fallen out under trivial loads (?near miss/rebolt) 2018
Some reports of similar under notched or un-notched home made glue in bolts in Blue Mountains (Per local rebolter), further details unknown - No date available
QLD - Beerwah - Secret garden - reports of unset/soft glue - 2021 (?near miss)
WA- Kalbarri - absence of the bear - anchor bolt removed by hand. Glue in commercial P bolt, likely early glue failure ?cause 2021
NSW - Bluebell - GIMB/Hanger fell out - 2013 (near miss) - (thecrag note 2003 - "3rd bolt is mank and flex's" - details unclear)
NSW - Pierces pass - Randy rabbit - GIMB + chain - glue not set on 2 bolts Ramset101 cartridge glue - near miss (pulled when 2nd fell, likely catastrophic if leader had fallen) ?2013
NSW - Nowra - DZ - failure of 3rd bolt during cleaning - glue in ring - glue failed to set - 2007
NSW - Sublime point - Sweet Dreams - GIMB - premature glue failure (adhesive type unknown), with at least one bolt mobile in tension - ?2010s
QLD - Tibro - Ramset 101 - glue failure to adhere to rock ?cause 2000
Tas - Cataract Gorge - ?glue failure glue in U bolt - ?1990s
Expansion bolt unplanned disassembly:
QLD - Tibrogargan - Drop in anchor (?brand) - screw+hanger dropped out during lower - 2020 (near miss)
VIC - Ravine crag - Lead fall on 5th bolt, ?hang and nut (expansion bolt) popped off 4th bolt (near miss) - 2013
VIC - Ravine - expansion bolt nut unscrewed in lead fall - no injury - 2013
Tas - Mersey Cliffs - Unrequited - hanger fell off when climber fell on bolt above - 03/03/2022
ACT - Corree - Fake News - lost hanger/nut 5th bolt, loose 6th - noted 2018, thecrag raised 2022
Expansion bolt mis-installation:
TAS - H***wood - likelymultiple issues ?hanger/bolt incompatability, atypical bolts, loosened bolts.
NSW - Pierces pass - 8mm partially installed expansion bolts in very low strength rock used on route - contributing factor in death 2009
Expansion bolt failure (unknown):
Tas- Cape Raoul - Jihad - Anchor bolt removed in its entireity by hand - hole cleaned and replaced/tightened (near miss) - Cause unknown - Feb 2022
Bash-in pull out failures (as discussed above, stainless or stainless appearing only):
QLD - Frog - SS bash in with FH failed when tugged on lead - near miss - 2014
VIC - Muline - stainless bash-in with hanger - failure while seconding (no injury) 2013
VIC - Bundaleer - Stainless bash-in with hanger failure - no injury - 2000
QLD - Ngungun - Stainless bash-in - failure in lead fall resulting in injury - 1990s
Unknown anchor failures:
NSW - Blue mountains - U bolt failure (anyone have any details ? Mentioned in SRC bolting policy document) ?Date
-Redcliffs (SEQ) - Eye bolts at top of cliff extensively damaged (?hammer vs bolts), long history of antisocial local resident activity in this area.
-Minto (SEQ) - (now closed) - reports of bolt chopping/interfering ?local landowners - 2020
Anchor connector issues:
Removable bolt plates:
VIC - The Tower - Bolt plate detached from hanger during lower - bolt hanger used with wiregate carabiner - ground fall with injury requiring rescue 2013 (Src: AAR )
NSW - Mt York - Issue with clipping bolt plate requiring downclimb, groundfall. 2006 (AAR)
QLD - KP - inverted bolt plate ‘peeled’ from bolt in lead fall (ie reported to have bent open - adrenaline bolt plate)- minor injury to lead climber, burns to belayers hands. - 2007
NSW - Nowra - Mixed U bolt (bolts 1,2), then carrot (bolt 3)- leader reported to not have bolt plates and tried to proceed to anchor - ledgefall - 2009
NSW - Shipley - "These People are Sandwiches" - single point lower off stainless carabiner - corrosion/crack - near miss - lab test failed at 169kg - 2009
[REMOVED 13/01/2022 - previously "Expansion bolt mis-installation:
" ACT - Orroral ridge - Penny - loose dynabolt (?bolt vs hole issue) 2021 - appears to be more of a maintenance issue.
Neil has almost single handedly made sure you get crickets from NSW. Prob more of a question for highliners.
***Previous post removed - see original post for updates ***
SCC at Bluebell about 5 years ago.
There's that hilarious giant block sitting down on the rock platform at Freycinet with two bolts in it. Used to be the top 5m of a route.
I'm not really sure that blocks falling out with bolts in them count as bolt failure though.
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