Bolts in caves

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Bolts in caves

Postby Chads93GT » Jul 21, 2009 6:36 pm

In your opinion, when is it ok to place permanent protection in a cave?

This same topic has been beat to death in the rock climbing forums, and in Rock & Ice, and Climbing. I was just wondering about your opinins as to when it is "acceptable" to bolt in protection.

Opinions?
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Re: Bolts in caves

Postby Cody JW » Jul 21, 2009 9:16 pm

I think there can be a balance between conservation and cave exploration.I personally think a bolt is warranted if there is no natural rig point avalible or if the lip may be sharp and a well placed bolt for redirect would lessen the chance of a rope failure.I feel safety comes before conservation.I can give you an example of this, several years ago I ran across a group at Valhalla that got there before me. They got the desired rig point( the one that lands near the death rock).I noticed that they padded the tree and not the lip.I rigged the corner of the pit and padded it several times on the way down.When my group all got to the bottom the other group arrived at the bottom of the pit from inside the cave.I told them about not padding the lip and they said" we are from rock climbing and we always pad the tree".I said "I am from caving and when it comes to vertical ,safety is first".Of course if you have enough pads you pad both but if you have to make a choice, safty is first.They sent their first climber up despite my warning, when he got to the top the rope rubbed the unprotected lip and was cut about half way through. They were using an 600 foot rope, it was doubled at the anchor (tree) and both ends were down the hole.They re rigged and padded like I said and all the rest got up with no problem.I told everybody that this is a lesson, bring more pads than you need and safety first.
It only takes one person to surrender a dog to a kill shelter ,but it takes many to rescue it.
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Re: Bolts in caves

Postby shibumi » Jul 21, 2009 10:03 pm

Chads93GT wrote:In your opinion, when is it ok to place permanent protection in a cave?

This same topic has been beat to death in the rock climbing forums, and in Rock & Ice, and Climbing. I was just wondering about your opinins as to when it is "acceptable" to bolt in protection.

Opinions?


There's no easy answer. It depends entirely on the cave in question, the people setting the potential bolt, and
the local conservation ethics.

Bolts should only be placed by people who have sufficient rigging experience and bolting experience and only in
caves where the owner or manager of the cave is ok with it and the local caving community (being the people
who actually go in that cave) is ok with it. And then it's best to place bolts that won't need to be replaced
every ten years, and my personal philosophy is that any main route anchor system I put in place will be
rated for rescue.

Anmar
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Re: Bolts in caves

Postby Chads93GT » Jul 22, 2009 10:00 am

I was concerned about installing deviations in a drop to avoid the rope rubbing. Some spots have natural pockets where a dynex or spectra runner can be looped through with a girth hitch, however other points offer no natural protection as its slick from water falling. If there was a crack I could buy a $60 cam to use, but that rules that out.
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Re: Bolts in caves

Postby shibumi » Jul 22, 2009 7:03 pm

Chads93GT wrote:I was concerned about installing deviations in a drop to avoid the rope rubbing. Some spots have natural pockets where a dynex or spectra runner can be looped through with a girth hitch, however other points offer no natural protection as its slick from water falling. If there was a crack I could buy a $60 cam to use, but that rules that out.


Something else to keep in mind if you are installing mainroute rigging, *you* take on an element
of responsibility and liability in the event something should happen.

I recommend at least 3.5" single or double wedge stainless steel 3/8" such as Fixe or similar.
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Re: Bolts in caves

Postby hunter » Jul 27, 2009 10:24 am

As has been said, I don't think there is an easy answer to this and it can vary a great deal depending on the cave. My general observations though:

1 - Not quite the question, but absolutely use stainless steel like shibumi said, non-stainless will corrode and can cause a good bit of impact by dripping rust all over, not to mention someone will have to replace it.
2 - In most caves in the US, ask the manager/owner.
3 - A rescue or body recovery causes far more impact than a stainless bolt here and there.
4 - Fixe makes a nice 11mm diameter removable stainless bolt (this is a real bolt, not a climb tech slider type) if you are really worried about leaving the bolt.
5 - Make certain everyone will be happy using your bolt, otherwise someone will add there own.
6 - Adding bolts to make something "easier" frequently increases visitation which increases impact.

Also not really on topic but I personally would be very reluctant to use a cam for a rebelay. They are not really designed to be used in this way.

James
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Re: Bolts in caves

Postby Chads93GT » Aug 7, 2009 12:11 pm

sorry, rebelay was the wrong word.

i meant diversion
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Re: Bolts in caves

Postby ian mckenzie » Aug 9, 2009 10:55 pm

Nar, you said 'deviations' which is right, tho some call them 'deflections' or 'redirects', not sure I've heard them called 'diversions', but why not.

In many countries bolting is considered the modern way to rig even if there are naturals available. It allows very precise rigging placement which is important to certain styles of caving. It is an endless and unwinnable argument whether naturals are better than bolts or vice versa, but it is true that once a bolt is placed it is seldom replaced by a natural anchor. We use a mix here tho bolting is becoming more common.
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