suspect bolts in the attic???

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suspect bolts in the attic???

Postby chh » Oct 12, 2005 8:40 am

hello all,

I'm heading down south soon and am plannning on bouncing Fantastic while I am there. However, I heard that the bolts in the attic are dangerous and that one should rig to the big boulder instead. Anyone been to Fantastic recently who can corroborate this?

thanks,
-chh
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Postby chh » Oct 12, 2005 9:48 am

nevermind. I found the answer.

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And the answer is????

Postby Tim White » Oct 12, 2005 10:13 am

And the answer is? :?: :?:
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Postby chh » Oct 12, 2005 1:06 pm

Sorry. Apparently the bolts are suspect. One of my caving partners who is going down with me has spoken with three people who have done Fantastic as long as a year ago, and as little as 2 weeks ago. They all rigged off the boulder apparently because of the condition of the bolts. 2 of the 3 people I also know personally and have many many years of caving and rescue experience. I trust thier judgment. I will, however, look with my own eyes and post back up if the bolts look bad - and hopefully find a responsible local group to replace them. I won't have the resources while I'm down there, and I'm afraid I don't know anything about the local bolting ethics and don't want to step on any toes (nor do I advocate willy nilly bolting if there is a safe alternative) I'm hoping that if the bolts are indeed bad, there might be someone on this forum that could help in the process.

-chh
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Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 12, 2005 1:14 pm

I haven't seen the bolts myself recently. I haven't been there in 4 years. But the story I heard was the bolts were fine, but the rock around the bolt is suspect. New cracks showing up or old ones getting bigger, not sure which.

Any chance you could take some pics of the bolts and surrounding area? Might make it easier to warn the next person that visits.
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Postby chh » Oct 12, 2005 1:45 pm

Good advice Scott. I don't have a digital camera, but there will be one on the trip, so I'll try to get some shots of the anchor situation. And also, to clarify, I DON'T know that the bolts themselves are structurally suspect. It could very well be the rock around them. All I really know is that they were not used, and rigging the boulder was thought to be the safer of the two options. I'll definitely post any pictures taken and/or concerns.

Anybody out there know who installed the bolts there in the first place, how long they've been there or anything about their history?

-chh
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Postby chh » Oct 19, 2005 1:42 pm

Well, the trip to Fantastic went well, but I didn't get any pictures of the bolts in the attic.
As it was my first time there, I can't really comment on whether or not the condition of the surrounding rock has deteriorated as I don't know what it looked like before.
That being said, the bolts themselves didn't look bad, nor did the rock around it. They were, however, spaced a little too close to one another. They didn't really look any more suspect to me than the newer bolts at the top of the warm up pit, which we used. That being said, we still chose to rig from a rock in the attic, maybe more for our own piece of mind after hearing they were dangerous. There were lots of grooves in the rock at both the warm up drop and in the attic indicating that just about every rig point we could see had been used, though I wouldn't know anything about the ages of them.
In addition, the handline that runs up the scramble to the short roped climb to get into the attic (and the bypass to the balcony) was frayed at the knot. I did the scramble without it, as I was first up and don't really trust strange ropes - especially handlines. I went back down and bounce tested it as much as I could to no appreciable effect. 2 other cavers with me used the handline at the very top where there is an awkward bit, especially if you are shorter or carrying a very heavy load on your back. The fixed line on the short climb up to the attic itself was in ok condition, but obviously well used.

I hope this is helpful to someone, and I wish I would have snapped some pictures, but by the time we were packing up to leave the pit we were already well overdue on our exit time and decided to scamper out of there quickly.

I guess the moral of the story is that I can't really comment 100% on the condition of the bolts as I didn't use them. I almost always trust a BFR more than a set of bolts when caving. I can only suggest that anyone doing Fantastic would use their own discretion and err on the side of caution, but you guys already knew that;)

cave softly,

-chh
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Postby GoHighGoDeep » Oct 24, 2005 9:17 am

I was on the same trip as chh... and i've heard the same about the bolts from several people... and was specifically warned about them by at least one caver who i have a great amount of respect for...

my personal opinion of the bolts is that there's really not enough rock around them, i wasn't going to got tapping around on the rock while we were there, so i really can't give any info on the condition of the rock... while the positioning of the bolts wasn't the greatest in my humble and inconsequential opinion (about 8" between the 2 main bolts), it would have given a really nice drop.. but the BFR we rigged to gave a good free hang with only a minor lip too...

really nice pit at anyrate... if someone does re-bolt it or otherwise modify the rig points, it would be really interesting to hear of.
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Postby GoHighGoDeep » Oct 24, 2005 9:19 am

oh... if the rock is suspect, the bolts are suspect too... at least that's what i'd think :wink:
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Postby ljthawk » Oct 24, 2005 10:16 am

Last I saw (though some time ago), the bolts in the attic were good and the rock was the same as it has been for years. What I did notice is the third back up bolt, which was not set by the same person that set the main bolts (it's a stud anchor) is terrible and needs to be removed. The bolts at the elevator (I think that's what it is called) to get to the attic look like they were set the same a as the third back up bolt and may need to be inspected / replaced as well. These bolts were either not set deep enough or they have walked out over time; the former is probably more likely. Also, always back up the bolts with another rig, such as a big rock etc. I also know Smokey One and Two could each use a new bolt.

Given Elisions traffic, I would suggest using Fixe triplex bolts for any new placements. They are all stainless and can be removed for inspection / replacement. That said, don't set bolts in Elisions without a park permit or else you could go to jail for destruction of state property. This is something I have talked to past rangers about. What really needs to happen is a team of knowledgeable bolt setters and park liaisons need to do a quick survey / clean up trip.

L.J.
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