bolts............what do you prefer?

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bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 23, 2010 11:52 pm

Within the next year I will be getting into an unsurveyed portion of cave we discovered early last year that is an extremely high vertical joint passage, meandering over the existing stream passage. The ceiling of the main passage is 15 - 20 feet high, then after this it shoots up to over 40-50 feet high. It meanders back twice, and getting up there will require our 30' extension ladder which is about a mile downstream right now. A steep mud bank is climbable; however, once up there, I will want to set a couple bolts for a rope. It would be nice if the bolts were removable, but they don't have to be.

the main pit anchor, which is a 18" diameter oak/hickory, is also dead and the bark is starting to come off. I have no idea how long it will be before the wind blows this tree over, but once it is gone, our perfect rig point will be gone. Other tree's are close, but arent quite as bit, and they aren't in a direct line with each other, therefore backing up to another tree qould require zig zagging the rope through the woods, yeah right, or having a longer rope to tie back to a bigger tree further back in the woods. Personally I don't think it will be conductive to take my 400' pit rope to rig an 80' pit every weekend, so it would be nice to clean the rock face above the pit entrance and bolt it for easy rigging. These would obviously be permanent bolts.

What do you recommend for these future projects? Links would be nice. I was looking at some stuff at IMO and onrope1, but I was wondering what some of the more experienced bolters had to say about this.

I just did a trip at Mystery Falls and I did NOT like those large eye let screw in style bolts. What is up with those anyway? Sure didnt look safe, as one of them was either sheared off, or chopped off on purpose.

Thanks in advance.

Chad McCain.
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 24, 2010 12:26 am

I just bought a handful of Fixe Triplex bolts but don't have experience placing them yet.

http://www.fixeusa.com/triplex_3-piece_ ... e_bolt.htm

They're not terribly expensive, they can be easily removed or replaced, simple (only 4 parts, including the nut and hanger), and they're all stainless. There's a thread about them somewhere else that points out that they should be used with 10mm hangers on top of the collar rather than 12mm hangers under the collar. This makes them much less likely to loosen and come out, and 10mm hangers are much easier to find. I also went to the hardware store and got some 10mm stainless split washers to use under the nut to help reduce this risk. You need a 12mm bit to go with them, which isn't all that common. I believe 1/2 inch would be too big.
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 24, 2010 12:39 am

Dang. those look just like the bolts I see for sale at the local hardware store, except they dont have the flared shank at the top for removing the sleeve.
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby chh » Feb 24, 2010 5:53 am

I've clipped a number of those fixe 3 piece bolts. They're fine for you're normal applications. Why the desire for removable bolts inside the cave? Wouldn't you want those on the outside?
In addition to the Fixes I've seen some removable anchors built by Climbtech (sp?) that basically look like a ball nut or cam with the buisness end of an expansion bolt at the end. I've never even held one of these, but I've read differing reviews. Some love them, some hate them. The main problem seems to be removing them after they've been weighted. But you can have the same problem with the Fixe's. Especially if they've been over torqued.
Another option for removable anchors in the cave where an easy lead precludes the climb for the rest of the party is going with a pull down style anchor, which of course you can do with regular bolts and hardware, but there are some nifty anchors out there designed for this purpose.
Your words of caution are no match for my disaster style!
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby chh » Feb 24, 2010 7:11 am

p.s. I prefer hand drilling. It builds character! :laughing:
Your words of caution are no match for my disaster style!
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 24, 2010 7:13 am

chh, they don't have to be removable, I was just thinking if we get to said passage, set bolts if no natural protection is available, and when the survey is done, if there is absolutely nothing up there worth seeinig, then removalbe bolts would be nice, but i am thinking they would end up being permanent. The lead is HUGE. Hopefully the tree doesnt rot away for some time, as the rock on the surface is kind of flaky in parts. It looks fractured quite a bit, not solid slab like further down into the pit, but i guess a solid anchor is just a longer rope away. In reality it will probably be 5-10-15 years before this tree falls down or becomes unsafe, i just have to keep an eye on the root system. Hopefully no more 110 mph windstorms come like last year ;)
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby hunter » Feb 24, 2010 11:41 am

Couple of thoughts:

-For totally bomber bolts the Fixe triplex are unbeatable. As discussed they are removable although with the hanger placed on top of the sleeve(to my mind this is the only safe way to place these) this is tricky and they tend to stick in crappy rock. For bad rock these are my first choice. Two disadvantages from my perspective: First they are very expensive, and second they are a 12mm diameter which requires an expensive and harder to find drill bit and is large for hand drilling.

-I own and use climb tech RBs for direct aid. I wouldn't use these in a normal cave anchor for a number of reasons.

-For good rock and non-removable I use wedge type bolts made by Powers, typically the 3/8 x 3 3/4: http://www.tannerfence.com/Anchors/Powers-Power-Stud-Wedge-Expansion-Anchors-304-Stainless.html
The main reason I use these is price. Bought in boxes of 50 or 100 they are about 1.50 a piece. Also, these are 304 stainless. If you are near saltwater you need to use 316. 3/8 is also a nice size if you do a lot of bolting because you can get Bosch bits at Lowes or Home Depot for a good price.

-A number of hardware store anchors look exactly like the wedge bolt above. Don't use these unless you can get and look at the manufacturer specs. They are usually made in China or similar to a much lower spec (typically breaking point below 1000 lbs). The powers bolts are American made with a breaking point in the vicinity of 4000 lbs. I used to say never use hardware store but now a home depot sells Hilti which is a very good brand.

-For only a couple of bolts you can also go with the Fixe wedge bolts which are less than the triplex but more than the Powers in bulk: http://www.fixeusa.com/wedge_bolts.htm

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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 24, 2010 12:06 pm

Have you used the Hilti bolts yet? What is their strength rating, or would it be on hilti's homepage?
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby driggs » Feb 24, 2010 1:56 pm

hunter wrote:For only a couple of bolts you can also go with the Fixe wedge bolts which are less than the triplex but more than the Powers in bulk: http://www.fixeusa.com/wedge_bolts.htm


Those Fixe double-wedge bolts are awesome in crap-rock; they are expensive, but obviously extremely well-made.

We use Powers "Power Stud" or ConFast stainless wedge bolts generally, as they are much less expensive. Always 3/8" diameter, for which hangers are easily and cheaply available, and SDS drill bits are cheap; generally 3.5" in length.

With wedge bolts, drill your hole deeper than the bolt, and you can drive the bolt all the way into the hole in lieu of being able to remove them.
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby driggs » Feb 24, 2010 2:04 pm

BTW, Duane Raleigh wrote a great two-part series of articles on anchors from a rock climber's perspective, and you may find the first part relevant in explaining the differences between types of bolts:

Mechanical Bolts: The Nuts and Bolts by Duane Raleigh
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Carl Amundson » Feb 24, 2010 2:17 pm

driggs wrote:BTW, Duane Raleigh wrote a great two-part series of articles on anchors from a rock climber's perspective, and you may find the first part relevant in explaining the differences between types of bolts:

Mechanical Bolts: The Nuts and Bolts by Duane Raleigh

Great article, thanks Dave
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby hunter » Feb 24, 2010 4:11 pm

Have you used the Hilti bolts yet? What is their strength rating, or would it be on hilti's homepage?


I have a little bit of experience with the hilti wedge bolts although I don't usually get them due to price. The only real difference I saw was how fast they tightened. The Hilti is faster than the Powers (aka Rawl) which is itself faster than the Confast. This can pay off in worse rock but usually doesn't matter in good rock. The strengths should be on Hilt's website under specs or something like that.

One other thought, if you can find someone local who bolts a lot I would get there help. There are a lot of tricks to placing a good bolt in rock and it is easiest to learn these from someone.

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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 24, 2010 4:20 pm

Ive already contacted some climbers in southern illinois who are rebolting the routes in the shawnee hills. I just have yet to hear back from them. I figured if anyone could teach me anything, it would be those guys. Thanks again for the help guys.
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby Amazingracer » Feb 24, 2010 4:26 pm

Chads93GT wrote:I just did a trip at Mystery Falls and I did NOT like those large eye let screw in style bolts. What is up with those anyway? Sure didnt look safe, as one of them was either sheared off, or chopped off on purpose.


Where were these bolts? On the waterfall side or on the "high side" with the concrete roof?

I know there are a set of resin/glueins bolts at Mystery supposedly. Not sure if those are the ones you are referring too, but the resin/glue-ins are stronger than anything mentioned here. I dont see them used much in caving, but they use them quite a bit in canyoning. They are pretty bomber and the nice big hanger allows for nearly anything to be clipped into them. They do require a "setting time" which can be close to 24 hours.
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Re: bolts............what do you prefer?

Postby driggs » Feb 24, 2010 4:30 pm

Amazingracer wrote:... resin/glue-ins are stronger than anything mentioned here. I dont see them used much in caving, but they use them quite a bit in canyoning. They are pretty bomber and the nice big hanger allows for nearly anything to be clipped into them. They do require a "setting time" which can be close to 24 hours.


Cue part two of Raleigh's article:

Adhesive Bolts: Sticky Business by Duane Raleigh
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