Where do you buy your bolts?

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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Lava » Dec 19, 2012 12:33 am

POW 07313 Powers Power-Stud 3/8" x 3" 304 Stainless Bolts:
http://www.hermanscentral.com/product/p ... -79211.cfm

If you search for those there are tons of places where you can buy them.

These are good hangers, and slightly less expensive:
http://www.amazon.com/Mad-Rock-Sentinal ... 0027Y55ZC/
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby trogman » Dec 19, 2012 7:26 am

So if I am understanding correctly, the main difference between wedge bolts and sleeve bolts is that sleeve bolts are removable. Is this right? I don't want to cut corners when my life, or that of those who may use my bolts in the future, is on the line. But at the same time, I don't care to spend extra $ for nothing. From what I saw on the Climbtech Gear website, the stainless wedge anchors are $1.95 ea., whereas the sleeve anchors are $3.95 ea. (The 3.5" length) The $2 apiece price difference adds up pretty quick when you buy several of them. Someone please explain the difference. Thanks.

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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 19, 2012 11:45 am

Hm? Climbtech gear currently has the stainless sleeves lited at $6.95 and wedges $1.95.

According to this page:http://www.safeclimbing.org/education/mechbolts.htm Sleeve bolts have greater shear strength than a same sized wedge bolt only if they have a hex head and internal threads (like a Power-Stud) instead of of an externally threaded bolt and nut (like a Lowe's Redhead). They are also removeable. Sleeve bolts seem to require a cleaner hole than wedges, but that's easy to accomplish.

I'm personally comfortable with the weight ratings of a 3/8 wedge. There's a lot more material in a sleeve bolt and I assume that's why they cost more. Interestingly, at least one brand of wedges is stronger in zinc-plated steel than in stainless.
I've been testing my bolts very scientifically; by setting them in a creekbed and yanking on them with a four-wheeler. They have all held up fine, and even after administering a sound multidirectional beating with a hammer to loosen them up, I still couldn't pull them out. I only have about 10' of chain though, so I'm not getting a massive pull.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby hunter » Dec 19, 2012 1:04 pm

The bolt part of the powers anchor is removable but the sleeve and wedge stay in the hole. You can occasionally yank the first part of the sleeve with a pair of pliers. This means the hole is prettier buy you cannot reuse the anchor or the hole unless you drill out the sleeve and cone. The stainless version of these has always been very pricey.

Fixe sells a beefy (12mm) stainless sleeve bolt (Top of this page http://www.fixehardware.com/shop/bolts-page-2/) which can be completely removed and both the hole and bolt can be reused but they are very pricey. Practically speaking these are time consuming to remove and the dirtier the hole the harder they are to get out. I usually can't get out between 1 in 5 and 1 in 10 so these are not a cheaper option than wedge bolts for aid climbing but arguably they have less impact.

Practically speaking if you are bolting into good rock and don't care about getting the bolt back the best option is stainless wedge bolts of one of the flavors people have linked to. Sleeve bolts generally have better holding power in soft/crappy rock and the Fixe 75mm wedgebolts are a bomber option if you want to remove bolts on an aid climb or similar. It isn't common in caves but if you are bolting into very soft rock (some flowstone, soft sandstone, etc...) then the fixe sleeve bolts are great and you can also buy much larger/longer sleeve bolts from various construction sources.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby trogman » Dec 19, 2012 1:10 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:Hm? Climbtech gear currently has the stainless sleeves lited at $6.95 and wedges $1.95.

According to this page:http://www.safeclimbing.org/education/mechbolts.htm Sleeve bolts have greater shear strength than a same sized wedge bolt only if they have a hex head and internal threads (like a Power-Stud) instead of of an externally threaded bolt and nut (like a Lowe's Redhead). They are also removeable. Sleeve bolts seem to require a cleaner hole than wedges, but that's easy to accomplish.

I'm personally comfortable with the weight ratings of a 3/8 wedge. There's a lot more material in a sleeve bolt and I assume that's why they cost more. Interestingly, at least one brand of wedges is stronger in zinc-plated steel than in stainless.
I've been testing my bolts very scientifically; by setting them in a creekbed and yanking on them with a four-wheeler. They have all held up fine, and even after administering a sound multidirectional beating with a hammer to loosen them up, I still couldn't pull them out. I only have about 10' of chain though, so I'm not getting a massive pull.


Thanks for the feedback.

As far the pricing goes, that's what I thought,too. When you select the options and choose the 3/8" x 3.5 size the price changes to $3.95. The 1/2" by 2-3/4" are $6.95.

Funny, though- On the Concrete Fastening Systems website, the sleeve bolts are actually cheaper than the wedge bolts by $14.50 for a box of 50. (3/8" x 3" Stainless) It comes out to $1.45 per bolt.


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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 19, 2012 6:45 pm

Remember only use those bolts for temporary purposes. Strip the hangars and pound them in when done. Use fixe 1/2" bolts for bomber rigging.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby hunter » Dec 20, 2012 1:18 pm

I would note that (unless I read wrong) the confast 3/8in sleeve bolts have a weaker rating than the confast (and powers, fixe, etc...) wedge bolts. Enough lower I wouldn't use them except maybe in aid climbing since many alternatives exist.

Myself and a number of other climbers use confast 1/2in x 3in stainless sleeve bolts in softer rock. These have a good strength rating and work in rock where wedge bolts sometimes don't tighten. The threaded part of the bolt is slightly short relative to the hanger so when it is fully tightened in hard rock there are not as many threads sticking out as one would like so it is important to keep and eye out for the hanger spinning and working the nut off. In soft rock the bolt tightens further and this is less of an issue.

The design of these bolts is like the Fixe one but without a flange so in theory you can sometimes remove them completely but I have always damaged the sleeve doing so.
Last edited by hunter on Jan 4, 2013 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby CaverTyler » Jan 3, 2013 11:47 pm

trogman wrote:I just set my first bolt this last weekend. I used a Lowe's 3.5" plated steel, and removed the hanger when I was done. It worked well, although next time I will use a tether on my wrench. One 1/2" craftsman wrench, down the crack and gone forever. Like you guys said, if I thought it would be for long-term use, I would certainly use stainless. This was just a case of having nothing in-cave to rig to, and we needed to finish up the survey and see what was at the bottom of the short drop.

It is mind-boggling how expensive SS bolts are. A box of 3/8" x 3" hex sleeve bolts from Concrete Fastening Systems is a total of $72 with shipping. It would take me a long time to use that many bolts. Maybe I can find someone else in my area to split the cost with.

Trogman :helmet:


did you just use one bolt to tie off with 1, or did you set 2, for safety? I've used these home depot bolts when i've hung stuff on my concrete block walls in my shop... Don't know if i could make myself use one for an anchor . Home depot bolts just scare me... I do alot of automotive work and custom fab, so I always buy good name brand bolts for safe measures. For stainless steel bolts, try Fastenal great selection of about anything, they are online and also one local to me.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby trogman » Jan 4, 2013 11:21 am

FlyinTy wrote:
trogman wrote:I just set my first bolt this last weekend. I used a Lowe's 3.5" plated steel, and removed the hanger when I was done. It worked well, although next time I will use a tether on my wrench. One 1/2" craftsman wrench, down the crack and gone forever. Like you guys said, if I thought it would be for long-term use, I would certainly use stainless. This was just a case of having nothing in-cave to rig to, and we needed to finish up the survey and see what was at the bottom of the short drop.

It is mind-boggling how expensive SS bolts are. A box of 3/8" x 3" hex sleeve bolts from Concrete Fastening Systems is a total of $72 with shipping. It would take me a long time to use that many bolts. Maybe I can find someone else in my area to split the cost with.

Trogman :helmet:


did you just use one bolt to tie off with 1, or did you set 2, for safety? I've used these home depot bolts when i've hung stuff on my concrete block walls in my shop... Don't know if i could make myself use one for an anchor . Home depot bolts just scare me... I do alot of automotive work and custom fab, so I always buy good name brand bolts for safe measures. For stainless steel bolts, try Fastenal great selection of about anything, they are online and also one local to me.


In this case, since it was a very short drop, I only used one. If it had been anything substantial, I would've used two stainless bolts.

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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 4, 2013 11:20 pm

FlyinTy wrote:did you just use one bolt to tie off with 1, or did you set 2, for safety? I've used these home depot bolts when i've hung stuff on my concrete block walls in my shop... Don't know if i could make myself use one for an anchor . Home depot bolts just scare me... I do alot of automotive work and custom fab, so I always buy good name brand bolts for safe measures. For stainless steel bolts, try Fastenal great selection of about anything, they are online and also one local to me.


I don't know what bolts HD sells, but the Redhead wedges sold at Lowe's (where Brewer bought his) have entirely adequate strength ratings.

trogman wrote:In this case, since it was a very short drop, I only used one. If it had been anything substantial, I would've used two stainless bolts.


I assume you would use stainless on a big drop for out of consideration for future, and not immediate, safety. Many stainless bolts have a lower strength than their zinc plated counterparts.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby SipseyRiverBrewing » Jan 10, 2013 1:31 pm

I started replacing old bolts for rock climbing a couple of years ago with the Alaska Mountaineering Club, when I was living in Anchorage. Fixe Stainless Steel Wedge bolts, 3/8 by 3 1/2 are the way to go. http://www.fixehardware.com/shop/bolts/fixe-ss-3/8-x-3-1/2-wedge-bolt/ Pair those bolts with a stainless steel hanger. With the bolt and hanger, it comes out to something like $8 a bolt, expensive, but $16 can build a safe anchor that you are staking your life on.

I'm seen a lot of people rappelling on sketchy bolts into caves. Usually people justify this by saying something like "rappelling is only a static force" or "i've rappelled on worse." We all know that these are just excuses, and one day someone is going to get into trouble because of it. Accidents in North American Mountaineering will show plenty of examples of a single bolt pulling out when someone is rappelling or being lowered (a "static" force).

Using a blow tube remove dust from the hole, and the appropriate size drill bit is also essential. Hell, you're even supposed to place them with a torque wrench to acheive full strengh (all climbing bolts with have a "torque to" rating). Remember, that KN rating is on a perfectly placed bolt. Also, if you don't blow the dust out after drilling it becomes lodged in the threads severely decreasing the bolt's strength.

Hardware store bolts and concrete fastners are generally more brittle and will sheer before they bend under pressure. None of those were developed or rated for climbing and are suspect at best. http://www.safeclimbing.org/education/dangerbolts.htm

If were are placing bolts, lets take in the interest of the caving community and our personal safety. Two bolts are minimum for a safe rappel. If you place anything that you don't remove, other people will certainly rappel on it after you. In the interest of cave conservation, we should really be placing as few bolts as possible anyway.

If we are setting bolts why not do it right the first time? By making good multi point anchors and using stainless steel wedge bolts, we can rappel and climb on them for the next 50 to 100 years.

Hopefully that doesn't sound to much like a rant, but this is a subject I have been a little fired up on lately. Last weekend I was going through the Odyssey cave when we encountered a suspect bolt. We came through the Illiad entrance, and at the second drop past the nozzle (i think its the 5th drop from the Illiad entrance) we came to a single bolt rappel. It looks like it was originally placed as a rebelay, and both drops were done with a single rope. It was solid and stainless steel, but not set as well as it could be, showing about 1/16th of the bolt itself visible from behind the hanger (when looked at from the bottom). This means it was not set totally horizontally to the wall, thus decreasing its strength. Even if it had been perfect, it was still only one bolt, and there is no telling how long it was.

Anyway, I stopped there, while the rest of our group continued on. Even as a rebelay it wasn't safe, and had it failed on ascension, it would have created a dynamic force in which an ascender would have severed the rope. http://vimeo.com/24521052 They say a tensioned rope can be cut with a plastic butter knife.

I wanted to bottom that cave, and now I'm intent on adding another bolt in this spot. We all rappel and climb on stuff like that all of the time while know it either isn't safe/ or could be safer. I would like to get some folks together and start replacing some of the aging bolts in TAG. Is anyone doing something like this already? Is there an NSS grant for something like this? The American Safe Climbing Association does this sort of thing for rock climbs. Anyone interested, or know how I could find some funding for this project?

Any thoughts welcome, Cave safe,
_ Brandon
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 10, 2013 3:02 pm

Thanks for you thoughts Brandon. Interestingly, the site that you linked reccomends bolts designed for concrete and construction purposes as safe for climbing use (as has already been noted in this thread).
SipseyRiverBrewing wrote:We all rappel and climb on stuff like that all of the time while know it either isn't safe/ or could be safer.

I'm sure that you had good reason for concern in the case you mention, but sometimes I don't think it matters if we could be safer. If we have taken every reasonable precaution and are operating well within established standards of safety, who cares if a different anchor can hold an extra theoretical ton? I don't doubt that Fixes are fantastic bolts, but the fact that they were designed for climbers doesn't mean that they are the only bolt that will safely work. If a newer, better, stronger, safer bolt was produced that cost twice as much as the Fixe, would we all need to buy it in order to be safe? $16 can indeed build a safe anchor that you are staking your life on, but that doesn't make a $7 anchor (made from two stainless wedges with stainless hangers) deadly.

Anyway, them's the thoughts of a boy who has hung from exactly 2 bolt anchors (single bolts, Maxwelton Sink) in his life, and has constructed exactly 0. There's a good chance I may be 100% wrong.

I've another question. How can I leave my bolts and hangers in the cave, but discourage people from using them? Would it be bad for the anchor to cover it in mud? The cave in question has recently seen a big increase in yahoo visitation, and I think the only reason someone hasn't been stuck in the pit is that there is no natural rig point. The last time I was there someone had left a 1/4" polypropylene rope rigged to a rock and snaked through the passage about 70' to the drop. Fortunately, it was obviously much too short, so I don't think they climbed on it.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby trogman » Jan 10, 2013 3:21 pm

SipseyRiverBrewing wrote: Also, if you don't blow the dust out after drilling it becomes lodged in the threads severely decreasing the bolt's strength.


I don't dispute that you need to blow the dust out of your hole, but the reason is so that the bolt will go to the full depth. I can't think of any reason why dust in the threads would reduce the bolt's strength in any way. Can you explain how this would happen? I would be interested in reading about it.
The only thing that dust in the threads would do (as far as I can ascertain) is bind up the threads and keep the bolt from tightening as much as it should. Since I used a sleeve anchor, this wouldn't even be applicable, since the threads are not in the hole. I'm not familiar with wedge anchors, so I won't comment on how it might affect them.

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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Extremeophile » Jan 10, 2013 3:43 pm

trogman wrote:I don't dispute that you need to blow the dust out of your hole, but the reason is so that the bolt will go to the full depth. I can't think of any reason why dust in the threads would reduce the bolt's strength in any way.

I agree that dust would have no effect on the strength of the bolt itself, and in my experience it doesn't really affect your ability to tighten a bolt. It could theoretically prevent the bolt from being inserted far enough, but most people over-drill wedge or sleeve bolt holes anyway. The main purpose for cleaning the hole is to give the wedge or sleeve portion of the bolt a better surface to wedge against. Rock flour will act as a release agent in the hole and increase the likelihood of it slipping or pulling out. A blow tube is commonly used, but a bulb is better because the humidity from your breath can cause the rock flour to cake. Most people use the combination of a nylon bristle brush (such as a test-tube brush) and a blowing device to clean the hole. I generally do at least 3-4 cycles of blowing and brushing before installing a bolt.
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Re: Where do you buy your bolts?

Postby Extremeophile » Jan 10, 2013 3:52 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:How can I leave my bolts and hangers in the cave, but discourage people from using them? Would it be bad for the anchor to cover it in mud? The cave in question has recently seen a big increase in yahoo visitation, and I think the only reason someone hasn't been stuck in the pit is that there is no natural rig point. The last time I was there someone had left a 1/4" polypropylene rope rigged to a rock and snaked through the passage about 70' to the drop. Fortunately, it was obviously much too short, so I don't think they climbed on it.

Electrify them :yikes:

In general I'm in favor of placing anchors properly and leaving them rigged. However, it is easy enough to remove the hangers. There is that saying - " if you make something idiot proof, someone will just make a better idiot".
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