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Bolts for Limestone How Long?
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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Nov 21, 2012

John Byrnes wrote:
Excellent! I have wondered what the current situation was in Hawaii. It's my understanding that Hawaii is mostly basalt/igneous rock. We are VERY interested in obtaining samples of cracked stainless bolts that were not placed in limestone. Can you send me some? Please!

Yes, it is almost all basalt. I only have a few SCC and pitting corrosion induced hangers and bolts, maybe seven. Honestly, it is not a huge problem here. Only about 1% of the 304 stainless steel hangers we have placed have exhibited cracking and 100% of those hangers were powder coated Metolius Enviro hangers. We have placed about 200 Fixe 304 4mm stock SS hangers and none of them have failed, not even after ten years. As far as the bolts go, all of the few wedge bolts we placed (20 or so) have become dangerous. There is no question that wedge bolts, even if made of 316, suck ass in marine environments. About 1% of the other bolts we have placed (304 3/8" Power-Bolts) have failed.

But of course the only failure value that is acceptable is 0%, so we made the blanket decision to replace everything with titanium except the anchor chain which does not come in titanium, we use 3/8" 316 chain for that. To start with, I have plenty of photos of the broken hangers and bolts I can send you.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Nov 22, 2012

John Byrnes wrote:
Jim, my goal since 2000, when we made the first Ti bolt, has been for a climbing manufacturer to provide a Ti bolt as a regular product. Back then, everyone was denying that stainless would not work, and today I STILL see that ignorance in the majority of climbers. The pull-tests in question, where the Tortugas failed close to 9kN, were always questionable. I don't know who did them, how accurate their results were, or where to get a copy of the test summary. The results were not repeatable. Like 20kN, I have 13 years of practical testing in Cayman Brac on over 700 titanium bolts and am quite pleased with them. I also know that the UT bolts far surpass all UIAA standards for strength, and MY STANDARD for corrosion resistance. I TRIED to get the UIAA to adopt a corrosion standard back in 2000-2003, but the bolt manufacturers resisted it, siting all the things you just did. THEY WERE WRONG, AND ARE STILL WRONG. I have two professional metallurgists on my team here in Colorado, one of which works with Ti everyday in the aerospace industry. You seem to work for a bolt supplier. What if I told you that we know how to manufacture a Ti bolt, with an expected strength of 40kN and a manufacturing cost (after tooling costs) of about $4? With a Petzl Collinox going for about $18 and only lasting a few years, it's a no-brainer. And as far as the market for these bolts, it's just now entering it's growth phase. How many stainless steel bolts do you think have been placed in the Mediterranean? A hundred thousand? Five hundred thousand? And in Asia? The Caribbean? South America? These ALL NEED TO BE REPLACED. As I said before, this is ultimately a sustainability and access issue. Stainless breaks and will continue to break. Climbers will be hurt and/or killed. Governments will put an end to sport climbing in these areas, and THEN who are you going to sell bolts to?


The tests on the Tortuga bolts were performed by TV SD in Munich, the only (at that time) certified bolt testing laboratory in the worlds and the leading authority on climbing equipment testing. The results have never been questionable in any way whatsoever and if you think they are Im quite happy to put you in touch with the leader of that department. He also sits on the UIAA Safecom and CENORM as the testing labs representative and knows more than you or I will ever know about breaking this tuff.
The results are included in an article on bolts from the German Alpine Club (DAV) and were widely published and are available for anyone to read at any time in their archives.

Like it or not the tests were read by a great number of people and make it difficult for any manufacturer to get really interested in re-establishing titaniums reputation. If you guys (the titanium promoters) would ever publish credible independently verified results to a reasonable QC standards things might be easier for us (I am a manufacturer).

If you can, as you state, produce a titanium single stem (not U) bolt capable of passing the CE standard (we have no interest in the UIAA safety label) and a breaking strain of 40kN for $4 then I wish to order 1,000 today. Cash payment FOB USA. If you cannot supply at the claimed price then please inform us.

We have many hundreds of thousands of bolts in coastal areas in Europe and 3 recorded failures, the chance of the European sport climbing community being influenced by the advocates of titanium or the future UIAA corrosion recomendations are precisely nil, I know since Im involved in their decision making.

A previous delegate to the UIAA from the USA tried to force galvanised steel bolts onto the climbing community as a solution for coastal corrosion but we saw sense and rejected this as a concept, currently there is a new effort to provide a new set of recommendations but these look doomed to failure or at least reduced to meaninglessness for reasons you probably will have trouble understanding.

As usual market forces will have the final say, if titanium bolts are too expensive then the areas with major or uncontrollable corrosion problems will be abandoned as sport climbing venues. Scaremongering that governments will ban sport climbing does nothing to support your argument, the governments in the EU do not have the legal power to do so even if they wanted to which is very unlikely. The opposite is in fact the case in taht EU and state funds are being used to bolt coastal areas in the Mediterranean.

Clearly corrosion in a few areas is a problem and it would be desirable to find a solution, for the vast majority of climbing areas the picture is different and some of the previous attempts to cover both issues have been unsuccessful mainly due to unrealistic claims from some parties and a considerable amount of axe-grinding. All of which (and I have 20 years experience of the goings-on) are utterly irrelevant if the manufacturers dont make a product at a profit.

Im not on the internet for the next week to continue the debate as we are climbing in Arizona having come from Europe (at my expense) to contribute to the ASCA Conference and talk about corrosion and standards.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 22, 2012

Jim Titt wrote:
The tests on the Tortuga bolts were performed by TV SD in Munich, the only (at that time) certified bolt testing laboratory in the worlds and the leading authority on climbing equipment testing. The results have never been questionable in any way whatsoever and if you think they are Im quite happy to put you in touch with the leader of that department.


We never questioned the reliability of the testing organization. What we questioned was why did they fail at 9kN when the ones we tested here at BD failed at over 25kN?

At the time, there were only two people buying them, and all the bolts were made-to-order. So where did they get them, and were they made by the same people/process?

Jim Titt wrote:
He also sits on the UIAA Safecom and CENORM as the testing labs representative and knows more than you or I will ever know about breaking this tuff.


Yes, please send his contact info.

Jim Titt wrote:
Like it or not the tests were read by a great number of people and make it difficult for any manufacturer to get really interested in re-establishing titaniums reputation.


This is pure nonsense. This is like saying that the Wright Brothers' first aircraft wasn't practical, and therefore, no aircraft are practical.

Even though dozens of morons on the internet keep saying "Titanium is brittle", it is used extensively in the aerospace industry, for example, where its strength and toughness are a foregone conclusion. You flew over here, right? The wings didn't crack off over the Atlantic did they?

Jim Titt wrote:
If you guys (the titanium promoters) would ever publish credible independently verified results to a reasonable QC standards things might be easier for us (I am a manufacturer).


We don't publish for liability reasons. We "titanium promoters" aren't being paid. We designed, produced, tested and installed Ti bolts because your product, stainless steel, was worthless in the places we loved to climb. We did it for the love of the sport, not to make things easier for you. We continue to do it because existing bolt manufacturers don't have a solution. Replacing bolts every few years is NOT a solution, it's ridiculous.


Jim Titt wrote:
If you can, as you state, produce a titanium single stem (not U) bolt capable of passing the CE standard (we have no interest in the UIAA safety label) and a breaking strain of 40kN for $4 then I wish to order 1,000 today.


I said we know how to do it. Not that we are doing it. I'm just pointing out that Ti bolts could be produced that are profitable and price-equivelent with stainless. But you're so closed-minded, forget it.

Jim Titt wrote:
We have many hundreds of thousands of bolts in coastal areas in Europe and 3 recorded failures, the chance of the European sport climbing community being influenced by the advocates of titanium or the future UIAA corrosion recomendations are precisely nil, I know since Im involved in their decision making.


It's too bad you're involved, because you obviously have a vested interest in stainless and a prejudiced attitude about Ti, which is the ONLY extant solution to the corrosion problem. Clearly, that pisses you off.

Only three failures? How many of those bolts have you replaced? How many will you replace? How many will you need to replace over and over again?

Jim Titt wrote:
there is a new effort to provide a new set of recommendations but these look doomed to failure or at least reduced to meaninglessness for reasons you probably will have trouble understanding. As usual market forces will have the final say, if titanium bolts are too expensive then the areas with major or uncontrollable corrosion problems will be abandoned as sport climbing venues.


I have to call bullshit on that. Ti bolts are NOT too expensive, as proven by the fact that thousands of them are being installed every year, all around the world. Furthermore, these efforts are philanthropic; none of the people doing it are being paid a penny, we're not funded by a local government, and none of us are wealthy.

Market forces have already had the final say. We have evaluated the cost of putting in a Ti bolt for $10 that should last several centuries versus having to replace a $5 stainless bolt every three years. It's quite clear which is more cost effective, even if you neglect to include the labor in the price, as you always do.

It's also quite clear that producing a removable/replaceable stainless bolt creates a nice steady revenue stream for manufacturers like you.

And as far as me having trouble understanding, give me a fucking break. The only problem is the politics. Use the ASTM boiling MgCL2 test and be done.

Jim Titt wrote:
Scaremongering that governments will ban sport climbing does nothing to support your argument, the governments in the EU do not have the legal power to do so even if they wanted to which is very unlikely. The opposite is in fact the case in taht EU and state funds are being used to bolt coastal areas in the Mediterranean. Clearly corrosion in a few areas is a problem and it would be desirable to find a solution,


Deny, deny, deny. There's a hell of a lot of climbing that's NOT in the EU, Jim. There exists a solution, Jim. You just don't want to acknowledge it.

How long do you think those EU governments will continue to fund bolt replacement? Consider Kalymnos. Saying that Greece isn't one of the wealthiest countries in the EU is a huge understatement. How long do you think they can afford to pay for bolt replacement?


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 22, 2012

20 kN wrote:
Yes, it is almost all basalt. I only have a few SCC and pitting corrosion induced hangers and bolts, maybe seven. Honestly, it is not a huge problem here. Only about 1% of the 304 stainless steel hangers we have placed have exhibited cracking and 100% of those hangers were powder coated Metolius Enviro hangers. We have placed about 200 Fixe 304 4mm stock SS hangers and none of them have failed, not even after ten years. As far as the bolts go, all of the few wedge bolts we placed (20 or so) have become dangerous. There is no question that wedge bolts, even if made of 316, suck ass in marine environments. About 1% of the other bolts we have placed (304 3/8" Power-Bolts) have failed. But of course the only failure value that is acceptable is 0%, so we made the blanket decision to replace everything with titanium except the anchor chain which does not come in titanium, we use 3/8" 316 chain for that. To start with, I have plenty of photos of the broken hangers and bolts I can send you.


That sounds about right. If you could send us a few samples with "closed" cracks, that would be great. A closed crack is one where the material hasn't broken into two pieces, and all thel elements are still in the crack and there's no contamination. Oh, send a small piece (1" stone) of your basalt too!

In our experience (in limestone), the 304 will crack much faster than 316. We had a lot of Fixe clad bolts. Can you cut one in half and see if it's actually a clad bolt or solid stainless. The shiny cladding is distinctly different than a mild steel core.

Can you please describe your anchors in a bit more detail? Ti bolts with steel chain?

For what it's worth, on Cayman Brac we just thread the two anchor bolts with the climbing rope. There's plenty of sand too, but the abrasion resistance of Ti is orders of magnitude better than steel, and after 13 years they show NO wear. People even top-rope directly through the anchors.


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By Perin Blanchard
Administrator
From Orem, UT
Nov 22, 2012
Racking too much gear, as usual.

"John Byrnes" wrote:
I said we know how to do it. Not that we are doing it. I'm just pointing out that Ti bolts could be produced that are profitable and price-equivelent with stainless.


This isn't sarcasm, but rather a genuine question:

If you know how to produce a single-stem Ti bolt that fulfills the CE requirements for $4 a unit, why don't you produce them? Or why don't you contract with an existing Ti fabricator to produce them for you?


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 23, 2012

Perin Blanchard wrote:
This isn't sarcasm, but rather a genuine question: If you know how to produce a single-stem Ti bolt that fulfills the CE requirements for $4 a unit, why don't you produce them? Or why don't you contract with an existing Ti fabricator to produce them for you?


My "team" isn't part of a business. We are just climbers who love the sport and happen to have the expertise to solve what we see as a serious problem. And we solved it.

None of the work we've done has been for profit but just the opposite. For example, I have personally spent something over $20,000 and near 1000 hours of labor to rebolt Cayman Brac with Ti, and the Thaitanium Project (www.thaitaniumproject.com) is much larger.

To produce Ti bolts for profit we would need to start a company/corporation. We all either already have full-time jobs or are retired, and it's not what we want to do. If I were 20 years younger, I might do it.

No, the production of Ti bolts is something an existing climbing company should pick up as an addition to their product line. There is profit to be made and a whole lot more.


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By Chris Clarke
From La Paz, BO
Nov 24, 2012

Hi John,

Which glue are you using with the Ti bolts?

Thanks,

Chris


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 24, 2012

Chris Clarke wrote:
Hi John, Which glue are you using with the Ti bolts? Thanks, Chris


On Cayman Brac and in Thailand we're using the Hilti RE-500. I'm impressed with it and recommend it. In DAV tests done about 10 years ago, the pull-out machine maxed-out at 40kN before the glue failed. UIAA spec is 15kN.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 25, 2012
El Chorro

Maybe I can offer a different perspective here. I am no metalurgist and don't claim to know more than the obvious when it comes to testing methods, types of steel, etc. All I know is that I've broken stainless glue in Fixe bolts off a wall in Thailand with nothing more than a quickdraw, and I've pulled out a Petzl glue in bolt by hand. The Fixe bolt was less than 10 years old and broke right off when I clipped into it with a draw and bounced. The Petzl bolt was less than 12 years old and came out when I tried to clip it. The bolt looked new, but the collinox glue had failed. I have scarier stories concerning expansion bolts but that's for another thread.

As someone who had no previous experience bolting and had never thought that bolts like that could fail so easily, what I saw on my first trip to Thailand was alarming. How could it be, in a place where thousands of climbers pay thousands of dollars every year to visit, that the hardware was in such horrible condition? Was anyone making an effort to solve this problem?

Over the next three years I made it a personal goal to at least make my tiny island safe. The climbing shops there were supporting me, so I figured I owed it to them to keep the climbing on this island sustainable. Without safe bolts, many locals would not have the possibility to earn a living, much less climb.

I think many climbers at least understand that a lot of work goes into bolting. But what i think most climbers DON'T understand is that in places like Thailand, Cayman Brack, the Philipines, etc, the most difficlut part is not putting in the hardware, but obtaining it.

Things have changed a bit since I left Thailand, but when I was there we were literally paying cash to a few generous Russian climbers who were smuggling Tortuga bolts into the country. Other groups of people were getting Ti staple bolts custom made in the US but the order process for all of us was the same. We had to guarantee that the order would be at least 500 bolts or so, or the hardware would not get made. We're talking about hundreds if not thousands of dollars that must be raised just to place an order. You can imagine how hard that is in Thailand.

Now like I said, I don't claim to know a lot about the industry as far as costs and profits. But it sure as hell felt strange to know how many areas would rely on Ti bolts to stay open, and then also know that there were no companies actually selling them regularly. How is it possible that none of the bolt manufacturers had got wind of this market?

Then it dawned on me. Stainless bolts need to be replaced. Maybe after 10 years, maybe after 20, but inevitably, they will need to be replaced. This is the perfect business model. It's like razor blades. If Gillette ever found a way to create a razor that never needed replacing, they'd spend money to keep that design OFF the market. It would ruin their long term business.

So I am not accusing anyone of anything, but as someone who really struggled to source Ti bolts, it sure FEELS like the hardware manufacturers are more concerned about their long term business model than the fact that many many MANY areas would benifit from Titanium.

John understands. Like him and SO MANY others, I have sunk a lot of my own money into bolts and glue, not to mention the time it takes. People like us, we do it because we believe in something. We don't want to be paid for it or even get any recognition. And we understand that manufacturers need to run a business and make money. But a little support and cooperation from a major player in the manufacturing business would go a LONG way toward making these areas permanently safe. Once that problem is solved, individuals can focus their efforts on waste removal, trail maintenance, and all the other problems that also plague many of the areas we've spoken of in these threads.

Until then, thanks to people like Sam, Josh, John and so many others who have paved the way to a more sustainable future.


FLAG
By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 25, 2012

Ryan Williams wrote:
Maybe I can offer a different perspective here. I am no metalurgist and don't claim to know more than the obvious when it comes to testing methods, types of steel, etc. All I know is that I've broken stainless glue in Fixe bolts off a wall in Thailand with nothing more than a quickdraw, and I've pulled out a Petzl glue in bolt by hand. The Fixe bolt was less than 10 years old and broke right off when I clipped into it with a draw and bounced. The Petzl bolt was less than 12 years old and came out when I tried to clip it. The bolt looked new, but the collinox glue had failed. I have scarier stories concerning expansion bolts but that's for another thread. As someone who had no previous experience bolting and had never thought that bolts like that could fail so easily, what I saw on my first trip to Thailand was alarming. How could it be, in a place where thousands of climbers pay thousands of dollars every year to visit, that the hardware was in such horrible condition? Was anyone making an effort to solve this problem? Over the next three years I made it a personal goal to at least make my tiny island safe. The climbing shops there were supporting me, so I figured I owed it to them to keep the climbing on this island sustainable. Without safe bolts, many locals would not have the possibility to earn a living, much less climb. I think many climbers at least understand that a lot of work goes into bolting. But what i think most climbers DON'T understand is that in places like Thailand, Cayman Brack, the Philipines, etc, the most difficlut part is not putting in the hardware, but obtaining it. Things have changed a bit since I left Thailand, but when I was there we were literally paying cash to a few generous Russian climbers who were smuggling Tortuga bolts into the country. Other groups of people were getting Ti staple bolts custom made in the US but the order process for all of us was the same. We had to guarantee that the order would be at least 500 bolts or so, or the hardware would not get made. We're talking about hundreds if not thousands of dollars that must be raised just to place an order. You can imagine how hard that is in Thailand. Now like I said, I don't claim to know a lot about the industry as far as costs and profits. But it sure as hell felt strange to know how many areas would rely on Ti bolts to stay open, and then also know that there were no companies actually selling them regularly. How is it possible that none of the bolt manufacturers had got wind of this market? Then it dawned on me. Stainless bolts need to be replaced. Maybe after 10 years, maybe after 20, but inevitably, they will need to be replaced. This is the perfect business model. It's like razor blades. If Gillette ever found a way to create a razor that never needed replacing, they'd spend money to keep that design OFF the market. It would ruin their long term business. So I am not accusing anyone of anything, but as someone who really struggled to source Ti bolts, it sure FEELS like the hardware manufacturers are more concerned about their long term business model than the fact that many many MANY areas would benifit from Titanium. Josh understands. Like him and SO MANY others, I have sunk a lot of my own money into bolts and glue, not to mention the time it takes. People like us, we do it because we believe in something. We don't want to be paid for it or even get any recognition. And we understand that manufacturers need to run a business and make money. But a little support and cooperation from a major player in the manufacturing business would go a LONG way toward making these areas permanently safe. Once that problem is solved, individuals can focus their efforts on waste removal, trail maintenance, and all the other problems that also plague many of the areas we've spoken of in these threads. Until then, thanks to people like Sam and Josh and so many others who have paved the way to a more sustainable future.


Well said and right on target.

BTW, I just had lunch with Josh.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 25, 2012
El Chorro

John Byrnes wrote:
Well said and right on target. BTW, I just had lunch with Josh.


Cool. I wasn't sure if you guys knew each other. He may not even remember me, but tell him Ryan from Phi Phi says hello.

Have you met Jonas and Garth? Seems like they've been enjoying the US latelly. Hope you guys have a great winter, wherever you decide to spend it!


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 25, 2012
El Chorro

PS, John, I just realized I've been calling you "Josh." I've just edited the last post to fix that.

I was talking about you in the last post, but "Josh" goes in the same category and of course there are climbers all over the world that put in time, money, hard work, etc. You guys put so much effort into this cause. There are a lot of us out there that do appreciate it and try to help when we can.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 26, 2012

Ryan Williams wrote:
PS, John, I just realized I've been calling you "Josh." I've just edited the last post to fix that. I was talking about you in the last post, but "Josh" goes in the same category and of course there are climbers all over the world that put in time, money, hard work, etc. You guys put so much effort into this cause. There are a lot of us out there that do appreciate it and try to help when we can.


Thanks. I'll tell Josh you said "hi".

I first met Jonas about two weeks ago. He and Josh just got back from a two-week climbing road trip that included all the desert areas and the Las Vegas conference. Interesting stories, not much appropriate action.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Dec 6, 2012

At last, Im part of a conspiracy theory!

The gentleman in charge of testing at TV Sd is Dr. Volker Kron, his mail is volker.kron@tuev-sued.de
Since he is at the testing laboratory he is prevented from giving details of the tests without permision (they are confidential) so you should contact Chris Semmel who leads the DAV safety research;- chris.semmel@alpenverein.de
They both speak English.


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By Chris Clarke
From La Paz, BO
Dec 6, 2012

John Byrnes wrote:
On Cayman Brac and in Thailand we're using the Hilti RE-500. I'm impressed with it and recommend it. In DAV tests done about 10 years ago, the pull-out machine maxed-out at 40kN before the glue failed. UIAA spec is 15kN.


I'm using the Hilti glue here in Bolivia but it is really expensive so I was hoping for a more economical alternative.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Dec 7, 2012

Chris Clarke wrote:
I'm using the Hilti glue here in Bolivia but it is really expensive so I was hoping for a more economical alternative.


Yes, it's expensive just like all of Hilti's products. But anything that says "Hilti" on it is also, IMHO, the best quality available. I don't know of any other glues that are significantly less expensive AND near-equal quality.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Dec 7, 2012

John Byrnes wrote:
Yes, it's expensive just like all of Hilti's products. But anything that says "Hilti" on it is also, IMHO, the best quality available. I don't know of any other glues that are significantly less expensive AND near-equal quality.

The Simpon SET-XP22 is stronger than the Hilti RE-500 and less expensive. Simpson's products are also significantly more available, you can get them from Home Depot or Lowes, whereas the RE-500 is not as easy to find. Simpson makes the best epoxies in America IMO.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Dec 8, 2012

20 kN wrote:
The Simpon SET-XP22 is stronger than the Hilti RE-500 and less expensive. Simpson's products are also significantly more available, you can get them from Home Depot or Lowes, whereas the RE-500 is not as easy to find. Simpson makes the best epoxies in America IMO.


I've never heard of Simpson's before. It may be stronger, in terms of pull-out, but as RE-500 is already about 3 times stronger than the UIAA spec, it's overkill.

Have you used RE-500 before and can you compare the working characteristics for us? I like the longer gel-time for the RE-500, and I like the fact that it sticks to titanium! At one time I thought nothing would stick to it.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Dec 8, 2012

John Byrnes wrote:
I've never heard of Simpson's before. It may be stronger, in terms of pull-out, but as RE-500 is already about 3 times stronger than the UIAA spec, it's overkill. Have you used RE-500 before and can you compare the working characteristics for us? I like the longer gel-time for the RE-500, and I like the fact that it sticks to titanium! At one time I thought nothing would stick to it.

I have only used the RE-500 on the ground for testing, I have never bolted a route with it so I cant really compare. But the SET-XP22 is a good product, the consistency is appropriate for bolting, and it cures slow enough to allow you to do the thing you need to do when bolting without having to change out the nozzle all of the time. As far as sticking goes, the epoxy is not designed to "stick" to the bolt per se, that is not really how it works. As you know, bolts have notices on them. These notches are critical because without them you could pull the bolt out by hand in many cases. Anyway, the epoxy fills into the notches and causes a physical constriction that prevents the bolt from being removed. The only way for the bolt to come out is for the epoxy to break in the sectors that have filled the notches or for the epoxy-to-rock bond to fail. That is why it is critical to tool many deep notches into the bolt. Threading is the best way to achieve this. But I suspect you already knew that.

As far as the UIAA standard goes, UIAA 123 has no epoxy tensile strength requirements, so I dont know what you are referring to when you are referencing such a requirement. The only thing I saw that UIAA 123 said was that the bolt needed to withstand 20kN tension and 25kN shear.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Dec 8, 2012

20 kN wrote:
I have only used the RE-500 on the ground for testing, I have never bolted a route with it so I cant really compare. But the SET-XP22 is a good product, the consistency is appropriate for bolting, and it cures slow enough to allow you to do the thing you need to do when bolting without having to change out the nozzle all of the time. As far as sticking goes, the epoxy is not designed to "stick" to the bolt per se, that is not really how it works. As you know, bolts have notices on them. These notches are critical because without them you could pull the bolt out by hand in many cases. Anyway, the epoxy fills into the notches and causes a physical constriction that prevents the bolt from being removed. The only way for the bolt to come out is for the epoxy to break in the sectors that have filled the notches or for the epoxy-to-rock bond to fail. That is why it is critical to tool many deep notches into the bolt. Threading is the best way to achieve this. But I suspect you already knew that. As far as the UIAA standard goes, UIAA 123 has no epoxy tensile strength requirements, so I dont know what you are referring to when you are referencing such a requirement. The only thing I saw that UIAA 123 said was that the bolt needed to withstand 20kN tension and 25kN shear.


Okay, so it's a "binding mortar" just like the now discontinued Hilti C-100, which is what we used back in 2000/2001. I think I like the epoxy better, just MHO.

Unless they changed it, the pullout strength is specified to be >15kN. Did they change it? But anyway, back in 2003 (? I have to look it up) the DAV performed pullout tests of bolts using various glues and binding mortars. The machine they used went up to 40kN and there were two or three that maxed the machine; one of which was RE-500. The tests were run by Dieter Stopper, who was the head of the UIAA Safety Committee at the time.

I can pull the article if you want specifics.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Dec 9, 2012

More usually these kinds of products are called chemical mortar, at least in the standards which cover them.

For the bolt side the critical thing is the shear strength of the mortar since this is what prevents the mortar in the threads/notches breaking off, for the rock side the wetting ability is more important so that the mortar can engage into the rock pores, there isnt any easy way of measuring this except testing. The liquid/glass capsule system is better in this respect but problematic in others, in the 2006 tests by the DAV run by Chris Semmel the Hilti Hit RE500 and the capsule systems got to 60kN which is the limit for their tester. Since all the mortars they tested achieved at least 3 times the requirement all can be considered excellent anyway. (Its worth noting that they used a longer than usual bolt and one with good mechanical characteristics to achieve this however, these numbers are unachievable with many bolts on the market).

The strongest glue weve tested was a Swiss made bulk epoxy grout which we mix with colloidal silica to improve the hardness and usability.We get over 100kN with this but as it only comes in 1.5kg two-part packs use on the cliff is somewhat difficult. Also it takes ages to fully cure and getting a bolt to hold 100kN isnt so easy anyway.

The UIAA changed to 20kN in 2008 (published 2009) but this is somewhat of an irrelevance and any reasonable bolt/mortar combination will easily achieve this.

The bolt and mortar are approved in combination and the certification for EN959 (and UIAA123) is only for the two together. This aspect is however generally ignored by users.

Hilti HitRE 500 was for many years the gold standard for chemical mortar but time and creativity has put a lot of comparably performing products on the market, I can think of at least 10 comparable products available in Europe at least these days. The colour of the Hilti is a problem, the price even more so! The health issues are more of a worry since it is a fairly agressive product and a number of people have stopped using it for this reason, additionally a few groups such as the British Caving Association ban its use as it is poisonous to fish and water-dwelling organisms and caves are generally associated with water resources.

Its still the glue I recommend for customers in countries where access to alternatives is difficult since Hilti have good distribution and it is a reliable product.


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By jasoncm
Dec 9, 2012

I'm not sure how readily available it is elsewhere, but in Australia 'Powers' PFPRO expoxy is preferred by many. It's strong, economical and has a decent working time in warm climates.


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By mattm
From TX
Dec 14, 2012
Grande Grotto

I have to agree with Jim, while Hilti is a quality product it's color and extremely high costs make it a poor choice when many other, quality options are now available. In a time increased scrutiny on fixed anchors, the horrible red Hilti color is a POOR choice that acts a beacon highlighting anchor "impact".

For those who often do "small batch" bolt installs, many of these options are not ideal. Hilti, Powers, Simpson and Epcon all "require" the use of a crazy expensive glue gun. While that cost does spread out over time it is still a bit silly to me. Couple that with the common, LARGE mixing nozzles that are expensive ($3.50ish) and often hard to work with and the system is less than ideal for many.

After several discussion with bolters (including Jim), I've settled on Epcon A7. It's available in 10oz tubes for ~$15 which can be used with a normal and cheap caulk gun. Nozzles run $1.50 and are the PERFECT size for my typical 4in deep hole. For my typical small batch needs, this setup is GREAT. The only real downside of the A7 is it's FAST to cure. (can be an upside too). You need to have everything ready to go and glue in one fell swoop so having your system dialed is important. Hot weather and slow transitions between bolt holes can result in needing a new nozzle and much cursing. It's pretty sweet when you do it right though as you can be climbing on your glued route the same day.

It also has very low visual impact, drying to a nice grey-ish tan color.



Wave Bolt in Limestone with A7 glue
Wave Bolt in Limestone with A7 glue


This isn't great (Hilti)


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Dec 14, 2012
El Chorro

mattm wrote:
I have to agree with Jim, while Hilti is a quality product it's color and extremely high costs make it a poor choice when many other, quality options are now available. In a time increased scrutiny on fixed anchors, the horrible red Hilti color is a POOR choice that acts a beacon highlighting anchor "impact". For those who often do "small batch" bolt installs, many of these options are not ideal. Hilti, Powers, Simpson and Epcon all "require" the use of a crazy expensive glue gun. While that cost does spread out over time it is still a bit silly to me. Couple that with the common, LARGE mixing nozzles that are expensive ($3.50ish) and often hard to work with and the system is less than ideal for many. After several discussion with bolters (including Jim), I've settled on Epcon A7. It's available in 10oz tubes for ~$15 which can be used with a normal and cheap caulk gun. Nozzles run $1.50 and are the PERFECT size for my typical 4in deep hole. For my typical small batch needs, this setup is GREAT. The only real downside of the A7 is it's FAST to cure. (can be an upside too). You need to have everything ready to go and glue in one fell swoop so having your system dialed is important. Hot weather and slow transitions between bolt holes can result in needing a new nozzle and much cursing. It's pretty sweet when you do it right though as you can be climbing on your glued route the same day. It also has very low visual impact, drying to a nice grey-ish tan color. This isn't great (Hilti)


Agree with you that the Hilti system is not the most ideal for rock climbers. I haven't used anything else though, so all I can say is that the expensive gun, nozzles and the size of them both is kind of annoying when you're up on the side of a tower.

As far as the colour, I don't like it one bit. When I was learning to bolt, I definitely used too much glue in more than a few holes which results in a big bright red mess. I don't really consider myself to be super experienced, only competent, and even now it's hard to keep the wall looking nice when using RE500.

One way to fix it is to carry a bag of dirt with you, and throw a handful at each freshly glued bolt. This covers the red colour nicely. Reason I didn't do that very often in Thailand was because with all of the old bolts around, it was nice to be able to tell people to "clip the one with the bright red glue!"


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By mattm
From TX
Dec 14, 2012
Grande Grotto

Ryan Williams wrote:
Agree with you that the Hilti system is not the most ideal for rock climbers. I haven't used anything else though, so all I can say is that the expensive gun, nozzles and the size of them both is kind of annoying when you're up on the side of a tower."


I've come up with a glue system based on some ideas Jim has posted on his website. As I posted above, I use 10oz Tubes of Epcon A7.

I also use the smaller A24 nozzles:



Then you get a decent 10oz Caulk Gun. You want one with some form of mechanical advantage (not the really cheap ones) because the A7 takes a bit of force to pump.


You now have your somewhat short Glue Gun ready to go. Now you need to carry it.

I found a large, hard plastic cup and cut the bottom out of it. I then used a coat hanger to fashion a metal loop on the top to let me clip it to my harness (think hammer holster for a tool belt). I then found a white, plastic bag ( like you'd get from a sporting goods store) and duct taped it to the opening on the cup. Now you can stick your glue gun into the holster and the drips go down into the bag. (Props to Jim T for this setup idea). You want a WHITE bag so you can see down into the bag and view the mix color when you start a new tube. I've found that it's easy to get the hardened glue out when it dries - it doesn't really stick to the plastic.


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