Wasn't sure where to post this but i figured climbers outside the USA would have the most experience with tropical conditions. I am looking for advice about developing climbing in tropical conditions from people who have done it. I have done some research on my own and understand about using the proper bolts to prevent corrosion. The areas that I am looking at will have to have some extensive gardening done as well. What I am looking for is tips and tricks from people with experience setting up routes in the jungle.
By John Byrnes Administrator From Fort Collins, CO Jul 31, 2014
Bobby Hutton wrote:
Good articles, thanks Steve. I had done some research on Cayman Brac and the bolts they are using currently. Good stuff but pricey.
Bobby, on Steve's first day on the island this winter, he hiked up to where we were climbing. I was being lowered and was removing quickdraws.
The route I was on had been rebolted with titanium, but the old stainless bolts were still there too. As I came past the old bolts, I put my finger through the hanger and pulled. I think the third one I tried broke off, and I tossed it down to Steve, "Here's a souvenir!"
The point is that, yes titanium bolts are expensive, but anything less may cost someone's life. Stainless steel bolts have failed in as little as 9 months in Thailand, 18 months in Cayman. Where are you thinking of bolting? What kind of rock is it?
The climbing on Cayman Brac is on cliffs that are generally devoid of plants. My condolences on having to garden; it may do no good since things grow so fast in the Tropics.
I don't know if I have any major tips to give you. Here's basically what we do:
We rap-bolt everything. Getting to the top of the cliff, directly above the new route, is often the hardest part. We establish an anchor using trees, threads (holes in the rock) and rap down to the spot where there route will end.
It really sucks to rap down and find out you're 30' to the side of where you want to be, so be sure to MARK the line with something LARGE that you can see from the top of the wall. In fact, you may need multiple markers to be able to home-in on the right spot, since visibility is often blocked by vegetation.
We place two cheap expansion bolts for a top-rope anchor, and directionals below using natural gear and/or more expansion bolts, as needed. We over-drill the holes for all the steel bolts so we can remove the hangers and pound them into the rock once the glue-ins are set.
Then we top-rope the route multiple times to establish where the bolts should go. With Ti glue-ins, you want to be sure you have them in the right places. Then we set the Ti bolts, clean all the other stuff, and redpoint the route.