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By jeep gaskin
Jun 25, 2012
if you are involved in replacing old bolts on multipitch routes i'd be interested in reading your chosen course of action. i've recently started going ground up, replacing as i go, with the second climber removing the old ones. i cobbled together a bag from old carpet scraps and hang it from a fifi hook on the new bolt and retrieve it with a short tag line when i reach the next bolt to be replaced. the bag holds the bosch, hammer, wrench, blow tube, bolts etc. and allows me to climb mostly unencumbered. obviously the tag line needs to be longer than the distance between bolts/gear but things seem to work okay. surely others have devised methods that might be more efficient than mine and can help short circuit the learning curve.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jun 25, 2012
Stoked...
how are you replacing the old bolt with it still in the wall? It sounds as though you are adding new bolts and then having the second remove the old one... Are the old holes no longer usable? Seems like this technique could produce a lot more damage over time, say after four replacements. Obviously not every hole can be re-used, but it's just a thought.

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By jeep gaskin
Jun 25, 2012
i've never been able to extract an old bolt and reuse the hole. i've read where others have been successful doing that but i have not. i share your sensitivity toward repeated replacements long term. i use only stainless half inch bolts and what i consider the best hangers on the market. there is no chance you have spent more time considering these impacts than i have as it pertains to these routes. the bolts i'm replacing are 25 years old. most are stainless smc hangers on rusty 3/8 bolts. at the time they were first installed they were as good as it got around here. now they need replacing. i was hoping for information gathered from the experiences of others who are also replacing bolts on multipitch lines. there are circumstances and challenges that complicate the process compared to replacements on single pitch climbs that are easily done top down. you are entitled to weigh your judgement, as we all are, but what interests me would be your insights.

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By Leeroy
Jun 25, 2012
Just to be clear...what you are doing is retro bolting, not bolt replacement. Not saying it's a sin or anything.

This ought to be an interesting thread.

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jun 25, 2012
Bucky
Jeep,

See the education page on the ASCA website; Greg Barnes et al. have done a great job providing information on how to rebolt routes etc.

The general education page is here:

safeclimbing.org/education.htm

Specifically how to rebolt here:

safeclimbing.org/education/how...

Specifically how to remove Rawl 5 pieces here:

safeclimbing.org/education/rem...

Hope this helps.

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By Scott Krankkala
Jun 25, 2012
Climbing Trail Creek
I have not done much bolting or removal personally, and I also do not disagree with adding new bolts as per your style. It seems to me that if you are replacing 3/8 with 1/2 inch bolts it would not matter the condition of the previous hole because you are just increasing its diameter by an eighth of an inch. This would be easier on your batteries, drill, and require less replacement bits. I would try and investigate methods of removing the previous bolts such as the tuning fork method www.rockandice.com/articles/how-to-climb/article/338-How-to->>> as you do have a hammer drill it doesn't really matter if the old bolt shears off... Just my opinion but any way of limiting old bolt stubs would be great, especially if this new hardware will last for much longer. Nonetheless it is great that you are investing time and money towards making climbing safer for everybody.

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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Jun 25, 2012
Toofast
Are the half inch bolts you are putting in sleeve bolts? If so kudos for replacing the bolts with something that will be replaceable down the road.

I have had some success pulling 3/8 inch bolts but it is very tough and it takes a lot of care to not wreck the surface of the rock.

One thing I have been trying to avoid is replacing bolts that do not need to be replaced. If I struggle with a hammer and specialized crowbar to remove the bolt I begin to wonder if it really needed to be replaced to begin with. Generally speaking I feel best about replacing bolts if they come out easily, I can re-use the old hole, and I put in a sleeve bolt to replace it.

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By slim
Administrator
Jun 25, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Leeroy wrote:
Just to be clear...what you are doing is retro bolting, not bolt replacement. Not saying it's a sin or anything. This ought to be an interesting thread.


this doesn't sound at all like retrobolting (?).

you might contact kevin stricker through this site. he has experience doing extensive bolt replacement on big routes. i would think that doing it top down would still be a lot easier, even if it is on a really steep wall that would require shenanigans that are similar to down aiding, etc.

if you can find a way to re-use the old hole that would be helpful, but sometimes it doesn't work that way.

anyway, glad to hear that you are replacing some of the old stuff.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Jun 25, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
Leeroy wrote:
Just to be clear...what you are doing is retro bolting, not bolt replacement. Not saying it's a sin or anything. This ought to be an interesting thread.

I don't think this word means what you think it means.

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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Jun 25, 2012
The Shield
If you are replacing with stainless steel, you won't have to replace again for perhaps 50 years. If you replace with stainless steel glue ins, you won't have to replace again for perhaps 500 years.
Spend the money now. The future will appreciate it.

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By nbrown
From western NC
Jun 25, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai
Jeep,

Would this be at Big Green? Either way, thanks for all your effort thus far.

You mentioned that the old bolts are 3/8 inch, which I assume are probably wedge type and can usually only be chopped and patched. I have had minimal luck with prying these things out with a crowbar or yanking them with a funkness. I broke a hammer last year trying to yank a loose one out (I guess I should've used a cheap hammer).

If they are self drives (I thought many of them at big green were) they can be removed with some luck. Tim F has a good set-up for this, plus the links above should cover it. Not sure if BB and Tim S removed and re-drilled or not.

If you trust the bolts enough to finish the route and replace them on rappell, that would probably be slightly more effecient. However, at Laurel I believe that many of them were also done on lead because of the poor state of the old anchors. At the NF of Stone a few years ago we just lugged a bunch of rope in and rapped the face/and jumared out - didn't actually climb at all (it was winter anyway).

I'd be happy to help out with some of your efforts, just let me know if and when. Plus, I have a bunch of extra "equipment" for it.

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By Leeroy
Jun 25, 2012
csproul wrote:
I don't think this word means what you think it means.

Thanks for that Mr. Montoya

I am absolutely certain that in my local area this would be considered retro-bolting. Quite sure actually. Changing the location of a bolt can dramatically change the character of a climb and make it very different from the route that the FA climbed. Again, not saying there is anything wrong with that. Sometimes that's what has to be done.

I personally would be in favor of yanking and patching the old hole if it's unusable. This is hard work and rather inconvenient. I realize that climbing is supposed to be convenient now and most don't want to be bothered with that whole "leaving as little trace as possible" let alone "leave NO trace" thing. I feel one should at least make an effort to do this before turning your local crag into swiss cheese, but I'm not a local so...drill baby drill.

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By Moof
From Portland, OR
Jun 25, 2012
For 1/4" bolts I am something like 10/10 in being able to pull and re-use the hole. I forget how many 5/16, something like 3/3. Do your homework and many will come out clean, or else you are likely just fouling things up for the rest of us.

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By nbrown
From western NC
Jun 25, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai
Folks,

For the record, Jeep is the FA party for most of the routes he is referring to. And re-drilling a new bolt next to the old one is not retrobolting in the contemporary sense. That rock is bomber granite, so any new holes need only be slightly re-located.

And by the way, we ain't talking about sport routes here...

Anyway, I believe he was looking for ideas about efficiency.

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By slim
Administrator
Jun 25, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Leeroy wrote:
Thanks for that Mr. Montoya I am absolutely certain that in my local area this would be considered retro-bolting. Quite sure actually. Changing the location of a bolt can dramatically change the character of a climb and make it very different from the route that the FA climbed. Again, not saying there is anything wrong with that. Sometimes that's what has to be done. I personally would be in favor of yanking and patching the old hole if it's unusable. This is hard work and rather inconvenient. I realize that climbing is supposed to be convenient now and most don't want to be bothered with that whole "leaving as little trace as possible" let alone "leave NO trace" thing. I feel one should at least make an effort to do this before turning your local crag into swiss cheese, but I'm not a local so...drill baby drill.


yeah, i still think you aren't comprehending what he is doing.....

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Jun 25, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
nbrown wrote:
Folks, For the record, Jeep is the FA party for most of the routes he is referring to. And re-drilling a new bolt next to the old one is not retrobolting in the contemporary sense. That rock is bomber granite, so any new holes need only be slightly re-located. And by the way, we ain't talking about sport routes here... Anyway, I believe he was looking for ideas about efficiency.

This.

Leeroy wrote:
Thanks for that Mr. Montoya I am absolutely certain that in my local area this would be considered retro-bolting. Quite sure actually. Changing the location of a bolt can dramatically change the character of a climb and make it very different from the route that the FA climbed. Again, not saying there is anything wrong with that. Sometimes that's what has to be done. I personally would be in favor of yanking and patching the old hole if it's unusable. This is hard work and rather inconvenient. I realize that climbing is supposed to be convenient now and most don't want to be bothered with that whole "leaving as little trace as possible" let alone "leave NO trace" thing. I feel one should at least make an effort to do this before turning your local crag into swiss cheese, but I'm not a local so...drill baby drill.

Where is this "local area" where so many people could be wrong at once? Moving the bolt a couple of inches is not retrobolting and is not going change the character of the climb. If you honestly beleive that these routes are being turned into "swiss cheese" I suggest you come climb a few of them. They are not sport routes and the possibility exists that you might soil yourself just trying to find the next bolt!

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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jun 25, 2012
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
If you are replacing with stainless steel, you won't have to replace again for perhaps 50 years. If you replace with stainless steel glue ins, you won't have to replace again for perhaps 500 years. Spend the money now. The future will appreciate it.

+1 Never understood why people will pay top dollar for shoes, clothes, etc... but will skimp when it comes to bolts. If more people would place quality in the first place we would not have to replace so much crap. And we could all spend more time climbing.

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By Sam Stephens
Jun 25, 2012
Top half of Melifluous
csproul wrote:
This. Where is this "local area" where so many people could be wrong at once? Moving the bolt a couple of inches is not retrobolting and is not going change the character of the climb. If you honestly beleive that these routes are being turned into "swiss cheese" I suggest you come climb a few of them. They are not sport routes and the possibility exists that you might soil yourself just trying to find the next bolt!



+1 to that...

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By Andrew Blease
From 4runner, parking lot, USA
Jun 25, 2012
Jeep,

I live in the Sylva area and have climbed a Big Green a few times. I would be willing to trade some work one afternoon in exchange for some knowledge about bolt placement. Let me know if you want to.

Andrew

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By RadDawg
From NE, GA
Jun 25, 2012
Sunrise over Cashiers valley
If the old bolts are so bad that you don't want to lead out on them, I'm not sure of a better method than what you're doing. I'd carry a couple of bolts/hangers/draws preloaded on my harness, along with the blow tube and the wrench. I'd probably climb with the hammer too, just because I try to use the same kind of setup as much as I can and my shoulders don't like the hauling. Thats just personal preference though.

Obviously if you can stand to lead the pitches using just the old bolts, you could do that work on rappel. A small climbing pack like the Petzl Bug makes life easier on the second when he's carrying the drill.

I'm guessing you've already got a good method going for this, but if the bolts won't pull - I've got a small battery powered cutting tool that works fast. I get up that way occasionally, drop me a line if you'd like to try it or you want the details.

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By nbrown
From western NC
Jun 25, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai
RadDawg wrote:
Hi Jeep, If the old bolts are so bad that you don't want to lead out on them, I'm not sure of a better method than what you're doing. I'd carry a couple of bolts/hangers/draws preloaded on my harness, along with the blow tube and the wrench. I'd probably climb with the hammer too


That is a good method. However, assuming you're using the ASCA 5 pieces (from LGO), be sure to watch those nuts/cones on the end, they have a tendency to fall off.

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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 25, 2012
Andrew Gram
Leeroy wrote:
Thanks for that Mr. Montoya I am absolutely certain that in my local area this would be considered retro-bolting. Quite sure actually. Changing the location of a bolt can dramatically change the character of a climb and make it very different from the route that the FA climbed. Again, not saying there is anything wrong with that. Sometimes that's what has to be done. I personally would be in favor of yanking and patching the old hole if it's unusable. This is hard work and rather inconvenient. I realize that climbing is supposed to be convenient now and most don't want to be bothered with that whole "leaving as little trace as possible" let alone "leave NO trace" thing. I feel one should at least make an effort to do this before turning your local crag into swiss cheese, but I'm not a local so...drill baby drill.


That is only retrobolting in a local area if you only have toothless locals that never climb anywhere else and don't know what they are talking about. Retrobolting is adding, not replacing, bolts on a climb that changes its character. Replacing bolts in a new hole close by isn't retrobolting, though it is better if you can reuse the hole. Not always easy though. You'll rarely notice it if the hole is camo'ed well in any case.

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By jeep gaskin
Jun 28, 2012
i didn't intend to cause such a stir with this thread. n brown read my original post correctly, i seek information that will make my work more efficient. i don't seek approval. i read all the suggested material from asca and rock and ice long ago. i have, at least for my purposes, improved the knife blade/lost arrow/tuning fork combination with a single tool. i band sawed a hatchet head in thirds long ways and sawed the back through the handle knuckle. then i drilled a quarter inch hole through one side of the 'u' and fastened a cable through it. it is much more powerful that the pin combinations. my experience with them is that they were quickly distorted and broken. others seem to have had better luck. in spite of this i cannot pull the old bolts out more than 1/8-3/16ths of an inch. hack sawing through the bolt beneath the hanger then allows me to tap the old stud beneath the surface of the rock. it's as close to 'no trace' as i know how to work. better ideas?

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By 1Eric Rhicard
Jun 29, 2012
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo
First let me say thank you!

For short 1/4 inch or 5/16ths bolts I have used a 1/4 or 5/16ths bit to drill a hole that rubs against the old hanger and angles down to the old bolt stud bottom. Then a few whacks with the hammer usually loosens up the old bolt. I then drill a much deeper hole 2 1/2 to 3 inches deeper than the now very large first inch or so. One long bolt and a little anchor cement under the hanger and it is good as new.

I also use this technique to pull an old bolt then just patch the hole and drill a new one.

Down here in the SW we call it replacing the old bolts or upgrading the hardware.

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By Greg Barnes
Jun 29, 2012
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Ne...
jeep gaskin wrote:
if you are involved in replacing old bolts on multipitch routes i'd be interested in reading your chosen course of action. i've recently started going ground up, replacing as i go, with the second climber removing the old ones. i cobbled together a bag from old carpet scraps and hang it from a fifi hook on the new bolt and retrieve it with a short tag line when i reach the next bolt to be replaced. the bag holds the bosch, hammer, wrench, blow tube, bolts etc. and allows me to climb mostly unencumbered. obviously the tag line needs to be longer than the distance between bolts/gear but things seem to work okay. surely others have devised methods that might be more efficient than mine and can help short circuit the learning curve.

That's a good method if you don't want to use the "standard" method of leading the whole pitch on the old bolts and hand drilling an anchor bolt (or trusting the old anchor enough to haul a power drill up), then fixing/rapping/hauling/whatever for the rest (whether power drilling or hand drilling). If you are carrying it with you on lead a light hand drill kit is just so easy compared to a heavy power drill. But your method is best for getting 1/2" bolts in if you don't want to hang from the old bolts to haul the power drill (since you have to be nuts to hand drill 1/2" in good granite...).

Rusty 3/8" stud bolts are unlikely to be pulled cleanly except by core drilling - tuning forks won't be of much use. Most custom large tuning forks will bend all over the place on a 5/16" buttonhead, let alone a 3/8" stud bolt (which also tend to snap at the rock surface or base of the threads). The ASCA only has tuning forks for 1/4" bolt removal (although you can use those above the hanger on 3/8" Star-Dryvins since the nail is 1/4").

Jeep's method of pulling the 3/8" stud bolt out a bit, then hacksawing the bolt and tapping the remains back in is a great method. One trick for this is to bring some duct tape to protect the rock surface while hacksawing. I often would bring an old bolt core from a short 1/2" 5-piece to tap the stud back in.

And even when bolts can be pulled cleanly, when you are on lead it's sometimes out of the question. I've replaced bolts in new holes when I knew for sure that the old bolt would pull. First time was a bolt 50' off the deck - first pro - and second time was at a bolt 110' out from the last pro (the belay, which was a few pitches up). And every once in a while it happens because you forgot the pulling gear but had the drill kit (which is why I have the bolt from Hobbit Book in Tuolumne even though Jerry Anderson replaced it by adding a new bolt right next to it a couple years previously).

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By Dom
Administrator
From New Brunswick Canada
Jul 3, 2012
Moby dick 5.11-
jeep gaskin wrote:
hack sawing through the bolt beneath the hanger then allows me to tap the old stud beneath the surface of the rock. it's as close to 'no trace' as i know how to work. better ideas?



I've Rebolted lots of routes in my area and have perfected my rebolting technique. No need to hacksaw.Use the hammer that you need to install new bolts anyways...

After removing the nut and the hanger, I simply hit one side of the stud with the hammer, then the other side with the hammer back and forth. It will break flush with the rock. After I put a bit of epoxy putty in the hole. Then I take a pebble and hammer it lightly into the putty. Some old bolts we've replaced here are now impossible to see.




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