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Drilling Bolts? Do Not Do This!


Original Post
Matthew F · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 5

This was found at the top of the Pixie Rock, Indian Cove, Joshua Tree, recently installed.

If you, or anyone you know, is actively drilling bolts at Joshua Tree for new routes, anchors, rap or belay stations of any kind, please exercise your very best judgment and use the very best equipment. If you cannot afford this equipment, or should you have a lapse in judgment, please do not do anything at all.

There is no reason to install bolts of any kind that are not at least 3" stainless or better with weather-resistant, versatile hangers. If you're installing rap rings of any type, please be sure they are replaceable.

Whatever anchors you install... They are not permanent. They will need to be replaced. Please make sure it's not anytime soon.

Drilling Bolts? Do Not Do This! Joshua Tree, Indian Cove, Pixie Rock.

M. Morley · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 6,605

The drilled baby angles are atop Silent Scream (aka Shock the Monkey). Russ noted them about a month ago. I agree in principle that using high-quality, long wear, low impact hardware is the way to go. However, I have also heard from reliable sources that drilled baby angles - especially in granite - are pretty much bombproof and will last a long, long time. Again, this is secondhand information, so I cannot confirm this claim. Perhaps someone has done pull strength tests and can comment?

Russ Walling · · www.FishProducts.com · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 3,361
Matthew F wrote: There is no reason to install bolts of any kind that are not at least 3" stainless or better with weather resistant, versatile hangers.
Ummm... yes there is..... (back to my pie now)
Locker · · Yucca Valley, CA · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 2,267

"If you, or anyone you know, is actively drilling bolts at Joshua Tree for new routes, anchors, rap or belay stations of any kind, please exercise your very best judgment and use the very best equipment. If you cannot afford this equipment, or should you have a lapse in judgment, please do not do anything at all.

There is no reason to install bolts of any kind that are not at least 3" stainless or better with weather resistant, versatile hangers. If you're installing rap rings of any type, please be sure they are replaceable.

Whatever anchors you install... They are not permanent. They will need to be replaced. Please make sure it's not anytime soon"...

What was that cartoon character???...

"MISTER KNOW-IT-ALL"???...

quit your crying dude!!!...

The Angles are BOMBer...

EDITED FOR RUSS:

"There is no reason to install bolts of any kind that are not at least 3" stainless"...

Send those babies over my way and I'll sell them for some CHEAPER more inferior products to use...

How about a few more 1/4" BUTTON HEADS on some new routes coming up???...

Locker · · Yucca Valley, CA · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 2,267

Posting this thread will probably have it that some fool goes out there and chops them...

GOOD GOING!!!...

PS...
Did you use the Angles as an anchor???...
Just curious...

Matthew F · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 5

It's not like you're doing a ground up ascent with a hand drill or establishing some remote alpine route, nor are you pounding a hole in desert sandstone. I think these baby angles are old school and cheap and have no place in a high traffic area like Indian Cove. I have no problem with fixed anchors. It just appears that someone might be getting a bit hammer happy there lately. There is also a set of baby angles on top of "Igor, Prince of Poodles" in Echo Rock. It would be interesting to see how these have held up since they have been there far longer, though this is far less travelled route. The idea that these angles are better than conventional bolts and hangers is, I'll bet, based more on hear-say than actual fact. If anyone has any better information, I'ld be happy to hear it; and no, I'm not talking Utah sandstone, Joshua Tree granite.

Forgive me if I sound annoyed at the baby angles a top Pixie Rock. Climbing has always been a self-policed sport, and for the most part, climbers have always been allowed to do whatever they want. But there are better and worse ways to do things. If you're going to do something permanent, than figure out the better way. If you all think that baby angles are stronger and will last longer than a stainless bolt and hanger, great. I don't, and I'll bet most climbers (even knowledgable ones) would rather see bolts and hangers instead of these.

P.S.
Yes I did use them, don't be stupid Locker. I also easily backed them up with a piece of webbing and a nut the same way top ropes were usually set up there. I'm not arguing that something shouldn't have been drilled there. They are useful. I just think they're half-ass and not the best choice for the area. There is enough chopping going on there I doubt this thread will inspire anyone. There's also a lot of bad bolting going on. Must be too many swollen egos that think 1/4" button heads are still cool...

logan johnson · · West Copper, Co · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 315

Just out of curiosity..
After clipping a lot of angles that I trust more than spinning bolts on the same climb near Moab, it seems like angles hold up better than bolts in sandstone. Is this because angles will not "twist out of the hole" like expansion bolts in soft stone? Also, I have heard that the failure on angles is often the eye, therefore making them easier to judge for holding power.
Any thoughts?

S.Powers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

Matt, In case it was missed I'll write it again, in bad rock (like the rock on top of silent scream) Any size expansion bolt can not be installed safely. The use of pins glued in with epoxy is much more so;id than any bolt that could be used in their place, (read Todd's post, he explained it very clearly). The person that put those pins in has a lot of experience with bad rock.... I'm talking really bad rock, go do some of his FAs and you will know what I'm talking about. (I'll bet his tick list smokes yours!) Also the anchors can be replaced.. you just have to bring a propane torch up with you to melt the glue. I personally do place new bolts in the park quite often, and ideally yes expansion bolts are the way to go, but sometimes are not the best based on very specific circumstances. It has nothing to do with ego.

P.S. have you ever checked the prices on baby angles? they are not cheaper than expansion bolts.

S.Powers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

"There is also a set of baby angles on top of "Igor, Prince of Poodles" in Echo Rock."

just fine

Matthew F · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 5

Hey Todd and S.Powers, thanks for the information. Something needed to be put at the top of the Pixie, hopefully you're right and these were the best answer.

Since you brought it up though, you both sound pretty adamant that expansion bolts will not hold safely in this "softer" granite. Are you familiar with the bolted routes in the Indian Palasades Corridor area? There are two 5.6/5.7's that climb the patina, "Serpent Scales" and I forget the other... One ends at a ledge with a tree and the other at some anchors that were previously located on an overhanging headwall.

The anchors on the headwall were, I thought, very good and not very old. Someone recently removed them and drilled new anchors about 4 feet lower, into the top of a very "soft" block. The rock is equally as soft, if not more so than Pixie, and the bolts are barely 5 inches apart. I didn't like this either, specially since the previous anchors seemed good, if not better. It was recent, so you may not be familiar, but if so, do you think this was a good call? Or could it have been better?

There's been a lot of activity out there. Anchor bolts are missing, ie. "Who's first", "Monaco"... They're being chopped, ie. "Serpent Scales" and others... Good anchors are being moved and removed... I think it's time to start questioning some of this. New anchors on Pixie are good, I may have questioned the ones that were placed, but non the less something needed to be put there. The new/rearranged anchors I described above and the associated bolt chopping on Serpent Scales doesn't seem to be benefitting or improving anything.

I've used the term "replacing" bolts, but let's not make that mistake. In most cases bolts cannot be "replaced." Old bolts are chopped, hacked, or pounded flat and a new bolt is drilled. The bolt "scar" that remains... It sucks and it is a problem. Alright, my little diatribe is done...

Todd, sorry you didn't like the Kennedy's. Since the Bush's have been busy destroying the world I had forgotten all about them... :)

Matt

mark kerns · · denver, co · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 325

Hey - has anybody tested for pull force and sheer force of a drilled baby angle cemented in granite? It seems that this would provide an answer...

Locker · · Yucca Valley, CA · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 2,267

Matt makes an interesting point IMHO... The Indian Palasades area does in fact have some activity taking place that is curious...

PS Matt, I am assuming that you must not know Todd Gordons experience as a FA climber that has probably placed more bolts than most out there...

If he says it's good, you can believe him...

It's pretty much that simple...

S.Powers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

I am the one that removed the old anchors on top of the climbs in the palisade corridor. The old anchors unscrewed with my fingers, also one of the hangers was cracked and they were very rusty 1/4 inch bolts, they were terrible. When we drilled the new bolts we used much longer expansion bolts than normal they were about 5" long( A lot of work with a hand drill) and we we able to get down into solid rock and get the bolts to seat properly. If we couldn't have gotten these to seat we would have pulled them and replaced them with baby angles.

S.Powers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

I don't know the last time you were out there but about a week ago there were very shiny just replaced bolts on serpent scales. If they are indeed gone I will replace them.

Matthew F · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 5

So with some work, you were able to get a 5” bolt to seat properly in the same soft(er) granite found on the Pixie Rock? Nice work. This is the same granite that you said, “Any size expansion bolt can not be installed safely…” Hmmm….

Did you also chop the bolts on Water Moccassin? This is the route in the IPC that climbs to the tree. It originally had four bolts, three bolts were added by someone a long time ago resulting in seven total. Someone recently chopped the original 4 leaving a very long, very lame runout to the tree. In the middle of this runout you can’t help but notice the hammered down stud of the fourth original bolt and how nice it would have been to clip the hanger that used to be attached to it. The runout is only 5.4, but the then whole route is only 5.6. Chopping this or any of the other bolts didn’t make a lot of sense, good or bad, the top most bolt should definitely have stayed.

A.P.T. · · Truckee,Ca · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,000

Sounds like all you "Climbers" in Josh, really keep each other busy!

S.Powers · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

Matt I have been doing my best to fix up crags around here, you are trying to critisize me for the wrong reasons. When we drilled the holes on top of silent scream we tried to put in expansion bolts, we could not get them to seat, so we went with the Baby angles. On water mocassin we were able to make the expansion bolts work so they stayed. And yes I did chop the bolts, they were really bomber 1/4 button heads. The studs you saw have been only studs for at least 6 years. Next time your in josh come into nomad ventures (where i work) ask for me(Steven Powers) and say, "hey let me see the bolts you pulled off of those routes" and ill say, "Sure" and you will say,"oh SNAP! I cant belive I mistook those for bolts! Thanks for replacing those" then I'll say, "your welcome, I work really hard to keep the high traffic areas equppied properly, and I even spend my own money and my own off time so folks who are coming out to go climb bolted routes can climb on safe bolts". As for the button heads I removed I plan to replace with an expansion bolt, and its okay that I didn't have time to do all of this in one day, if you read the guide book it says there are only three bolts on the route any way. I hate when people whine about this stuff, if you don't like it why don't you spend some of your money and your time off putting up new routes and replacing bolts? And on other note I am not done over there, by the time i am there will be no studs sticking out and all the old holes will be patched to the best of my abilities. Sorry you feel the need to be negative and make such a big deal out of really nothing. When your in town I'll buy you a beer and we can discuss this, maybe we can go out and replace a few bolts. Cheers!

Locker · · Yucca Valley, CA · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 2,267

"When we drilled the holes on top of silent scream we tried to put in expansion bolts, we could not get them to seat, so we went with the Baby angles"...

I am a bit confused with the above...

remind me when I see you next and I'll explain why...

Marty Brenner · · Durango, CO · Joined Sep 2006 · Points: 145

S.Powers - thank you. It sounds like you are doing really good work. It's nice to have someone who really understands the mechanisms involved in keping the metal in the rock, doing anchor upgrades.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456

As a sandstone climber at heart and a basalt climber in practice these days, it's hard for me to imagine anyone questioning the strength or integrity of an epoxied angle in granite - even bad granite. But then I haven't made it down your way yet I guess.

Tom Hanson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 950

Matthew F wrote: "There is no reason to install bolts of any kind that are not at least 3" stainless or better with weather-resistant, versatile hangers."

Tell that to Harvey Carter.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern California
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