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Bollting Humid Limestone


Original Post
cammielovestrees · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Hi,

I've never bolted anything before. I'm traveling to a place where climbing and bolting gear are very hard to come by (Cuba). A friend who has been before recommended bringing hardware to bolt new routes (to leave with local climbing community), and I'm not really sure of what products are best to buy.

The rock (from what I understand) is mostly limestone, and it's hot and humid. I'm not sure if this necessitates different materials or techniques, and would love if someone could clarify.

I understand basically that I should bring bolts, glue, hangers, and rap rings, but I don't know much (anything?) about ideal sizes, materials, brands, or prices for this environment. Any feedback appreciated.

Also, I hate to sound stupid, but if anyone could help me build this house from the ground up and clarify exactly what I should bring, and explain why, that would be RAD!!!!!

-Cammie

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

So...you've never bolted before, and you're looking to do so in a foreign country while on vacation and under suboptimal conditions?

Sorry, but this sounds incredibly stupid and dangerous. Bolting leaves a permanent scar on the landscape and also provides the only means of safely protecting a sport route. You doing this without any previous experience puts future climbers at risk and also threatens access.

cammielovestrees · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

No, I'm not bolting. I'm bringing supplies for the local bolting community who have difficulty obtaining them locally.

cammielovestrees · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Also, to clarify, bolting gear is really needed and desired in this community. I fully recognize my lack of experience and knowledge in this aspect of climbing (this is why I am asking advice). Due to language barriers (I speak decent Spanish, but want to be REALLY, REALLY, REALLY clear on any equipment I purchase that someone's life will depend upon), I'm looking for clarification here as well as in my local climbing community.

Honestly, I appreciate the concern for my fellow humans/climbers, so good point.

ClimbBaja · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 25

Tropical humid and wet environment on limestone are the main factors which induce SCC (stress corrosion cracking) in stainless steel hardware. Read up on it, fascinating problem.
The conditions call for titanium glue-in bolts.

cammielovestrees · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Thanks! While looking online, I've come across seemingly comparable equipment at different prices labelled SS (stainless steel?) and PS (????). Can you clarify what PS means?

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 983

PS is plated steel and is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY NOT GOOD for this application.
SS is stainless steel and is REALLY, REALLY NOT GOOD for this application.

Titanium glue ins as mentioned above are GOOD.

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
cammielovestrees wrote:No, I'm not bolting. I'm bringing supplies for the local bolting community who have difficulty obtaining them locally.
Then they should be telling you what they want you to bring them. In any case, the answer is titanium. Unless the routes are very far inland, titanium is the only option for this application. There is only one manufacturer of titanium climbing bolts, so the choice is easy: titanclimbing.com/
cammielovestrees · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Thanks for this.

Due to language barriers (and some varying recommendations), I'm seeking advice in an arena where (hopefully) I can ask genuine questions and learn from the experience/expertise of those who know more than I do.

Local recommendations have been for SS bolts, so I am glad to learn better.

Can anyone teach me where/when SS would be more ideal, and why I may be receiving differing opinions on this topic?

Dustin Stephens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 600

Read this, particularly the bottom half:
cubaclimbing.com/climbing/g…

And buy these:
titanclimbing.com/Titan%20C…

No doubt they also need drill bits, epoxy (Hilti RE500 is in best in hot weather), epoxy nozzle tips, as well as shoes, harnesses, etc.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
cammielovestrees wrote:No, I'm not bolting. I'm bringing supplies for the local bolting community who have difficulty obtaining them locally.
Aah, ok. This is very different and admirable.
Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35
cammielovestrees wrote:why I may be receiving differing opinions on this topic?
1) It's the internet. It doesn't matter what you post, more sure than death at least one person will have a different opinion.

2) Stainless Steel is susceptible to SCC (stress corrosion cracking). Stress corrosion cracking is very complicated and an extremely poorly understood topic in the climbing community. There is a lot of information out there on SCC that is poor, incomplete, misleading, or just plain wrong; but that's what is out there and thus it shapes people's opinions. Partnered with that, SCC is a "silent killer" in that there is no clear sign it is occurring (rust does not form like with general corrosion) and it can cause massive failure in a very short time (read up on the failures in Thailand). So you have poor information mixed in with panic.

3) There will also be differing opinions on the cost versus longevity trade off. Ti is much more expensive but will typically last longer. Hopefully you can see why someone paying that extra cost out of pocket may have a different opinion on that topic.

4) Personal experience. Some areas have seen decades of great results with SS while other areas have seen dangerous accidents in a few months. At a first glance there is little to distinguish these areas with respect to why SCC is or is not occurring (due to the points in #2).
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
cammielovestrees wrote:... Can anyone teach me where/when SS would be more ideal, and why I may be receiving differing opinions on this topic?
You are receiving different opinions because many people don't understand what SCC is, or where it is taking place and therefor think that stainless is fine. In cuba this is not the case. Stainless is great for arid or desert environments with low humidity and low temperatures. As humidity and temperature go up, SCC becomes a much bigger problem and somewhere like cuba you can be pretty much sure that you will have quality stainless bolts failing in well under 10 years of the installation date. The two areas with the biggest SCC problem so far have been thailand, and caymon brac, and guess what, caymon brac is located just sount of cuba and has a very similar climate.

The locals most likely aren't aware that stainless is an issue and will start finding out shortly when the stainless hardware that they have recently installed starts breaking under body weight.
Scott Patrick · · Denver, CO · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

Cammie, we are currently working on this same issue. Feel free to contact us at bolts4cuba@gmail.com or look at the fundraising campaign below.

fundly.com/bolts-for-cuba-c…

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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