Fixe Triplex bolts with 10mm hanger, any experience?


Original Post
Brandon.Phillips · · Alabama · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

 I bolted a route in sandstone with the intention of trying triplex bolts, but ultimately removed them in favor of glue ins.  While tightening the first triplex bolt it became pretty apparent that the rock was too soft for them.  They were also incredibly (disturbingly) easy to remove.

Anyway, I've got a pile of triplex bolts sitting around waiting for some harder rock.  The ease of removing these bolts made me wonder if they would be of any use at all to leave permanently on a route.  It seems like most people favor 5-piece or wedge bolts over these. I have also heard of using a 10mm hanger instead of the 12mm that Fixe recommends. Anyone have experience with either size hangers on these bolts? 

On a side note, when I was googling this these bolts also showed up for sale on Walmart.com.  Does this mean climbing has lost its soul and should we all quit?

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348

The Triplex design is crap and it needs to be scraped. They are not suitable for long-term usage, except maybe as top-rock anchors for setting up TR with webbing or something of the sorts. The flange makes it way too easy for them to come out. if the nut loosens on the bolt, the entire bolt can easily be removed. I've clipped these things in the wild and been able to yank the whole bolt out with the quickdraw because the bolt was lose.

If you want to use them permanently, cut the flange off with a saw and use a 10mm hanger. Dont place the hanger over the flange because then the hanger sits out in space because of the gap between the hanger and rock created by the flange which will cause the hanger to become a spinner instantly. It also makes it really easy for the nut to loosen.

C. Williams · · the Climber Cave · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 1,019
20 kN wrote:

The Triplex design is crap and it needs to be scraped. They are not suitable for long-term usage, except maybe as top-rock anchors for setting up TR with webbing or something of the sorts. The flange makes it way too easy for them to come out. if the nut loosens on the bolt, the entire bolt can easily be removed. I've clipped these things in the wild and been able to yank the whole bolt out with the quickdraw because the bolt was lose.

If you want to use them permanently, cut the flange off with a saw and use a 10mm hanger. Dont place the hanger over the flange because then the hanger sits out in space because of the gap between the hanger and rock created by the flange which will cause the hanger to become a spinner instantly. It also makes it really easy for the nut to loosen.

This has been my experience as well. The last few triplex bolts I placed were with 10mm hangers and I sculpted the edge of the hole so that the flange would sit below the surface of the rock allowing a flush hanger placement and secure feeling bolt (a rather unscientific observation I admit). Either method seems like more work than it's worth to me. I like the triplex for temporary placements but nothing more. Using the 12mm hanger, even when I tightened to the required 25 ft/lbs with a torque wrench and added a lock washer between the nut and flange the hanger would still develop a bit of play. 

On a related note, make sure you use that 12mm drill bit. The bolt will NEVER correctly set if a 1/2" (12.7 mm) bit is used. I removed a number of triplex bolts placed with 1/2" holes this spring. Fully cranked down I was still able to pry them out of very hard rock with the blade on my hammer.

nbrown · · western NC · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5,474
C. Williams wrote:

This has been my experience as well. The last few triplex bolts I placed were with 10mm hangers and I sculpted the edge of the hole so that the flange would sit below the surface of the rock allowing a flush hanger placement and secure feeling bolt (a rather unscientific observation I admit). 

My experience is that these set slightly better than the 5 piece in soft (ish) rock because the cone on the 5 piece can sometimes be problematic. But they are finicky as hell. What C.Williams said above seems to work well for me.

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
C. Williams wrote:

On a related note, make sure you use that 12mm drill bit. The bolt will NEVER correctly set if a 1/2" (12.7 mm) bit is used. I removed a number of triplex bolts placed with 1/2" holes this spring. Fully cranked down I was still able to pry them out of very hard rock with the blade on my hammer.

Yep, and I've been able to pull them out with only 2kN as well. Fixe needs to get real and start communicating this information to the public better. A 12mm bit is an uncommon size in the USA and most people view 1/2" as good enough, but it's not. I’ve even seen experienced developers with 10 years of bolting experience use ½” bits on Fixe Triplex installs. Considering the absolutely catastrophic nature of using a 12mm bolt in a 1/2" hole, Fixe really should be doing a much better job communicating this information.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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