5 piece bolts vs. glue-ins


Original Post
Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,430

If someone told you that they were going to re-bolt an entire wall with glue-ins, and not re-use any of the existing holes from the 5 piece bolts, what, if any, opinion would you have of that?  The 5 piece bolts are only about 4 years old (with some being much older), and so standard removal using proven techniques isn't that difficult.  More time consuming?  Certainly.  Difficult?  No.  As a matter of fact, there is another wall in the same venue in which old 5 piece bolts were removed, and the old holes re-used for the glue-ins, and they're all bomber.

Here's a picture for reference.

Some of the bolts are stainless 5 piece and some are plated.  Are plated 5 piece more difficult to remove than stainless?  Just interested in general feedback and opinions strictly on the statement that pulling four year old 5-piece stainless bolts and re-using the old holes has too much potential to damage the rock.  Which is bomber granite by the way.  Discussion welcome.  Particularly interested in feedback from bolting aficionados like Greg German et al.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 958
Jake Jones wrote:

Just interested in general feedback and opinions strictly on the statement that pulling four year old 5-piece stainless bolts and re-using the old holes has too much potential to damage the rock.  Which is bomber granite by the way.  Discussion welcome.

That thinking is ass backwards. Using the existing holes has the potential to completely minimize the impact to the rock.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,430
Jason Todd wrote:

That thinking is ass backwards. Using the existing holes has the potential to completely minimize the impact to the rock.

Thanks Jason.  

Dustin Stephens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 570

If the rock is mostly vertical and does not require hooking to stay in close to the wall I would definitely advocate for reusing holes. With 5-piece that new it should be very easy to get all the parts out without much effort, particularly with the SS bolts (or if the cone and sleeve stay in reaming holes with rebar cutter or core-drilling set-up is not very difficult either). But from the sound of the hardware used and the type of rock, it seems very unlikely that this wall even needs rebolting in the first place. Kind of a lot of wasted effort and money, not to mention unnecessary holes.

Dustin Stephens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 570

Also, this statement is total BS: "the statement that pulling four year old 5-piece stainless bolts and re-using the old holes has too much potential to damage the rock"

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 958

I don't get the argument for not using the existing holes at all, if the concern is damage to the rock. 

Worst case, too lazy to attempt to reuse hole. Net=more damage to rock.

Next worst case, you can't get the sleeve and cone out, and you are too cheap/lazy to drill the metal out, so you have to patch the hole and install a new bolt in a new hole. Net=more damage to rock.

Removal of hanger/bolt body and subsequent patching should occur if a new bolt is going into a new hole, in any case other than reusing the same hole.

I've never removed a SS sleeve, but I can imagine that it is generally easier than a corroded plated sleeve as there should be competent metal to tap or otherwise grab onto. I've had to drill out sleeves that won't take a tap due to the amount of corrosion. It's a pain, but thems the breaks sometimes.

What was the argument that reusing has more potential to damage the rock?  I'm curious as to how that line of thinking came about.



Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,430

The explanation I got, which made not a lick of sense to me, since one of the "outer pillars" is where 20+ year old 5 piece bolts were removed and the old holes used:

"Before the current glue in bolts were placed on the Wall, a test was conducted on an outer pillar bolt to see how the bolt resisted a removal tool. These 20+ year old bolts are mainly the 5 part type and have an amazing grip. The test bolt was removed, but not without damage to the rock around the bolt. This realization is what changed how things were done."  

And that ultimate "change" mentioned was to leave every single 5 piece bolt in and slam in a shitload of new holes, without even trying to use old holes.  I'm asking, because I got a ton of shit for "raising a stink" that things weren't done properly.

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 834

I'm all too familiar with the amount of effort that goes into removing old 5-piece bolts, and I'll admit I've occasionally been tempted to just give up on a stubborn bolt and drill a new hole, but this is just plain asinine. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that rebolting efforts should strive to reuse old bolt holes whenever possible, except when intentionally relocating a bolt to a better spot. Not even attempting to remove the old bolts is just laziness and indifference to the permanent impact on the rock. 

Also, the idea that removing old bolts is more damaging to the rock than just leaving the old bolts in situ is absurd. In removing ~50 5-piece bolts, I can think of exactly one instance where the rock around the bolt broke during removal. And that hole would have still made for a perfectly good glue in placement. 

So, where did this botch job take place?

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

It seems like the job could have been done better.  That said, for something that is already done, you're making a big stink about some work people did to try to maintain the crag.  No good deed goes unpunished.

rkrum · · Colorado or somewhere else · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 15

Not to jump to conclusions, but from what information has been posted, it sounds like the people who rebolted the wall were either ignorant, lazy, or some combination of the above.

"Before the current glue in bolts were placed on the Wall, a test was conducted on an outer pillar bolt to see how the bolt resisted a removal tool. These 20+ year old bolts are mainly the 5 part type and have an amazing grip. The test bolt was removed, but not without damage to the rock around the bolt. This realization is what changed how things were done."  

This paragraph reeks of bullshit. A 20+ year old bolt is obviously going to be a bit more of a PITA than a 4 year bolt. That's like determining that seatbelts are a universal bad idea because if you hit a wall at 150mph with one on, it shatters your ribs. And "amazing grip" is just patronizing.

You do not need to damage the surrounding rock to pull a 4 year old 5 piece. Period. Even if a bolt absolutely, positively will not come out (which should not be the case here), pull what will come out and patch. Or if reasonable, core drill and reuse the hole.

Regardless, it is completely unacceptable to leave the mess that they did. There is something to be said for wanting to maintain or improve an area, but if you can't do it right, wait for someone who can.

Notapplicable · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 18
caughtinside wrote:

It seems like the job could have been done better.  That said, for something that is already done, you're making a big stink about some work people did to try to maintain the crag.  No good deed goes unpunished.

Yeah, it's a bit more complicated than that. The AAC rep and guide who found a way to get paid to do this retro-bolting, had discretion in bolt placement and chose not to reuse any of the existing holes.

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

Fair enough! Facts are somewhat limited here. I will say from the photo, it looks like they did a clean job with the glue in. I'm assuming they'll pull and patch the old bolts, maybe if it's easy it will change their minds about reusing holes in the future. 

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,249

Yup - sounds like someone is being lazy by not reusing the holes. 1/2" 5-piece bolts are often very easy to remove, and 3/8" 5-piece bolts are always the most time-consuming to remove. Rusty wedge bolts take the least amount of time with the right technique.

If you want the job done correctly, sometimes you have to actually love the process and not just the end result. 

ottice webb · · Stanton KY · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 5
Dustin Stephens wrote:

Also, this statement is total BS: "the statement that pulling four year old 5-piece stainless bolts and re-using the old holes has too much potential to damage the rock"

ottice webb · · Stanton KY · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 5

He's right you know

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,430
ottice webb wrote:

He's right you know

I know he's right.  I just wanted to get a wider range of opinions.  

ryan laird · · Denver, CO · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 1,880

I'm surprised a representative of the American Alpine Club and a local guide aren't reusing or even attempting to reuse the original holes. Both of those businesses rely on public perception and word of mouth reputation.

What area is this? Since they are getting paid to rebolt, can they simply prioritize their funds/time and rebolt fewer routes?

Caz Drach · · Sugarhouse, UT · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 310

I guess ill ask the question... why even replace 5 year old bolts? - they aren't even close to their life span. I also agree with all of the above - reduce impact and reuse whats there.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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