Is there a database for bolts? A need for one?


Original Post
Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

For example, when a route was bolted. The types of bolts that were used. Replacements that have been made. Current conditions of said bolts. The last time they'd been gone through. Current issues. So on and so forth.

If nothing exists, would this be something of value to the community? Would people use such a thing? Keep it updated and add old routes, as well as new routes, to such a database?

Would an online database help stewards? For example, anytime an update is made to their section of the database they'd be notified or is direct contact working perfectly well at this point?

I can think of a lot of pros, as well as some cons, to such a system but, what're your thoughts on it?

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 819

I seem to remember MP trying this for a short while...

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,244

The database for bolts exists - but there aren't many areas aside from Eldo that have been filled in. 

Take a look at this: Eldo full list of hardware

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 326

Badbolts.com

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
Gregger Man wrote:

The database for bolts exists - but there aren't many areas aside from Eldo that have been filled in. 

Take a look at this: Eldo full list of hardware

Interesting. I see that now. I'm not sure where we submit, however.

The following area, for example, I see there is a Fixed Hardware Report with 3 submissions (on the right side under photo) but, nowhere do I see a link to submit. Not there and not anywhere as you drill down to specific routes. Am I missing it?

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/shuteye-ridge/108046101

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
DrRockso wrote:

Badbolts.com

Interesting. I'll check it out.

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

Well, at least two options exist, so that's good. Looks like the issue is getting people to actually use them? Or even know about them (maybe I was the only one in the dark?) Either way, I suppose we don't need a 3rd slightly used database at this point. Thanks all! Moving on...

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

I use the comment section on this site for my rebolting work, in addition to reporting it to Greg at the asca. I imagine he has a database somewhere. 

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490

As part of the great debate on bolt life, corrosion, failure and lifespan we have suggested several times that the UIAA set up a world-wide database. Currently we have no overall idea of what works, how many bolts are out there and how many are failing. For many areas the information is (roughly) available but only from the local activists and a way of pooling this and being able to extract data would be of immense assistance. 

The UIAA claim they have not the resources (money) to do this, have made no effort to acquire the resources and appear to have no interest in the matter.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,116
John Wilder wrote:

I use the Comments section on this site for my rebolting work. 

This is a simple approach which I like. No need to learn some new special interface for yet another net site (and dealing with different versions of the route name and/or finding the correct sub-sector with it's own different naming and organizational merge/split structure).

I haven't done any re-bolting yet, but for my own new routes, I can just make description of the hardware part of my new MP route page's Protection section (or course including the date of installation).

For other peoples routes in areas which are important for me, where I am not the MP route page author, I post a Comment if I learn (from the developer or rebolter) about the bolt - hardware composition and status. Or sometimes I submit an MP "Improve This Page" suggestion (since lots of people on MP don't read the Comments).

. . . which has the side-effect of "poking" other parties about the _issue_ of corrosion and replacement . . . e.g. MP area administrators, and if the page author is not the route developer (might feel the need to first find and then talk to developer).

Ken

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,244

With the current design of the MP database, admin permissions are required to edit the hardware data. The comments/condition reports work well for reporting bad bolts as long as someone monitors the comments (ACE keeps an eye on Eldo comments, but it's a big world out there). 

Another potential way to make the database work would be an additional field that anyone could edit which would flag the route in question and include the unverified new data for the admin to double-check (and hopefully act on). 

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,244

...and one more thing: snapping a photo of a bad bolt can be extremely helpful for the folks heading out to remove and replace it. Hauling 35 lbs of tools up a route only to find that the style of bolt can't be removed and will have to be chopped, anyway is a bummer. Leaving behind ~15+ lbs of unneeded tools would be nice. Budgeting enough time for bolts that can be removed but will take longer is another issue (3/8" Rawls). Calling off the cavalry when surface rust is present on an otherwise good bolt is yet another benefit of photos that would focus the effort where it is needed most. 

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 326

+1 what Greg said,  if you come across a bad bolt or worn anchor please take a picture or video of the issue, it saves us a lot of time in prioritizing what needs fixed and having the right tools to do the job. 

Billcoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 655


HealyJ replaced about all of the wedge anchors at out local crag as a project. When he replaced the bolts at the rap stations (local ethic is to try and avoid chains and stick to webbing) he took a date stamped brass disk that got threaded into the webbing. When the webbing is replaced the plan is to keep the disk there in the new webbing (we'll see how that goes). Some years from now, when he, I and everyone else our age is planted in dirt, folks will still have knowledge of when any particular SS wedge anchor bolt was installed. 


Maybe he can speak up if I missed any other fine detailing of that work. 

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,901

I really like the idea of a hardware database. I also think the keeper of the database needs to be the local climbing group that watches over the crag. If a larger group (Like UIAA) wanted a word-wide database, it could be created and updated by the local climbing groups. If someone is re-bolting/upgrading/placing new, they should be talking to whatever climbing organization exists for that location anyway.

Rprops · · North Las Vegas · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 78

The Vegas system is really efficient in my opinion. There is a stickied bad bolt thread. People report bad bolts they see on that thread. Rebolters check that thread and go do the work and then can report on individual routes what they did.  Its not comprehensive and the biggest problem is climbers under report problems (because in general climbers do not recognize bad hardware), but it requires no overhead and all the rebolters seem like nerds who just keep refreshing MP pages all day any way, so no extra effort required.  We just need to get more people to report more bolts, and as stated, be better at reporting which bolt number, what type of bolt, etc.

ANGUS WIESSNER · · Denver Colorad · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,125

Id be more worried about fixed draws all it takes is one sharp one and one solid cut. At least if a bolt on a sport climb fails you will hopefully get caught by a lower one. bolts can fail but it seems rare. Now if were not talking about sport climbing good to do a quick visual inspection of the bolt or pin/fix hardware if you can before you clip it. 

I had I minor scare on a route in the flatirons with fixed draws. I had climbed on the sport route for two days before I noticed my brand new rope was destroyed in both ends from the sharp fixed draws I had taken some small lead falls and some hard takes working on the route but not what I would call big whips. I replaced the steel carabineers at the crux witch at first site appeared to look ok but once I removed them careful inspection showed they were worn and getting sharp.  The three crux trango steal carabineers that were worn sharp were from 2013 route sees a lot of traffic and big overhanging whippers. Be careful out there and if a draws looks unsafe replace it or take it down and through it away for everyone's sake. 

VTP Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2009 · Points: 0

I think that MP.com is a great place to start, as it has a pretty good amount of route data already.  Some can get gleaned from new and old guidebooks, assignment of local moderators that cooperate with LCO's seems appropriate as well, the Access Fund is a great source for these individuals.  Reporting a bad bolt can be as simple as finding the route on MP.com and clicking a button that alerts that LCO or the ASCA.  Another button that links to paypal/venmo to donate to a general replacement fund like the AF/ASCA seems like a logical next step in this process as well.  Getting way ahead of myself here but The Access Fund has trail teams, enough crowd sourced/corporate funding could potentially spur a vertical trail team, that has a database of bad bolts and the means to educate LCOs on how to replace them in coordinated team efforts like any other trail day.

It could happen, why not.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
VTP Vinson wrote:

I think that MP.com is a great place to start, as it has a pretty good amount of route data already.  Some can get gleaned from new and old guidebooks, assignment of local moderators that cooperate with LCO's seems appropriate as well, the Access Fund is a great source for these individuals.  Reporting a bad bolt can be as simple as finding the route on MP.com and clicking a button that alerts that LCO or the ASCA.  Another button that links to paypal/venmo to donate to a general replacement fund like the AF/ASCA seems like a logical next step in this process as well.  Getting way ahead of myself here but The Access Fund has trail teams, enough crowd sourced/corporate funding could potentially spur a vertical trail team, that has a database of bad bolts and the means to educate LCOs on how to replace them in coordinated team efforts like any other trail day.

It could happen, why not.

There's a lot of focus on here, which is IMO a great idea, on the involvement of a LCO, but what about climbing areas without any LCO? I live in one such area and put up routes when I can find the time/money/partners to do so. I like the idea of a public database, especially knowing that quite a few bolts will need to be replaced within the next decade or two because they were bolted in the 90s with plated and/or carbon steel in limestone.

Previously and currently in the area where I live, the MO is word of mouth to a known developer which is incredibly inefficient. I know I could just set up my own database but then the issue would be getting people, with most of whom I have no contact, to actually use some website that I set up. While I'm aware not everybody uses MP, it has a pretty good user base, much better than any other climbing related website, to draw from so that is at least a portion of the people who use the crags.

VTP Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2009 · Points: 0

Eli, for areas without a LCO, the answer is simply to start one.  It takes a president, VP and treasurer, nothing more or less than that.  Working with a climbing gym or even the local bar that most climbers frequent, you can set up fundraiser events.  Climbing competitions, gofundme type campaigns or even just throwing a party helps raise awareness and moves a larger group towards anchor replacement and funding.  

Again, i think the Access Fund could be instrumental in helping guys like you set this up and help educate local climbers.  Strength in numbers!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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