Bolting Limestone Tufas and Stalactites.


Original Post
Nate Mathy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0

Does anyone have experience or knowledge of bolting into calcium deposits such as a tufa or a stalactite using Fixe 6 1/2'' glue in bolts and Hilti Glue?

I understand most people don't and end up using bits of tat. to thread around tufas to keep its integrity. I just interested to see if it is possible.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0
Nate Mathy wrote:

Does anyone have experience or knowledge of bolting into calcium deposits such as a tufa or a stalactite using Fixe 6 1/2'' glue in bolts and Hilti Glue?

I understand most people don't and end up using bits of tat. to thread around tufas to keep its integrity. I just interested to see if it is possible.

Most tufas are like a soggy piece of cardboard inside under the hard skin. Don´t bolt them. It´s also fairly bad news when they break if you are clipped to them. Don´t bolt them again.

Calcite sheets on the rock are also usually have gungy mud under them, you need to drill right through and into the baserock if you must bolt there.

Franck Vee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 10

Those are good points about not being tied into a 200 pounds falling piece of rock and/or not drilling into cardboards!

simplyput · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 0

Don't do it.

Nate Mathy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0

so basically what im trying to do is protect this big guy. its bone dry even when it rains due to the amount of shelter it has above it. we first thought about putting slings through it, but considering how strong this thing looks i was wondering if we'd be able to get away with something more permanent like the 6.5'' glue in bolts we have.

 

ckersch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 150

Can you place the bolts in the wall next to the tufa, instead of on it? I'm not sure if your route goes over that feature or dihederals up the side of it, but if it's reasonable to reach bolts on the wall from the tufa, that might be a better solution.

Nate Mathy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0
Jim Titt wrote:

Most tufas are like a soggy piece of cardboard inside under the hard skin. Don´t bolt them. It´s also fairly bad news when they break if you are clipped to them. Don´t bolt them again.

Calcite sheets on the rock are also usually have gungy mud under them, you need to drill right through and into the baserock if you must bolt there.

Hey Jim, I agree although this tufa is bone dry and very mature. The pictures don't do it justice but this thing is 3-4m thick and 6-7m tall it acts more like a block of limestone suspended off the wall rather than a tufa, its also very dense. "a soggy piece of cardboard inside under the hard skin" is not what i would use to describe this tufa. 

Nate Mathy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0
ckersch wrote:

Can you place the bolts in the wall next to the tufa, instead of on it? I'm not sure if your route goes over that feature or dihederals up the side of it, but if it's reasonable to reach bolts on the wall from the tufa, that might be a better solution.

for 2 of the 3 lines we would like to bolt that would be achievable but some areas are completely covered with calcium.

Nate Mathy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0
simplyput wrote:

Don't do it.

thanks for the input. 

Nate Mathy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0

this is me standing directly underneath the tufa as you can see its not small.

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 251

Nate,  

From the looks of it, I don't think there's a clear answer to the question of whether it's safe or not to bolt this thing.   You can tell by the flat bottom that it's broken off from it's own weight in the past.  And it's entirely possible it will again; possibly the entire thing this time.  

So the real question is not whether the bolts will be good, but whether the entire formation is gonna stay there in the long-term.  And that's really hard to determine.  It might be hard and dry much of the year but soft and dripping from internal water during the rainy season.  

Peter Beal · · Boulder Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,690
John Byrnes wrote:

Nate,  

From the looks of it, I don't think there's a clear answer to the question of whether it's safe or not to bolt this thing.   You can tell by the flat bottom that it's broken off from it's own weight in the past.  And it's entirely possible it will again; possibly the entire thing this time.  

So the real question is not whether the bolts will be good, but whether the entire formation is gonna stay there in the long-term.  And that's really hard to determine.  It might be hard and dry much of the year but soft and dripping from internal water during the rainy season.  

Plus objective danger from falling coconuts! Yikes.

Michael P · · Pittsburgh · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 30

Have you considered using mountaineering chains?  I just watched this documentary about it....

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 50
Michael P wrote:

Have you considered using mountaineering chains?  I just watched this documentary about it....

I saw that, too. Those guys are really pushing the envelope! Regarding chains, it should be noted that they're super bomber, but are considered static. Never use them in place of your dynamic rope for leading!

J. Snyder · · Flagstaff, Arizona · Joined May 2011 · Points: 3,270
Andrew Krajnik wrote:

I saw that, too. Those guys are really pushing the envelope! Regarding chains, it should be noted that they're super bomber, but are considered static. Never use them in place of your dynamic rope for leading!

Very static but also very redundant. Ropes cant do that. 

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 251
Peter Beal wrote:

Plus objective danger from falling coconuts! Yikes.

No, that's a papaya tree in the foreground.

Peter Beal · · Boulder Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,690
John Byrnes wrote:

No, that's a papaya tree in the foreground.

Hahaha, you're right! They are huge!

Nate Mathy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0
John Byrnes wrote:

Nate,  

From the looks of it, I don't think there's a clear answer to the question of whether it's safe or not to bolt this thing.   You can tell by the flat bottom that it's broken off from it's own weight in the past.  And it's entirely possible it will again; possibly the entire thing this time.  

So the real question is not whether the bolts will be good, but whether the entire formation is gonna stay there in the long-term.  And that's really hard to determine.  It might be hard and dry much of the year but soft and dripping from internal water during the rainy season. 

Thanks John.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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