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How would you rate these bolts?


Original Post
Maximilian Tagher · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 65

I'm interested in learning to rebolt at some point, so I've started taking pictures of bolts to document their quality (also I think it's just a good skill to be able to judge bolt quality). How would you rate these bolts? They're located at Cragmont Park in Berkeley, which gets a decent amount of precipitation (25.40 inches/year). It's ~1700 feet above sea level so I think it's more rare for it to get fog from the ocean, but I'm not sure on that. It's a very popular spot for teaching climbing/beginners. These bolts are all at the anchors.

Cave Route
Undercling
Farewell to Arms
Cave, Left Side
East Face
Cragmont Crack (second picture, not taken by me)

My take would be:

Cave Route: 2/5 - Look fairly rusted. Seems safe for a top-rope but should be replaced.
Undercling: stainless steel glue-in looks bomber, 5/5. Rusted one doesn't look great, but the glue should help prevent internal corrosion. 3/5?
Farewell to arms: bolts look great, 5/5. Hangers are kinda rusted. These look like five piece/powers-style bolts to me; on those I think it'd be possible to replace just the hangers?
Cave, left side; bolts look great, 5/5. Minimal rust on the hangers. Since the right hanger spins, that bolt should be tightened.
East Face: the climber's right bolt/hanger is garbage, 0/5. It's a buttonhead so would need to be funked out I think? Other bolts/nuts are rusted. Seems safe but should be replaced; 2/5.
Cragmont Crack: my photo isn't that good. But the bolts look decent despite a little rust. The left bolt is suspiciously far out from the rock, possibly the hole wasn't drilled deep enough? Seems like tightening should be attempted, and if it's still loose it should be replaced. Overall, 3/5.

(Just to head off any concerns, I'm not going to go out and make any changes to these bolts without guidance; just want to learn about bolt quality right now).

J W · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,601

Without a close inspection, I’m not a fan of any of those bolts except for the glue-in.

The bolt quality on some might be okay, but the hanger placement and anchor setups are garbage, imho.

kemple sr. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 95

Cave route- rusty carbon steel bolts, hangers not corroded so prob stainless.  Not a good setup as dissimilar metals can speed corrosion greatly.  They should be replaced.
Most of the other expansion bolts have Metolius rap anchors which will last a lifetime even if some surface corrosion
The glue ins will outlast your grandkids, even the one which shows some discoloration.
The rest of the pictures are hard to evaluate, but then most bolts are hard to evaluate visually.
Most spinners can be tightened, or washers added,  I can't see most of the bolts to see if that is likely to be possible

Lastly, the worst of these is likely to hold a ton or so, and they are all in pairs.  So pretty safe, but I would replace the ones that look bad just for peace of mind.

J W · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,601

Metolius rap hangers are the devil and should be replaced as soon as possible.

Maximilian Tagher · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 65

If it makes a difference, you're unlikely to rappel from most of these—they're all very accessible by walking around to the rope. The Cave Route triple of bolts is an exception—you need to rap down to reach those, so you'd probably rap to clean them. On the other hand, though, you might get better throughput on Farewell to Arms if you didn't need to walk up top to clean it.

J W · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,601
Maximilian Tagher wrote: If it makes a difference, you're unlikely to rappel from most of these—they're all very accessible by walking around to the rope. The Cave Route triple of bolts is an exception—you need to rap down to reach those, so you'd probably rap to clean them. On the other hand, though, you might get better throughput on Farewell to Arms if you didn't need to walk up top to clean it.

Ugh, if you can walk to them, why do they all look so haphazard? If you rebolt them, please take the time to bolt them correctly with good hardware and replaceable rappel kit (if needed), and make sure they’re setup for proper anchoring that doesn’t require weird cord configurations.

Pjm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 20

So everyone freaks over rust, but a rusted bolt on the exterior does not always tell you about the interior. Replace the spinners for sure or tighten them if possible (looks like someone tried a lock washer). I'm assuming there is a lot of top-roping at this crag or people leading and then rapping off. Think about this: In order to have a catastrophic failure that sends a climber to the ground, you must have a DOUBLE, and in two cases a TRIPLE bolt failure (assuming you use all three bolts for the anchor). Not to say that could not happen, but you can scour the annals of climbing accidents over the past 50 years, and if you can find one instance of a double bolt failure under top-rope or body weight only, I'll Venmo you $100. And that glue-in with the rust - bomber! (unless its loose). I wish every cam or nut I ever placed on lead looked as good as that rusted glue in. As long as the principles of SERENE (triple in two cases) are adhered to, no one's going to die on those. However, if you are so inclined, and learn to properly replace bolts with good hardware, you're only helping, not hurting anything, and everyone will love the shiny new bolts.

PS - if you are learning to re-bolt, please do so under the guidance of someone that is trusted in doing so, or make sure you follow directions EXACTLY. I've seen my share of perfectly good, solid, but rusted bolts replaced with shiny new bolts that end up in a hole that does not fit them (to loose) or not properly seated. I've seen the good samaritans that decide to move the anchors but only end up in the wrong place or bad rock. When you replace anchors, you are taking on responsibility for all those climbers that come after you.

PSS - if those bolts are subject to ocean air / fog nearby, please replace them with titanium.

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,717

Maximilian...you're really NOT going to learn much about rebolting by taking photos of old bolts/anchors. You should spend your time with a mentor, someone who has extensive experience with replacing/rebolting if you want to learn to rebolt properly. Also, invest in some good quality Stainless Steel hardware if you decide to wade into replacing this gear. We could go round and round about why these anchors are not equipped for rappelling/lowering, but none of the bolts look that funky save the Leeper hanger on the buttonhead, which was cursed previously by a poster above. The vertical orientation of the bolts on the Cave Route is vexing without some sort of chain to connect/equalize them and the left bolt is alarmingly close to that crack/seam. The Metolius Rap hangers aren't an issue, but those on Farewell To Arms are TOO far apart and depending on how they are rigged could create an "American Triangle" situation. Finally, NOT mixing metals and a good paint job on the hardware before installation could mitigate the rust issues. Good climbing.

Maximilian Tagher · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 65

@Pjm In Thailand two bolts failed under the body weight of two climbers (presumably due to SSC). My Venmo username is @MaxTagher ;)

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75
Maximilian Tagher wrote: @Pjm In Thailand two bolts failed under the body weight of two climbers (presumably due to SSC). My Venmo username is @MaxTagher ;)

BLAMMOOOOO SOMEONE'S EATIN TONIGHT

Ed Henicle · · Santa Rosa, CA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 1,360
nbrown · · WNC/Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 6,890

Those aren't perfect, but for perspective, they're much better than these ancients still in place at Table Rock, NC.  


simplyput . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 60

the Bay Area climbers coalition might be a good resource for you.

Pjm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 20
Maximilian Tagher wrote: @Pjm In Thailand two bolts failed under the body weight of two climbers (presumably due to SSC). My Venmo username is @MaxTagher ;)
Ha- you got me and great call out! That story also serves well on my PSS note about using titanium when there is a chance for ocean air / fog. Happy climbing! 
Ed Henicle · · Santa Rosa, CA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 1,360

Post up that $100 venmo receipt and give some to ASCA!

Tom Halicki · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 35

Was the failure on what's now Anchors Away on Glacier Point Apron a two bolt failure?  

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,823
Tom Halicki wrote: Was the failure on what's now Anchors Away on Glacier Point Apron a two bolt failure?  

No, single 1/4" bolt failed, it was just a single bolt anchor (which used to be very common).

Same with the 3-person fatality while rapping the Nose in the '70s, that was a 2-bolt belay, but only one bolt failed. But there was a chain between the bolts and they were clipped in over that chain (maybe too small diameter to get a biner through anywhere including the hanger), so there was nothing to keep them from falling if one broke.

For the original poster - none of those bolts look super bad (except the Leeper hanger one), but all could be replaced. The glue-in is improperly installed, the neck should be under the rock surface.
Pjm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 20
Ed Henicle wrote: Post up that $100 venmo receipt and give some to ASCA!

Ed - great idea! Since the person I bet never responded, but Maximilian did call me out, I'll put my money where my mouth is per your suggestion to ASCA. I made the donation to ASCA but closed out the page before I could print the receipt. However, if you email Greg Barnes at ASCA, he'll confirm $100.00 received November 13, 2018 at 10:15:47 AM PST from email pjmfish@gmail.com. At least we raised some money with the post!

Pjm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 20
Pjm wrote:

Ed - great idea! Since the person I bet never responded, but Maximilian did call me out, I'll put my money where my mouth is per your suggestion to ASCA. I made the donation to ASCA but closed out the page before I could print the receipt. However, if you email Greg Barnes at ASCA, he'll confirm $100.00 received November 13, 2018 at 10:15:47 AM PST from email pjmfish@gmail.com. At least we raised some money with the post!

My bad, Maxililian was the original poster that I bet with - I got him mixed up with someone else. You can check with him, he got his $100 as well!

Pjm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 20
Maximilian Tagher wrote: @Pjm In Thailand two bolts failed under the body weight of two climbers (presumably due to SSC). My Venmo username is @MaxTagher ;)

You won and it's there!

Timothy Fisher · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

The cave anchor bolts appear to be wedge bolts that have been peened. The ends will to be ground off the get the nuts off. What is left will be short and hard to spin.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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