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Top Down Bolting Gear


Original Post
Mak Ely · · Orange County · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 872

I’d like to share the gear we use for development/bolting.
The intent is to share what works for me in the area I am currently working in*; but it’s a modular and pleasant system so I have chosen to share.
Thank you.

*this means rope lengths, bolt specs, etc are adapted to the area

Bolting Gear

1: “Bolt Bag” - carrying case for items within the orange perimeters. This bag is typically taken up for the work but only full with items necessary or foreseeable for the particular route/need.
2: Bandana cushion - placed at base of bag; has other auxiliary uses, of course.
3: Leatherman - multi tool with carrying case on a crab that slides tight into the bag’s side pocket.
4: (3) 10mm SDS carbide bits - from amazon.
5: Depth Gauge - for drill.
6: (3) 3/8” SDS Carbide Bits - Bosch or Hilti.
7: Toothbrush and Chop-Sticks Depth Gauge - brush usually for cleaning choss.
8: E6800 Industrial Glue and File - for any patch work.
9: Extra Battery with bandana sleeve - carried to area in bag, usually left protected at base in approach pack, unless initial battery is low of course.
10: 60cm nylon sling - shoulder sling for the drill on the jug, also as a purse when coiling rope.
11: N95 particle mask - barrier from dust when cleaning and drilling.
12: Cordex Gloves - worn when working and jugging.
13: (2) “Bolt Kits” consisting of (6) bolt/hanger for protection, (2) bolt/hanger/link/ring for top anchors, and (1) bolt/hanger/link/link as spares per "kit"

1-13 Weight of Bolt Bag with all items stowed = 13lbs or 5.9kg


14: Blower and Wire Brushes - blow out dust and scrub hole.
15: Hammer - used for everything; note chisel on the rear.
16: “Fit-Draw” - a steel hanger with an old quickdraw used exclusively for check the appropriate location of the bolt i.e. crabs aren’t cross-loading, edge rubs are minimized, etc.
17: Wrenches - one adjustable used for gates on the quicklinks, fixed wrench for tightening bolt nut.
14-17 Weight total = 5lbs or 2.2kg

18: Cocoons - impact rated sunglasses that fit over prescription glasses, and offer excellent surface area protection.
19: Knee pads - used when working.
20: 36v Rotary Hammer Drill with Battery - Bosch refurbished, great deal, no issues, home-done padding; note mini prussic on the drill handle, which is clipped to the hitched crab and attached to the 60cm nylon shoulder sling (#10) to position the drill vertically when jugging. Weight of drill+battery = 11lbs or 5kg

Climbing Gear

1: Metolius Harness - secure comfort and function.
2: Storm Helmet with a Headlamp - always recommended, right?
3: (6) Quickdraws - partner brings equivalent or I bring extra when solo.
4: Top Anchor - locking connectors, cordelette, oval crabs.
5: Tibloc + Locker - used for “changeover” and other rope-grab duties.
6: Pulley + Locker - used when jugging, primarily.
7: Prusik + Locker - always on loop as a backup.
8: Belay Device + Steel Locker - always on loop as a backup.
9: Locking Crab - extra
10: Locking Crab - extra
11: Locking Crab - extra


12: KONG Back-Up - This is the orange plated cam device with the pull string AND the steel locking carabiner below it; the o-rings are accessories added by me to enhance orientation. I use this for TR soloing. I can scramble atop the back, side, or chimney of most formations and rig a natural anchor with a static line, fix my main line, also static, both 11mm, to the masterpoint and toss the main down the intended route. I rap down casual, removing obvious choss. At the base, I re-inspect the route’s path, attach the KONG Back-Up device to the main line and my harness, coiling the rope below the device for a weighted feed, and start climbing. This is a great device and when used appropriately provides a very smooth climb, and safe catches. However, I am trained on this device, it is a rope access fall arrest device; I recommend training before using this device. Nevertheless, I believe it can be a secure and accommodating device when used properly, and have you heard of this device before? Check it out and shoot me a message  

13: GriGri2 + Locker - you know why.
14: Left Ascension + Home-Done Foot Loop + Locker - for jugging.
15: 60cm nylon sling  + Locker - personal anchor, attached to GriGri when in seat.
16: 120cm nylon sling + Locker - persona anchor, attached to Ascension when in use.
17: Paw Rigging Plate + Locker - for organizing tools.
18: NEW (to me!) Grivel Vlad - for organizing tools; as a gift, have yet to use, but mocked it up and will likely use.

Other Gear

1: 11mm static rope 40m - used when top roping and TR soloing; dynamic rope used when leading, of course.
2: 11.4mm static rope 25m - used as for natural anchors; nylon strips for abrasion protection.
3: Sun Hat.
4: First Aid Kit (I’d recommend something more compact and less rigid but still stocked with essentials e.g. alpine size).


5: Home-Done Bosun’s Chair - used when bolting for comfort and weight dispersion, with customized back strap and gear loops; weighing 2.75lbs / 1.2kg it’s worth it every time. Inspired by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iBd9hbl4v0
6: Extra Wire Brushes - occasionally used, mainly for cleaning debris from cracks.
7: Strong-Bristled-Brush - for heavier cleaning needs.
8: Chalk Bag - climbing and marking protection locations.
9: Extra bolts/hangers/links/rings - usually left at base camp and just the anticipated amount of hardware is taken.
10: Home-Done Canvas Rope Protection - Z-stitch, superglue and good canvas has me these pieces of pro I use overtime I rig a natural anchor; let’s take care of our ropes.

Not shown*
00: Rope Bag - used for stowing ropes and other soft goods.
00: Approach Pack - older 70L backpacking pack can fit everything plus water, snacks, etc..
00: Micro Stoppers - for secure bolting positions and staying close to rock, if needed.

All this gear weighs 64lbs / 30kg
*sans Other Gear : #9: Extra bolts/hangers/link/rings
Heavy!

If more are interested in my setup, my process of getting situated in "work position" i.e. seat ready, tools organized etc, leave a note and perhaps I'll get to elaborating/demonstrating.

Thanks for the read! I'm interested in feedback so please share your wisdom, experience, critiques, stories! It's all welcome.
Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490

Jeez, you like carrying a lot of stuff don´t you? When I go to bolt two routes in a day with resin bolts (around 30 bolts + 2 chainsets) I carry 20kg or so.

I´d chuck out:
1, 2, 3, change 4 to one spare drill bit, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17 (unless I was carrying a bolt-in for a working anchor),18,19.
2,4,5,6,7,8,12,17,18.
Change to single 50m x 9.5/10mm static, 5,6,7,10.

Mak Ely · · Orange County · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 872

Thanks for your insight, Jim! I agree I can shed some serious weight if I leave behind the 'redundant' items. I justify the weight because I have found significant use for the items if not at one route then at the next. (Some items are displayed here but I don't take them if I know beforehand.) But your 20kg sounds lovely to get to. I will likely experiment with weight reduction this weekend. Cheers! 

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,685

Mak...Looks WAY excessive!  ^^^+1^^^ for Jim Titt's comment.
Lose the Bosun's chair, the rigging plates, and all the pulleys. Redundancy is great, but time to think about how to shed weight.
What I don't see is a Torque Wrench.

Mak Ely · · Orange County · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 872

Thanks for the response, Benjamin! But no way am I loosing the chair! Tried and true worth every gram and takes a minute to situate. However the plates... might toss. Pulley is negligible weight but... The essentials are heavy (bolts, drill, batteries, rope) and I understand how tossing the perceivably insignificant parts can 'counter-weight' those items. But I agree: time to shed weight! I'll be playing around this weekend.
As for the torque wrench, I use 304 3/8" Powers Wedge Bolts that require 25-30 ft-lbf which is accomplished with a simple wrench.
I should add a torque wrench was first used to determine what 25-30 ft-lbf feels like with my wrench. 

G G · · SLT, CA · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 115

With no torque wrench how to you know you are not above or below the 25 to 30 ft lb range?

Mak Ely · · Orange County · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 872
Ken G wrote: With no torque wrench how to you know you are not above or below the 25 to 30 ft lb range?

Ken, I just edited a previous comment as you wrote this. 

"I should add a torque wrench was first used to determine what 25-30 ft-lbf feels like with my wrench."
AndyMac · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 606

Are you bolting new routes or upgrading old ones? That is A LOT for new development!
Less the drill, draws, rope, etc, my whole kit fits in or hangs from my bolt bag.

Mak Ely · · Orange County · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 872

This is my approach pack that hold everything I need for developing (original photos).

removed multitool, paw plate, and rope bag.
Add water.. total carrying still 65lbs / 30kg
Keep in mind this is ALL the weight disrupted between one person.. my partner would take ropes, bolts, etc
But this is quite a load to carrying by oneself.. 



Edit:
Andy, we're mostly developing new routes.

I sense it's overkill as well, however I find my process so efficient that I justify the gear every time.

I'd love to see a photo of your setup next time you're out!
Dan Greenwald · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 21

For steep routes, I find hooks and an adjust daisy are very helpful.

Monty · · Golden, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 3,244
Dan Greenwald wrote: For steep routes, I find hooks and an adjust daisy are very helpful.

ClimbTech’s removable bolts are helpful too! 

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 7,825

Good on you for the details being thought through!  However, you need to lighten up.  Skip the adjustable wrench and only have an ratchet wrench you have bent and is specific to the bolt(s) you will set.  There are many other items you might rethink.  Do so.  Best wishes,  Roy

Taylor Spiegelberg · · Lander & Sheridan, WY · Joined May 2012 · Points: 1,446

For sport climbs, this is BY FAR the most important tool in my kit. A route that has been properly cleaned with a blower feels like it has been climbed 50 times! You could waste your time scrubbing a pocket for 10 minutes, or have in basically clean in 10 sec with this bad boy. Friends of mine have adapted smaller leaf blowers (such as the tiny Bosch one) for cleaning out bolt holes. I typically carry it in my hand, as they are rather awkward to throw in or strap on a pack. It's also great for dusting your clothes/face off at the end of the day.

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,685

Taylor...that leaf blower looks like the ticket. We use a can of Dust Off, but it gets pretty cold after continuous use.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Mak Ely wrote: This is my approach pack that hold everything I need for developing (original photos).

removed multitool, paw plate, and rope bag.
Add water.. total carrying still 65lbs / 30kg
Keep in mind this is ALL the weight disrupted between one person.. my partner would take ropes, bolts, etc
But this is quite a load to carrying by oneself..



Edit:
Andy, we're mostly developing new routes.

I sense it's overkill as well, however I find my process so efficient that I justify the gear every time.

I'd love to see a photo of your setup next time you're out!

You sure your not actually carrying your partner as well?  

I just weighed mine.
13.62kg for my working gear;- 40l rucksack, harness, 50m x 10mm static rope, set of alloy offset nuts, 4 slings, GriGri, ascender with footloop and knotted sling as daisy/back-up leash, hook, 6 draws, 3 screwgates extra, finger tape, 2 drill bits, drill and batteries, 2 working bolts and hangers, wrench, brush and blow-out pump, hammer + the usual junk that lives in my pack like headtorch, knife, toilet paper etc.
5.09kg for the bolts and resin for 2 ca 30m routes (30 bolts, two chainsets, resin and gun).
Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,685

Right on, Jim. That sounds compatible with my kit. Occasionally, I have a 2nd rope.

Brandon Fields · · Boulder · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 130

You didn't post pictures of your quads. With that load, i'd say your quads are the most important tool you've got. ;p

In all seriousness though, my gear pack is similar, though i try my hardest to bring the bare minimum as a lot of my areas of development are a pita to access. Also, i find myself alone about 70% of the time as my climbing partners posses about 10% of the stoke i have for developing. Too bad a partner isn't a given piece of gear. :p

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,685

Yeah, Brandon, developers are a rare breed. Lots of folks like to complain about how chossy a route is, about a spinner bolt, or bolt placements. Few possesses the mindset, fortitude, and masochistic tendencies to develop routes. Good on you.

Russ Walling · · Overlord @ FishProducts · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 3,426

Gotta say... that is ton of shit your are schlepping around

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 5,014
Taylor Spiegelberg wrote: For sport climbs, this is BY FAR the most important tool in my kit. A route that has been properly cleaned with a blower feels like it has been climbed 50 times! You could waste your time scrubbing a pocket for 10 minutes, or have in basically clean in 10 sec with this bad boy. Friends of mine have adapted smaller leaf blowers (such as the tiny Bosch one) for cleaning out bolt holes. I typically carry it in my hand, as they are rather awkward to throw in or strap on a pack. It's also great for dusting your clothes/face off at the end of the day.

They are great, just make sure you have good eye protection on (mask too)


Where is your 5 foot bar, large and small mattock and 250' 11.4 mm static line and DEET?
Darren Mabe · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Dec 2002 · Points: 3,880
Monty wrote:

ClimbTech’s removable bolts are helpful too! 

+10

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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