Home Forums Bolting Carrots

This topic contains 13 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  gaby 12 years, 10 months ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
  • #1792 Reply

    Matt Rosser

    1. What is a Carrot?

    A carrot is a 3/8” x 2” (9.5mm x 51mm) 316 or 304 stainless steel hex bolt that has been lightly tapered. The carrot is driven into a hole with the use of a small sledge hammer. The bolt is held in place by the forces of friction. Sometimes glue is added if the rock is soft.

    2. Why I Advocate The Use Of Carrots

    2.1 Visual Impact

    Lowest visual impact of all bolted protection

    2.2 Character:

    2.2.1 Uniquely Australia climbing experience – carrots are Australian.

    2.2.2 Clipping carrots is not straight forward and contains sporting elements akin to the use of natural protection.

    2.3 Safety – Carrots Don’t Break

    2.3.1 Carrots don’t bend – anyone who tells you that they bent a 9.5mm stainless steal carrot by falling on it is having a lend. Bent bolts are always the result of the instillation process involving a glancing blow from a small sledge hammer.

    2.3.2 Carrots don’t break. Try breaking a 9.5mm stainless steal carrot by dropping your body weight on it (get your larger friends to help) – please send me the photos.

    3. Retrobolting

    Yes it is OK to retrobolt a climb provided:

    3.1 You were the first climber (ie it is your line)

    3.2 The first climber gives their permission.

    4. Placing Carrots

    4.1 If you are inexperienced then seek help, spend time developing your technique and most importantly seek advice.

    4.2 For new climbs:

    4.2.1 Checking the proposed carrot locations on top rope – mark with chalk and try clipping motion.

    4.2.2 Before placing the carrots get a 2nd opinion (this is quick and invaluable and typically results in a better outcome). Ideally at least two climbers should verify the location of the carrots.

    4.2.3 Use carrots without hangers – place hangers only in desperate clip situations.

    4.2.4 Space carrots within the context of the area.

    #1793 Reply

    Glenn Sharrock

    Greetings All – These are my quick opinions on carrot bolts, please note I am not maligning Matt’s love of carrots, which could be justified, just sharing my thoughts. I like the non-obtrusive nature of the carrot, except when I cant find them….

    Many people think that “any bolt” which does not have a fixed bracket is a carrot. This is untrue, and Matt’s notes define the carrot well: ie carrots are tapered bolts that are hammered in, and can be glued. This is quite different to a glued-in machine bolt with intact thread, which are also common in climbing. On the cliff, you can sometimes tell a carrot by looking at the bolt head, which is deformed from the hammering process.

    In recent years I have steered away from carrots, particularly in soft rocks, for the following reasons:

    # Rock damage during installation: Rock generally has quite a low tensile strength. When a carrot is bashed in tensile stresses are induced around the hole – particularly at the hole collar if the hole is poorly drilled (remember the hole must be slightly tapered). In addition, if the hole is poorly drilled the bolt will have poor contact (no friction) or will stand out from the face – aka over-driven carrots, or broken rock at the collar.

    # Load Transfer: Over time bolts are loaded repeatedly in falls. In soft rocks, the hole deforms leading to lower frictional resistance, and the potential for carrots to pull out (eg blue mountains sandstones – not such a problem in strong rocks). Adding glue helps, but since the threaded pattern on the bolt is reduced in the tapering process, load transfer is not as good as a glue-in bolt with a course pattern (ie Petzl Bolt with load transfer pattern designed for glued in application) With carrots, the glue layer is probably too thin, and the thread too fine for good shear resistance (IMHO)

    For these reasons, and in my opinion, carrots are poor long-term bolts for climbing – carrots in the Blue Mountains are gradually being replaced with glue-ins for these reasons.

    Even so I suspect there are thousands of carrots Australia wide (I know I have placed a few myself…) – carrots in hard rock could be safe, many could be dodgy. It is clear that the factor of safety for a carrot is much more dependent on time, loading hostory, and the skill of the bolter than glue-ins.

    PS: I have pulled quite a few carrots with my bolt-puller – some come out surprisingly easily… Ironically, once corroded they are much more difficult to pull. I seem to remember that in the bluies there was a concern that carrots were shearing at the bolt head because of the damage (micro-fracturing) inducing in the bolt head during the bashing process, which leads to corrosion.

    Best wishes and bye for now

    Glenn Sharrock

    #1794 Reply



    I agree with Glenn. Personally I think it’s time to move on from bash-ins. They do damage rock and the bolt. Glued in machine bolts offer all of the advantages of carrots, with having been bashed.

    Yes, I have put a couple in, and yes, I still climb on them. I’d use glue now though.

    Cheers guys,


    #1795 Reply

    Patrick Turner

    Sorry Matt but I fully disagree with retro bolting routes regardless of whether or not you have permission and whether or not it is your route.

    I do howevefr agree with the replacement of eroded fixed pro provided it is bolt for bolt. Ethics mustnt be forgotten mate and retrobolting has been frowned upon since forever. Though on the other hand, you are making routes safer for the community by making pro safer and more frequent, which is a very decent thing to do especially when it is coming out of your own pocket. But then again, by doing this some would consider that it is taking the adventure out of it climbing, by making it a fail safe activity…

    Safe climbing


    #1796 Reply

    Bjorn Aikman

    With reference to recent comments on bolting issues.

    I believe that there are 2 types of climbs; adventure climbs and sports climbs. Sports climbs are bolted adventure climbs are not. A very simplistic view but I think it is fairly true.

    In line with this I believe that there are 2 types of sports climbs, well bolted sports climbs and poorly bolted sports climbs. Minimalist bolting I am afraid is just another term for poor bolting.

    I think that if you are going to resort to bolting a line then you should do it well so that it is safe for everyone. If for whatever reason you are not prepared to do this then the options are either climb it ‘au-natural’ minus fixed protection or leave it.

    As a prospective first ascentionist I think that you should never try and artificially create ‘character’ on a line by spacing bolt placements to suit your particular style or ethos.

    If you are going to place bolts your primary concern should be for the safety of all future ascentionists. After all you are artificially altering the nature of the climb and to do it just to suit you is I believe rather selfish.

    First ascentionists do not own climbs. They get the privelage of naming the line and having the details of their ascent recorded for posterity and that is about it. It is however generally concidered polite to leave a line in the state that the first ascentionist ascended it. This should be respected when the first ascentionist has not resorted to the use of fixed protection. When the first ascentionist has resorted to the use of fixed protection if they have done a good job then the line will stand the test of time and popular opinion. If on the other hand they have done a bad job and the line is generally concidered to be dangerouse or selfishly bolted then there is no reason not to retrobolt the line with or without the first ascentionists permission. Having said that I would seek the opinion of others before I launched into a retrobolting spree.

    If anyone feels that climbs I have put up utelising fixed protection are dangerouse and could do with an extra bolt or 2 then please feel free to add them. The only thing I would ask is that whoever is placing the bolts is sensitive to the aesthetics of the line. I like carrots for this very reason. Conversley if you are up to the challenge and wish to remove all the bolts from any of my lines and climb them ‘au-natural’ then you are welcome to it. Again be mindfull of the aesthetics.

    In summary I would like to say that if you are going to resort to bolting a climb then you should do it well so that it is safe and enjoyable for everyone otherwise leave it.


    #1797 Reply


    # Minimalist bolting and bolting on-lead

    I have always suspected that minimalist bolting in old days was not simply a result of people wanting to put up bold routes, but the ground-up ethic and, the difficulty of hand drilling. Bolting on lead is difficult – if you can climb the grade easily would you rather run-out the lead or spend 1hr per hole hand drilling holes? When bolting on lead it is also often difficult to place bolts in optimal positions.

    While bolting a route from the ground up is extremely satisfying for the first ascentionist, I think the end result is often not-the-best for the climbers that come afterwards (Bashing in carrots on lead is easier than waiting for glue to dry…)

    # Retro-bolting and Bolt Density

    My understanding is the main difficulty we face as climbers is limitations on our access to cliffs, associated with environmental and litigation issues. Added to this we have a growing number of climbers, with perhaps a lower overall skill level? (Perhaps this is untrue and we just have more climbers, and more learners?)

    Regardless of our skills, styles or beliefs we should always keep access in mind – no cliff access means no climbing for anyone. This is why safe bolts are good, hanger-less bolts are good, and most importantly, “safe” climbers are good. I think the best way to manage the issues surrounding bolting is to:

    1. Make sure whatever fixed protection installed is safe (replace old gear, bolt new routes with the proper bolts)

    2. Document routes properly in the guidebook (if a route in run-out or dangerous just say so, or give enough info for the experienced climber to assess the dangers – there is no place for the old-days of sandbagging in guidebooks these days)

    #1798 Reply

    Matt Rosser

    Interesting to read Bjorn’s views. I guess there is now nothing left to do but immediately go out to Eagle Tor and bolt “Don’t Pay The Ferryman” …so we can all enjoy. Before he changes his mind!


    #1799 Reply

    Bjorn Aikman

    Dear Mr Rosser

    ‘If anyone feels that climbs I have put up utelising fixed protection are dangerouse and could do with an extra bolt or 2 then please feel free to add them.’

    It might not be gramatically perfect but I think it is fairly unambiguouse and in keeping with the gist of the rest of the piece.

    From memory ‘Don’t Pay The Ferry Man’ has no fixed protection.

    Simple mistake.


    #1800 Reply

    Debbi Rosser

    Dear Bjorn and Matt,

    No protection is necessary if you are at home mowing the lawn on Sunday…as you should be!


    #1801 Reply


    Any punters travelling to Arapiles should stop and contemplate the recovered carrots displayed in the window of the climbing shop in Natimuk. There appears to be an effort under way to replace old carrot/sling/chain belays with stonking new ring bolts. This activity actually decreases visual impact because ring bolts are the least visually intrusive loweroffs available. (Loweroffs are environmentally friendly as people do not trample up the descent routes, turning them into erosion gullys.)

    I have personally replaced carrot and carrot/chain belays where the bolts just flew out with the first application of a short crow bar. So point is, beware of the carrot, depending on who placed and into what sort of rock, it may be a stonker or a stinker.

    #1802 Reply



    Yours is the most pertinent comment I have seen on the bolting issue chat column so far.

    #1803 Reply


    so did you place carrots at mount chudalup?matt have look at your replies to your guide to chudalup,and toc i got your message on the phone and will try to get to perth for the the agm and hopfuly shed some light on the subject for you all

    i lived in nowra 6 years prior to pemberton (also 6 years) and have climbed for fifteen years on all types of bolts buffolo blueys araps gong and i think you need some bolting lessons from my old mate graham hill or maybe rod young because they dont think carrots are a good idea and they were around when carrots were invented…sorry hilly/rod were all dinosaurs …stainless glue in with good quality glue not some crap from the local hardware store…

    #1804 Reply


    ya right whatever tigers rock but dolfins are muscular

    #1805 Reply


    i love dolpfins

    there so cute

    and i love kyle

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
Reply To: Carrots
Your information: