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- 24 November 2015 at 12:10 pm #155852NeilGuest
We climbed some routes at Gibraltar Rock in the Porongurups recently. They included some recent additions by Tim Ball. Tim’s bolts have been the subject of a few threads on this forum and the executive summary was that his bolts are a concern ! This is very disappointing, as for the most part his routes are good climbs. Some of our observations on his bolts follow:
Tim has used some carrots at belays and also as runners. Remi and co raised concern about the terrible carrots on Tim’s route Dinosaur Junior. Tim has replaced these with stainless steel expansion bolts and stainless steel hangers which was good. In fact Dinosaur Junior is a great climb and now has all stainless steel bolts and hangers – so it should be safe; aside from my concerns about his lower-offs (see below). Tim has not replaced the carrot bolts he has used on some other routes. These carrots should not be trusted to hold any weight or falls. I tested them with my nut tool and managed to remove all 4 that I tested very very easily. I would say they would have only held 20kg each in an outward direction. These carrots were the belay anchors for P2 of High Plains Drifter and also the belay at the start of Bogan Villagers and Spangelic Upstarts. I put in one expansion bolt at the belay start for Bogan Villagers and Spangelic Upstarts which can be backed up with natural gear. I did not have time to put in more bolts. There is no belay at the moment for P2 of High Plains Drifter. You can climb out to the left easily so no one is going to die from missing bolts. I will replace the carrots soon. Helpers are welcome. If you climb any of the other routes Tim has bolted with carrots as runners or belays exercise extreme caution. Normally to remove carrots it takes a crow bar or a lot of bashing with a hammer and spanner. Tim’s essentially fell out when wiggled gently with a nut tool.
Tim has mostly used expansion bolts in other locations. All the ones we saw were stainless steel. However some of the nuts were finger tight, so please check critical ones. Hopefully he has installed them correctly and they are of a suitable length.
Tim has used a mix of stainless steel and non-stainless steel hangers, chains, maillons and lower off links. The stainless steel hangers are fine. The non-stainless items look ok at first glance, but they are already starting to go rusty and will soon turn into rusty blobs like the anchors on Sucked in Ben. Exercise caution when you use any items that are not stainless steel and or look a bit rusty. Often the worst corrosion is at the back or in the inside and not visible to a climber.
Rusty anchors on Sucked in Ben:
Tim’s anchors going rusty – note rust on non-stainless hangers.
Tim has put in many double bolt belays and turned them into lower offs by adding maillons and round links or chain. Aside from the chain not being stainless, and going rusty it is probably ok to use as it will be pretty strong. Note above comments on corrosion. Most of the maillons are 6mm and say “316” on them which means they should be stainless steel. They have no manufacturer markings or load rating stamped on them. Proper rated maillons should be used with manufacture stamping and ratings on them (e.g see the maillons on Raven). I recommend clipping in direct to the hangers and not using any lower-off items you don’t trust. If in doubt climb to the top, or lower off some of your own carabiners and leave them behind. In many cases Tim has attached tiny 4mm rings to the maillons to lower off. These are only suitable for hanging curtains and should never be used for humans to hang on or lower off. We removed the ones we came across but there are still some there. He has also used at least one galvanised 6mm ring with a big crack in it that we removed. See pic. He has used some 6mm rings that “look” like stainless steel. I recommend not using these as they have no markings on them and I have never seen anything this skinny used around the world.
Galvanised lower-off ring with crack:
Amusing 4mm rings on lower-offs. Please don’t trust these !! Clip into the hangers….
Tim has not installed glue ins at Gibraltar Rock. But he has at Peak Head. Glue-ins require more skill than other bolt types and given Tim’s track record above I would encourage everyone to be very careful trusting Tim’s glue in bolts at Peak Head. Apparently he has used “marine grade glue” which could mean anything.
I suggest the following “plan” to fix some of this:
1) Replace the carrots with stainless expansion bolts and hangers
2) Remove any stupid lower-off items we find and replace critical ones with rated maillons or suitable stainless chain.
3) I am not sure what to do with all the non stainless steel hangers he has used that are already going rusty. I’d like to replace them but it is lots of work. I’m open to opinions.24 November 2015 at 10:14 pm #155859John boyGuest
Thanks for the heads up Neil had planed to tick a couple of them next weekend think I will go fishing instead.I have a sack of assorted stainless left over from albany locals and there projects and happy to donate and help with the work if it improves the area .knowing how easy Tim’s bolts pulled from Scott camps retrobolt at peak head it won’t take long.25 November 2015 at 8:54 am #155860ChrisGuest
Thanks Neil! I climbed Lars Attacks and the bolts were rusting (wrong type of steel bolts for the hangers?).
Out of interest. What were the routes that he bolted at Peak Head?25 November 2015 at 10:36 am #155861NeilGuest
Tim’s Peak Head route with glue in’s:
(hidden in the guff about Gibraltar)
Stupid retrobolt that John was talking about:
(done to death….)25 November 2015 at 1:56 pm #155862NeilGuest
Lars attacks has stainless steel expansion bolts with non-stainless hangers. Hence the hangers have started going rusty. The hangers look very similar to stainless one’s when new. You can tell the difference by looking at the writing on them. The FIXE brand ones say “steel” for plated steel and say either “INOX”, “316” or “304” for stainless steel.28 November 2015 at 5:48 pm #155872RemiGuest
Thanks for the update