Home Forums Bolting Bobs bolts

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  • #8765 Reply

    Hi all,

    I have just come back from some super sweet steep climbing at bobs hollow (a pleasurable pumpy experience not to be missed for a change from the granite scenery in WA…).

    However I am a tad ‘interested’ in the current quality of the bolts there..

    Does anyone have the latest run-down of the bolts there?

    The rust at the base of them scares me more than placing trad in crumbly cracks.

    While I try not to fall, or rest, at all on any climbs (= not trying things 3 grades harder than i can actually do, requiring a ‘rest’ at each and every bolt; purely personal ethics..); I do like to ‘know’ that if I do fall I am not likely to hit the ground, esp through equipment failure…

    Does anyone know when the bolts were placed and if they are they still actually safe to fall on?

    Thanks for any info on this; cant wait to get back down there..


    #8766 Reply

    Most routes were put up in the 90’2. with a few additions in the last 5 years (prob only 3 new routes listed in First ascents) and some have had bolts replaced ( see SCWA database). Most are still original.

    Check the guide book for dates if you care that much, but that is the basic gist of it. More rebolting has been planned, but time and motivation are both scares at the moment.

    #8767 Reply

    Cheers for the reply George.

    #8768 Reply

    G’day, I have spoken to Gerard, who placed alot of the bolts down there. He said they were mostly done in the mid 90’s as quoted above, so in my opinion vote at 15 years ago! He also said he has no problem with anyone rebolting his lines, of course as long as they follow safe and ethical standards.



    #8769 Reply

    Hi Gareth,

    Cheers for checking that out.

    As I have never done any bolting I will not be re-doing these myself.

    But… since there are some stellar lines there I might just have to find/convince someone keen and experienced to rebolt them…

    Any takers??

    #8770 Reply

    err not wishing to be antagonistic, but what exactly is your concern with the bolts at bob’s ?

    a bit of surface “rust” at the base does not warrant replacement. this is a relic of how the bolt was manufactured and is exacerbated by the salty wet air. If you look at the same bolts at mountain quarry or somewhere else they also show it – but to a lesser extent.

    the glue used on most of the original bolts doesn’t measure up too well compared to the re500 that is used by most WA activists at the moment. but i would not use this as an argument to condemn the older bolts. the bolts replaced so far were done so because the original installation was faulty, not because of any degradation of the glue or bolt material.

    yes there are a handfull of bolts at bob’s on the list for replacement, but if they were considered unsafe to use they would have been already replaced as a priority.

    #8771 Reply

    Hi Neil,

    Cheers for your reply.

    I am no structural engineer but I would asusme that the issue with surface base rust is that it is at the base of the bolt (where it meets the rock) and not on the outside of the rest of the bolts; indicating possible deeper, malicious rusting may be present (i.e. within the part we cant see), as opposed to a ‘general rust coating’, which we all love and respect.

    To quote you:

    ” “rust”…is exacerbated by the salty wet air”: could be brine permeated within the porous limestone itself perhaps?


    “the glue used on most of the original bolts doesn’t measure up too well compared to the re500 that is used by most WA activists at the moment”

    –> arent these two good reasons to rebolt at Bobs?

    ~15 years seems like a reasonable lifeframe dont you think… Hell, even I’d replace my rope in that time, and be onto my second pair of shoes at least πŸ˜‰

    Has someone recently analysed all bolts/lines at Bob, and replaced a few of the worse-looking lines?

    (Maybe I just have a affinity to find the dodgy climbs, which arent priority 1…).

    #8772 Reply

    in the interests of discussion…

    the “rust” is due to changes in the metallurgy of the bolt at the location of the weld and or bend. this is typically very localised and in general only effects the surface of the metal. proof of this localised behaviour is that the majority of the rest of the bolt you can see is fine. and from experience at pulling out bolts – so is the bit under the rock you can not see. brand new bolts dipped in salty water and left to dry will demonstrate this.

    now, combined with the change in metallurgy you also get a region of differential oxygen content at the boundary and some galvanic effects. these all combine together to exacerbate the situation – but in 98% of cases it has not escalated beyond what you can see.

    yes the limestone will be wet and possibly salty. but stainless steel is resistive to this type of corrosion. also the bolt is coated in glue inside the hole which will project it.

    the glue originally used is nowhere near as good as re500. but it is good enough. just because the new apple i-gadget has come out, doesn’t mean the old one is going to give you cancer does it…. ?

    the worst looking bolts have already been replaced. that is part of the reason we know this.

    things may have changed since george or i or someone last looked… so don’t be shy with specific concerns. then we can look next time one of us is there.

    #8773 Reply

    Hi Neil,

    Cheers again for a more detailed response; an intereting discussion indeed (probably not the first time youve had it I gather?).

    I would have liked to have been there to see the old bad bolts stripped out; will take your word for it, and will def let you know if there are any lines that look suspicious enxt time I’m down there.

    Just out of interest, do the bolt manufacturers specify a life expenctancy (say under certain load and environmental conditions) for bolts used to bolt routes??

    Safe climbing! πŸ™‚

    #8774 Reply
    living under the radar

    I’m sure the bolt manufacturers would be horrified at any suggestion that they supply an implicit warrenty for the use of their product in unsurveyed untested natural rock formations, installed without quality assurance or control, and being the single point of failure for a human life.

    This raises the interesting minority view that outdoor climbing is somehow a mainstream activity.

    #8775 Reply

    ‘Living under the radar’ how could you be so cynical??

    Many years ago an engineers survey was done on the bolts at Pen Trwyn in North Wales (sea side, steep limestone aka bobs). The Engineers quote ‘wouldn’t hang their undies’ from the bolts. I personally wa sinvolved in the replavement of many of these bolts and I can tell you two things from experience, badly placed bolts come out easy, well place bolts are harder to get to come out than Ian Thorpe. Seriously, regardless of how rusty they were, well placed bolts were a prick to remove, so I wouldn’t stress too much. That said, I think you’re spot on, 15 years is long enough to warrant automatic replacement of that type of bolt, regardless of apparent condition, and especially in a sea cliff.

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