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Home Forums Bolting Pulled carrot bolt on newish Mt Quarry climb

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  • #1822 Reply
    Brett Newton-Palmer

    Just an informational, esp. for Jim Truscott, (who’s email address I lost!) – you were busy putting this climb up in May when I saw you in the quarry, on the edge of the wall past the Star Wars wall – no idea of the name – I live in Boya, 10mins from the quarry, & I gave you a hand pulling a block off it before you were going to bolt it ….. (phew!)

    Anyway, gave it a go today finally with my son, and I pulled the 3rd bolt out of the rock just after placing the bolt plate & quik-draw & clipping the rope! I was hanging off it with my feet on the wall/in a crack, & next thing you know I was hanging about 4m lower with the quik-draw & bolt-plate dangling off the rope – still, the 2nd bolt held AOK so no injuries except a few scrapes. Couldn’t find the bolt to check it’s state – there’s heaps of sweet pea & weeds all over the slope ….

    I climbed back up & had a look, & a whole 10cm circle of rock pulled off the face around the bolt hole, so must’ve been a bit friable? Anyway, you can do the climb w/out the bolt if you put some gear in the cracks along the line … makes it scaryier/harder – well, for relative “outside” novices like me.

    Also, I’d be interested to know what the bolt failure incidence is around town, esp. the quarries – gotta rethink my trust in them maybe?



    #1823 Reply
    Jim Truscott

    Brett, my email is I do not recall the rock being friable when the bolt was placed. You can never be too careful in quarries.


    #1824 Reply


    I have never pulled out a carrot by falling or resting in 10 years of outdoor climbing. This sounds like a freak accident to me. Still, the lesson is about having backup and routes should be protected so that if one piece of gear (even if this is a bolt) pulls, we don’t get hurt. As an aside – Jon says that CALM is looking at stabilising the Skywalker wall by putting in some massive 20mm x 3m anchor rods to prevent the whole sliver from falling off. Food for thought.

    #1825 Reply
    Brett Newton-Palmer

    Thanks for the note guys – it was a bit wierd, that’s for sure! I wasn’t really taking notice once I had clipped, just trying to work out the next moves – it’s quite a hard start Jim – what do you rate the climb at? As to pro, well the otehr bolts were AOK, but I think I’ll start putting more gear in if I can – all part of the experience eh?

    I didn’t climb right back up to the 3rd bolt location, as we didn’t have any trad. gear with us, just to the 2nd bolt, so not sure what actually happened. I’ll try & have a look next weekend, take some nuts & hexes… it’s just over the road … when are y’all next up there?




    #1826 Reply
    Glenn Sharrock

    Greetings Brett:

    I make my living out of geotechnical engineering, associated with rockbolting in mines, although the opinions I now advance do not represent those of my employer, and should not be taken as consulting advice.

    I have been climbing around 15 years, and have seen lots examples from all over australia and internationally, of bolts breaking, pulling out and, more often, failures through the rockmass around the bolt… I have even broken a few myself, and pulling out old carrots can be surprisingly easy and, as I am sure you would agree, very frightening.

    As you probably know, from an engineering perspective there is basically no quality control or science applied on the ground to engineer or test rock-climbing bolts in australia.

    Most people are happy with this, since its nice to have climbing as an unregulated activity. However, in Qld (and NSW) certain individuals with lots of experience with bolting simply take it upon themselves to replace dodgy bolts – which is a thankless and expensive task, but a necessary and good one for climbing in general…In some places people form small informal groups with bolting “funds” for re-bolting, which I think is a splendid idea – user pays.

    Perhaps this is yet another job for the wonderful CAWA, although litigation risk is sure to be an issue.

    I for one would be happy to contribute to a “re-bolting fund” (but not a retrobolting fund…).

    Best wishes and bye for now

    Glenn Sharrock

    Senior Geotechnical Engineer

    AMC Consulting Pty Ltd


    Address: 9 Havelock St, West Perth WA 6005

    Ph: 61+ 08 9481 6611

    Fx: 61+ 08 9481 6622

    #1827 Reply
    John Knight

    Interesting, how would such a bolting fund work? Something perhaps like when one pays to go into a national park, or a contribution box outside the major sport climbing areas? I don’t wish to start any arguments here, I have no real idea how these sorts of payments usually work, but I’d love ot see some active discussion from the rest of you (who actually know what you’re talking about).


    #1828 Reply

    To Glenn Sharrock, John Knight, and who ever else has an interest,


    The wonderful CAWA would like to formulate a bolting policy and I have sort of been elected by virtue of putting up my hand for it. This includes I guess how we pay for rebolting if CAWA are to be involved. My personal preference is for CAWA to give guidelines as to how things are done and to generally refrain from doing the job. CAWA did install some bolts at the top of Churchman’s for safety and environmental reasons, and at Wungong slabs.

    What is really wanted at the moment is input. I am at, at most meetings, and usually at Rockface on a Thursday, almost always late.

    From what I read, in other states, necessary rebolting is done on an adhoc voluntary basis with interested person donating time, money and equipment. I will check on this.


    Toc Foale.

    #1829 Reply
    Dinah Pantic


    CAWA currently has a bolting policy however this is now in need of extensive upgrade. If CAWA is to be in any way actively involved in subsidising, promoting or advising on bolting, then clear and comprehensive guidelines need to be set down.

    The CAWA committee will then consider how best to move forward. Public Liability is an issue and not to be ignored. At the same time we recognise that as per recent discussion on the message board, some climbs have or potentially have unsafe bolts and walk offs can be dangerous and destabilise the environment.

    In the near future CAWA will invite further discussion on bolting and a revised bolting policy will be made available for comment.

    Incidently, the CAWA committee is concerned with replacement of dodgy, unsafe bolts and where necessary, installation of lower offs to protect/stabilise the environment. Placement of additional bolts on an existing route is not under consideration.

    Best Regards

    Dinah Pantic

    President, Climbers Assoociation of Western Australia

    #1830 Reply
    Glenn Sharrock

    Hi Toc and John:

    To summarize what has already been discussed, there are two main issues:

    1. How to collect the cash

    2. How to make sure the replaced bolts are properly installed and, what happens to the “installer” if a replaced bolt fails and kills someone (this can never be discounted)…

    1. How to collect the cash

    In Queensland we would simply give cash directly to the rebolter – very informal.

    On the south island of NZ there are “boxes” into which you can place a few dollars each time you visit a cliff for access maintenance – if you wish!

    In Thailand (WR) you can make a donation at a gear store.

    In Yosemite I seem to remember that a national body contributed to re-bolting through its members…Access foundation?

    2. If someone is killed by a bolt pulling…

    CAWA will need to show that any bolts “replaced” have been properly installed by qualified (?) and experienced bolters. Even so, if they put a geotech engineer on the stand the CAWA will still have a problem – it is the rock that is suspect, not the bolt. For this reason all rock-bolts used in critical circumstances (in civil and mining) are usually “tested” by loading prior to use – impractical for rock climbing? I hasten to add that in geotech engineering a “safe” bolt is often at least 20mm in diameter and 2.4m in length, and is tested.

    Toc, I recommend that you contact the Sydney Rockclimbing Association, I understand they have already considered these issues and many others – perhaps you will find that the best way to keep existing climbs free of dodgy bolt is the informal one…(?)

    BTW: thanks Toc and CAWA for volunteering your time and efforts for the benefit of WA climbers. Thanks also to those people who presently replace bolts for the use of all.

    Best wishes

    Glenn Sharrock

    #1831 Reply

    Check out the rebolting websites from Victoria at, and the Blue Mts at

    The Victorian website is excellent.

    #1832 Reply
    toby mack

    carrots are always dodgy and should be approached with caution. infortunately in WA there seems to be a preference for using carrot bolts. what seems to be the problem when it comes to carrots is that they are tapered back before they being slammed into a hole just smaller than than the size of the bolt. problems are: slamming the bolt into the wall compromises the integrity of the surrounding rock, though this occurs more so during the drilling process and is inherent in all bolting; secondly the tapering of the bolt prior to placement compromises the strength of the bolt in ways which are impossible to determine with any consistency, thus one hears of these bolts shearing off on minor falls.

    all this considered I (as are many climbers) put these considerations out of mind when approaching carrots. also most of us don’t bolt new lines and so are not the ones spending the money putting up new lines (not that carrots much more than 10c each) or expending the effort of establishing routes in general … so what am I saying, carrots aren’t ideal but if that’s what there is I’ll climb on the bastards.

    #1833 Reply

    Brett said in his post that after the bolt pulled he could still do the route on natural gear. If the route can use gear (especially at the bolted part) why was a bolt placed there? Isn’t it bad ethics to bolt where natural pro can be used? I am noticing this practice more and more.

    #1834 Reply

    what / where ?

    in WA ?

    if you read the post it sounds like doing it with natural gear would not be the best idea.

    anyways. its a quarry and i wasn’t aware that routes there had an ethical basis ?

    #1835 Reply

    Differing of opinions? the way I see it rock is rock, quarried or not it is all outdoor climbing and as far as I have read bolting ethics state that bolts should not be placed if decent natural protection is available. Rough translation but feel free to read the ethics yourself. Brett seemed to think the natural pro would be possible, and Jim’s post stated that he did not know the rock was friable when bolted so really no reason not to use the pro. Maybe the rock was ok and was damaged by hammering in the carrot?

    #157980 Reply
    guy rippingale
    #158015 Reply

    dont know aye. couldn’t we just set in place a testing procedure to ensure anchors are at least set. something like 7kn pull test for something like 1 min?

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