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  • #6548 Reply
    Jeff M

    I was having a casual climb on Saturday at Mountain and towards the end of the day I climbed a few lines to the right end of the Playoy/Penthouse wall. I noticed that the anchors of the three right hand routes were sitting outside the face of the rock itself. I think perhaps these bolts should be subject to some further scrutiny.

    As far as I have learned over the years aP bolt should be recessed slightly into the rock to eliminate any twisting forces which may affect the installation, also the further into the rock a bolt is installed the lower the shear and pull out forces could be.

    I am not sure who installed them but perhaps they may need further instruction in the art of bolting.



    #6549 Reply

    Don’t think recessing helps much. Takes about a minute to remove a recessed P. Best are U bolts. The lower-offs on the three 17s are pretty solid. Never heard of any of Ross’ bolts coming loose.

    #6550 Reply
    Richard W

    Hi Richard,

    What glue would you be using to remove a recessed P bolt in a minute? Cheers

    #6551 Reply

    True, the glue holds in about half of them in which case they shear flush with the surface.

    #6552 Reply
    Richard W

    Cool. If you try removing a recessed P bolt which has been glued with RE500 you will either

    a) Ruin the tool your using to remove them with

    b) Depending on the rock type – rip out a chunk of rock; or

    c) All of the above + Need physio on your shoulder afterwards.

    #6553 Reply

    Well the point is that with good glue the loweroffs on the Penthouse wall are probably just fine. Recessing contributes something but probably not as much as supposed. Ps are easy to remove, even recessed, because of the lever arm. U bolts are a much harder, I would prefer them, but given the relatively low static loads on loweroffs it almost certainly doesn’t make any difference.

    #6554 Reply

    ohhh Jeff! sounds like somebody is trying to start an argument….

    Those bolts are perfectly fine and at least they are not some carrot/hanger/shackle combo from the 70’s

    As for giving lessons, thats a pretty condescending statement given the FAionist’s contributions and experience. But as i have said many times if you are not happy with it, feel free too replace them and then we can all critique you!:)

    #6555 Reply
    Jeff M

    I did not name any names as I did not know who put up the routes, but as far as I have been taught and also have seen on website such as safer cliffs australia, ring bolts should be countersunk.

    I am not sure who came up with the idea or how thoroughly it was tested but just about everyone seems to agree with it, and seeing as the bolts in question look fairly recently placed I thought it worth an ask.

    Maybe WA is just different in their interpretation? Maybe the glue is so freakin strong that the bolts don’t need to be sunk all the way? Maybe the bolter was just lazy?

    I really don’t care if this causes a discussion/arguement, or how big a contribution the bolter/first ascentionist has provided around here, the fact is everyone seems to be able to bolt however they feel like it and there is no conformity to any sort of constant, and it seems that anyone who speaks out is told to either provide money for rebolting, told to rebolt it themselves or told that its ok to do that(be it not sinking bolts properly or carrot bolting, etc)

    The fact is if everyone bolted properly, to the best practice in the first place then the only need for this entire topic would be to report bad bolts and rebolted routes.

    #6556 Reply
    steve k

    i agree totally with jeff m on this one ! if nobody in the know points out these kinds of mistakes, then every one who sees these bolts will think they are normal and will probably unknowingly make the same stuffup themselves. i have also recently seen these bolts and they HAVE been placed incorrectly. p bolts must be countersunk to be safe. i think that by mentioning this, jeff m has done more for correct bolting than just pointing out another carrot bolted climb (as almost everyone knows by now that carrots are unsafe) but attempted to open peoples minds to another unsafe but less known about form of bad bolting. im sure the guy who put them in didnt intentionally do the wrong thing but im sure hed like to know so he can fix it before someone gets hurt. and what kind of glue was used doesnt make a difference when the bolt is in danger of snapping due to excess leverage ! anyone placing p bolts should go on the safer cliffs australia website and have a look. all of what jeff is saying is there. happy climbing.

    #6557 Reply

    I have a small open wager: we go to Mtn Quary together and you try to rip out these “faulty” anchor bolts without using any tools, ie using your body, bracing against the rock with arms/legs, jerking, jumpoing, any possible anchor service load whatsoever, in any direction. I wikll also accepot dead load testing with loads up to 80kg (UIAA test weight) thrown off the top.

    If you succeed in pulling out any of them, I will give you $200 on the spot. If you fail, you pay me $50 AND I will recess them all. These must be great odds considering the sure tone of those emails. Cash only accepted, bring on the day please, a third party referee will be used to hold it while you sweat and swear to no avail. Anyone can contact me on 0422 927962.

    BTW the climbing bolts are not carrots, they are glued in machine bolts (GIMBS). I have never heard of any of those coming out anywhere ever.

    As for recessing, this IS useful under some specific circumstances, eg when large fall factors with sideways loads are possible (traverses, roofs) and/or in weak rock and/or when visual impact is of concern. In my opinion it serves no purpose for loweroffs set in granite quarries.

    I don’t usually engage in bolting debates since as far as I know 6 people in Perth bolt and the others simply have no idea, but record needs to be set straight. Don’t believe all you read on the internet, don’t use “blanket rules” and think about the application.

    However, this is not to say that the concern is not valid and the discussion useful. Anyway, I have put my money where my drill is, that is all I can do.

    #6558 Reply

    Not that i realy give a shit., but if George is the George i know, i find his reply interesting as he used to say the same things about p bolts being recessed down my way.

    #6559 Reply
    steve k

    just because you cant pull them out with your bare hands doesnt mean their not shoddy. if that was the case then i suppose carrots would be ok. however, if a bolter is known in the climbing community to be “experienced”, then i think he has an obligation to lead by exsample and maybe agree that they are not perfect. egos aside. the last thing you would want is for others to think that because “so and so” does it, it must be ok and do the same. its ok to get defensive about someone pointing out your mistakes, but id say safer cliffs australia might know their shit. the bad bolts photo gallery on their website is an eye opener on p bolts . i like the climbs though, the middle one is a star route i reckon! but whats the reasoning behind having one anchor bolt a foot higher than the other. it seems that alot of people place anchors like this ? i just thought that their meant to be level so they both take an equal force when your rapping down. on these routes only one bolt is taking the load with the other as a sort of backup ? i get scared ! it would be interesting to hear more views on this.

    #6560 Reply
    Richard W

    Well! There is either the absolute best way or “not” the best way hey. I think a lot of these issues always come up when “NEW” routes are up for grabs. People are always in too much of a hurry. I know I’ve experienced using heaps of time re-bolting routes to try and do it the best way – and this means buying new bits/the right glue etc. I’ve had to go back numerous times on some occasions to finish a route right. Long time Perth climbers should aim to do the very best they can.

    #6561 Reply
    ed nepia

    regarding placing top anchor ring bolts.. if theya re placed ‘side by side’ you have to deal with more friction when pulling your rope as opposed to an offset configuration, the side by side setup also creates a force between the anchors (pulling them toward each other)

    with properly set anchors either setup should be more then ample for dealing with the meagre forces generated by rapping

    #6562 Reply
    Jeff M

    Wow Ross, touchy aren’t ya. Just like all the carrot bolters, you have just said basically “I know it is not what the general consensus says is best practice, but I think they are fine”. Your bolts may not pull out easily even though they, according to ALL the literature, are not placed correctly (I certainly hope they don’t, seeing as you have read most of the literature), but for the sake of a little extra effort why not do it to the highest standard available? It is not like you did not have the equipment on hand or that we are asking you to use a completely different bolting system.

    #6563 Reply

    Anchor bolts are sometimes better not fully recessed so as to reduce rope dragging wearing) over rock: I will continue with this great practice where appropriate and would encourage others to do the same. (the anchors on the routes in question are partly recessed).

    Anchors are not at same level as per textbook. This is to reduce forces on them, for same level the “american (death) triangle” is discouraged as a trad setup. It also reduces drag. The shock load due to top anchor failing is a 1ft fall, of no consequence. Again, I have never heard of this happenning.

    Anyway, enough Climbing 101…getting bored. Can someone please explain to Jeff M what a carrot is? I have never placed one, and am a bit tired of writing…will stay out of this string now, life to live and all.

    #6564 Reply

    Hi all,

    yeah there seems to be a bit of confusion about what a carrot is.

    The correct name is a ‘compression bolt’ and it is a tapered bolt that is oversized for the hole. So typically one would get a 10 mm x 75 to 100 mm 316 bolt, file the shaft to a gentle taper so it has a square cross-section and at the pointy end about 8.5 x 8.5 mm and the full 10 mm at the head. Then drill a 9 – 9.5 mm hole and what in the bolt with a hammer.

    Properly placed and in the right type of rock, they are as good as anything else and the only way to get one out is to drill it out, snap the bolt off with a hefty spanner, or use a cold chisel.

    I have placed a few, mainly on lead, at places like Gibraltar Rock.

    The problem is that in the past (eg 20 – 30 years ago), people often used mild steel bolts that have rusted away and fall out or expand and crack the rock.

    With the above exception, I have never in 25 years of climbing seen one come out due to a lead fall.

    #6565 Reply
    Jeff M

    Don’t patronise me Ross, I know what a carrot bolt is. I was not saying that you use them, I was comparing your attitude to that of people who place carrot bolts, ie: there are better ways to bolt and they know it, but choose to place to a lower standard in spite of everyone else.

    Like I have said before I do not know who came up with the idea or how thouroughly it was tested (though there are some pretty good studies floating around out there) but seeing as Safer Cliffs, the Victorian Climbing Club, The American Safe Climbing Association, The New Zealand Alpine Club and a host of others swear by it, I am likely to take their word for it over yours.

    #6566 Reply

    Yes micko, this is safer cliffs George and yes i try to always recess the p bolts that i place.

    I have always done it that way because 1. that was how i was shown to do it (i was lucky enough to have a good mentor) 2. All the literature that i researched before starting to bolt showed this as being best practice.

    From my experience both placing and removing bolts, through SCWA and Industrially. I agree with Ed, in that the loads placed by somebody lowering off/abseiling are not really that severe and would not dramatically affect the strength of the bolt by not recessing. As for twisting out, i would like to see the evidence of this in a standard climbing scenario. Sure if you hang of it with a breaker bar (maybe!) and it’s 30 years old!.

    Really this argument is for the engineers, but i do agree that we should be putting a bit more pride in our bolting and what harm is there in using the best possible equipment, placed in a way that is being used all around the world.

    Someone would think we had an endless mecca of virgin rock to establish!.

    If anyone wants to come along and is serious about helping out. I have the hardware that has been donated and am more than happy to give and receive advice.

    #6567 Reply


    Really glad for all climbers that you have never seen a carrot come out due to a lead fall.

    I in 32 years had never heard of a stingray stabbing someone in the heart and killing them……but guess what??

    It happened.

    #6568 Reply
    Dave R.

    … and because of that you’ll never swim again ?

    #6569 Reply
    Richard W

    Just a quick note: Phil I have a lot of respect for you but your comment:

    “Properly placed and in the right type of rock, they are as good as anything else and the only way to get one out is to drill it out, snap the bolt off with a hefty spanner, or use a cold chisel”

    is incorrect. They come out very easily with a tap either way with something hard and then a twist with your fingers. This is simply my experience from re-bolting throughout Mountain Quarry. Cheers

    #6570 Reply

    Carrots have also been known to loosen over time, the bottom bolt on sylvia rings a bell, used to pull out by hand til it was replaced. I am sure almost all climbers have come across one in their adventures too

    #6571 Reply

    Phil, This happened a few years ago, Not quite a lead fall but not good anyway.

    “« up «Posted: 31 Aug 2003

    Brett Newton-Palmer

    – WA, Perth region

    Pulled carrot bolt on newish Mt Quarry climb

    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?



    #6572 Reply

    One of the reasons for putting lower offs at different heights is so that you can get the bolts far enough apart so that the conical fracture zones for each bolt don’t intersect. If placed at the same level and a reasonable distance apart it is far too easy to get the wrong angles and consequently load your slings more than is desirable. If placed too close together and you are unlucky, both will come out under load with some of the rock. Just a guess, but this is probably what happened to Brett and that I assume was with only one bolt, ie one fracture zone. Compression type bolts, both those tightened with a spanner and those tightened with a hammer, (ie carrots), add pressure to the fracture zone. This is part of the reason longer bolts are more reliable than short ones. Usually we seem to get away with it, but surprises have happened, and surprises are unexpected, that’s the definition.

    I can see Ross’s point about rope drag and also that the loads for a lower off should not be anywhere near as high as those that the bolts in the middle of a climb could potentially experience. I also understood the reason for setting the P-bolt into the face was to reduce the chance of it twisting under load. This would have been more of a problem with older glues, HY 500 is a more “wetting” glue than many others. In other words it holds more by sticking to the bolt and the rock than some of the older glues which relied to a greater extent on just filling up the space between the glue and the rock and less on sticking power.

    The bottom lines are, first ascenionists should use best practise, and all climbers should be aware that there are no guarantees. It is not possible to X-ray the rock to see if it has been compromised by bolting or by factors that may have occured after the bolts were installed. For instance if the minute cracks that make up a fracture zone get soaked and then frozen the rock could be potentially weakened, and something that was fine when it was installed could become lethal. Fire is also a possibilty. Most glues will weaken if subjected to intense heat.

    Just as an aside, many of us older climbers have played on Snatches and Lays at Churchmans, using the two carrots at the top to set up a top-rope. I of course fell repeatedly, as I’m sure did a lot of people. When we went to remove them for replacement, they simply slid out.

    Like I said, we usually get a way with it, but on those occassions when something fails we should examine why.



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