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Static Update: Black Fly/American Pie


JayB
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GregW, Scott Henderson and I replaced the rusty 1/4" bolts on American Pie and Black Fly with modern stainless hardware yesterday (stainless 25kN hangers and 10mm bolts, 12mm for the anchors). We enlarged the existing holes to place the new stuff. There are no additional bolts on either of the routes.

 

Additional information concerning the first bolt on Black Fly:

 

I had to make a judgement call when replacing the final bolt of the day (the first bolt on Black Fly). I knew I was running out of battery power prior to removing this bolt, but given the condition of the original bolts that we had removed elsewhere, I concluded that a modern stainless 3/8" expansion bolt would be safer than a rusty 20 year old 1'4" buttonhead, even if the hole it was seated in was no deeper (the original 1/4" bolts are approximately 1 1/4" long). I was able to bore the hole approximately 1 3/4" deep before the battery gave out. I estimate that in a hole of this depth the expansion cone which supplies most of the protection against the bolt pulling out of the hole is seated approximately 1 1/2 inches from the surface of the rock. This is not the optimal depth for the bolt, but I have much more confidence in its shear/pull out-strength and in the integrity of its hanger than the bolt I removed. Even though it is safer than what I found, it's not the way I want to leave things, so I am planning to return to the area as soon as possible (within the month)to pull the bolt and put another in its place. I wouldn't hesistate to trust my life to this bolt, but I decided to post this information in a public forum so that anyone who might want to climb the route can make an informed decision before doing the same.*

 

[ 11-04-2002, 10:56 AM: Message edited by: JayB ]

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I was looking at bolt specs this weekend (I know, 'get a life'), and it looks like minimum seating depths on the 3" bolts (i.e. Red Head, Rawl) to meet the tested pull-out and shear strengths is 1-1/2", so a 1-3/4" depth should be fine. But, as they say, you can never be too paranoid.

 

Thanks for the upgrades, btw.

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I made a reference to the hangers that we replaced above, presence of which strongly influence my decision to pull an replace the final bolt. They were all Leeper hangers, subject ( I presume) to the warning listed below.

 

From the American Safe Climbing Association:

 

Leeper reiterates recalled hanger warning

 

Ed Leeper, manufacturer of the standard hanger of the 1960s-70s, is once again reiterating the warning of the danger present in his recalled hangers. 95,000 of them were sold, and at this time, one in a hundred is prone to sudden catastrophic failure - even if has never once been weighted or hung from! Copy hangers that were homemade are even more likely to suddenly break, even with only body weight, let alone a fall.

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After reading JayB's initial post, a hypothetical situation came to mind:

A climber goes out to Static Point say next weekend, before JayB can return to improve that bolt placement on Black Fly. This climber pitches as she/he is trying to clip the second bolt, rips the first bolt, craters and dies. This climbers friends see JayB's altruistic post, and conclude that it is JayB's fault. A wrongful death civil lawsuit is filed naming JayB as the defendant.

 

I guess my question here is, how liable are we for the fixed gear we install on climbs?

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Here is a pdf file of the original recall notice.

http://www.safeclimbing.org/Leeper_recall_0402.pdf

 

quote:

Originally posted by JayB:

I made a reference to the hangers that we replaced above, presence of which strongly influence my decision to pull an replace the final bolt. They were all Leeper hangers, subject ( I presume) to the warning listed below.

 

From the American Safe Climbing Association:

 

Leeper reiterates recalled hanger warning

 

Ed Leeper, manufacturer of the standard hanger of the 1960s-70s, is once again reiterating the warning of the danger present in his recalled hangers. 95,000 of them were sold, and at this time, one in a hundred is prone to sudden catastrophic failure - even if has never once been weighted or hung from! Copy hangers that were homemade are even more likely to suddenly break, even with only body weight, let alone a fall.

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ScottP:

 

I wondered about that one myself, but felt obligated to disclose the information about the bolt anyway. There are also a couple of other factors that should keep any such scenario from coming to pass/keep me from worrying too much.

 

While no route "requires" that a leader place gear, this particular bolt is far enough above the ledge 30-40' that most prudent leaders will place gear before arriving at this bolt. There's a crack that will accept cams in the green-alien range 15 feet or so below this bolt.

 

There's also the fact that in all likelihood anyone attempting this route will have to climb 3-4 pitches of Online first, so the odds that a rank beginner/someone without the right gear to protect the initial portions of the route/liable look at a bolt with roughly 1" of stud protruding above the surface and not at least ponder the possibility that the depth of the bolt placement is not optimal are thankfully pretty low.

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Apparently Spada Res. Point is still open! That's cool. I thought the signs said the road would be closed as of 10/31. Is there any new info about when it closes?

 

Thanks for updating the Am Pie bolts guys (you rock [rockband] ). I heard that that's a good one. Did you guys get to climb it?

 

[ 11-04-2002, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: chucK ]

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I would not recommend pulling the bolt unless you are prepared to re-drill a wider hole and reinstall a fatter bolt. I havn't actually tried to pull a 10mm stud (did you say they were studs?) and reinstall a bolt in the same hole, but I'd think that you might damage the hole in the removal process and unless you were going to widen the hole and use a bigger bolt, you might well only weaken the placement.

 

Does anybody else have thoughts on this?

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The plan is to remove the bolt if possible (this one is a 3/8" expansion bolt* and replace it with a 10mm expansion bolt, 12mm if necessary. If it's not possible to remove it but I can pull the shaft out a bit, the next step would be to cut it off as close to the surface of the hole as possible, pound the rest back into the hole, then patch the surface with a mixture of epoxy resin and granite dust, then install a new bolt a few inches away from the original placement.

 

Any feedback is welcome though.

 

*I switched out the drill bit from 10mm to 3/8" prior to starting this hole if anyone is wondering.

 

[ 11-04-2002, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: JayB ]

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It sounds like you are being responsible and that you will likely do a tidy job.

 

Consider Glacier's input however. If you decide that it is in fact strong as it is, Tidiest of all might be to cut off the rest of the stud (which would only be necessary if it is below a part of the route so somebody might actually fall onto it) and file it so you don't leave a jagged bolt-end.

 

Remember, on these slab climbs, there is no way anybody is going to exert a large "pull out" force. Even at a belay, where a climber may clip in and stand so they pull outward on the bolt, Charles Atlas couldn't pull with more than a thousand pounds of force. The real loads are all in sheer forces. And I bet the deapth is not much of a factor once a 3/8" bolt is 2" deep.

 

Just a thought. You were there, and you have obviously thought about it.

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That was basically our line of conversation last night, Matt. The bolt in question is the first bolt on the climb (with gear placements below) and is not at an incredibly steep section. A fall would generate some good cheese grater action for the climber mitigating a full impact on the bolt. Given your scenario about potential damage to the rock attempting to pull the bolt, sawing and filing the stud close to the nut may be the best way to go.

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I'd firstly like to applaud anyone who takes the initative to make old climbs safer. There's no doubt that both the routes in question have been sadly in need of attention for some time. It is my uninformed opinion that a 3/8" (or 10mm) bolt imbedded to the same depth as the old bolts would probably be more than an improvement over the old anchor, especially considering the slab terrain.

 

I'd like to raise another issue here that doesnt really affect safety but one of esthetics. Having come from an era when any bolt placements were considered marginally unethical I have made choices for many years that are directly related to visability from a distance. The reason I chose the Leeper hangers for those routes and indeed the reason we chose not to put up the route immediately right of Online (Rightline?) was one of visual esthetics. We felt at the time that bolts all over the place diminished the experience. The Leeper hangers were employed because they were black and not shiny like the SMC hangers which were the only other choice of the day.

 

In Darrington (for instance) there is a political imperative for not having bolts become too visible or attracting any kind of undue attention. At Static Point it is doubtful that any anti-climber types will ever view the bolts in question but I'd like to humbly ask that any restoration personnel consider using Enviro-Hangers of a grey or dark color and not to use shiny plated chains at the belay stations. Some of my friends and I have been installing powder-coated Fixe rappel anchors (the kind with two hangers, a bit of chain and a large diameter welded ring) and believe they are a reliable and safe anchor.

 

This colored hanger idea is really the only soapbox I feel compelled to climb on. I personally cant claim much "ownership" of these routes any longer...... I put them up almost 20 years ago and believe that they have long since passed into the realm of public domain. Certainly the higher issue here is replacement of dangerous gear and I'd like to express gratitude that there are those with the vision to spend their time and money keeping them current.

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Thanks for the thoughtful input Matt. I'll try to look up the specifics for the bolt in question and/or contact the manufacturer, determine the actual depth of the placement as carefully as I can, then make the call. It may in fact be best just to leave the bolt in place and cut off the stud above the nut. I'll post an update when it's either trimmed or replaced.

 

As far as damage to the rock is concerned, every bolt will be different I imagine, but I'd be interested in hearing from some of the folks on this board who have experience removing brand-new 3/8" bolts from granite. How did the rock fare? Would a tie-rod separator be sufficient or would it be necessary to use burlier hardware to get the bolt out?

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I once spent a half hour jumping on a three foot crow bar to get a 1/4" bolt out! I don' think a tie rod tool has enough elevation to the wedge to get the active part of the bolt out of the rock. I had a friend cut a slot in a wood splitting wedge so that I'd get about 2" of lift out of the thing but it weighs about 3 pounds and I broke my hammer bashing on it! Maybe those guys who pulled the bolts out of Dan's Dreadful on Castle Rock could offer some advice but if it takes that much force to get the bolt out maybe the best thing would be to just cut off the protruding part as matt suggests and leave it as is.

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I have pulled out a couple of 3/8" wedge bolts. The ones I pulled out had threads almost all of the way to the cone. If they didn't have the threads I wouldn't of been able to pull them out. I used a tuning fork device that is made from a #4 arrow. I sawed a slot, a little larger than 3/8" down the middle of the pin. I then pounded the sucker behind the hanger and the bolt would come out a little. I would then take the fork out tighten the hanger back down and repeat the process. It worked on the couple of wedge bolts I tried. If the bolt in question is a SS Fixe this probably won't work. I have also stacked another fat arrrow behind the fork.

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quote:

Originally posted by ScottP:

After reading JayB's initial post, a hypothetical situation came to mind:

A climber goes out to Static Point say next weekend, before JayB can return to improve that bolt placement on Black Fly. This climber pitches as she/he is trying to clip the second bolt, rips the first bolt, craters and dies. This climbers friends see JayB's altruistic post, and conclude that it is JayB's fault. A wrongful death civil lawsuit is filed naming JayB as the defendant.?

In this situation, Greg W was never there, does not know anyone named "JayB", and has no knowledge of anything that may or may not have happened at, or near, Static Point on the day in question, or any other day. That is all, my client has nothing further to say about this.

 

Greg W

 

P.S. It was a beautiful day to be climbing at Static Point; perfect temps and lots of sunshine. It was a good experience for me to see what type of work that guys like Mattp, DaveW, and others do to upgrade these older climbs.

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