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UT: Zion Jolley Gulch 3-23-2021 Trip Report and new bolt anchor added

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by ratagonia, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I visited the MIGHTY Jolley Gulch yesterday with a bunch of Californians, and Mongo. Despite a blizzard in Kanab, we had mostly blue skies at Jolley, and the canyon is dry. We thought there was an outside chance it would be flowing, but it showed no signs of that, despite the recent snow and melting cycle.

    We Fiddled off one of the big trees at the top and slid down into the canyon. yada yada yada...

    At the third rappel, I put in a two-bolt anchor.

    In the past, many people have rapped through from the 2nd rappel anchor, and a high percentage have stuck their rope on the stump stuck in the crack that has been used as an anchor for the 3rd rappel. The rap off the stump here has a particularly awkward start, and the stump itself has many spikey roots sticking out more or less perfect for trapping a rope end. As this is a newly-popular beginner canyon, I concluded that a visible bolt anchor positioned well (up out of the watercourse, visible from above, non-awkward rappel start) would be of benefit to the community.

    The anchor consists of 2 x 1/2" bolts, one stainless Powerbolt, one Galvanized Powerbolt+, 2-3/4" long, with Petzl Hangers and then rigged with black webbing in the normal manner. The rock here is particularly soft, so I will need to keep my eye on them, and possibly replace with glue-ins if the placements deteriorate.

    Tom
    MCS, Blake J and Kuenn like this.
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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  3. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    I like J-Gulch. Beautiful half-day trip that doesn't get much love. And appropriately named - phonetically.

    @ratagonia Thanks for your custodian care!
    Dave Melton and ratagonia like this.
  4. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    Nice! I too am a fan of Jolley Gulch and appreciate the bolting initiative. Hopefully, all canyoneers can agree that one of the best ways to improve bolting practices and ethics in the future is to set a great example of how it should be done, now. On that note, why place the mechanical bolts initially when you can see good glue-ins as a more reliable, longer-lasting anchor in the future? and why the plated Powerbolt+ when they are designed for "interior applications/low-level corrosion environments" and have such a small expansion clip? (bad for Sandstone)
    Blake J likes this.
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    From the bottom:

    1. Powerbolt+ has plenty of expansion, more than the previous powerbolt.
    2. I used plated because I only had one Stainless on hand, and I have found that Zion generally is a low-level corrosion environment. Previous plated powerbolts I have placed have lasted a long time.
    3. I do not have glue-in technology on hand, and there are several problems with placing glue-ins. In all but the softest Zion rock, the mechanicals work fine, at least for the first 10 years.

    Tom
  6. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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    From what I have learned and observed, here is my opinion. Sometimes I’m a bit fiery in my viewpoints on bolting, so, take it or leave it. I’m not directing this toward you specificity, Tom, but more to all those who may come by this thread. I definitely do appreciate the work you have done with bolts in Zion.

    1. The Power-Bolt+ may have adequate expansion for a solid bolt for a few years in sandstone but in the redesign (and subsequent discontinuation of plated steel Power-Bolts) they changed the part of the bolt that initially holds against the rock to allow for tightening and expansion from the cone (Power-Bolt) to the clip (Power-Bolt+). The clip on the Power-Bolt+ has three pronounced dashes on the clip that hold it in place for tightening AND are the first contact point with the rock when set and tightened down. These dashes will quickly loosen the grains of sand they are biting against and begin the loosening process quickly and exacerbate the inevitable. These “dashes” in super-soft rock will create channels when hammering in that can also damage the lifespan. A 1/2 PP+ clip has three 1/2inch long expansion cuts and a smaller cone that allow for only so much expansion, whereas a 1/2 PP has nearly 1 1/2in slits and a larger cone that allow for more expansion, plus the whole circumference of the sleeve will make contact with the surrounding stone when tightened down, providing a somewhat longer-lasting tight bolt. A final point here, as the Power-Polt+ becomes more and more frequently used and if it is viewed a "good choice", the 3/8 version will inevitably become more commonly installed, the inner strength providing bolt component of the bolt itself is only 1/4in (the old, plated and, current, stainless Power-Bolt are 5/16 ) resulting in a near 10kn strength reduction in shear, they really shouldn't be used as a permanent anchor in critical vertical terrain in my opinion.


    2. Installing an inferior bolt simply because one doesn't have a superior bolt on hand, is seen by me, as a poor excuse. The reason so many bolts out there in the canyons and elsewhere are in generally poor condition is because the installers, one, didn't know better, or, two, were too hasty or cheap and didn't do the research and placed a bolt only good for ten years or less. Canyoneering isn't going anywhere, and neither are the canyons. If a new bolt is deemed, after thorough consideration, worthy to install, it should be the best product you can possibly use. Can’t afford it? don’t install it, or seek help from someone who can. The art of bolt removal and replacement is expensive and very time-consuming. There are very few people that would ever consider putting in the effort, time, education, and money into doing it well. In 100 years the canyons could have dozens of ugly patched bolt holes and chopped-off bolts at the head of each rappel, nobody wants that. On that note, bolts that are being installed should be outlasting the demise of the installer or more. They should really be all 304 or better stainless steel, 100% of the time, and in my opinion, glue-ins, for longevity. After removing many plated bolts out of the general southwestern Utah area, it is clear that they are corroding significantly within just a few years, and will need to be removed and replaced sooner than later (a daunting task). It’s also pretty normal to find loose bolts that are undoubtedly somewhat dangerous. Jolley Gulch isn't a low corrosive environment, it can flow with the water in the spring, and is at 6000 feet. I attached a picture of a handful of bolts, a couple of these were coupled with hangers stamped in 2010, none of them were in the watercourse or in a flowing canyon.


    3. The Access Fund (I would consider them one of the foremost experts in recreational bolting) states, "testing from several manufacturers have suggested a modern, stainless steel glue-in has the working life of 200-500 years outside a marine environment." In super soft sandstone that number probably goes down, but still glue-ins are undoubtedly the strongest, longest-lasting, bolt available, in ANY rock type. When the bolt itself is good quality and installed properly, of course. Running on the idea that a bolt may need attention in 10 years more or less simply isn’t a sustainable path, especially when there is a better option. The two main drawbacks to glue-ins I can see are, one, hard to remove/reuse the old hole. I, as well as others, have successfully removed glue-ins in about 10 minutes with the proper tools, including Wave bolts. So the ideology that glue-ins are impossible to remove is proving to be false. The hole can then be reamed to ⅝ and reused. Second, you have to wait for the epoxy/glue/ whatever to cure, this can be solved with patience and time employing removable bolts and multiple trips, but often natural anchors or alternative anchors are available, such as this case in Jolley. I'm not completely discrediting mechanical bolts, cuz they do have their time and place, but especially in sandstone, I believe it is time to make a conscious switch to the properly placed glue-in.

    Attached Files:

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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
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  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    As always, feel free to go and remove them, or upgrade to glue-ins, at your leisure.

    Tom
    Blake J, MCS and Sandstone Addiction like this.
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