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Near Miss: Anchor bolt failure incident report

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by hank moon, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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  2. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Scary stuff. Especially this part ... "If I would have even noticed such a thing I would have likely fallen back on the idea that "its been used before, its fine". A terrible trap in the game of climbing risk." It's so true. Tell me you've never had that thought.

    A friend of mind removed a new looking bolt in Telephone. With his fingers. Had he not checked it, it would have cammed in it's hole and we'd have been fine ... probably. Then there are cracked bolts ... yanking or banging on those brings them closer to failure, so overly vigorous testing is making you less safe, not more. Natural anchors that can be inspected look better and better all the time ...

    Gordon
  3. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    Sure have...unconsciously! :jawdrop:
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Was that those Petzl Long-Life bolts, 2nd or 3rd rappel?

    Cracked bolts? I have never seen this. Eroded on the inside, yes. But around here, usually the rock wears away (from movement) until the bolt comes out more or less without effort.

    Banging on bolts? I hope no one is under the impression that tapping bolts with a hammer is a way to inspect them...

    :moses;
  5. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Heckuva save by the belayer. Scary. Turtle Wall has pretty soft rock (just looked that way...frankly, most the routes there are too darn hard for me).

    Tough anchoring situation. From the local climber's alliance:

    Todd: First of all i want to say I'm really glad no one was hurt! The fixe bolt was placed by me about 3 years ago as a back-up third bolt for the existing chain anchor. It looks like since then, one of the chain anchors came out. The rock in that zone near the lip of the cave is really soft and the hole did not clean up well for the glue. I used SIKA, a home depot product, but the deciding factor is definitely rock quality. My other option was to drape a long chain over the top, with bolts anchored far back from the lip, where the rock gets more solid, as I've done with two other routes there. I wasn't equipped with a six foot chain that day, so i chose to add a third bolt to the existing anchor. But it looks like i should get that six-foot chain and fix it for good. As it was, I've been returning every 5 years or so since '95 to tighten and fix things up there, mostly out of pocket, but recently with help from SUCA, and SUCC. It's a good lesson that glue-ins are not good in soft, spongy sandstone. Again sooo glad no one was hurt!

    Solution to soft sandstone by Jim T on the same thread:

    Sandy holes are better washed out with a squeezy bottle and plastic tube, dry them a bit by blowing or a rag on a stick then use a resin that doesn´t mind water, I use vinylester mostly.
    Then put some resin in the hole and with a metal rod rub the resin all over the inside of the hole to dislodge and mix any loose stuff left and wet uot the surface, then fill the hole as usual and fit the bolt.
    Better still are the glass capsule systems as the resin is much more liquid and when you install them the glass and the quartz filler grinds into the sides of the hole and makes a much better bond.
    For vertically installed top roping anchors we drill the hole oversize (24mm) and use a pourable cement grout.

    Alternatively forget the sandstone and find a decent limestone cliff somewhere:)


    Decent limestone...funny...(given that there's an enormous amount of it nearby).
    hank moon likes this.
  6. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Yup. One of two. Lousy bolts for sandstone. There was a wedged log just upstream ...

    Gordon
  7. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    What was cracked? Hanger or the shaft? And yeah, terrible bolts for soft sandstone ("Short Life" ?). Ok in the harder stuff found in the southeast. But made primarily for harder rock.
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    zt08.
  9. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Nothing was cracked. The bolt was perfect and nearly new. The test was done because that's what you do. It's done more consciously now ...

    Gordo
    hank moon likes this.
  10. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    Thanks. I made a wrong leap there from your Long Life report and "Then there are cracked bolts..."
  11. Mike

    Mike epic blarneys

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    I've done that climb, sure is soft rock. I wonder if it was a re-used hole. The climb right next door had a bolt missing before the anchors. I made a committing mantle move and searched for the bolt but couldn't find it. I continued climbing up and searching. Faced with a freakin ground fall on a sport climb I had to stem the cave and finally clip the chains. So scary. Spotted the hole later on, I think its since been replaced. All of the very popular Chuckwalla Wall up the trail from Turtle was recently re-bolted with similar glue-ins.
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