On July 16th, Southern Adirondack climber Dan Pinto and I replaced the poorly aging hardware on pitch 1 of VJ’s after speaking with local stakeholders. Some of the hardware on the route was quite old, though it’s hard to guess when it was actually installed based solely on examination. This pitch was equipped with both 1/4″ buttonhead split-shaft bolts and 10mm & 12mm self-drill bolts. The 1/4″ buttonhead bolts paired with the Leeper style hangers are of particular concern because these hangers were recalled almost two decades ago because they can develop stress fractures that can exploited by corrosion and can lead to failures at massively reduced forces. The worst documented cases have been at body weight! Old 1/4″ bolts are also hardly bomber by modern standards and this split-shaft design has its own stress fracture concerns.
We replaced the 1st and 2nd bolts and removed both old bolts in the old anchor below the overlap and converted it to a single bolt placement. It is likely that the current 3rd bolt will be removed as it is a legacy piece of protection that was used to protect a traverse right to the VJ’s Direct anchor. The current P1 fixed ring anchor was added after this and due to its existence P1 is now typically climbed straight to this anchor and not out right. The impetus behind removing the bolt is that it is in hollow rock, though the feature is of such a scale that it’s not of any immediate concern.
Regrettably the drilling angle of the 1st and 3rd bolts was poorly evaluated by yours truly and the bolts are not perfectly square to the rock face. This doesn’t inhibit their efficacy but may create a long-term maintenance issue. I’ll see how these bolts age over time and re-evaluate as needed.