Booty Trap

Booty Trap had a mix of stainless 5-pieces and an older plated wedge bolt and some poorly aging anchor chains. The hardware was replaced with a batch of all 316L chain, shackles, glue-ins and captive position biners.

The 5th bolt broke irreplaceably while it was being unscrewed so had to be re-positioned. See in the photo below that it was moved down and right. That seemed the best option to avoid the draw from being too close to the edge of the dihedral directly below

Goin’ Postal

Continuing the standing effort to replace all 3/8″ 5-piece bolts in Bolton area schist, Goin’ Postal at Carcass was replaced with some of the new batch of Bolt Products 316L stainless hardware acquired with AAC-AF/local contribution funds. That means if you donated money to the CRAG-VT anchor matching drive, this is some of that money at work. So, thanks and happy whips!

All original placements were re-used so it’s a pretty straight-forward hardware upgrade. The anchor is similar configuration to the ring anchors that were there. We wouldn’t want the last moves to be top-ropable because some replacement tech extended the anchor down, now would we?


Breaking and Entering (aka Corkscrew)

Breaking and Entering sports plated steel 5-piece bolts and stainless hangers; these are good candidates for replacement. The first bolt (which protects the crux of the 5.10- variation) has been loose for some time.

This line has two starts one which keeps the grade at 5.8 and one that bumps up to hard 5.9/easy 5.10, the crux of which is right off the ground basically. The bolts were placed such that the really benefit the harder variation, even when the climbing eases. With that in mind and after suggestions from others to address that, when replacing the hardware I re-positioned the second and third bolts to be more easily clippable from the easier variation but still being clippable from the harder variation. As well, the third bolt was poorly placed in a dish that caused cross-loading of a draw. That has been moved up so that is no longer an issue. A new 4th bolt placement is about a foot and a half left; this is more in line with the bolts below and above.

The original bolts that were replaced were over-tightened, which was confirmed by the state of the blue compression ring. The first bolt’ss hex head was completely stripped and I wasn’t able to even attempt to get a socket head to not pop off of it. In a last bid effort I tried to funk the bolt and was surprised to find that I was able to easily pull it with a hammer and funkness device. This makes me wonder if the bolt was re-tightened multiple times by well-intentioned but un-educated climbers over its service life. 5-piece bolts are really sensitive to their torque setting, and if they are over-tightened it can actually damage the expansion sleeve.

It’s hard to imagine that that first bolt wasn’t a spinner if it was able to be funked out of the hole so easily. That’s a little scary to think about, as I’ve personally belayed a climber that fell on that bolt! Thankfully pull-out and shear are different forces that affect the bolt in different ways!

Update: The  anchor and protection bolts have been replaced with 12mm Bolt Products glue-ins donated by the ASCA.

Mal Bouche

The mid-anchor on Mal Bouche at Upper West used to be stainless hangers with two plated steel hardware store links. A few weeks ago I had added two leaver biners to it and taped them shut in an attempt to ensure they stayed there. Yesterday I went back and replaced the anchor with two rated stainless 10mm quick-links and stainless rap rings.

Update: The sole protection bolt has ben replaced with a 12mm Bolt Products glue-in. Unfortunately the original bolt was never removed and the replacement was placed too closely to the original bolt. The critical spacing distance to ensure 100% strength for the replacements is approximately 7″ and the two original bolts were about 3″ from one another. So a new hole was drilled left of the two current bolts.

Collateral Dave-age

Collateral Dave-age had two corroding 5-piece protection bolts that were plated steel mixed with stainless steel hangers. The second bolt was one such installation. Terrifyingly, the bolt snapped while unscrewing it! The failure occurred at the threads which is not really surprising as the threaded section ends up being the weakest part of the bolt and also contains the smallest diameter of metal.

The rap anchor was also replaced. The right-most bolt did not have very many threads engaged in the nut which is concerning given that the hanger is loose (ostensibly from repeated load-unload cycles). This could lead to the nut continuing to back off and possibly fall off. After doing a lot of research I decided to go with an in-line chain anchor configuration. Here in the US many might focus on the one rap ring as a point of concern. In short, in over 100 years steel rings have been used in climbing applications and there has been no failures. Even an unwelded ring holds a minimum of 6kn when loaded at the weakest plane. Even a crappy weld will yield approximately 25kn. Steel rap rings don’t fail. Single rap ring points are the norm in Europe with no accidents. The original configuration required a lot of hardware because the placements were about 14″ apart and the horizontal orientation relative to the 45° angle relative to the face makes equalizing trickier. An in-line chainset makes dealing with those factors easier.

Junior’s First Bolt

In general the 3/8″ Rawl/Powers 5-piece bolt is persona non-grata here in variably soft schist. While we have had quite a large number of plated steel 5-pieces, typically mixed with stainless steel hangers, even the stainless versions have not shown a good track record. Since many of these bolts were put in over 15 years ago they didn’t have the benefit of the knowledge we have today. Now the climbing community knows that 3/8″ in medium to soft rock is not the best practice. Regardless, all the protection bolts on Junior’s First Bolt have been replaced with 12mm Bolt Products glue-ins donated by the ASCA.

Unfortunately, while enlarging the last hole the drill bit became stuck…regrettably in an unremovable manner. As a result the final bolt was moved approximately 7″ to the right and slightly down. The second bolt was also moved approximately a foot to the right as some hollow rock close the original placement was unclear as to whether or not it was superficial or structural.

Dwarf Wall

The remaining routes on the Dwarf Wall (Grumpy, Anxious, & Dopey) got a hardware upgrade this past weekend. All the bolts on the aforementioned routes were plated steel and in varying stages of corrosion. 3 of the bolts on Dopey were spinners and removed by funking alone. All bolts were replaced with 12mm glue-ins. As well the anchor which was a vertically offset and widely horizontally spaced was shored up with extra anchor material to put the rap rings on the same plane.


Happy sports plated 5-piece bolts with stainless hangers. The exterior of the 5-pieces on the route are in pretty decent shape. Unscrew the bolt though and you’ll see that the bolt is corroding in the hole. The 4th bolt was pulled with a hammer and funkness device alone!

All bolts have now been replaced with 12mm glue-ins and the anchor has also been replaced though converted to a rap station from a lower-off.

Dr. Dias anchor

The configuration of the anchor has it setup so that the angle of pull is intended to go straight perpendicular to the face. The actual line of pull for a TR, belay, or rap is 45 degrees to the left of perpendicular though. The original configuration was thus asymmetrically loaded and caused the left bolt to loosen over time as it has been loaded and unloaded. The new glue-ins are rotated 45 degrees to the left to be inline with this line of pull.

This anchor replacement was made possible with hardware and glue donated by the ASCA.

Two-Pitch Route anchor

The anchor on Two-Pitch route lagged behind the protection bolts in terms of getting a replacement. I had been waiting on stainless chain before I replaced it. After replacing the bolts with glue-ins there was a temporary cord anchor in place between the glue-in bolts while I figured out how to replace the existing chain anchor with rap rings, as we don’t currently have a solution to build lower-offs off of glue-ins.

The problem was that the left bolt in the original configuration used an even number of links in order to establish the equalized height. That would cause a ring to potential twist so I wanted to solve the problem with rap rings in the proper plane. After some trial and error on the floor in my apartment I worked out that 9 links of 5/16″ chain with two 5/16″ quick links and 5 links of 3/8″ chain with one 3/8″ quick link and one 5/16″ quick link would be the closest combo.

So here is the new updated anchor with permanent stainless components as well as a comparison photo of the original lower-off anchor and the temporary cord anchor. You can see that one of the original quick links was almost unscrewed all the way. This was probably a result of not being properly tightened with a wrench when installed and being subjected to the load/unload cycles of lower-offs and top-rope sessions.