Access Fund Anchor Replacement Grant

Last year we were fortunate to win one of the Access Fund anchor replacement fund grants for $500. CRAG-VT helped matched that with a donation from an Emeritus Board Member and other contributions helped get us to a $1500 hardware buy.

This got us the following…

Quantity Description
125 6mm x 80mm twisted leg glue-in bolt
25 6mm x 100mm twisted leg glue-in bolt
24 6mm x 100mm twisted leg glue-in bolt w/4 chain links
15 8mm x 100mm twisted leg glue-in bolt
36 8mm x 58mm quicklink
12 8mm x 88mm quicklink
36 6.4mm barrel shackles
12 10mm carabiners
18 ft. 8mm chain

Be on the lookout for work happening this year at Prospect Rock, Smuggs, and on-going work in the Bolton Valley area.


82/Quarry work

I’ve been pretty heavily focused on investigating a new phenomenon being observed in some of the bolts installed at 82 and the Quarry. These bolts have completely non-functional expansion mechanisms that allows them to be removed from their hole simply by tightening the nut down. The expansion sleeves are never catching and engaging with the tapered cone. In the next couple weeks I’ll have more info on this as I compile some field observations and touch base with additional more knowledgable sources.

So, just to update on the work carried out, I’ve removed the following counts of bolts (by hand) and replaced with glue-ins on the following routes. Note: One of the bolts on Year of the Dog is technically the bolt that protects the traverse to Arms Reduction, and Truffle Hog has already had 2 bolts previously replaced last year that were pulled by hand.

  • Politics of Dancing – 2 bolts
  • Crimp Chimp – 4 bolts
  • Year of the Dog – 4 bolts
  • Arms Reduction – 4 bolts
  • Quills – 1 bolt
  • Truffle Hog – 1 bolt
  • Pussy Galore – 1 bolt

82 Update

After receiving a detailed report (with secondary confirmation) of a pretty concerning bad bolt on War on Drugs, I went up on the evening of the 14th to take a look. Rapping in from above, the second to last bolt was about 90% removed from the hole and was easily removed by hand! This forced an evaluation of the rest of the bolts on the route.

In total, 7 of the 10 bolts needed to be replaced due to clear evidence that the expansion mechanism on each bolt was not engaging. The majority of the bolts were replaced on the evening of the 14th with the remaining replaced early the next morning. See below for some videos showing the ease with which these were removed and thanks to Rob Fleming for helping out early on a Saturday morning.

On a smaller and less attention-grabbing note, Encryption and Team America now have all stainless lower-offs.


Weekend update

On Friday the 7th, Rob Fleming and I inspected a reported bad bolt on the route E.N.S. (Erotic Nut Selection) at Double Upper. Inspection revealed a poorly placed stainless 5-piece bolt. Somehow during the installation process the head of the bolt became significantly bent. This coupled with the fact that the hole was drilled slightly off from perpendicular with the rock meant that the bolt could not properly tighten down and achieve the proper torque rating. Due to the fact that the hole was botched, it couldn’t be re-used and a new hole had to be drilled.

A new Fixe Triplex bolt was installed in a temporary installation and will be replaced at some point in the future with a glue-in bolt. Much thanks to Rob for helping me out and putting the rope up so we could take a look at things.

On Sunday, I replaced the 5-piece bolts on Crusty By Nature, swapped in captive stainless carabiners for the pigtail on the Beyond anchor and retrieved a tool cache as this was the last bolt replacement work currently earmarked for the 82.

As previously noted in these work notes, 3/8″ sleeve anchors have been found to not age well in our schist and are replacement candidates regardless of whether they are plated steel or stainless. When triaging the “to-do” list, corroding plated steel bolts have typically gotten the priority over stainless bolts. To my surprise the 5-piece bolts on Crusty were actually plated steel mixed with stainless hangers. While the exterior of the bolts showed no signs of corrosion, once you looked inside the hole it was a different story. This is likely a testament to the breezy position of the Steep Wall. The exterior of the bolts dry quickly with the face of the rock but the moisture persists in the hole. The second bolt became unremovable when the threads of the bolt were accidentally stripped and couldn’t be repaired without a die which was not on hand. The bolt was re-positioned approximately 100mm higher after a few top-rope solo tests to ensure it was still possible to clip the bolt from the stance.

Anchor roundup

Today a couple of anchors got refreshed.

The lower-off on Beyond at 82 Steep Wall got swapped out with an equalized pig-tail lower off. This rounds out the majority of the Steep Wall lower-offs that were planned to be upgraded.

As well, the rap anchor on Bilateral Symmetry which was all plated steel hardware was upgraded with all 316L stainless with glue-ins and a pig-tail. This was a great test of the new “Doodad” puller I machined to replace the original C-clamp I blew through last season. The sealed bearing seemed to work well, though more testing will reveal how well it fairs.

EDIT (10.9.16): I swapped out the pigtail on Beyond with two captive stainless biners. The stance is there but with a pump the carabiners will be appreciated.

82 Crag continuation

Lots of the work at the 82 Crag this past week.

On Sunday Block Party was completely re-bolted save for the few wedge bolts that were there. These were checked to make sure they weren’t spinners and torqued properly. The anchor was repositioned to be slightly higher and more to the right more properly dropping you over the mid-anchor if only rapping on a single rope (70m recommended). Also the top anchor was changed to an inline chainset to make things easier for the rap and retrieval. The left bolt on the mid anchor will be updated with a matching Raumer ring anchor hanger whenever I get a chance to climb that pitch next.

This evening I knocked out a bunch of smaller to-do items both on the Steep Wall and Main Face.

  • The anchor on Solarium was swapped out with an all stainless captive carabiner rig
  • The anchor on Crusty by Nature was swapped out to an all stainless equalized pig-tail rig
  • The increasingly problematic 5th bolt on Doggfather was replaced with a glue-in bolt. This bolt was pulled solely by spinning it with the drill. In over 200 bolts replaced, this is the first time I’ve seen this happen and it is somewhat disconcerting.
  • The old bolt holes on Doggfather were patched with epoxy
  • The 2nd to last bolt on Truffle Hog was pulled and replaced with a glue-in (video)

Here’s a video that covers the bolt on Truffle Hog.

Carcass Crag anchor update

Last year all the routes at the Carcass Crag that were replaced were converted to rap-stations when almost all the routes were originally lower-offs. This was due to a lack of sufficient hardware to create a lower-off and maintain the goal of end-to-end stainless components. With the pool of hardware acquired with AAC/AF grant funding and local contributions, we were able to get some dedicated lower-off hardware. Re-establishing those anchors has since been a “to-do” item albeit with a lower priority than replacing corroded bolts.

After noticing last week that other climbers valued the lower-offs enough to leave biners at the anchors, I decided to bump up the priority of re-establishing these lower-offs with replacement program hardware. So today when my climbing plans fell through I turned the lemons into lemonade and knocked this work off the list. You can see the updated lower-off rigs in the gallery below. Goin’ Postal is still a ring anchor rap station as it was originally always that and the large Bolt Products rap rings are easy to do a pass-through/untie lower-off on.


It’s Not a Cruise

Based on a cursory inspection of the hardware on It’s Not a Cruise I had assumed the bolts were stainless five pieces and thus not a pressing issue. Recently I noticed that one of the washers was corroding and realized it was likely these were plated steel bolts. Sure enough even though some looked ok from the exterior, behind the scenes they were very corroded. Most of the bolts were spinners because the cone/sleeve interface was corroded in place. One was even clogged with mineral deposits.

Second bolt had to be moved because removal left the hole unusable, the third bolt was really close to a shallow left-facing flake which under the right circumstances could open the gate of a draw and that placement was moved left. The fourth bolt was in hollow rock and was re-positioned slightly right into better rock.

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