Rebolting in The Grotto (at Table Mountain, near Jamestown)

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mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 1, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
Dean Fleming, Phil Bone and I started a serious effort of rebolting in The Grotto today.

Our first work was replacing the two bolt anchor on top of "A.C. Devil Dog" and "Table Manners" with two 1/2" by 3" stainless steel bolts from which we hung mussy hooks (the two old, 3/8" carbon steel bolts broke off with frightening ease as I was trying to unscrew them, so I suppose the replacement was well timed, or even past due). We carefully patched the old holes. We left the third old, but still in good shape, 1/2" carbon steel bolt in place and hung it with chain and an old 'biner that is equalized with the mussies. This is now a bombproof anchor.

We also replaced the four remaining old bolts on the classic 5.9 "Sidesaddle" (one of its bolts was replaced not so long ago - that bolt is in good shape). The replacement bolts were also 1/2" by 3" stainless steel. Unfortunately three of the old bolts broke off (again without that much effort) in a way that we had not expected and we were unable to remove enough of them to leave patchable holes. Fixing, patching and leaving these holes in good shape is our highest priority for our next trip (i.e. before we replace any other bolts we clean up the mess we had to leave today).

All of the replacement hardware was provided by the American Safe Climbing Association ("A.S.C.A.").

THANK YOU A.S.C.A. !!
Michelle

Social climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Mar 1, 2013 - 08:16pm PT
Thanks Brad and co.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 1, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
Thanks!

DMT
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Mar 1, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
You all have performed a good service!
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Mar 2, 2013 - 12:05am PT
Sweet thanks. Some (most) of the bolts out there were seriously sketchy.
sethsquatch76

Trad climber
Joshua tree ca
Mar 2, 2013 - 06:53am PT
I blame Grant......Thanks for the hard work boys!!!!! That is a special hole in my heart......
DaveT.

Big Wall climber
southeast face portaledge
Mar 2, 2013 - 06:54am PT
Thanks guys!

The Grotto was one of the places where I went to learn to rock climb, as well as the Lake Tahoe crags. It is a special little place to me, I appreciate the hard work.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Mar 2, 2013 - 07:14am PT
Bolts suck.

Who needs 'em.
Tork

climber
Yosemite
Mar 2, 2013 - 08:26am PT
Thanks guys!
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Mar 2, 2013 - 08:37am PT
Thanks
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 2, 2013 - 09:30am PT
woop woop! thank you!!
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Mar 2, 2013 - 09:34am PT
Nice. Fun crag.

I don't know the crag very well. Are those the short ones? Based on the 6 (?) that broke off so easy... are there more that need replacing?
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 2, 2013 - 09:59am PT
Are those the short ones? Based on the 6 (?) that broke off so easy... are there more that need replacing?

Yes, the lead bolts we replaced were on the Ort Wall, which is the shorter wall out from the Grotto columns. And, yes to question two; there are a lot of similarly bad, 20+ year old bolts there that we'll be getting to in the next weeks/months.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 2, 2013 - 10:40am PT
On the 3/8" bolts that snapped, two of them were long, carbon steel, Rawl 5-piece bolts. These two snapped off with between 1/2 and one full rotation of the head as I tried to unscrew them. In each case they snapped off/sheered about where the threads meet the non-threaded part of the bolt, deep inside the hole. I'm not sure that this sheering could have happened under any form of load or fall, but it also doesn't inspire confidence in these old bolts' strength.

One other, similar 3/8" bolt unscrewed and came out successfully.

Three of the 3/8" bolts that snapped were what I would characterize as "hardware store bolts." These were inexpensive bolts literally bought from the local hardware store. These were terribly rusty. In all three cases we tried to actually tighten them so as to draw the bolts out of the hole (enough to be able to then pry them out altogether so as to re-use the hole, or at least far enough to break them off, re-drive them deep and then patch the hole). All three of these snapped off/sheered with about one full rotation of their nuts. These were truly bad bolts, and there are many more there just like them.

The Grotto can stay damp for weeks at a time, and I suppose this played a role in the amount of rust and even corrosion on some of these bolts.
Michelle

Social climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Mar 2, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Again, I'm glad you guys are doing this. I recall years ago commenting to Phil that alot of the bolts looked pretty sketchy.

And now the real question.. are you going to topple AC Devil Dog pillar? I would definitely volunteer my time on that project!
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 2, 2013 - 11:39am PT
We climbed A.C. Devil Dog yesterday and it seems fine. That is such a fine route that it will be a tragedy if it ever does topple, a real loss. I think it would be a mistake to do it on purpose (although I admit it would be a very spectacular mistake!).
Michelle

Social climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Mar 2, 2013 - 11:48am PT
Even I wouldn't trundle that thing and I like trundling. Too classic to be destroyed and I can't get any explosives anyways ;) I do agree, it would be a sight to witness!
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
Mar 2, 2013 - 11:52am PT
Thanks, Brad!
msiddens

Trad climber
Mar 3, 2013 - 06:38pm PT
Brad- thanks much
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 19, 2013 - 08:11pm PT
I went out today with Phil Bone, Hope Wolf and Dave Harden. We removed the leftover bolt studs from Sidesaddle and carefully patched the holes. We then replaced the first bolt on Color Coded Quickdraws.

Again, while doing the replacement, the old, hardware store 3/8" bolt broke off with frightening ease, although this time I'd managed to pull it about 3/4 of an inch out of the hole (so I could at least just punch it back into the hole and patch that without so much fuss).

As with our last effort the replacement gear was donated by A.S.C.A.

Here's one of the broken off studs:




One of the new bolts with a broken off stud next to it:




New bolts and their patches:






A patch:




The rock here is very hard to match with the patch, but I think we did OK. Give it two years and a little regrowth of moss and it will look even better.

Trying to remove a bolt (with proper eyewear):




The broken off bolt:







We've got lots more to do, but were making progress (thanks again, A.S.C.A.).
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