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 - 11:09pm 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 - 11:16pm PT
Thanks Brad and co.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 1, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
Thanks!

DMT
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Mar 2, 2013 - 12:11am PT
You all have performed a good service!
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Mar 2, 2013 - 03:05am PT
Sweet thanks. Some (most) of the bolts out there were seriously sketchy.
sethsquatch76

Trad climber
Joshua tree ca
Mar 2, 2013 - 09:53am 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 - 09:54am 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 - 10:14am PT
Bolts suck.

Who needs 'em.
Tork

climber
Yosemite
Mar 2, 2013 - 11:26am PT
Thanks guys!
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Mar 2, 2013 - 11:37am PT
Thanks
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 2, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
woop woop! thank you!!
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Mar 2, 2013 - 12:34pm 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 - 12:59pm 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 - 01:40pm 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 - 02:12pm 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 - 02:39pm 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 - 02:48pm 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 - 02:52pm PT
Thanks, Brad!
msiddens

Trad climber
Mar 3, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
Brad- thanks much
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 19, 2013 - 11:11pm 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.).
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 19, 2013 - 11:17pm PT
Keep up the great work! One of the things I do when patching is to put the patch material in the hole then get a small rock of the same material as the wall and put it into the patch material and smash it. The rock usually disintegrates into the hole and patch material and ends up blending in much better than just the patch material by itself.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 19, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
Bruce, I do that too with Pinnacles rock. This Table Mountain rock is harder to match in color and in consistency than is Pinns rock.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 19, 2013 - 11:20pm PT
Oh, and rebolting aside, while out there, my oldest daughter called me very, very excited. She got into her dream college, U.C. Santa Barbara. I am SO DAMN PROUD of her!!!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 19, 2013 - 11:33pm PT
Wow congrats to you both!

DMT
BFK

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 20, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
This is great work! I actually posted about how bad the mussy hooks were at the top of AC Devil Dog/ Table Manners a few months ago. Glad you guys took the iniative to make things safer.
Cragar

Trad climber
MSLA - MT
Mar 20, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
Nice work Brad!!

hankw

Mountain climber
Camino, CA
Mar 20, 2013 - 03:06pm PT
I went out today with Phil Bone, Hope Wolf and Dave Harden

That sounds like old times.
lostinshanghai

Social climber
someplace
Mar 20, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
Colour I can provide colour.

Another option is to find a rock similar to colours of the abandoned area of the hole; Find an area where you can chip off a piece and smash it into smaller pieces several times close to a powder then add/mix to the topping when you put in the grey grout. Take a brush or steel to give it same texture.

Let me know when you will out again and I will bring the tints so you will have in your bag to correct. What kind of grout are you using, will bring faster setting in tube, best would be a white grout and then add the tint to match perfect background.
pell

Trad climber
Sunnyvale
Mar 20, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
Great job! Thanks.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
Hey, Hank, how are you? I had no idea you were on this forum. Yep, "we" are some names from the past alright. I hope you're doing well.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Mar 20, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
Great work!

Very scary how bad those bolts are. I have seen tons of mank, but have not dealt with 3/8ths very often.

Death bolts be gone!

Don't blow out the elbows...
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 20, 2013 - 05:49pm PT
hank you still making your boy be your belay slave?

DMT
hankw

Mountain climber
Camino, CA
Mar 20, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
Hi Brad,
I actually just signed up a couple of days ago. Have been doing good, kinda getting back into a little climbing but its been a while. How have you been? Have you completed your quest to do all the climbs in the Valley guide? Say hi to all the Sonora gang for me.

Dingus, Hehe...No we haven't done that for a looong time. Im having a hard time putting a face to Dingus???. Do I know you by another name?
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Yes Hank, I'm still nuts. Will say hi to the gang too.

hankw

Mountain climber
Camino, CA
Mar 20, 2013 - 07:26pm PT
Credit: hankw

Brad, I was digging thru some old slides and I found this one of you. Sorry for the thread drift :)
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
Holy crap, I remember that day. You and me and Harden. That's Taurus at Sugarloaf, late 1990s.

Who's the leader with the short shorts and nice legs? :) :)
willm

Social climber
Oakland
Mar 20, 2013 - 08:01pm PT
Wow! Awesome. Thanks guys. I noticed a desperate need for new anchors last time I was there nearly a year ago. Woah, I gotta get back there soon!

Edit: Forgot to say that's Fracture not Tauraus ;)
Chim-Chim

climber
Mar 20, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
Mt. I think that route at sugarloaf is the Fracture. Thanks for the hard work at Table,Dan
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
Been giving it some thought on why the 3/8" wedge bolts are breaking so easily. You probably can't tell by looking at the old bolts, but one critical factor in the strength of a wedge bolt is how the threads for
the nut are placed on the stud.

"Rolled" threads don't actually cut into the metal stock. If you looked at this type of thread under a magnifier it would look like somebody "added" the actual thread material on top of the stud.

"Cut" threads are made by actually cutting away part of the stud.

Unfortunately, "cut" threads create a weakness in the strength of the stud, especially in shear and torque strength.

My guess is the poor bolts you are encountering at the Grotto probably used 'cut' threads which is why they break off so easily when you try to unscrew them.

Personally, I only buy wedge bolts with "rolled" threads.
Greg Barnes

climber
Mar 21, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
Or they are just cheap hardware store bolts. The Uriostes used 3/8" stud bolts in Red Rocks that were grade 2 steel or something...break right off with only a few whacks (versus the normal 3/8" stud bolts which you would have to bend back and forth several times before they snapped). Still way the heck better than 1/4" stud bolts of course!
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2013 - 12:24am PT
Chim-Chim: As soon as I saw your post I realized that you're right: that's The Fracture. That may have been my last trip to Sugarloaf; we did both The Fracture and Taurus that day.

Bruce and Greg: Yes, most of those are cheap and scored hardware store bolts. Keep in mind though that the two Rawl 5-piece bolts that made up the first anchor we replaced broke fairly easily too (just by trying to unscrew them with a socket wrench).

All of the bolts we have replaced are also 20 years old, and during that time they've been in a relatively damp environment (for California anyway). Most of them have also likely held many hangs and falls too. And our removal efforts don't exactly replicate the stresses that hangs and falls generate.

Still, it is fairly disconcerting how little force it's taking to break them.
susu

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 01:34am PT
Many thanks! Congratulations too! & what a great photo Hank posted!
Cragar

Trad climber
MSLA - MT
Apr 8, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
Hey Hank!! Craig here!! I've been wondering(I tried googleing with no success) where you are and if you are still climbing...looks like you are getting back as well!!

I took a 13yr break and am enjoying getting back into it. Of course, the Valley, Meadows and EastSide memories are still strong in mmy head!!

I don't know dingus either..

It was good to see 'hankw' here...
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Apr 8, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
Brad, are you hanging out replacing bolts in a Bod harness?

I guess it would encourage efficiency.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
Brad, are you hanging out replacing bolts in a Bod harness?

I guess it would encourage efficiency.

Now that's just cruel (the comment, not the harness). Maybe my perspective is off (I've spent many, many hours hanging in even older model harnesses on walls), but I love the Bod harness and find it quite comfortable. Or maybe the "redistribution" of body mass that's occurred due to age and the contentment of married life makes it just seem comfortable?

Anyway, yes that's a Bod harness.

Dean and I are going out to do more rebolting tomorrow.
hankw

Mountain climber
Camino, CA
Apr 8, 2013 - 04:44pm PT
Hey Craig,
Sent you a PM. Cool to see you here!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Apr 8, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Another paradox of aging: when you're young and skinny, you can't afford the creature comforts. When you're older, you can afford them but don't need them.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 9, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
Dean Fleming, Joel Primrose, Phil Bone and I did more work today. We had the place to ourselves, which is good because we were making a heckuva racket.

We finished rebolting Color Coded Quickdraws (the 5.10b on the right side of The Ort Wall). One of its four lead bolts was replaced about five years ago or so, and we've now replaced the other three with 1/2" stainless steel bolts. We also replaced the anchor on this route with the same, namely 1/2" stainless steel bolts with Mussy hooks. All the old holes are carefully patched and colored.

I then fought for almost an hour to get out the right anchor bolt at the top of the 5.8 route Bandito on The Grotto Columns. The thing would come out a little and bend a lot; the outside part broke off, but I was able to bend it over and keep it coming out. After succeeding, I replaced it with a new 1/2" stainless in the same hole. I attached a new Mussy hook (so, at present, this anchor has one new/replacement bolt and one of the old ones - they are equalized).

Again, all of the replacement gear was courtesy of the A.S.C.A. Anyone who climbs out there and likes the look of this new hardware ought to write that fine organization a check!!
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