Bolt replacement 2009


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 49 of total 49 in this topic
Roger Brown

Oceano, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 26, 2009 - 11:54am PT
Hi all,
At last we have gotten something completed. (kinda) I will pull the last of the ropes off Ochre Fields this week sometime. Clint and I started back where we left off last season at Hall of Mirrors, moving east from there. The following routes have been completed:
Flakey Foont
Mouth to Perhaps
Regular Mouth
Boche-Hennek Variation
Deep Throat
Ochre Fields
Roller Coaster
The Grack Right Side
Hoppy's Creed
Hoppy's Favorite
An Udder Way

We have our ropes fixed to the start of the last pitch of Tight Rope right now and they kinda meander down thru Hoppy's and The Cow routes.
Since we would be working this area so long we decided to try to establish the original trail to The Grack. Well, the trail is back. We are still working on it but we managed to find our way down it by headlamp several times now.
Turn right just past the A-Frame, go a short distance and you will see the trail heading off to the right. It is well marked and getting pretty well worn. We think this way is a lot quicker and easier.
How did those guys get to the top of Perhaps? A day I'll never forget:-) And the traverse from high on Perhaps to that last pitch of Tight Rope was interesting also:-))
Ropes will also be going up over on the west side around Mr. Natural at the end of the week.
Off White

Tenino, WA
Jul 26, 2009 - 12:09pm PT
Oh, such Apron stoke!

Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Jul 26, 2009 - 12:17pm PT

Thanks Roger... offer still good, if you need anything, let me know about it....

Jul 26, 2009 - 11:43pm PT
How many pitches did tightrope end up being??

Tom Carter

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 26, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
kick ass, and then some Roger!


especially on a direct trail. that will save multiple folks traipsing around aimlessly causing braided trails.

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Jul 27, 2009 - 12:22am PT
great work, roger!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:07am PT
Very nice effort, thank you to all who are involved for taking on such a task.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:46am PT
> How many pitches did tightrope end up being??

Tightrope is 8 pitches. Roger has replaced the bolts on the first 7 pitches so far. Roger has got a couple of good slab climbers to help out and hopefully get up that 8th pitch to finish it off!

Apron - East side

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:59am PT
Some shots of the replacement work:

Roger replacing bolts on Ochre Fields, June 21

Hoppy's Favorite / Hoppy's Creed / Tightrope, July 12:

Roger replacing the belay bolts at the grassy nook atop Hoppy's Favorite (see Greg's photo in "Off White" post above)

first bolt on Hoppy's Creed - with Vern Clevenger's thin but strong special aerospace metal hanger

second bolt on Hoppy's Creed - flattened SMC hanger

replacing first bolt on Tightrope p8 - old Dolt hanger

Roger replacing bolts on the traverse of Hoppy's Favorite; Grack in the background
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 27, 2009 - 11:12am PT
Thanks for the hard work guys!

Tightrope is a stellar friction route and the best at its grade.

What was the situation on Ochre Fields? That route always had a reputation for poor and missing bolts. What did you guys find up there?

Retrofit and they will come....hopefully.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 02:49pm PT

On Ochre Fields, the 1982 guidebook said "bolts may be unsound".
On pitch 5 (5.10c), most or all of the protection bolts were "doubled" -
someone had added a second bolt next to the original bolt.
There was also a protection bolt which someone had probably added to p4 (5.10d) -
we could tell because the hanger type was different (homemade instead of SMC).
The doubled bolts were removed, and the added bolt on p4 was left as is (not replaced).

I climbed Ochre Fields back in 1986 or so, with my partner John Lockhart leading the harder stuff.
Kelly says it's one of his favorite climbs!

For the bolt replacement, Roger and I first tried climbing up Perhaps (a Bob Kamps route, rated 5.10 A5 in 1963, now down to 5.10d A4). But I only got as far as the (only) bolt on p2, which I replaced on lead but then downclimbed. From the belay, we were able to tension out right to the belay anchor at the top of p3 of Ochre Fields.

Next I came back with Bob Steed, and he led up Deep Throat, starting midway up p3 (where I had fixed a rope with Roger from the Ochre Fields high point). Deep Throat p5 in particular was quite runout on glassy 5.9. On p6, Bob made a traverse left over to join Ochre Fields p5. The runout to the anchors was pretty sketchy, so he made a new variation which goes up to the right side of the arch (instead of the center). From his high point, he could tension left to the top of Ochre Fields p5. I led p6 "5.8" (5.9) with some aid. It was getting late, so we fixed ropes to this high point.

Act III: I returned with Roger to the high point on Ochre Fields, tensioned left and climbed up the crack to the start of the 5.11a traverse. Here I made an anchor and lowered way down and left to reach the 5.10d A4 pitch on Perhaps. I clipped the old bolts and then lowered down to the start of the pitch. Roger came over to join me. Then I used the rope to regain the bolts, replaced the top original one (1/4" Star Dryvin - 1/2" deep). The A4 looked kinda blank, but it went using a thin LA, 2 beaks, a KB, and a Fish Hook. There were hardly any pin scars, and I'm not sure how Kamps did it without beaks. There were a few tiny edges to hook - that would have been A4 for sure.

The 5.10d below the A4 would have require placing LAs or thick KBs for pro. After Roger followed, I led up the corner pitches above, which were given 5.9 in the topo, but had 5.10 sections with some moderate ground as well. We reached the top of Perhaps. Later we had an adventure climbing left above the huge arch to reach down to the top of Hoppy's Creed.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:19pm PT
Thanks for the details, Clint.

Do you have the anchors from Perhaps to show? I would be curious what the originals look like if they were still in place on the route. The aluminum strap hanger from The Mouth to Perhaps would be fun to see again also if you guys are keeping track of that sort of provenance.
Those thin guage, Clevenger hangers never inspired much confidence when I came across them with runouts all around! LOL
No offense intended, Vern!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:23pm PT
Photos of the original bolts on Perhaps (1963):

the protection bolt on p2 (5.10b) - 1/4" Rawl with square nut and homemade aluminum hanger

replacing it on lead (fortunately there was a good stance, and a good TCU for pro at my feet, but it was a stretch up and left to drill.
It took me about an hour.

I gave up on leading p2 and downclimbed. Later, Bob led me up Deep Throat / Ochre Fields, and I returned with Roger to tension into Perhaps p3.

Looking up at p3 - using the rope to regain the mid-pitch bolts.
Did this route ever get much traffic? It was kind of hard for 1963... (5.10 A5 in the 1971 Roper guide).

2 of the 3 bolts midway on the pitch. I believe the Leeper hanger bolt on the left was added afterwards, because the original 1/4" Star Dryvin was only 1/2" deep.
It looked like a tough stance, which probably explains the shallow bolt (maybe a dull drill, too?)

The Star Dryvin, after removing the tieoff slings behind the hanger.

I should not have used a double ring hanger here. It's not safe to belay at this point, because if you fell from the A4 you would hit the belay. I think Roger replaced it for a regular Fixe hanger.

Top original bolt replaced - time to leave all extra gear behind and try the A4!
It goes up this blank tiny arch.

Jul 27, 2009 - 04:28pm PT
Big thanks to you guys for doing a thorough job. Bravo!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 04:43pm PT
Regular Mouth bolt photos, from May 2009:

(I did not see an aluminum strap hanger on the two lower protection bolts for the first pitch of Mouth to Perhaps, but there might have been one on the third bolt or the anchor bolts).

the protection bolt at the end of the traverse on p3.
I "tied it off" with a stopper cable; fortunately the moves there were easy.

belay bolts at the top of p6.

There is a thin finger traverse to the belay at the end of p6 - it was very runout for me on lead.
Probably it was originally protected with a piton, but there is no fixed pin in place there now.

the protection bolt on p7 (run it out on 5.8 above this, and then slightly easier ground with no pro to the belay, unless you detour left on harder slick ground to clip a fixed pin).

In July I found the hole for the original second bolt on the pitch, 15' below the belay. (Melissa had told me it was there, and it was described in the Roper guide). I believe Roger replaced it.

belay anchor at the Mouth.

The right bolt was originally placed by John Servais; I replaced it.

there is an unusual anchor at the Mouth.

elevation 4917' ?

replacing the protection bolt on p3, on the way down.

Regular Mouth will never be popular, because p2 has a slick 5.9 move, with pro 8' below you in a low angle corner.
It looked very hazardous for my ankle, so I tossed a hook to a ledge above the move and aided/cheated past it.
mark miller

Social climber
Jul 27, 2009 - 07:05pm PT
Thanks Roger and for the next generation of apron climbers,"Good work sir".
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 27, 2009 - 07:30pm PT
Good work, guys - thanks! I've always liked slab climbing, and it's nice that you put such effort into looking after these climbs, in their historical context. It must be hard for a new climber to imagine the first ascents of these routes in the 1960s, on sight, placing the bolts on lead. A different world.

Fascinating that there's an official benchmark at 4,917' on the Apron. I wonder if the current NPS people in the Valley know about it, e.g. Jesse and the park geologist whose name I forget? It may be useful to them in their geomapping project, especially if its location was pinpointed with a GPS.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 10:09pm PT


> It must be hard for a new climber to imagine the first ascents of these routes in the 1960s, on sight, placing the bolts on lead. A different world.

Um, that's the way I (and others - Bob Steed, Eric Gabel, etc.) usually do FAs - not such a different world. The drilling technology is better though - easier to drill 3/8" by hand and no more "dull drill" problems.

I think that benchmark at The Mouth is quite unofficial.

Trad climber
Nevada, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 10:25pm PT
Cool! Thanks much for your hard work!

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
Jul 28, 2009 - 12:40am PT
Awesome work, Roger, Clint et al...!!!


Those are some classic hangers!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 01:47am PT
A few more photos, so this page can be slow to load, too? :-(

Roger following Perhaps p1 (first pitch above the Grack), while I haul the fixed rope and water.

Hoppy's Favorite - replacing the bolt at the start of the crux 5.10b downwards traverse (another of Vern Clevenger's thin aerospace homemades)

piton belay on Hoppy's - below the traverse pitch

doubled protection bolt midpitch on Deep Throat
(it looks like somebody was scared of the spinner and added a bolt next to it - looked like a tough stance)

cinnamon bear cruises the base of the Grack

California King Snake at the base

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:03am PT
Sweet photos! Man you guys make it look like fun.

Good show out there!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:06am PT
Thanks, Josh.

And some from June 26 with Bob Steed - Deep Throat to Ochre Fields:

jugging to the high point on Deep Throat

Bob leading past the mid-pitch high point on Deep Throat, past the wiggling Lost Arrow (a black Alien fits there now)

which way to go above the dike? All smooth 5.9 with no dishes.
"I could'a drilled here!"

long sustained run to the bolt; it's a Zamac loaded with bail slings. Clip with a screamer....

Another, even longer runout to the anchor - nonstop slick and sloping 5.9

Traversing left to join Ochre Fields

probing the heinous runout to the anchors on the 5.10c.
There is a sloping / slick / insecure section way out from the last bolt.

Roger - already replacing the anchor we just left.

belay bolts at the high point on Ochre Fields (top of the "5.8" corner) - note Zamac on right.

Big Wall climber
Jul 28, 2009 - 03:03am PT
best wishes Roger Brown and hope this summer of bolt replacement goes without any accidents. hope to see you soon.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 03:52am PT
If you use the SDS-type rotahammer carbide drills, they come from the factory with a very blunt edge. This is to prevent breakage by a power drill in the hands of a typical concrete guy. For hand drilling, that blunt edge isn't optimal.

I've used a silicon carbide grinding wheel (green, not gray, as the colors in the U.S. are sold) to sharpen those bits, and they seem to work better. Don't pound the hell out of the drill, or you will break the sharp edge, especially when first going into the smaller hole.

I once took a gray aluminum oxide sharpening stone up onto the Stone for a belay repair job, and it was worthless for sharpening the carbide drill bits. Too soft to cut the harder material, the ALOX played out like teflon on the hard cutting edge. I had no idea, and was too lazy to see if the whetstone actually would sharpen the tungsten carbide before going up.

I was headed up The Wall, Bermuda Dunes, and thought, stupidly, that I could buy drill bits at the store, and then hone them, at leisure, while while sitting belay, when it was all part of a safer means on El Cap with repaired belay anchors.

Store-bought drills, and trying to use those drill bits, right from the store.

I pounded my self silly, and even crazy, using those dull rotahammer rock drill bits that take a thousand hammer strikes - each hole - to repair 40+ holes on that Wall.

The Better Way is to sharpen the carbide drill bits, on a silicon carbide grinding wheel, before the ascent.

EDIT: The write-up is exactly as it played.


Social climber
Jul 28, 2009 - 12:18pm PT
Awesome work Clint and Roger and other GP Apron climbers!

Some of those bolts look frightening! Time for them to be put to rest.

Roger, how's Yellow Pines? I'll try and drop by tomorrow afternoon.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 02:43pm PT

Thanks again for your help in 2007 & 2008 - that lead last year on Exodus was pretty serious!


Bruce Hildenbrand has sharpened a couple of my carbide drill bits, but I haven't done a careful test of sharpened vs. unsharpened on the same mix of granite. I don't hit very hard, and Roger tries not to hit too hard, but he has broken (chipped carbide tip) some regular bits. Bob hits a little harder and has had a lot of breakage problems with the latest box of "SDS Plus" drill bits he bought.
Roger might be the best person to test sharpened vs. regular - I know he (sometimes?) counts the number of hits per hole - about 2600 as I recall.


I think Roger has been doing great in Yellow Pines. Thanks to you for setting it up so he can maximize work time these past 2 summers, instead of commuting in from Crane Flat!

Jul 28, 2009 - 03:08pm PT
Roger, Clint, and Bob,

Thanks for the good work. It's nice to see rebolting being done the right way instead of all the retro bolt madness that seems to have been done of late.

Clint and Bob,

Hope you're having a good summer - I've been hiding out in SoYo avoiding the crowds and the tool! See you guys this winter!


Jul 28, 2009 - 03:14pm PT
Again, great work (and documentation).

I'm not super hip to what's going on at the Apron these days in terms of rock stability. Are these routes in an area that is considered out of the path of the slide activity if recent years? Thanks for insights...

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 03:47pm PT
Fabulous work, you guys, and great pictures. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Jul 28, 2009 - 04:27pm PT

Is it just me, or does this baby look like it's been hit by a few rocks?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 05:41pm PT

In terms of recent past rockfalls on Glacier Point Apron:

 a big one on the far left which blew down the trees with one death at Happy Isles. This is well to the left. I haven't gone way down and left to Synapse Collapse or The Calf to see how close they are to the impact zone. You can see the source ("McDonald Arch") and impact areas on the overall photo above.

 a rockfall in early May 2009, apparently hitting Hall of Mirrors and Springtime Dry Variation in spots below the level of Goodrich Pinnacle. I don't know exactly where it originated and if it hit up high also.

 rockfall hit the top of Monday Morning Slab, about 20 years ago. I think it took out some trees, and the rock along the top is still kinda fractured in places.

 rockfall (1996?) which came down the Punch Bowl, hit the talus cone, and rolled down the talus cone along the base, killing Peter Terbush, who was belaying at the base of Apron Jam. I would not try to climb Punch Bowl or anything to the right of Green Dragon - there seems to be debris still up there. Opinions vary on whether it's safe enough to do Mr. Natural. I did it last spring and it seemed fine. A friend of mine went over there about a month ago and said the talus at the base looked too fresh.

 rockfall this past winter on the Nine O'Clock Wall above the west part of Curry Village. Not any Apron free climbs that far over, except for the old Glacier Point Terrace descent.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 05:42pm PT

We think that "unofficial" benchmark at The Mouth has been hit by some hammer blows. Like the bolt anchor nearby, it's protected from rockfall by the small overhang which forms the smile/Mouth shape.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jul 28, 2009 - 07:54pm PT
Great stuff guys.

Big Wall climber
Jul 29, 2009 - 11:33am PT
Clint always a pleasure.


Jul 29, 2009 - 01:14pm PT
Awesome info--thanks for running it down, Clint.

Jul 29, 2009 - 01:56pm PT
Kudos to the dudes doing the hard brutal dirty dangerous and often thankless task here.

Thanks fellas.

Social climber
Santa Cruz Mountains/Los Gatos
Jul 29, 2009 - 03:53pm PT
thanks guys

Ice climber
Kiruna, Sweden
Jul 30, 2009 - 06:22am PT
I put up a couple of routes on the righthand side of the Apron in the early 80s - Ephemeral Clogdance and Chiropodist Shop. Can anyone tell me what the status of the bolts is on those routes, and whether they are exposed to rockfall danger?

Rick McGregor - now in the far north of Sweden (not far from great granite in northern Norway!)
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 30, 2009 - 06:26am PT
Used to enjoy those nicely named Apron Routes. Rocks didn't fall anywhere near them.

But I don't think anybody replaced the bolts on them either. They'd probably hold a slab fall but are worthy of maintenance.

Sadly, the Apron age is over and they don't see much, if any, traffic anymore.

I remember Deep Throat and Hoppy's favorite as worth doing but only have done Deep Throat within the past 15 years. I backed off Ochre fields when my rope would reach a belay.

What seemed worthy to climb and not death (or almost death) to climb out of what you replaced?


Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 30, 2009 - 04:00pm PT

Roger replaced the bolts on your climbs in September 2007.
The 2007 Apron replacement thread is at:
and here is where your routes are mentioned:

Roger Brown
Sep 17, 2007, 07:27pm PT
To the right of "Salin' Shoes" the bolt at the anchor of "The Grunt" was never found, but the bolt above was and was replaced. The bolts on "Chiropodist Shop", "The Token", both pitches of "Emphemeral Clogdance", "Bark at the Moon" (the anchor was never found or any sign of an anchor at any stance but there was a bolt that matched the other bolts that lead up and left toward the top of the first pitch of "The Letdown" so it too was replaced), "Synchronousity", "Nothing on the Apron", "Something on the Apron" (not in guide books) and "Lean Years" also had thier bolts replaced this season. I have the bolts and hangers from at least the last five years "bagged and tagged" and some day I will sit down and make a proper list so the ASCA site can be brought up to date.

The ASCA list of climbs replaced is at:
Sometimes it gets slightly out of date, but it's a fairly complete list.

A summary of where Roger has worked with me and several other folks these past 3 summers on bolt replacement:
 Arches Terrace area 6/2007

 Glacier Point Apron - West 8/2007

 Middle Cathedral North Face Apron 6/2008

 Glacier Point Apron - Central 8/2008

 Glacier Point Apron - East 6/2009
(this thread)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 30, 2009 - 04:08pm PT

> What seemed worthy to climb and not death (or almost death) to climb out of what you replaced?

It's hard for me to judge the runouts, as I have a fairly numb left foot so I am a pretty bad slab climber. For example, I thought the 5.9 R move on Regular Mouth p2 was too scary to try, but it involves trusting / feeling your left foot. But Bruce Hildenbrand told me the other day that it was considered to be the easiest 5.9 on the Apron back in the 70s.

Incidentally, we also found a couple of newer routes which are not in the guidebooks yet:
 between Grack Right and Hot Tin Roof / Ochre Fields
 between Tightrope and Hoppy's Favorite
You may have also seen there is a newish one pitch route with many bolts at the base, between Goodrich Left and Goodright Right (just right of the lowest rap anchor on Goodrich Left).

There are also some random pitches here and there which have some bolts shown on the guidebook topo but don't have names or ratings listed. These might be fun to explore:
 1-2 pitch variation, right of Deep Throat p3-4
 1 pitch variation to Regular Mouth. There are some bolts which go between the two lines shown for p3 of Regular Mouth

I have some topo notes on these, and I'll try to make an updated topo at some point.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 30, 2009 - 06:07pm PT
"You may have also seen there is a newish one pitch route with many bolts at the base, between Goodrich Left and Goodright Right (just right of the lowest rap anchor on Goodrich Left). "

Done that, it ends with a short roof right? Great climb with pretty good pro.



Aug 24, 2009 - 01:39pm PT
Dolt Hanger on first pitch of Tightrope was Chuck Cochrane's. Soon Vern joined in the effort.

Oakshotte had those stainless hangers made that were used on Hoppy's Favorite.

Amazing Tat!!! Yikes.

Great efforts all around!


Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Aug 24, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
Hey Rick-

I have logged some airtime on Ephemeral clogdance, up to the 3rd bolt. The bolts looked good and were all seated properly (no spinners).

Don't know about the rockfall probability in that area of the apron, it didn't look as though any damage had been done around your route.

Great route! I hope to finish it someday when I get the toe strength to continue!


Trad climber
Aug 24, 2009 - 02:16pm PT
Really great job you guys. Kudos to you for the hard work and the cool photos. You got me stoked to go over there and do a few of the routes next trip. Keep up the good work.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Aug 24, 2009 - 04:06pm PT

> Dolt Hanger on first pitch of Tightrope was Chuck Cochrane's. Soon Vern joined in the effort.

Cool. The Dolt hanger on the bolt I replaced on Tightrope was the first bolt on the last pitch of Tightrope.

Is there a story on the last pitch? Apparently the last bolt is by itself, and not a 2 bolt anchor. Did you feel the pitch could be extended at some point? Or do you think it would be good or OK to have 2 bolts at the high point?

Trad climber
Jun 4, 2017 - 07:56pm PT
Love a good forgotten mystery.
According to Reid guide, Regular Mouth FA was 1964 Bob Kamps, Tom Cochrane

Only 4917 foot mention in the US I could find:

Keen Camp Summit - California - San Jacinto Area

Not sure if that makes sense that there would have been a marker there even, but being close to Tahquitz gives it some credibility....

Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Sep 8, 2017 - 10:13pm PT
In 1964 Bob Kamps and I named that route 'The Smile'

The little 1/4 inch Rawl drives we put in probably haven't weathered well.
Messages 1 - 49 of total 49 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews