Pitons at Yellowwood - danger

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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
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Pitons at Yellowwood - danger

Post by SNORT » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:44 pm

A week ago I tested what appeared to be a very well seated angle piton at an abseil point at Yellowwood. It came out with a gentle tug. I took it with me thinking that it was useless there and dangerous and I was constructing a new point lower down. I added the peg to a good thread point and it made that satisfactory pinging sound that changes tone as it seats itself and expands the flare of the angle. Conditions were very hot at the time.

Yesterday that same peg came out with a gentle tug. And I was for a moment completely unsecured to the mountain. My Time was almost Up. And fortunately Teodor who was with me noticed.

So why did this happen.

I can surmise the following. When it is very hot say 35 degrees C, the metal of the peg has expanded and when you knock it in the energy transferred by the hammering expands the metal even more. Later on the ambient temperature cools and the metal contracts more than the rock which is under enormous pressure anyway. So it loosens.

This is the first time I have placed a peg at Yellowwood and I doubt I ever will again. I have pulled out many pegs over the years especially in the Magaliesberg.

Be warned! If you place a peg ensure that it is done when it is cold!!! That might help. Might even be a good idea to place a peg in freezer and keep it iced in a flask. But hell that's pushing it.

Question now is what about blade pegs and expansion bolts and glue in's. I would think think they are safer because unlike angle pegs they do not rely on expanding or increasing the angle that angle pegs depend on for fixation. Another option is to bang in an angle sideways so that it can expand with warmer days due to the "spring" in the angle. But that is not the way they are designed to be used.

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Real Name: Justin Lawson
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Re: Pitons at Yellowwood - danger

Post by Justin » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:05 pm

Thanks for the warning Snort - good thing Teo had been napping earlier in the day and was awake enough to spot your mistake 8)

This reminds me of Phil Loyd's accident...
The story I heard is that his partner abseiled first off an anchor consisting of 2 pegs. Phil then removed the one peg, weighted the rope and the remaining peg gave, resulting in is death.
Curt wrote:
Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:18 pm
Hey Everyone, I just found out recently that Phil Lloyd died almost 25 years ago after his rappel anchor fell out on Torre Norte del Paine in South America. I was shocked by the news. Phil had taught me everything I know about climbing while at UCT in the late 80s. Does anyone have the contact info for his mother, Nina? I hear that she published Phil's diary. I would love to be in touch with her. Thanks for letting me know if you have any information.
Full thread Philip Lloyd details
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