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Bolting a roof?

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:34 pm
by george nel
I bolted a few routes in the Ladismith(w.c) area and I know of all the pain and hard work that goes along with drilling holes,dull bits,sandstone dust in your eyes everytime you clean a new hole,hanging suspended in the air in the baking hot Karoo sun!This all being said,I wan't to ask a question in return.How do one bolt a overhanging crag,the roof section of a line.How do you get close to the rock while rapping?

Any answers and advice welcome

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:51 pm
by XMod
You will have to aid your way down, if there are any natural placements use those, if not then a bolt ladder is the only way. If you dont want a string of ten mm bolts you may not clip consider placing 8mm aid bolts in holes that are deep enough to knock the pins into the holes after you have all your 10mm clips in. Seal over the hole with pratleys putty. However think about how you are going to clean the pitch after climbing it, a bolt ladder might be very useful for going bolt to bolt.

One normally ends up totally inverted in the harness holding the drill at arms reach whilst dangling from the last bolt. Put your feet into slings or etriers and push of them to get more reach. If you thought bolting a face was strenuous and dusty you are in for a rude awakening. Be prepared for lots of agony and cleaning rock dust out of your ears for weeks afterwards! - Good luck!

PS. I might add that if you have to ask how to bolt over the internet (ie cant figure it out for yourself) then perhaps you should leave the job to someone who is qualified to do it (ie can figure it out)!

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:09 am
by Jan Viljoen
Thanks XMod for your very informative answer to George's question above. George and I climb together frequently and your answer confirms our beliefs. It's just that the overhang section we have in mind doesn't offer much for aid/trad placements and we don't want to drill more holes than necessary, but I suppose that's the only option then.

PS: Thanks for your concern, but having asked his question publicly was only a way of getting some input from different angles. I've climbed a number of George's routes and his bolts (and especially top anchors) are more bombproof than most you'll find at other crags.

Happy bolting! :D

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:46 am
by george nel
Thanx xmot,
I wont try your advice,luckily I'm very skilled at placing bolts+anchors ext...
Just to confirm my speculation that there are guys on this planet that can do nothing practical,hands as soft as a babies bum and so on.....My advice to you is to defenitely watch a DIY show on tv,something like "do it yourself with Riaan".
True,not everybody can bolt,it's a matter of life and death,but I know what I'm doing and my bolts are all bomber,you can come and try them out and then can form an opinion.

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:12 am
by stuboy
Interesting to hear that there are some guys out there who are qualified, well done! Which lucky-packet did that come in? Its good to hear there are some people who realize they do not know everything and risk asking.

To the dudes doing stuff, well done, maybe my tip can help. If you pull a rope tight over the steep rock you can use this to pull yourself closer to the rock in order to place the gear, in a roof it would be like a Tyrollean traverse, you would need the bolt at the base of the roof and the one at the lip. A static rope works best. As for the bolt ladder, well it does look crap with all those holes and bits left behind.

Keep it up and have loads of fun.


Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:38 pm
by XMod
Gladto hear you know what youre doing george! (why did you ask the question again??) Im extremely averse to ppl trying to learn how to climb by asking questions on the net, hence my PS. Its a pity you took this as a personal snubbing, I wouldve thought all that bolting had given you a thicker skin by now?

Rope tension as Stu describes is another way to go (depends on how big a roof youre aiming for). You could also achieve this with two belay ropes and some strong lads to winch you in there. You can sling a leg over the tensioned rope to gain extra reach. If things are really out of reach tension two other ropes below the roof and stand on them (triangulation makes it easier to balance on them than on one rope, which is desperate). Removable bolts are also an option if you dont want a bolt ladder left behind and the roof is truly a roof (see below). Seal the holes with putty and rock dust or sand to make pretty afterwards.

Just to clarify my understanding of a roof is one f-off big overhang. A roof is something that would cover a house right?
overlap < 1m
overhang 2-3m
roof > 3m.
Also my comments about a rude awakening stand (not as a personal attack but as fact), things get exponentially more strenuous and desperate the steeper the crag. I think even Stuart will bear me out on that. Some clever engineering can save you a lot of pain and frustration (Ive even carried ladders up to crags before - luxury!), just think it through carefully.
Again - Good Luck!

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:04 pm
by andrew p
If you can, it really helps to get piece or a bolt in at the back of the roof, either by abbing in, swinging in then climbing up (belay from below) or by traversing in. Having a second line that is really tensioned also helps. Failing that, you will have to aid or bolt-aid through the roof. Whatever you do its very phsyical but is great for the abs. Good luck!

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:42 am
by Marshall1
Hey , this works for me on overhangs & rooves. Hope it makes sense.

Presuming you can get above to place a top anchor:

1. Fix a static to the top anchor.
2. Abseil & place top bolt. Clip the static into this with spare crab.
3. Lower a bit, using slings, etriers & body tension till you can place the next bolt. Clip the static into this with a 2nd spare crab.
4. Repeat!
5. Dumar back up to remove spare crabs.
a. Stop (well) below each bolt,(stretch in static will pull dumar into crab attaching static to bolt, making it impossible to un-clip)
b. use quick draws to clip yourself into each bolt, this takes weight off the static so you can un-clip static.
c. Un-clip spare crab from bolt & static,
d. un-clip draw that attaches you to bolt....swing out.
e. repeat.

Bolting is not rocket science. There is no qualification. Think it out well. Bolting is mostly tactics, planning, cost of bolts & carrying all the kit in.

"PS. I might add that if you have to ask how to bolt over the internet (ie cant figure it out for yourself) then perhaps you should leave the job to someone to do it (ie can figure it out)!"

Greg, I was wondering who you though this "someone" is? The MCSA, the teachers, the municipality, the government, the Americans, Stuart Browne....

We should expect to have to do stuff for ourselves...learn how & figure it out.
Go for it George! I'm coming that way to climb Towerkop in Dec. Really keen to check it out & maybe bolt some. So leave some for me

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:08 am
by XMod
I think I explained that in my last post Derek, Learning this stuff over net is not very practical. Im trying to visualise your methodology but it's just confusing. You know what you mean but does the meaning get across? See what I mean? :) Consultation is good, it helps prevent stuff ups, Im just not sure the net is the way to do it. Hands on demonstration is way more effective.

Someone more qualified? You perhaps? Maybe you should go give George ground support? Just another climber with more know how - I dont mean someone with a degree in bolting! Although it seems you now need a ticket to place glue ins in CT! A bit bizarre that ppl like Sean Maasch have be told how to bolt these days!! (Sean made and placed all the glue in top anchors at the Mine and Hole, these anchors are still working fine!)

Im sure George will figure this sh-t out. And George - sorry for you if you took my post the wrong way. Do you always ask for advice and then abuse the person youre asking in return? Once again good luck with the route, hope the job gives you back pain for weeks after!!!! :lol:

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:10 pm
by george nel
Thanx guys for all the input
The picture is a lot clearer now.This was just a question of interest,don't think I'll be able to climb serious roofs one day,so need to bolt the suckers!This is a Forum right?Don't one ask questions on forums?If everybody knew everything about anything there would've been any need for such things as forums right?It's like that show on Discovery "how that's made".
There's always questions and what better place to ask questions than this site where all the names in sa rockclimbing can share their knowledge,guye like A.Davies,G. Holwill ect....
Sorry XMod for hostility,us boertjies in Ladismith are like that(stupid,I mean),not hostile


Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:20 pm
by george nel
Hey Derek,
I'll bring the turkey up to Towerkop for Christmas,see you there!

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm
by XMod
Hey George, you're right, better to get input if youre unsure. Sorry for the uptightness, cant remember wot the heck I was all wound up about!

Hope the climb goes well! -and no back pain other than pain the ass I am sometimes!! :lol:

Re: Bolting a roof?

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:37 am
by george nel
No worries XMod,nothing better than a healthy argument,everybody has the right to their opinion.Yep,I'm a proud bugger myself,it's good being brought down to earth by you,otherwise next time I'll go off bolting thinking I'm Andy De Klerk,full of confidence and no wisdom,take changes and die an awful and sudden death!Cheers mate