Ask. Answer. Discuss. Any bolting related issues.
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I suppose this topic could be bit like beating a tired horse but nonetheless in my view needs repeating. I can't understand how people are prepared to sink a lot of time, effort and money into bolting new lines but are not prepared to place decent lower-offs on these routes. More specifically I am referring to the use of chain links bolted directly onto the wall and even more specifically the use of dinky chains. It is pleasing to note that virtually all the new routes going up in Western Cape are now opened with solid, confidence inspiring lower-offs. However, I was disappointed with the standard of lower-offs I found at the Restaurant crags, particularly the Hallucinegenic (spelling?) crag. This area has largely been opened in the era when the funding, knowledge and equipment for improved lower-offs was around.
The Hallucinagenic, along with the new Tranquilitas crags are now both properties of the MCSA, so the bolting that goes on there is done primarily by MCSA members. The MCSA as you well know has a bolting fund that, which helps bolters that are apart of the bolting commitee put up new routes. It also means that the bolts/hangers that are used are also standardised, which is a good thing, since you know that the bolt you're clipping is good. The MCSA does NOT however pay for the chain at the anchors for some unknown reason and therefore the people putting up new routes tend to use the cheapest stuff they can find (this is a gross generalisation, but holds true for the majority of the anchors). That's why the links are sometimes too small to accept a draw easily. It really seems odd that the MCSA standardises the entire route except the most crucial bit, the anchors. There is a set of anchors on a route on the new Tranquilitas crag where the link that has been used is not even fully welded closed!!! The MCSA must however be commended since they do put a lot of money into bolts, that in turn, turn into new routes that you get to climb. I feel that they should however have a look at standardising the chain at the anchors! Check out: http://www.wumc.za.net
The top anchors at Peers Cave, Cape Town also suck (chain/washer combo) and its about time they were replaced with some thing decent. The MCSA has sponsored anchor replacement in the past perhaps they could help again. They would have to be hanger chain combos because of the way the anchors have been placed (I think Derek Marshall [SKY] makes some like this. Please note I am not pointing fingers at the people who so kindly opened the routes, some of the anchors on routes I have bolted also should be replaced. Back when we bolted them there wasnt a lot available but nowadays there is no excuse!
Well the good news is that the MCSA (JHB) section at least is now sponsoring top anchors. They're using Derek Marshall's set up with comprises of a hanger with either 2 or 4 links of chain. I choose to use one of the SKY anchors (with two links) and 4 links of 10mm galvanized chain, that way I can offset the anchors, but still have both anchors carrying an equal amount of weight. Chrz
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