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Glue-in bolts

This article, dedicated to the beginners, provides a number of elements to help you recognize some dangerous glue-in bolt placements.

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Glue-in bolts gear
Glue-in bolts gear
Gianluca Di Benedetto

Glue-in bolts: these anchors are very popular, particularly in case of route re-equipping or dealing with soft rock, for which the expansion bolts do not ensure a suitable firmness.

The glue-in bolts performances in terms of high tensile strength, poor maintenance, firmness, and low environmental impact are considered to be higher than the ones of the expansion bolts.

So, glue-in bolts would be a kind of up-lifting anchor, that would allow safe whippers.

But even for such kind of anchors, there is a downside:  setting a glue-in bolt is decidedly more complex than setting an expansion bolt. In fact, to install them, you must carry out a series of key passages, that, if not properly done,   make not reliable the anchor.

1) Stainless steel certified glue-in bolt
2) Steel bolt for pulling conductors
3) Chipped polyester resin: the bolts could leak
Gianluca Di Benedetto

Unfortunately, some of these situations are not easy to detect.

Here is a list of requirements that should be accomplished.

  • The bolts should be certified for sport climbing;
  • The steel bolts designed for pulling conductors (therefore not certified for climbing) are not safe (unfortunately it are popular in many crags!) (Fig. 2);
  • The polyester resins (cheap but with low tensile strength) should not be used. In fact, only resins like vinylester or epoxy, certified for high tensile strength, should be used. Furthermore, the curing time of such resins should be strictly respected. Obviously, all these circumstances are difficult to verify for a climber!
4) Correct and uncorrect setting of a glue-in bolt - by Paola di Giacomo
5) Uncorrectly set glue-in bolt
6) Correctly set glue-in bolt
Gianluca Di Benedetto
  • The diameter of the hole must be suitable, and the hole has to be carefully cleaned with a brush and a small pump. Even this circumstance is difficult to verify for a climber!
  • Last, but not least, the ring at the end of the bolt should not protrude entirely from the rock. Instead, it should be partially "plunged" into the rock, and with plenty of resin (Figs. 4,5,6).

Even if glue-in bolts do not cause rock pre-tensioning (unlike the expansion bolts), pay attention and don't trust the glue-in bolts placed too close to a hole, an edge or cracks. It could cause a leverage effect on the quickdraw carabineer, just as the expansion bolts do.

Finally, as for the expansion bolts, the glue-in bolcould be subject to some corrosion phenomena, if set in an aggressive environment.  Thus Don't use only one bolt to lowering down, or to locking your self, and wear the helmet.

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