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Bolting corrections and aesthetic harm camouflage

The second-thoughts on the bolt placement lead to some aesthetic inconvenience. Sometimes we saw two anchors disturbingly close together, or a bolt protruding from the rock, without its hanger.

Bolting corrections and blemish camouflage
Fig. 1) New hole
Fig. 2) New espansione bolt
Fig. 3) Old hole
Fig. 4) Old filled hole
Sergio Brun

Erring is human. Correcting their own mistakes...  is almost divine.

Setting a sport climbing single pitch is not a game.

The places to search for adventure, shaky bolts, unsafe belays are the rock faces of the mountains: people who climb mountains know that they have to face danger.

Sport climbing, instead, is a game (not without risk, as any game), a sport.  

In Pale (a historical Umbrian climbing spot, that I revamped 10 years ago) I see so many climbers from all over Central Italy, rock climbing courses, students in visit: a world of new faces dealing with the shining and encouraging metallic hangers that I set not so long ago.

So, seeing a little boy (or a little girl) stretching out like a snake to clip the bolt, makes me immediately think of move upward or downward the anchors. In short, I always find some best way to place the anchors.

In these cases, I equip myself with a cordless drill (inevitably Chinese), a hammer, an expansion bolt,  and a wrench 17 make a difference. Then, on a day in where there is a friend willing to belay me for a half-hour, I finally get to do some improvements.

Sergio Brun su Vai Lupo
On Vai Lupo
Carmela Malomo

In 2010 I finished the revamping of Pale.

At that time, it was imperative to "get the job done". However, improvements could be made.

So, after so many years, one day I decided to lower the third anchor of the historical route Vai Lupo, and insert one more in the space between the lowered one and the next.

I decided to di this because Vai Lupo is one of the easiest routes of the crag, and therefore it's climbed by many little boys or girls, not more than 1.5 meters tall. Falling before clipping the third bolt of Vai Lupo was not dangerous (because the route is slightly overhanging), but it's a kind of whipper. 

First I pinpointed the optimum position (for people 1.5m tall), then I listened to the rock sound under the blows of my hammer, then I made a hole in the rock with my drill. The length of the hole is 2-5 mm more than the length of the expansion bolt. I assembled pivot, hanger, washer, and nut, and arranged it so that the nut protrudes 2-3 mm from the pivot. I hammered everything into the hole, and finally, I clamped it with the wrench 17.

Sergio Brun
Clamping the belay hangers
Carmela Malomo

But then the old anchor still sticks on the rock. It doesn't look too good there.

Nut and hanger can be unscrewed. But the bolt remains stuck through the rock. Get it out is not completely impossible, but it's a real drag, which may result in additional aesthetic harms.

Therefore I firmly hammered the old bolt into its hole, until it gets entirely dipped in the rock (that's why I'm used to doing the hole 2-3 mm longer than the bolt). Then I spackled the hole with bolt dipped in, using a metallic plaster bought in an ordinary hardware store. It's a cylinder of the two-tone mixture. I cut off a slice of this mixture, with a little patience I work the dough with my fingers until the slice becomes a little grey ball, of the same colour as the rock.  Then  I spread the dough into and around the hole, until I have a well camouflaged gray patch on the rock surface, that after a few days will no longer be visible.


GFB (not verified)

Same technique here. I use bi-component epoxy putty (like dough). I use acrilic colours mixing them with the dough to match the several different rock colours

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 07:56
GFB (not verified)

Hi Sergio,
Same technique here. I use bi-component epoxy putty (like dough). Additionally I use acrilic colours mixing them with the dough to match the several different rock colours

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 08:01


your technique is fine for colored rock. Where are you from?

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 09:04

In reply to by GFB (not verified)

gianni (not verified)

Caro Sergio sono perle i tuoi consigli
complimenti un caro saluto

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 10:02

Grazie Gianni!

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 10:33

In reply to by gianni (not verified)

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