Bolts

Bolts are often used in fixed-rope installations and in aid climbing where cracks are not available.

a. Bolts provide one of the most secure means of establishing protection. The rock should be inspected for evidence of crumbling, flaking, or cracking, and should be tested with a hammer. Emplacing a bolt with a hammer and a hand drill is a time-consuming and difficult process that requires drilling a hole in the rock deeper than the length of the bolt. This normally takes more than 20 minutes for one hole. Electric or even gas-powered drills can be used to greatly shorten drilling time. However, their size and weight can make them difficult to carry on the climbing route.

b. A hanger (carrier) and nut are placed on the bolt, and the bolt is inserted and then driven into the hole. A climber should never hammer on a bolt to test or "improve" it, since this permanently weakens it. Bolts should be used with carriers, carabiners, and runners.

c. When using bolts, the climber uses a piton hammer and hand drill with a masonry bit for drilling holes. Some versions are available in which the sleeve is hammered and turned into the rock (self-drilling), which bores the hole. Split bolts and expanding sleeves are common bolts used to secure hangers and carriers (Figure 5-17). Surgical tubing is useful in blowing dust out of the holes. Nail type bolts are emplaced by driving the nail with a hammer to expand the sleeve against the wall of the drilled hole. Safety glasses should always be worn when emplacing bolts.

Figure 5-17. Bolt with expanding sleeve.

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