Long Dong Rebolt Team Announces Large Scale Titanium Rebolting Plan

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Following recent bolt failures at Long Dong including the most recent incident where the anchors of popular Music Hall route Big Drum failed on lower, a plan has been announced on the official Long Dong Rebolt Page for large-scale rebolting of Long Dong with titanium alloy bolts.

In a lengthy post pinned on the Long Dong Rebolt group (“龍洞 re-bolt 計劃”), rebolt team spokesman Jinlung You writes that the team plans to procure a large number of titanium bolts in two phases to replace aging bolts at Long Dong over 4 years old, with priority on bolts determined to be “questionable” including “Fixe 304″, Petzl Collinox, Petzl P38, and AustriAlpin bolts. In the second phase, all other bolts of that age will be considered for rebolting.

Jinlung explains that the team will perform extensive , non-destructive pull-testing of all bolts at Long Dong. By performing pull testing to a pre-determined, non-destructive load, the team hopes to determine bolts which are necessary to be replaced and which can stay, reducing the # of bolts necessary to be placed and minimizing the damage to the rock.

The number of bolts is large with 592 bolts projected for the first phase of high priority rebolts and 867 bolts estimated for the second phase. With costs per bolt estimated at $546 NTD, the first phase is seeking $430,000 in funding and the second phase is projected to require $530,000. As the rebolt team’s current funds are dwindling, the group is seeking outside help and all climbers and interested parties are encouraged to donate.

TaiwanRocks has translated the full rebolt plan announcement below including donation details. If you’re interested in donating or just interested in the future of Long Dong climbing, we encourage you to read the letter in full:

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Big Drum Anchors Fail on Lower

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Big Drum Anchors – photo by Ofelia Huang

Ofelia Huang reports that on Friday July 24th, the anchors of popular sport climb #369 Big Drum in Music Hall failed while a climber was lowering off them to the ground. The anchors failed when the climber was around 4m from the ground. The climber sustained minor injuries but is reported to be fine.

The type of bolts used are Petzl Collinox bolts made of 316L stainless steel, making this the first failure of a 316 “Marine grade” stainless steel bolt at Long Dong.

Update (August 26, 2015): It has been confirmed by Petzl America that the bolts in the photo and in this incident were actually 304 grade stainless steel.

The surrounding climbs #367 Fucking Fall and #370 Finger Crack , Musical Arete and 383 Wedding Route use the same Petzl Collinox bolts and we recommend climbers to avoid all of these popular climbs at this point until the routes are rebolted.

Bolt Broken on Route #126 Great Pumpkin in Golden Valley(2/17/2015)

Broken Fixe "304" bolt- photo James Song

Broken Fixe “304″ bolt- photo James Song

James Song reports of a bolt broken on Route #126 in the Golden Valley, Long Dong. While working a crux midway up the route, James took a lead fall on the 5th bolt, which snapped. The broken bolt, pictured above, is a Fixe brand 304 stainless steel bolt.

While suitable for inland locations, 304 type stainless steel is unsuitable for use at seaside crags like Long Dong, where sea spray, warm temperatures, and the stress of climbing forces can combine to result in catastrophic bolt failure due to Stress Corrosion Cracking(SCC). This type of corrosion is particularly insidious as the bolt may appear perfectly fine on the outside while actually having severe stress fractures on the inside of the bolt.

While almost all popular sport routes in recent years have been rebolted with either higher quality 316 “marine grade” stainless steel or more recently, corrosion-resistant titanium alloy, a number of routes in Long Dong still have Fixe bolts with 304 grade stainless steel.

We recommend climbers at Long Dong keep up to date on route bolting status and general route safety info by checking Guidebook+.

Black Diamond Aluminum Harness Buckles Exhibiting Severe Corrosion at Seaside Crags

Severe Corrosion, most likely SCC, on a 2013 model Black Diamond Momentum Harness - photo: Ugo Ortolano

Severe waist-buckle corrosion on a 2013 model Black Diamond Momentum Harness – photo: Ugo Ortolano

Multiple climbers who have frequented Taiwan’s seaside crag Long Dong have found the waist buckles on their Black Diamond Climbing Harnesses severely corroded afterwards.A 2013 model Momentum, a 2014 model Momentum and a 2013 model Chaos have been reported with this type of severe corrosion on the waist-buckle, a load-bearing and safety-critical component of the climbing harness.

The issue is not immediately apparent, but happens over a period of months after exposure to the saltwater spray present at Long Dong.

In addition to climbers in Taiwan, HK Climber Tony reports of the same issue occuring on his 2014 BD Momentum Harness after climbing at seaside crags in Hong Kong, meaning this problem could affect BD Harnesses used at any seaside area- not just in Taiwan.

With some harnesses exhibiting the issue and others of the same make and model with no issue(despite going through similar conditions), the issue is suspected to be the influence of salt water exposure combined with quality control issues on certain harnesses.

The issue is not isolated to a single model or year as reports of waist buckle corrosion have been confirmed on a 2013 and 2014 Black Diamond Momentum Harness, as well as a Black Diamond Chaos Harness. All BD harnesses which use anodized aluminum buckles seem to be possibly affected.

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Waist buckle corrosion on a 2014 Black Diamond Momentum Harness – Photo: John Martin

We suggest the following to climbers who frequent seaside crags like Taiwan’s Long Dong, Hong Kong’s Tung Lung Island, or Greece’s Kalymnos:

  • Inspect your harness regularly if climbing by the sea and wash or wipe down the metal hardware at least once a month
  • If you find excessive corrosion on your BD Harness waist buckle, contact BD warranty service at https://warranty.bdel.com/
  • Help prevent corrosion by storing harnesses in their original mesh bag for airflow instead of confined spaces like a closet or backpack
  • Until this issue is addressed, consider buying other harnesses  brands if climbing by the sea

Bolt Warning – Route #350 “Reluctant”

reluctant anchor bolt

Left Anchor Bolt removed from #350 Reluctant. Pink color shows improperly mixed glue.

Update: As of August 2014, the anchors on this climb have been rebolted  and are now safe to climb. 

“One of the anchor bolts of routes 349/350/351/352(shared anchor) at music hall was damaged due to poor mixing of glue. The bolt was removed. Please do not climb these routes. We will rebolt the anchor later.
We suggest you feel the consistency of glue, pull the bolt and test the bolt before use it. The poor-mixed glue will be soft on touch and maybe pulled out easily by bare hand.”

-Doc

A video is available recorded by Nathan Ball showing the bolt before it was pulled out and explaining the difference in color and consistency of the bolt. The bolt has since been pulled out but any bolts showing this kind of coloring or texture should be treated with extreme caution.

To get the latest status on bolt conditions and route info at Long Dong, check out our community driven guidebook supplement Guidebook+