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+.

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