Why are these marketed to rock climbers???
Climbtech Removable Bolts
Climbtech Removable Bolts Climbtech is a great company that makes some really cool and unique bolts. We tested their 1/2” Removable Bolt (RB). Climbtech says their RB's are perfect for new route setting, industrial rope access work, and search and rescue. That all makes sense to us, but Climbtech also says the RB is ideal for alpine climbing, belay anchors, top-roping, and haul lines. This is where we are dubious, so we evaluated the RB and broke a few to see what the hype was about. A few years ago Climbtech released a commercial about their RB's. The video is clearly intended for the climbing community. It kind of makes it sound like RB's should be a staple on every climber's rack. In the beginning of the video the editor of Rock & Ice magazine states the RB is the most useful tool he has ever come across for new-routing. Their cofounder Karl, inventor of the RB, takes a huge whipper on an RB. If you listen carefully though, he whips on a 3/4” RB. Kuddos to him for such a big fall but we have some issues with this demonstration. A 3/4" hole is absolutely massive. It is extremely unlikely that any climber will ever encounter a hole that big. Climbtech states that their 1/2" version, a size hole climbers will actually encounter, is only intended for static weight and not to catch falls. The 3/4" RB's are rated for 22kn and are intended to catch falls. Karl's feet are at the bolt, but he falls around 50 feet. That means there was an unreasonable amount of slack in the rope which absorbed a lot of the force. We estimate that the bolt saw no more than 4kn. Any belayer that lets a fall of that length happen so close to the protection should probably consider partaking in a different sport. The largest bolt hole we've ever drilled was 5/8” or 16mm. It was tough to drill a hole that big, even in sandstone! It just doesn’t make sense to drill a 3/4”, basically ever. It would require a ton of battery and forearm power just to create a lot of extra and unnecessary impact on the rock. Climbtech even makes a 1” version, which is a heinously large hole! 10% Supports HowNOT2 Buy bolting hardware at Extreme Gear Our Results The 1/2" RB has an MBS of 11kn (2500 lbf) and is intended for static weight only, not for catching falls. In our tests both 1/2" RB's broke at 14kn. One was pulled straight out and one was pulled sheer. They both broke at the cable. Despite only being intended for static weight we would whip. The problem is that recreational climbers may encounter a variety of hole sizes. Big wall climbers are probably better served by hooks and sport climbers should probably find climbs where all of the bolts are intact. The 1/2" RB is really a tool for new route development. In that context there is a cheaper removable alternative - Concrete Screws which cost about $1 each. We used them a ton in our bolt buster tests to hold down our hydraulics and catcher systems. They were strong and economical. You can technically install Concrete Screws by hand but we used an impact driver. Note that for permanent use bolts should be stainless steel. To find our how Concrete screws perform as temporary and permanent anchors please subscribe to our Youtube Channel, we will have a specific episode about this later this year. Also check out our Book of Numbers in The Bolting Bible to discover in 15 minutes what took me 5 years to learn. We love Climbtech and they make some great gear. We are just picking on this one product. The RB is a niche product. It seems to work well and we found it to be much stronger than Climbtech stated. That said, it's just not something that most climbers will find useful or necessary. Thank you Kevin Kent for giving us these two bolts to test and to my patrons who make it possible for me to work 30 hours a day 8 days a week on this channel. What's Next? Check out our video on another removable bolt - the Petzl Coeur Pulse