Bohrhaken

Finalebythomas-chiodatura-spit EXPANSION BOLT… THIS LITTLE FRIEND OF OURS
The Italian word for expansion bolts is spit.
The reason for this name is often thought to be something to do with the small size of the plug. Whereas in fact Spit was the name of the company that produced this kind of expansion bolt, as well as others. […]

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finalebythomas-chiodatura-fittoni-inox-raumer

HOW DID THE RAUMER STAINLESS STEEL GLUE-IN BOLTS COME INTO EXISTENCE?
It all began with a threaded stainless steel rod „AISI 304L”.
The steel 304L has certain resilience/toughness characteristics that make it particularly suitable for use in sport climbing.
The letter L means that the steel has been “solubilised”; a technique that increases resistance against corrosion. […]

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Finalebythomas-chiodatura-rinviiQUICKDRAWS

The combination carabiner/webbing/carabiner doesn’t have a proper name like rope, grigri, harness, etc., but has a nickname that can change from region to region in Italy and especially from country to country, often this nickname relates to some everyday action.
In italian it is a “rinvio”, a word that differs in meaning depending on the context but, in general, means return, push back, defer or postpone. […]

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EXPANSION BOLT… THIS LITTLE FRIEND OF OURS

The Italian word for expansion bolts is spit.
The reason for this name is often thought to be something to do with the small size of the plug.
Whereas in fact Spit was the name of the company that produced this kind of expansion bolt, as well as others.
The real name of bolts that have come to be called “spit” in Italian is actually much longer and more complex so it is not usually used and probably wouldn’t be recognised by climbers.
The complete name is “Spit Roc, self anchoring expansion bolt with internal screw thread”.

In the sport climbing community there is a tendency in Italy to use the word spit to refer to any kind of bolt, be it a glued bolt, a hanger etc… partly for simplicity (it is a short and well known word in the climbing community) and partly because there is little or no information (or worse in correct information) often people think that all types of anchor are actually called this… I have even heard someone call them split… what are we playing here, bowls?
Obviously I’m joking, it’s something that actually happened but it’s really not important to me who made this simple mistake… by word of mouth worse things can happen!
In any case, this type of expansion bolt is now outdated and seems unsafe to us, even dangerous compared to the now commonly used bolts glued with liquid resin compounds, but there are some things that need to be cleared up.
First of all, you need to take into account the type of rock that is being bolted, obviously the glued bolt system is the most secure in all cases on all types of rock (assuming that the bolt is placed following all the rules)…obviously there is still the one case in a thousand when even a glued bolt moves or comes out (but there is always a reason).

In the case, for example, of the limestone in the Finale Ligure area, in the ‘80s the expansion bolt was used a lot and considered to be the best choice; it was the only type of plug that you could place manually (using a hammer) when battery operated drills were not that common and at the time it was revolutionary as it allowed those opening new routes to place protection where there were no cracks or pockets where they could have but wooden wedges or normal pegs or threads or trees on which to place slings.
As time passed it became clear that the limestone of Finale was so soft and full of holes like a honeycomb that it gave way (through the decades) to solicitation created by climbers’ falls. The plug, one fall after another, tended to come out of the hole where it was placed by slowly eroding the rock around it.
The fact remains however that a well placed expansion bolt, even on soft limestone, is till solid protection and even after several decades and many falls it is not surefire that the bolt will move out or become dangerous.
The limestone in the Finale area is not all the same: I am not, unfortunately, a geologist and so I can only write about bolting based on my own experience.
Bolting has brought to my attention the fact that the rock at the crag „Lacremà Inferiore“ (Calvisio) is one of the hardest and most compact in the Finale area while that of „Bocca di Bacco“ (Rian Cornei) is one of the softest and most “honeycombed”.
Strangely at Lacremà the last few meters of rock before the anchor chain is more compact than the rock at the start of the routes.

Another problem that was encountered many years ago was that of the bolt hangers made with anodised alloy (coloured).
The most common mistake was to think that only the coloured ones created problems.
Whereas in fact as the years passed from the placing of these bolt hangers in anodised alloy mounted on expansion plugs (Spit, Fischer, Fix, etc..) they literally started to flake and what was worse, they started to flake from the side in contact with the rock moving through to the outer side, so the defect was hidden from the climber (unless they were extremely observant when checking the fixed pro).
It appears that this corrosive effect is due to the reaction of some of the elements the bolt hangers are made of with the presence or not of some minerals in the rock where it is placed. With the effects of rainwater, the materials that the bolt hanger were made of were galvanised and tended to become part of the rock beneath it, reducing the bolt hanger to a millefeuille pastry… but the colour (blue, red or other) in fact had nothing to do with the problem.
Writing as someone who bolts and not as a chemist or “colorer,“ and having cleaned, I would say, hundreds of old bolt hangers in order to re-bolt routes, I can guarantee that even non-anodised bolt hangers (coloured) experienced the same process of flaking. I have kept some of the old hangers as concrete proof (… and I can assure you that they are not just discoloured hangers).

The screw that holds the bolt hanger and the plug together still needs to be examined, when expansion bolts are used.
There are many different types of iron and steel with various “breaking loads”; the salty air in the Finale Ligure area should not be under-estimated; this considerably accelerates the corrosive effect (rust) on iron, and the superficial galvanisation, or zinc plating, can’t resist for very long.
The best solution is stainless steel in this situation.

At this point it is obvious to think that, with expansion bolts placed equally well, a bolt placed in very hard rock (like granite) and far enough from the sea for the air not to be salty, is safer and longer lasting than an equivalent bolt placed in the opposite situation.
It is also important to consider how far apart the protection has been placed; clearly the farther apart the bolts the more the bolts will be solicited in the case of a fall.

To conclude, the bolts most at risk, where the probability of it coming out is greatest, is oddly enough, on the crux move/moves of the route and at the belay anchors (the most important points of protection on the route). This is because on the crux move it is more likely that the combination of plug/bolt hanger has been heavily solicited by previous falls and, at the belay, because it has always been used more frequently than the other bolts (lowering off, top roping) even though more statically, without falls.
The evidence that proves this are the famous “bolt hangers that move” that are usually found on the crux moves of routes.

Expansion bolts are made by many companies and not just Spit and are obviously not called “spit”: they are also made in stainless steel… those used for decades definitely were not and have in fact rusted.
Situations where the expansion bolt is still used are when the protection needs to be used immediately after being placed (without waiting for the resin glue to dry) and where a battery operated drill would be too heavy or too much of an encumbrance.

The “spit” is now outdated and has been widely replaced with bolts known as “fix,“ much easier and faster to place and in safety terms roughly the same.
These should not be confused with the Spanish company Fixe that produces all kinds of fixed protection for climbing, caving etc…
The term “fix” is another abbreviation of a product made by the company Spit and made by others under different names.
The complete name is “Spit Fix, self expanding metal anchor”.
Both the “spit” and the “fix” were originally made for construction work (fixing tracks, lift rails, scaffolds etc…) and then adapted for use on the rock attaching bolt hangers and rings.
The spit expansion bolt was however already shown in catalogues as “specially made for mountaineering”.

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HOW DID THE RAUMER STAINLESS STEEL GLUE-IN BOLTS COME INTO EXISTENCE?

It all began with a threaded stainless steel rod „AISI 304L”.
The steel 304L has certain resilience/toughness characteristics that make it particularly suitable for use in sport climbing.
The letter L means that the steel has been “solubilised”; a technique that increases resistance against corrosion.
The rods are cut into shorter pieces using a slicing machine that leaves a 45° angle at the end of the rod which serves (in the situation that it is used with a polyester resin phial) to break the glass phial and to mix the components. It also reduces the probability of forming air bubbles.

After a bending machine is used and with suitable equipment the lengths of rod are bent. This machine makes the different “bends” where the final one closes the bolt.

Now, placing the pieces opportunely on a template the soldering phase takes place, which is done with a specialised method called „TIG“ (Tungsten Inert Gas) that consists of a welding bath where the two ends to be welded are fused together with the introduction with more of the same material.

The pieces are inserted into a machine called a tumbler one after the other in which, over a period of 20 hours, all the edges and filaments found on the bolts are smoothed.

Next there is the pressing phase where the brand name and breakage loads are stamped onto the bolt.

Then with a special machine called a Roller all the bolts are subjected to a treatment called milling along the tang of the bolts so that the glue can “attach” itself better to the bolt.

Finally all the bolts are put through a chemical washing treatment where they are immersed into an acid cleaning agent which makes the surface of the bolts a more uniformly clear and opaque grey to obtain a more “aesthetic” result so that the bolts are less visible. This process also increase resistance against rust.

Test:
On bolts like the SUPERSTAR (10×80 = art. 160) which are declared to have a breakage load of 35Kn, French tests have tested them, with very strong glues, up to 70Kn, where the bolts did not break but where the eye of the bolt lengthened by several centimetres and then it slipped out of the glue (extraction test).

On bolts like the ANTHRAX 8×80 = art. 298 which are declared to have a breakage load of 22Kn, tests have shown levels as high as 33Kn with the same “breakage” as the Superstar..
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QUICKDRAWS

La parola rinvio nella lingua italiana assume vari significati a seconda del contesto ma, in linea generale, ha il senso di mandare indietro, mandare di nuovo, respingere, rispedire. Trattandosi di arrampicata sportiva la parola rinvio è riferita ovviamente alla corda la quale viene per cui „mandata indietro, respinta, allontanata“ dal chiodo di protezione.

L’abbinata moschettone/fettuccia/moschettone non ha un suo nome proprio come può essere la corda, il grigrì, l’imbrago, ecc… ma bensì, un nomignolo che può cambiare da regione a regione o nazione e, spesso, questo nomignolo ha una ragione legata ad un movimento che si compie nella vita quotidiana.

Vediamo subito uno dei modi di dire più curiosi;

In Francia, il corridpondente di rinvio è “Dégaine”; la ragione di questo nome è dovuta al gesto che si compie nello sganciare il rinvio dall’imbrago che, ricorderebbe, lo sfoderamento della pistola dalla fondina (il verbo è Dégainer), per cui, “Dégaine”.

Un altro modo curioso lo abbiamo con il nomignolo “Taxi” utilizzato principalmente nella zona di Pavia.
Questo è motivato invece dal gesto che si compie inserendo il “rinvio” nel chiodo il quale, ricorderebbe il movimento che si esegue quando si intima l’alt ad un taxista per salire a bordo.

Un altro ancora è “Binomio”, utilizzato forse più in Italia centrale.
C’è anche chi lo chiama “Rapido”…

Per quanto riguarda la Germania abbiamo “Express”, mentre invece per l’Inghilterra è “Quick draw”.

Insomma, posto che vai, nome che trovi, l’importante è capirsi e chissà in quanti altri modi questo aggeggio viene chiamato e perché. Magari voi stessi ne conoscete altri; se così è, potete scrivermeli e magari spiegarne il significato, che spesso risulta essere divertente. Io potrò aggiungerli a quelli già elencati rendendo l’articolo sempre più curioso, interessante ed utile per capirsi…

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Alla prossima…Marco (Thomas) Tomassini