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Kstenson


Feb 22, 2011, 10:00 PM
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Ropes In Tropical Climate
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Hey,

Here in Malaysia we have crazy humidity pretty much all year round, and about 2/3rds of the year in dry season and 1/3 in wet.

I split my time about half climbing indoors and half down at the local crags which are in light jungle.

Is it worth/necessary buying a dry treated rope and do any of you have any experience with ropes in tropical climates?

I'm set on buying a Beal Flyer 10.2mm, but the price difference between standard, Dry treated and Golden dry treated is definitely worth researching about.


guangzhou


Feb 22, 2011, 10:02 PM
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I live in Indonesia and have the same weather has you, occasionally I actually climb in Malaysia.

If you're not ice climbing, treated ropes are a waste of money.

With that said, maybe we can meet and climb together one day.


USnavy


Feb 23, 2011, 2:35 PM
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Re: [Kstenson] Ropes In Tropical Climate [In reply to]
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Kstenson wrote:
Hey,


Is it worth/necessary buying a dry treated rope and do any of you have any experience with ropes in tropical climates?
No. I live in Hawaii where the humidity at the crag is regularly 60 - 100%. Dry coatings don't do much, it wears off within a matter of weeks with heavy use. I have a Beal Golden Dry rope (Golden Dry is their top of the line dry treatment) and within two weeks of use it soaked up water like a sponge in the rain.

My advice, get whatever is cheapest.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Feb 23, 2011, 2:37 PM)


Kstenson


Feb 26, 2011, 4:32 AM
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Thanks both for your help, I'll save the money for a few extra quickdraws then.

Could do, I'll be leaving Malaysia soon for University so not many trips to the crags here left for me


cacalderon


Feb 26, 2011, 6:23 PM
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Another thing to consider in super humid environments are the bolts! make sure your crag checks the bolts.... I read the other day that new bolts on heavy traffic routes only last like 9-12 months due to the salty/humid weather in places like Thailand, etc..

cheers


USnavy


Feb 26, 2011, 8:55 PM
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cacalderon wrote:
I read the other day that new bolts on heavy traffic routes only last like 9-12 months due to the salty/humid weather in places like Thailand, etc..

cheers
It depends, that statement is far too wide and sweeping to apply. It depends on the location, the type of steel used in the bolts and many other factors. I have seen grade 304 stainless steel quicklinks start rusting in 72 hours, and I have seen A304 hangers last 10+ years. The only thing that I dont think applies much is how much traffic the route gets. Clipping a hanger many times a day doesn't really have anything to do with the corrosion it will undergo. I have seen routes that were climbed on a daily basis with hangers that looked brand new, and we have routes that see less than 10 climbers per year with hangers that look pretty bad.


guangzhou


Feb 26, 2011, 10:34 PM
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cacalderon wrote:
Another thing to consider in super humid environments are the bolts! make sure your crag checks the bolts.... I read the other day that new bolts on heavy traffic routes only last like 9-12 months due to the salty/humid weather in places like Thailand, etc..

cheers

Yikes, twice in a row I'm going to agree with USNavy.

This statement is to broad for sure. As for the bolts in Malaysia, especially Batu Cave, they are pretyy well maintained.


cacalderon


Feb 27, 2011, 3:58 AM
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Agree, the number of clips has nothing to do with the corrosion process. It has to do with the life cycle of the bolt. Clearly, if all is equal, a bolt that gets 100 falls a week.....

By the way, glad to hear the bolts are checked regularly

Note: the article emphasized the use titanium alloy bolts for salt/humid environments......$$$


(This post was edited by cacalderon on Feb 27, 2011, 10:51 AM)


phang_nga


Feb 28, 2011, 12:13 AM
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cacalderon wrote:
Another thing to consider in super humid environments are the bolts! make sure your crag checks the bolts.... I read the other day that new bolts on heavy traffic routes only last like 9-12 months due to the salty/humid weather in places like Thailand, etc..

cheers

Exactly! Furthermore, there is generally no what of knowing the condition of the bolt just inside the rock. Magnesium Chloride can corrode marine-grade stainless steel in a shockingly short period of time.

Get a copy of the DVD Thaitanium. It has a nice explanation of exactly what goes on inside limestone karst formations and the explanation is given by scientists, not climbers. It's told in layman's terms, so it's easy to understand.

In my deep dark past I worked in the shipbuilding industry and not only took courses in 'Metallurgy' and 'Strength in Materials', but I also worked in a destructive test lab for a while. Destructive test labs test to the point destruction, of course. We worked with high-end US Navy marine grade stainless at times. Let's just say that even that metal ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Climbing on anything other than titanium in a saltwater karst environment is risky to put it mildly. When I climb limestone in Thailand, I place trad gear on bolted routes if they're not in titanium (I use the bolts too usually, but I place additional pro just in case). I want to die being shot in the ass by a jealous husband, not falling to my death! Pirate


bearbreeder


Feb 28, 2011, 12:50 AM
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phang_nga wrote:
When I climb limestone in Thailand, I place trad gear on bolted routes if they're not in titanium (I use the bolts too usually, but I place additional pro just in case).! Pirate

interesting .... what kind of rack do you usually bring on sports climbs there as a supplement?


guangzhou


Feb 28, 2011, 12:55 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
phang_nga wrote:
When I climb limestone in Thailand, I place trad gear on bolted routes if they're not in titanium (I use the bolts too usually, but I place additional pro just in case).! Pirate

interesting .... what kind of rack do you usually bring on sports climbs there as a supplement?

Better yet, if you're placing gear, why bother with the bolts at all.


phang_nga


Feb 28, 2011, 1:16 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
interesting .... what kind of rack do you usually bring on sports climbs there as a supplement?

Mostly tricams and a few nuts. Tricams are magical in the rock here... sticky and effective.

The peace of mind thanks to a few extra pieces of gear in the rock is worth the little bit extra weight in my opinion.


phang_nga


Feb 28, 2011, 1:25 AM
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guangzhou wrote:
Better yet, if you're placing gear, why bother with the bolts at all.

I have climbed a few bolted routes without using the bolts. If I don't know who bolted it or if it's an expansion bolt in a sea setting, I'll either skip the bolts or use them, but not put much faith in them (placing trad gear nearby).

If a bolt is questionable I'll usually skip it. Of course, looking at the outside doesn't reveal a lot in most cases. I don't mind carrying a few extra quickdraws for both trad and a somewhat 'trustworthy-looking' bolt.

As I climb mainly on bolts put in by Mark Miner and friends when I'm climbing on a saltwater cliff, I've got the beta on the bolts.

I've also been chatting a lot lately with Josh up in Chiang Mai and he's convinced that titanium is the way to go on inland crags too. He makes some very valid points. I'm heading up to climb in Chiang Mai in Sept for a few days to check out his bolting work... sounds impressive.


guangzhou


Feb 28, 2011, 4:38 PM
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phang_nga wrote:
guangzhou wrote:
Better yet, if you're placing gear, why bother with the bolts at all.

I have climbed a few bolted routes without using the bolts. If I don't know who bolted it or if it's an expansion bolt in a sea setting, I'll either skip the bolts or use them, but not put much faith in them (placing trad gear nearby).

If a bolt is questionable I'll usually skip it. Of course, looking at the outside doesn't reveal a lot in most cases. I don't mind carrying a few extra quickdraws for both trad and a somewhat 'trustworthy-looking' bolt.

As I climb mainly on bolts put in by Mark Miner and friends when I'm climbing on a saltwater cliff, I've got the beta on the bolts.

I've also been chatting a lot lately with Josh up in Chiang Mai and he's convinced that titanium is the way to go on inland crags too. He makes some very valid points. I'm heading up to climb in Chiang Mai in Sept for a few days to check out his bolting work... sounds impressive.


I agree that Titanium is the best possible bolts for all situations when it come to long life and strenghts. I don't think anyone who has bolted routes with glue in would disagree on this.

The big question for me is whether or not I use them everywhere. I have bolts on Okinawa sea cliffs that are 11 years old, get fallen one every weekend and have not issues. Some bolts on the cliff there were placed 15 years prior and have not failures either.

While on Okinawa, I took on the re-bolting processes, not fun, very time consuming.

I removed expansion bolts from Limestone cliffs that were over 14 years old, all were still very strong when we had the U.S. navy lab test them.

Bottom line, not all limestone is the same in the tropics, so a blanket statement about bolts doesn't work. Yes, Titanium is the absolute best today, but I'm not sure it's necessary in all places. Southern Thailand, yes for sure.

People have been climbing on sea cliffs for along time and very few area see the deterioration that Southern Thailand experiences. Yes, a few do, but not most.

When I in doubt, I use Titanium, but Stainless doesn't bother me just because it's stainless.


phang_nga


Feb 28, 2011, 9:09 PM
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guangzhou wrote:
Bottom line, not all limestone is the same in the tropics, so a blanket statement about bolts doesn't work. Yes, Titanium is the absolute best today, but I'm not sure it's necessary in all places. Southern Thailand, yes for sure.

People have been climbing on sea cliffs for along time and very few area see the deterioration that Southern Thailand experiences. Yes, a few do, but not most.

When I in doubt, I use Titanium, but Stainless doesn't bother me just because it's stainless.

Sure, not all limestone is the same. Karst formations percolate water. The water can be accompanied by tanic plant acids, soil acids and other corrosive agents. If Magnesium is present (especially Magnesium Chloride), an even bigger problem exists. Two bolts within a relatively close proximity to each other in Thailand's limestone can have radically different amounts of corrosion or a total lack of it. It boils down to factors inside the rock.

Two blanket statements:
1. Titanium is unarguably the best option
2. If you are climbing karst formations, there is a good chance that the corrosion potential is high.

Bottom line: if you're climbing karst limestone, it kinda boils down to how much you value your life. Smile


guangzhou


Mar 1, 2011, 1:08 AM
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phang_nga wrote:
guangzhou wrote:
Bottom line, not all limestone is the same in the tropics, so a blanket statement about bolts doesn't work. Yes, Titanium is the absolute best today, but I'm not sure it's necessary in all places. Southern Thailand, yes for sure.

People have been climbing on sea cliffs for along time and very few area see the deterioration that Southern Thailand experiences. Yes, a few do, but not most.

When I in doubt, I use Titanium, but Stainless doesn't bother me just because it's stainless.

Sure, not all limestone is the same. Karst formations percolate water. The water can be accompanied by tanic plant acids, soil acids and other corrosive agents. If Magnesium is present (especially Magnesium Chloride), an even bigger problem exists. Two bolts within a relatively close proximity to each other in Thailand's limestone can have radically different amounts of corrosion or a total lack of it. It boils down to factors inside the rock.

Two blanket statements:
1. Titanium is unarguably the best option

Nothing is unarguable in climbing, especially this. The limestone of southern France has much longer history than southern Thailand and no issues with one piece stainless glu-in anchors.


In reply to:
2. If you are climbing karst formations, there is a good chance that the corrosion potential is high.
According to research, 0 to 20 % world wide, with the highest concentration being in Southern Thailand and a bit in the Caymans.

In reply to:
Bottom line: if you're climbing karst limestone, it kinda boils down to how much you value your life. Smile

If you're a climber, you should research what locals are doing, what works in one area doesn't work in every area. Just because one area does what works best for them, doesn't mean every area needs to do it the same way.

SCC Stress being the key word here, is more likely to happen with expansion-bolts than glue in because of the torch, or stress, the bolt needs to be place properly.

Like you, I'm all for safety, but before I decide something is unsafe, I look at the big picture, gather information, and make an informed decision. I don't base my opinion, which is all this is, on one specific location.

In Southern Thailand, yes, Titanium is what I prefer to clip and it's what I would use if I were equipping routes there.

In Okinawa, I would continue with my stainless one piece bolts. Here in Indonesia, I have not bolted sea cliffs yet, but chances are I would start with Stainless one piece and see how they do. I say this because the corrosion on the existing expansion bolts here is mostly on the hanger where the nut, bolt and hanger meet, not the main shaft. This tells me the issues is SCC not stainless corrosion.

My favorite botls are by far Glue In, but lately I've been placing a lot of expansion bolts in bullet hard sandstone inland.


JimTitt


Mar 1, 2011, 2:58 AM
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Magnesium chloride is relatively easy to protect against but this is not the end of the problem.

Probably the most overlooked aspect is the microbiologal corrosion which in areas which have considerable amounts of rotting vegetation on the cliff-top is going to be a major problem.
Depending on the exact bacteria present different types of alloys are affected in different ways and even titanium is not immune as experience with things like dental implants has shown.

In the fermenters for bio-gas generation I work on (which are full of rotting vegetation at around 39C) we have specific corrosion problems if the iron content is too low though normally we can use 304 stainless for the heating tubes.
The problem is that it is all very bacteria specific and with the higher temperature fermenters at 42 which use different bacteria you get another set of problems and this is in an environment where the bacteria types are controlled, not a SE Asian brew.

As my tame metallurgist who studies this stuff says, if the cliff stinks then the bolts probably do to!

The only thing to do is try various solutions and see which works best where which is the approach used in major construction projects such as tunnels where they routinely put test samples on site well before starting work.

Jim


phang_nga


Mar 1, 2011, 3:52 AM
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guangzhou wrote:
Nothing is unarguable in climbing, especially this. The limestone of southern France has much longer history than southern Thailand and no issues with one piece stainless glu-in anchors.

Southern France is not tropical and therefore does not possess the same factors involved in Southern Thailand when it comes to corrosion.

If stainless works, historically-speaking, then good for them. Someone had to take a chance to find that out. My point is still valid. Titanium is still the best option. Supposed stainless didn't work there?

guangzhou wrote:
If you're a climber, you should research what locals are doing, what works in one area doesn't work in every area. Just because one area does what works best for them, doesn't mean every area needs to do it the same way.

Well, I"m not risking my life based on what climbers experiment with and therefore somehow conclude. I prefer science and erring on the side of extra caution.

SCC Stress being the key word here, is more likely to happen with expansion-bolts than glue in because of the torch, or stress, the bolt needs to be place properly.
Bolt failure, if researched, I'm sure would seldom be a result of stressed metal (Stress corrosion cracking). Bolt failure is a corrosion issue. I'm sure that an improperly placed bolt and an overly torqued bolt isn't as strong, but the redundancy factors in the strength of professional-quality bolts is very high. I'd like to see a link that shows how someone with a wrench can stress crack a full-sized quality stainless steel bolt. I'll stick with the corrosion issue as the main culprit.


phang_nga


Mar 1, 2011, 4:13 AM
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JimTitt wrote:
Magnesium chloride is relatively easy to protect against but this is not the end of the problem.

Probably the most overlooked aspect is the microbiologal corrosion which in areas which have considerable amounts of rotting vegetation on the cliff-top is going to be a major problem.
Depending on the exact bacteria present different types of alloys are affected in different ways and even titanium is not immune as experience with things like dental implants has shown.

In the fermenters for bio-gas generation I work on (which are full of rotting vegetation at around 39C) we have specific corrosion problems if the iron content is too low though normally we can use 304 stainless for the heating tubes.
The problem is that it is all very bacteria specific and with the higher temperature fermenters at 42 which use different bacteria you get another set of problems and this is in an environment where the bacteria types are controlled, not a SE Asian brew.

As my tame metallurgist who studies this stuff says, if the cliff stinks then the bolts probably do to!

The only thing to do is try various solutions and see which works best where which is the approach used in major construction projects such as tunnels where they routinely put test samples on site well before starting work.

Thanks for expanding on the theme, Jim. Yes, there is certainly a lot more to this than merely Magnesium Chloride.

I'm not so sure that Magnesium Chloride corrosion is "relatively easy to protect against". One never really knows with certainty if the glue is thoroughly surrounding the glue-in bolt. The region of the bolt just outside of the glue area is a cause for concern with stainless, though this can usually be visually inspected (though probably not if you're hanging by a finger or two Unsure)

Something else to consider is that the limestone cliffs here in Thailand have intrusions of magnesium carbonate. If a bolt is placed in a pocket of this and if this is also in close proximity to Ferrous Oxide (common here), the Magnesium is often degraded. Thus, even a well-glued bolt can become questionable. This is not necessarily to say that it corrodes, but that the rock around it is compromised. An entire area of rock can 'pop out'. It's a scary thought.

Other corrosive elements come into play, as you rightfully point out, when plantlife is involved.

All-in-all, if you think about this too much, you might never climb. Tongue I don't want to do that, but I do want to minimize the risks wherever possible and if that means climbing on titanium, then so be it.


guangzhou


Mar 1, 2011, 4:54 PM
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phang_nga wrote:
guangzhou wrote:
Nothing is unarguable in climbing, especially this. The limestone of southern France has much longer history than southern Thailand and no issues with one piece stainless glu-in anchors.

Southern France is not tropical and therefore does not possess the same factors involved in Southern Thailand when it comes to corrosion.

If stainless works, historically-speaking, then good for them. Someone had to take a chance to find that out. My point is still valid. Titanium is still the best option. Supposed stainless didn't work there?

guangzhou wrote:
If you're a climber, you should research what locals are doing, what works in one area doesn't work in every area. Just because one area does what works best for them, doesn't mean every area needs to do it the same way.

Well, I"m not risking my life based on what climbers experiment with and therefore somehow conclude. I prefer science and erring on the side of extra caution.

SCC Stress being the key word here, is more likely to happen with expansion-bolts than glue in because of the torch, or stress, the bolt needs to be place properly.

Bolt failure, if researched, I'm sure would seldom be a result of stressed metal (Stress corrosion cracking). Bolt failure is a corrosion issue. I'm sure that an improperly placed bolt and an overly torqued bolt isn't as strong, but the redundancy factors in the strength of professional-quality bolts is very high. I'd like to see a link that shows how someone with a wrench can stress crack a full-sized quality stainless steel bolt. I'll stick with the corrosion issue as the main culprit.
Maybe you should look up the cause of bolt failures in Thailand. The specific cause is SCC. The corrosion is increased because of the stressed applied to said bolt.

Yes, Corrosion is the problem, but the corrosion is cause because of the extra torch on the bolt. When glue in bolts are used, the glue eliminate the torch which in turns reduces the corrosion factor.

The stress on the bolt caused by the torch when proper placing the bolt weaken the grain within the steel. This allows the environment a weakens environment to access the bolt. All done at the microscopic level. The corrosion starts the grain level of the bolt.

The glue also acts as a protector from the corrosion, but that's a different story all together. I do think Think climber now prefer red glue over the brown glue, but I'm not certain of that.

I am not denying that Titanium is very safe and in many cases doesn't corrode. (Southern Thailand being the example) What I am saying is that Titanium isn't the only safe option for all limestone areas.

Case and point, Climbing in Okinawa, bolt expansion bolts places in Limestone on the first ascent of the route in 1986 were still very reliable when tested in the Navy lab in 2002. All bolts at the cliff were still removed and replaced with one glue-in to be safe.

When bolt failure occurred in Southern Thailand, it was shock. Enough so that the UIAA, FIxe, and Petzl put money together to investigate what was going on.

About the same time, the same situation occurred in the Cayman's, and the Ushba Titanium bolt was created to help deal with that issue there. The titanium bolt is by far the most popular option for many cliffs, but they are recorded cases of Titanium bolts failing because of corrosion too.

The limestone of Southern Thailand is chain of rock that extend quite ways. The same chain is found in Youngshou, and just outside Guangzhou, Bolt failure hasn't occurred as much there. The problems of Southern Thailand may or may not effect the cliffs of Loas, I don't know first hand. The European who bolted the first routes in Laos knew of the problems in Thailand and I am sure they research their options before bolting.

What I am tired of hearing from you is that you and your friends are the only ones who know what is good or bad for climbing in South East Asia. Your way isn't the only way, what happens in Southern Thailand is unusual, but that doesn't mean it's the same on all limestone in the region. Southern Thailand isn't the center of the climbing Universe. Of course, I also know that my way isn't the only way, but I also know that with over 1000 First ascent in the last 20 years, non of my bolts have failed. (Threaded glu-in on sea cliff, one piece stainless, Titanium, or various forms of expansion bolts.)

Yes, Titanium is great, but in many case Stainless steel expansion bolts, or Stainless Glue-in is fine too. Just like I don't buy the car with the highest safety record every year, doesn't mean I don';t think car should be safe.

When bolting cliffs, my goal is to make the route safe. If expansion bolts work, that is what I use, if stainless glue in is retired, I go that route, if the areas needs Titanium, I choose that option. The only option I eliminate is the "U" bolt, I don't like drilling two holes if I don't have to.

I'm glad you stress safety. I think that is the single most important thing in climbing. With that said, some people are so concerned about safety that they become dangerous. (No necessarily you, I've never climbed or seen you climb)

Enjoy the Kayaking and climbing.


Appelkoos


Jul 15, 2014, 6:10 AM
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guangzhou wrote:
As for the bolts in Malaysia, especially Batu Cave, they are pretyy well maintained.

Came across this thread while searching something else.

@guangzhou, you're a good friend to me, but I feel your statement above is badly misinformed.

I'm not aware of active maintenance of the bolts at Batu Caves. Many anchors are 80mm A304 expansion bolts placed in the late '90s.

(In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I advise climbers to treat Batu Caves with care).


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