"take it to a higher level"

Hilti Anchoring Workshop for Climbers: Results

This past weekend a group of climbers along with the team from Hilti headed to the crag in Dibba for the weekend for some climbing, camping and to learn more about anchoring solutions for equipping climbing routes. It was a very successful and wonderful weekend with many things covered and learned by the attendees as well as the Hilti Team. We will be scheduling another workshop to be held in January.

Below are the things that were covered.

Hilti

Safety First

First we covered basic safety required while using tools and anchors. Hilti’s primary object along with one of my objectives is to promote safety and ensure that the climbs are equipped with the safest anchors.

Understanding the Base Material

The Hilti anchors are tested and guaranteed in concrete. Hilti administrators many tests on their anchors in different types of concrete; however when it comes to rock outdoors there are too many variables to test all the anchors in each type of rock and rock density.  We covered assessing the base material (the rock you are anchoring into) which the assessment of  quality of fixation and rock is the climbers responsibility.

Use of Equipment

Third we covered the use of the different drills, bits, torque drive… We also tested to see how many holes we could get per full battery. The Hilti  small 2a and medium 4a lasted for just over 20 holes, the large 6a lasted for over 30 holes and the larger 7a was around 40 holes. We tested my old Dewalt drill which lasted about 7 holes.  We also discussed the benefits of each drill and the weight of each drill depending on the type of climb being bolted, if it was being bolted top down or ground up and personal preference.

Selecting the Right Anchor

We discussed which anchors would be best. All of the Hilti anchors are very strong; much stronger than other anchors on the market. The Strongest of which is the Hilti HST. We will be using the Hilti HST, HSA, HTV and Chemical Anchors. Also covered was contact corrosion between the different types of metals that the anchors and hangers are made of.

Correct Anchor Setting

We covered how to place and set the different types of mechanical, chemical anchors as well as fixation of the hanger onto the bolt, tightening and testing.

Anchor Testing in Rock

Finally we hooked up the Hilti hydraulic pull testing equipment to the anchors to administer axial pull test. Generally the axial  pull test is the harder of the tests on a bolt and is how most anchors are normally tested even though most dynamic climbing  falls on an anchor are shear force not axial force unless you are climbing something over very over hanging. Anchoring testing falls under EN959 and the UIAA require all bolt to achieve over 25kN (2.5TONS!)  in all directions and so test axially the one usually done.

Hilti 10mmx90mm HST did not break. It started to pull out at 4 – 4.5 tons with anchor failure at 4.5 tons when the sleeve pulled over the cone.

Hilti 10mmx90mm HSA started slipping between 3.5 and 4 tons with the anchoring breaking at the base of the sleeve at 4-4.5 tons

We also tested some of the other bolts that can be found being used over the past several years in the UAE and Oman including the Fixe/Index bolts and “Chinese Special” bolts some of the other climbers have been buying from constructions companies and hardware store. These bolts did not break but they did slip and were pulled out at 1-1.5 tons. Many routes have been equipped with these bolts by various climbers over the years. These bolts are substandard compared to the Hilti bolts.  But if you manage to generate 1 ton of impact force on a dynamic climbing fall then anchor failure is the least of your problems; as 1 ton of force in your harness would likely break your back or rupture your internal organs. I have yet to hear of a bolt in the UAE breaking when a climber took a fall on it as well.  Needless to say it can be difficult to tell which type of bolt is in a climb so Hilti is working one providing enough anchors to re-equip all the routes in the UAE with Hilti anchors and we will be working to ensure that any climber in the UAE and Oman equipping routes are using Hilti anchors and not the ChinaMart Specials.

Through out Friday we also climbed then ended the day with friends and families around the fire sharing stories, laughing and having a great time and spent Saturday climbing more. A certificate of accomplishment was also issued by Hilti to each attendee.  A very big thank you to the Hilti Team for organizing this for us and to those that took the time to come and learn more about anchoring. I highly suggest that if you are bolting routes that you attend the next workshop.

Hilti is sponsoring me with lots of anchors to be distributed to other bolters, so if you are planning on requesting anchors from the UAE Bolting Fund then attending this workshop is required by Hilti and by me regardless of experience. It is at my discretion to distribute bolts to those who are experienced bolters without having this workshop; some bolts will be (and already have been) distributed to experienced bolters prior to this and the next workshop, after which a cut off date will be set for all bolters regardless of experience to attend a workshop for any further bolts to be given from The UAE Bolting Fund.  I hope to see many of the other experienced climbers/bolters as well as beginners on the next course.

Lets work together with our common love of climbing and the goal and making climbing better through out the Middle East starting with the UAE and Oman. I hope you have an outstanding week.

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