Belay points require bolts in mountain sports
Bolts are used for different climbing and mountaineering purposes. In sports climbing, they are most often used to install belay points, which allow climbers to attach both an express sling and a rope within seconds. Bolts provide safety in modern climbing and often constitute the only option when it comes to difficult routes that make securing with mobile security solutions almost impossible.
Bolts are used for multi-pitch routes and alpine purposes, most often at the bottom of a route or when it comes to abseiling. Bolts also find application in related activities such as via ferrata, canyoneering, or speleology.
Climbers can use already-fixed bolts quickly and comfortably, which is a considerable advantage.
Different types of bolts
Bolts are fixed by drilling a hole into the rock. Today, they are available in many different designs. Depending on the way they are anchored within the drill hole, bolts can be divided into two groups:
- Adhesive bolts: The basic characteristic of this type of bolt is that it is anchored in the rock by means of special resin glue. There are different types of adhesive bolts. The ‘Bühler climbing bolt' is probably the most popular example. Adhesive bolts are also known as solid bolts or glue-in bolts.
- Mechanical bolts: Express anchors and drop-in anchors are referred to as mechanical bolts. They are driven into the drill hole and fixed within the rock through expansion. Such approaches are also referred to as frictional systems. Moreover, positive-fit hooks can be used for soft rock, since they don't create as much tension from within.
Adhesive bolts are ready for use immediately, which is a major advantage. They allow you to prepare routes from the ground, one hook at a time.
In order to avoid corrosion, bolts should always be made of stainless steel, regardless of their type. Properly installed bolts of stainless steel allow belay points to last reliably for years and offer climbers a helping hand when they need it.