Bolts for Bangalore
Bolts for Bangalore was two-month project in India to train local climbers how to replace unsafe anchors on existing routes and establish some safe new sport climbs. Together we put up 50 remarkable new pitches in the areas of Badami and Ramanagaram. The new lines define a new standard of climbing in India since most of the old routes have been bolted inadequately. 800 bolts were brought to India, a new hammer drill and all necessary additional bolting equipment. The project was funded by donations from my slideshows and from Austrialpin, Fischer, Bosch and Schenker.
“I wanted to give back something to people who are not as lucky as I am”, says Gerhard Schaar, a 33-year-old climber and globe trotter from Austria. He spent two months rock climbing in India in 2005, where he realized the climbing potential but many of the routes were badly bolted and dangerous.
The necessary hardware being unattainable for locals and simply out of reach financially, Gerhard started the “Bolts for Bangalore”. During slide shows in Austria he collected donations, and he also invested “countless hours” to convince potential sponsors. Finally Austrian alpine hardware specialist Austrialpin, German based anchoring technology giant Fischer and the drilling machine producer Bosch were on board. When the shipping company Schenker agreed in sending the 120 kg package via aircargo to India — the stage was set.
“The project consisted of training my friends to bolt a sport route the correct way”, Gerhard reports. “So I went to establish new routes with four locals from Bangalore at their home crags Badami and Ramanagaram. The hardest part was to develop a basic sense of saftey for my Indian friends. Climbing on loose, rusty, jiggling bolts, rapping off a single hanger, or having potential ground falls was normal for them. It was hard to make them realize that a typical 6a/5.10 climber just needs more bolts to be safe, and that an anchor consists of two points.
When we started bolting, the local climbers thought it seemed to be an incredible waist of precious material. The value of the bolts on one route represents the average payment of about half a month salary in India.
In the sandstone area of Badami the crew set up 35 new pitches in four different areas, from 5c to 8a, with the majority in the easier grades. In order to avoid the first hangers from being stolen, only glue in bolts were used at these spots. The combination of one top rope glue in (Austrialpin model HA11B) and one regular glue-in bolt (Austrialpin HA01A), to create a redundant system, means a complete new standard in this climbing area. All the glue-ins had been fixed with “upat” M12 X 100 glue cartridges. All other bolts in between are Fischer 10 mm stainless steel expansion bolts with Austrialpin hangers.
The second destination of the project was the granite area Ramanagaram. Our team set up 15 routes in three different areas before having difficulties with the local Forest Department of Bangalore which ending in a bolting ban and a climbing day use fee of about 50 cents a day. So we spent the rest of our time in Ramanagaram sending our routes and living with the local farmer family. VIEW A GALLERY OF IMAGES FROM THE BOLTS FOR BANGALORE PROJECT
For more information visit www.gerhardschaar.com