Powers Powerbolts 3/8" and 1/2" bolts

Powers Powerbolts 3/8" and 1/2" bolts

from 2.50

Galvanized Steel: inexpensive, strong. Can corrode and will, especially in wet environments. I don't worry about these too much in the porous Navajo Sandstone, but would definitely worry about them in hard rock where water and pool in the hole. (3/8” size are hard to find; they have been discontinued at the factory).

Stainless Steel: expensive, strong, but hey, how many of these are you using each year, anyway! Much more resistant to corrosion (except in a salt-water setting). If you want your bolts to be permanent, go stainless. (3/8" bolts will soon ONLY be available in stainless).

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Size Matters

3/8" bolts are a poor choice in soft sandstone. They are very difficult to set. (My success rate when using these was about 60%). They also flex a bit in use and destroy their hole, leading to rapid deterioration of the hole and bolt - as in, they might last 2 years. I recommend against in sandstone, though there are places in Zion where the rock is VERY hard and these will work. But, mostly, I carry these for placing bolts in hard rock such as limestone or granite. Going stainless especially in this small size seems like a small price to pay for peace of mind knowing that your bolt will most likely not rust out in a few years.

1/2" bolts are a better choice in soft sandstone. I drill first with a 3/8" bit (and hammer), then ream the hole with the 1/2" bit by hand, to get a dimensionally correct hole. The bolts themselves are roughly TWICE as strong and twice as stiff as a 3/8" bolt, so they tend to hold up well even in soft Navajo Sandstone.

Placing bolts takes training, practice and skill. Without those, what you get is either entirely unusable, or a timebomb putting yourself and others at risk. Bolts are not a very powerful tool for emergencies. Getting a bolt kit is unlikely to make you safer out in the canyons. DON'T DO IT!


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