The traverse pitch of Freebird 6b was today rebolted with seawater series bolts to hopefully make it safe for a long time to come. As had been agreed during the meeting we held at my office about the safety of bolts close to the sea after the stress corrosion cracking incident, today Antoine, Roland and I rebolted the first pitch of Freebird. This rebolting was done with seawater series bolts, which are meant to withstand very corrosive environments such as the splash zone of sea cliffs.
We have installed a bolt at the start of the route, and a second will be added soon (hole already drilled but we were short of a bolt). These two will be used as a stance to belay the leader from, while keeping the belayer safe from falling into the sea. We installed a new runner bolt shortly after the start of the traverse, and two new bolts along the route, one replacing the tattered sling that used to be the first clip, the other replacing the expansion bolt further along. Despite the heavy sea, we managed to work through this difficult installation which required us to fix an insitu horizontal rope in order to ensure the drill was safe from falling into the sea while working!
As always, the next person to attempt Freebird should please check these bolts before trusting them, they have only just been installed today.
In between the work, the three of us managed to get some climbing done too. Roland led Fatboys 6a+ and Sunglasses at Night 6b+ which I then red-pointed and Antoine top-roped. Both are great routes. I highly recommend Sunglasses at Night, it starts with a pumpy overhang, then turns into a long, steep wall climb with small but positive holds all the way, then a thin, sustained finish – superb!