Author Topic: How long have spits been around?  (Read 1307 times)

Offline Subpopulus Hibernia

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How long have spits been around?
« on: November 08, 2020, 11:06:27 pm »
The trusty old Spit - when exactly did this come into use in the UK? I ask because we've come across a few of these recently in Ireland in caves where we don't think anyone's been to since the early 70s and are wondering if these would have been placed during the original early 70's exploration or if someone else has been to these caves in the meantime...

In this old Sid Perou film about Pippikin from 1976 you can see what appears to be a spit being placed (from about 20:20) - but were Spits well established at the time or were they cutting edge technology?

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How long have spits been around?
« on: November 08, 2020, 11:06:27 pm »
Warmbac

Offline langcliffe

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2020, 11:15:54 pm »
The trusty old Spit - when exactly did this come into use in the UK? I ask because we've come across a few of these recently in Ireland in caves where we don't think anyone's been to since the early 70s and are wondering if these would have been placed during the original early 70's exploration or if someone else has been to these caves in the meantime...

We were using 1/4" Parba bolts around 1970 when we were pushing Growling and Spectacle. If I remember rightly, they were very similar to spits, but I am happy to be corrected.

Online mikem

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2020, 11:47:44 pm »
The original manufacturer started in 1949, but they weren't its first product:
https://www.bunnysbolts.com/spit

Offline Mark Wright

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2020, 12:06:45 am »
The first anchor I placed was back in 1980 and it was an 8mm self drilling anchor, very similar to the one in the film clip. Everyone just referred to them as 'Self Drillers' in my club.

I always thought Spits were something different.

What were the ones that had to be broken off called? I heard about these but never actually saw one. 

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Online mikem

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2020, 12:16:27 am »
Dave Elliot (1986) SRT:
Quote
"self-drilling" anchor sleeve (brand name "SPIT")

Offline blackshiver

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2020, 09:08:38 am »
Langcliffe is of course correct, Parba were used well before Petzl started importing their self drilling anchors later in the 70’s.
We all used them until Dave (Elliot) started seeing the error of our ways and put in the Red Bolts. That step was visionary but got slated at the time if I remember rightly.....
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Online Fishes

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2020, 10:29:41 am »
The ones I first remember using were from Troll.

The hanger in the video looks like it could also have been a Troll design but there were probably other similar designs at the time. I still have a few of those hangers.

Offline T pot 2

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2020, 12:13:24 pm »
Weren't red spots used in quaking pot explorations in 1974?

Offline paul

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2020, 12:15:39 pm »
The ones I first remember using were from Troll.

The hanger in the video looks like it could also have been a Troll design but there were probably other similar designs at the time. I still have a few of those hangers.

The hangers were made by Troll, but the threaded sleeve were still Spits. Correct?
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Subpopulus Hibernia

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2020, 01:28:32 pm »
We were using 1/4" Parba bolts around 1970 when we were pushing Growling and Spectacle. If I remember rightly, they were very similar to spits, but I am happy to be corrected.

Interesting photo of the Parba bolts here - click through for a close-up.
https://verticalarchaeology.com/2015/06/18/ellis-brigham-catalog-1972-selected-pages/#jp-carousel-2887

Look a bit longer than the spit we know today. Also some of the older L-style hanger plates. There's still one of those hangars in place in Noon's Hole in Fermanagh - would have been placed around 74...

Also what type of bolts were the red spots? How were they placed and how were they better than the spit-type?
Born Salzburg 1691. B.Phil. University of 's-Hertogenbosch 1718. Personal assistant to King Frederick of Liechtenstein, 1803-1857. Speaker of 35th Upper Silesian Parliament (fl. 1904-5). Owner/operator, Bridgend Underwear Factory, 1973-present.

Online Brains

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2020, 02:03:10 pm »
AFAIK red spot, or red eye bolts refer to a spit anchor placed through a patch of old red oversuit material, leaving a red circle round the spit to make it easier to find. This technique is described in Dave Elliot's "SRT" book, published in 1986 on p66.
Various red eye spits can still be found in various caves of the Peak and elsewhere.
There may be another meaning to red spot bolts that I am unaware of...

Online Fishes

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2020, 02:27:52 pm »

The hangers were made by Troll, but the threaded sleeve were still Spits. Correct?

Our driver and hangers were definitely made by Troll. I never heard the term Spit until the 1990's. We always called them self driving bolts and I'm pretty sure it was an industrial fixing that had been repurposed.

Offline Subpopulus Hibernia

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2020, 02:32:26 pm »
AFAIK red spot, or red eye bolts refer to a spit anchor placed through a patch of old red oversuit material, leaving a red circle round the spit to make it easier to find. This technique is described in Dave Elliot's "SRT" book, published in 1986 on p66.
Various red eye spits can still be found in various caves of the Peak and elsewhere.
There may be another meaning to red spot bolts that I am unaware of...

 ;D amazing. I've seen them before in Ireland (there's some in Noons) and wondered what the little lip of fabric was for.

Was the idea that by making them more visible that people would be less inclined to miss them and place their own bolts, or was there some some additional factors behind using the fabric?
Born Salzburg 1691. B.Phil. University of 's-Hertogenbosch 1718. Personal assistant to King Frederick of Liechtenstein, 1803-1857. Speaker of 35th Upper Silesian Parliament (fl. 1904-5). Owner/operator, Bridgend Underwear Factory, 1973-present.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2020, 02:36:12 pm »
Was the idea that by making them more visible that people would be less inclined to miss them and place their own bolts, or was there some some additional factors behind using the fabric?

They were mainly to make them more obvious, but Dave was also using them as a sign that it was one of his for his new SRT routes. I remember Wooding and myself using white plastic when we bolted Jockey Hole in the mid-1980s.

Offline topcat

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2020, 04:42:15 pm »
 Am I right in thinking that some / all?? of the red eye spits are 10mm rather than the usual 8mm ?

Offline langcliffe

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2020, 05:01:34 pm »
Am I right in thinking that some / all?? of the red eye spits are 10mm rather than the usual 8mm ?

I'm pretty sure that they were all 8 mm.

Online mikem

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2020, 05:37:55 pm »
I believe the spits are 12mm, whilst the bolts that fit are 8.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2020, 05:59:33 pm »
I believe the spits are 12mm, whilst the bolts that fit are 8.

That sounds right. I only had 8 mm bollards, rings, hangers etc. and never encountered a problem with them not fitting

Online Brains

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2020, 06:00:44 pm »
Elliot's book says the SPITS (brand name for self drilling anchors) are 8mm in use throughout Europe (at the time of writing in '86, on p55)

Online mikem

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2020, 07:08:21 pm »
Yep, they take 8mm bolts... Spits are described as 12mm in Andy Sparrow's "Complete Caving Manual" (& I just measured one for good measure!)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2020, 07:13:05 pm »
I believe the spits are 12mm, whilst the bolts that fit are 8.

Yes, the self drilling anchor (of which one brand was named as "Spit") requires a 12 mm hole but the bolt which is then screwed in is 8 mm.

Langcliffe's comments about Parba bolts are right.

Interesting comment about the snap off variety - they had a slightly conical extension which was an interference fit in a hole at the end of the main drilling tool. Once the anchor was drilled down as far as a circular groove in the anchor (forming a weak spot), then set by hammering down onto the conical wedge, you knocked the tool sideways and the cone shaped end separated, leaving the anchor ready to screw in the bolt and hanger. You then had to drift out the snapped off part with a separate tool before the drilling tool could be used again to insert the next bolt.

Because these anchors were designed to be snapped off they were made of a rather brittle type of steel. As a result they were notoriously unreliable and sometimes the anchor itself would snap, leading to failure. I once took a big whipper (mid 70s) when leading an aid route in Alum Pot, which eventually led to the discovery of Matthew Coe Chamber and Skyhook Inlet. (The shower of drips from this inlet is the one falling in the area of the Greasy Slab pitch in the open shaft.)

The quarter inch threaded snap off anchors in question had been given to me by Rob Palmer, having come from some dubious source; no CE marks in those days. I fell about 8 m, being stopped by the climbing rope 50 cm above a large pointed boulder. The lifeliner was Gordon Kaye, who was a big lad and I fortunately hadn't managed to pull him up into the air, or I'd have broken my back on said boulder. I seem to remember buying him a pint or two that night.  :beer2:

Purely in an attempt to avoid confusion, there was also an anchor available in the 70s called a "Red Head". (I think these may have been made by Hilti?) From memory they accepted a larger bolt (probably 10 mm) so weren't used a great deal by cavers for lightweight applications. Even less certain memory suggests to me the name came from the conical wedge being captive in the end of the anchor and painted red and that these weren't self drillers; you had to drill the hole by some other means.

The name "self drilling" was a bit of a sick joke; these anchors needed a lot of hammering. When climbing avens you had to have both arms above your head to work whilst stood precariously in etriers and it could be very tiring during a long session. In the days before the first cordless drill appeared (mid 80s, Bosch 24VRE) which revolutionised aid climbing, we were hand bolting our way up the massive avens in Peak Cavern's Far Sump Extension. (This was long before the dry way in was established; the only access was by a dive almost a quarter of a mile long.) I have memories of staggering out of Peak after trips lasting round the clock and beyond, with arms dragging along the floor like some exhausted gorilla.
Happy days . . . .  ;)

Going back even further, does anyone remember spending hours (literally) with a lump hammer and a fat star drill, making the large hole needed for a three quarter inch diameter (or even one inch) Rawlbolt? You might literally devote a whole trip just to inserting one belay at a pitch head. The person who invented the cordless drill deserves an O.B.E. as far as I'm concerned!

Offline Jenny P

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2020, 07:32:00 pm »
Going back even further, does anyone remember spending hours (literally) with a lump hammer and a fat star drill, making the large hole needed for a three quarter inch diameter (or even one inch) Rawlbolt? You might literally devote a whole trip just to inserting one belay at a pitch head.

Yes - and I was sitting in a pool of water at the head of the pitch at the time!

Offline Fulk

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2020, 07:45:56 pm »
Quote
Going back even further, does anyone remember spending hours (literally) with a lump hammer and a fat star drill, making the large hole needed for a three quarter inch diameter (or even one inch) Rawlbolt? You might literally devote a whole trip just to inserting one belay at a pitch head.

Yep. I remember drilling such a hole at the top of the eponymous Long Drop in Long Drop Hole, hanging my ass out over the pitch at the end of the short crawl while tied on to a rope held by my friend at the other end of the crawl; I seem to  recall that it took ('only') rather more than an hour.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2020, 08:12:28 pm »
You are a fast driller Fulk; then again, with a new pitch to explore, I suppose there may have been a sense of urgency!

Offline Fulk

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2020, 10:14:55 pm »
Well, the pitch wasn't new, but there was the possibility of finding something down there.

Online Badlad

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Re: How long have spits been around?
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2020, 08:56:19 am »
We were given a load of the 'snap off' type of self drillers for an expedition back in the early eighties.  We didn't have the tool to place them as designed so snapped them off in a vice and used a Petzl driver to place them.  This worked ok, and there are a few around the Dales still, but the jagged edge that was left from snapping them off soon ruined the end of the driver.  They lasted for decades and I probably still have a few somewhere as they were not too popular and only used when other 'proper' ones had run out.

Thank the lord for cordless toools...

 

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