The 450 ft rockface of Bhairavgad near Malshej Ghat was recently re-bolted by 115 mountaineers and technicians from two mountaineering organisations in the city — Safe Climbing Initiative (SCI) and Durgpremi Giribhraman Sanstha (DGS).
The old bolts were placed in this rock 20 years ago and were now unsafe for climbers.
Sunil Pisal, president of DGS and Anil Khaire, president of SCI said, “Bhairavgad wall is spread across east-west direction. There is only one traditional trek route to the top of the fort through the eastern side of the wall where there are rock-cut broken steps with nearly 80 degrees vertical climb. There is only one technical climbing route from the western side of the fort, which was first bolted 20 years ago. The traditional ring bolts were aged and unsafe.”
While DGS took the initiative to sponsor the project, the technical support was given by SCI.
Prashant Adsul of DGS and Prajakta Ghode of SCI led the project and Sunil Pisal and Varsha Shelkande were the technical team leaders for this project.
About 170 new bolts were placed as part of this project. Of these, 10 bolts are on the exposed traverse way from the east of the water tank, 19 near the traditional eastern route, 15 from the approach way to climb the base through from the west of water tank, 63 bolts are placed on the western face technical climbing route between the exposed traverse from east to west and another 63 on the west face climbing route. “It was taken care that the traditional route would not be altered and international guidelines be followed while rebolting.
The bolts used were V2A steel bolts that are rust free, have strength of minimum of 3,000 kg with estimated life of about 50 years that are suitable for Indian climate,” said Shelkhande.
The climbers had to drill 9 cm deep and 18 mm wide holes on the rock using battery operated drilling machine for rebolting. After cleaning the dirt from the hole, a special chemical tube is placed inside.
The bolt is then placed into the hole with slight hammering. It then fixes itself within 10 minutes on a bright sunny day, explained Pisal. The mountaineers took six days to complete the rebolting.
Till date SCI has accomplished six such re-bolting projects in Maharashtra. Their next rebolting project is that of Nanacha Angatha in Naneghat.