Is that a Horseshoe Nail?


Old Bolt on Pitch 5

Old “bolts” on The Fine Line?

What the heck is that little piece of pig iron sticking out of the rock? Topher Dabrowski, who submitted these photos, says that he’d heard that there are some very “old bolts” on the upper pitches of The Fine Line, in Idaho’s Sawtooth Range. This is what he encountered. Want a better shot? Hey, no problem. Look at thisCable Swagged Horseshoe Nail

Where exactly does one procure a cable-swagged horseshoe nail? That’s what this is, isn’t it? A horseshoe nail, with a hole drilled into it, with a cable added? No? Then you tell me what it is. It’s certainly not your standard piton, and despite what Topher was told, it’s definitely not a bolt!  My guess is that it’s probably homemade and quite old. I don’t think I’d like to fall on it.

And how about that pitch 7, eh? With some scary angle aluminum riveted to the rock, sticking out half an inch to invite your rope to a good old fashioned sheath stripping.

Scary rivet thingy want's to slice your rope.

Scary rivet thingy want’s to slice your rope.

How about a close up, so you can re-live that scary rock climbing lead moment if you like.

Scary Rivet Close Up

Scary Rivet Close Up

That also looks very, very old. Did Fred Beckey place this? Greg or Jeff Lowe? I think it’s served its time.

And hey, just for good measure since Topher was in the Sawtooths, how about some scary Leeper hangers from The Elephant’s Perch? We last encountered some of these at Indian Creek in Moab, Utah. Remember? Those hangers were recalled because they tend to break, remember?

Leepers on The Perch

Scary Leeper Hangers.

Be careful rock climbing out there kids, and support your local rebolting projects.

Location: The Sawtooth Range, Idaho, USA.


6 thoughts on “Is that a Horseshoe Nail?

  1. Dave

    Dunno what it is, but it isn’t a horseshoe nail- those guys are *made* to bend with maybe 20lbs of force and that sucker is at least 3 nails together size-wise.

  2. Trevor

    There’s a lot of sketch “pro” in the Sawtooths. For example, if you climb Baron Spire, you have to aid off Fred Beckey’s broken off drill bit from 1949.

  3. OlympicMtnBoy

    That looks like a drift pin for getting the bit out of an old rawl drill holder. Perhaps they ran out bolts after drilling the hole?

  4. Cold White

    Re: the cable-swagged horseshoe nail, this could have been a lot worse. I’d wager there was in fact some thinking that went into this (given we’ve no idea if were alternatives). Best not to grab’o bag of metal objects, inc. possibly some wood splinters from the old, gray wood, collapsing barn, figerin’ ya got enuf iron so as to hammer up any gol’darn thing.

    But the climber could have made it much worse by simply slipping the larger loop over the whatever it is, easier, quick, leaving a subsequent party to clip a biner into the much smaller loop. Perhaps the biner was left as part of this ‘anchor’.

    I’d gingerly rap off this if no option, but leading off this, would hope I’d joined every religion on earth, past, present, future & those not even thought of yet, the sum total of prayers, which I don’t believe work anyway, possibly might be one that coincidentally works.

    I’ve seen worse in Yosemite placed way back in the day. Poor pin slammed in, didn’t fill the drilled or artificial ‘hole’, so whoever placed it thought by slamming a bunch of multiple species of wood splinters in it, would help stabilize it.


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