SMCC Statement on Retrobolting

In response to the recent “retrobolting” of Raven’s Roost and other routes in the Bozeman area, Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition considers the practice of adding permanent protection to preexisting and/or well-established routes unacceptable. This includes lead protection as well as anchors. In a situation where the original physical characteristics of the climb have changed, thereby requiring retrofitting, every effort should be made to contact the original route developer or first ascensionist for approval. If this is not possible, a dialogue with the community should be held in order to assure that the local ethics are observed and maintained.

Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition’s Anchor and Hardware Replacement Program “retrobolts” preexisting hardware (including top anchors and lead protection bolts/hangers) that have deteriorated beyond safe-use standards. Replacement of lead protection hardware is attempted in a “one-for-one” manner, wherein the deteriorated hardware is replaced using the same hole with high grade stainless steel equipment. In the situation where the old bolt cannot be extracted, a new bolt is placed as close as reasonably possible, in order to preserve the original character of the route. The program does not add additional protection to the climb, in any situation.