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Rebolting Clinic  
Rebolting Clinic Outline
by Greg Barnes, ASCA President
  • image, access, FS fixed anchors ban, etc - replacing bolts inexorably tied to access - local ethics/rebolting practices - don't rebolt without checking with locals first
  • contacting first ascensionists - especially on routes where bolts may have been added
  • should the bolt be there? Many bolts should be eliminated not replaced
  • what to replace with - get the right gear, talk to local rebolters, use camoflaged gear - common sense - don't bolt when crowded - hammering the wall is annoying to others
  • once you start pulling a bolt, you MUST replace - never leave a route worse than before
  • do you need to move the bolt? Reasons why - poor rock, poor placement, bad hole, etc - camouflaged hangers, bolt heads? Required in J Tree, do it everywhere. SS is camo for Yos.


  • situational safety
  • rappelling to bad bolts - climb nearby routes, etc - try not to need to clip the old mank!
  • leading the routes - Zippers, Screamers - replacing anchor while on lead in case it blows
  • eye protection - mandatory
  • helmets - good idea, especially for anyone below rebolter(s) - dropped bolts dangerous!
  • earplugs - good idea for long rebolting sessions, ringing is high-pitched

Spotting bad bolts


  • types of bolts
  • techniques
  • broken bolts
  • expanding old holes - when you need new hole (excessive cratering, too sharply mis-angled original hole, too near other bolts or holes, bad rock, etc)
  • when to hang on old to place new (rare); hooks for stabilizing on pendulum rappels
  • patching old holes - also patch pre-existing old holes, which are common…


  • anchor positions, rap anchor types/setups, rock type & anchor type
  • drilling hole - light, quick taps when expanding old hole, frequent cleaning with blow tube
  • depth gauging - don't push it when hand-drilling until very experienced
  • cleaning!! blow tube, nylon tube brush, repeat…
  • placing bolt & hanger, tightening - over-tightening of Rawls rampant, not too tight
  • cleaning surrounding rock - forget, may stain rock/kill lichen

Keeping track

  • bolts labeled in bags
  • on climb, group them in pockets or bags/remember somehow
  • exactly what new bolts were placed, where
  • easiest with log - use notebook
  • any additional info you think is relevant
  • Communicate to ASCA and other local rebolters