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Front Range rebolting request from BCC--Want to get more involved?


Original Post
Steve "Crusher" Bartlett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 2,795

Front Range climbers:
There are many thousands of bolts around the Front Range. They rust, they suffer wear and tear, they age and weaken. They eventually need replacement. The best, most sustainable way to do this is to remove the existing bolt, reuse the existing hole, place a new, stainless-steel bolt.
This is a huge task that will take much effort and money from many of us in the climbing community. To that end, Boulder Climbing Community invites you to help. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Give or raise money for the BCC.
  • Donate the time and energy to help with local rebolting efforts. Some specific ways to get involved include:
    • The BCC runs regular clinics where you can learn to learn how to extract old bolts and place new bolts. Come to a clinic, learn the skills!
    • The BCC has a small supply of rebolting tools. We can lend tools out to help with small rebolting projects, generally to replace specific bad bolts. Have you recently seen any bad bolts? Do you know how to recognize a bad bolt? 
    • Once a year, BCC organizes a major crag overhaul event to replace a large number of bolts all at once (last year it was held at Table Mountain, the year before at Castle Rock). 
In addition to these efforts, the BCC is exploring the idea of one or two smaller groups, equipped with appropriate skills and tools, who can go out and do this kind of work regularly. perhaps something like a version of the “trail crews” that are improving our local hiking trails.
Other needs include helping BCC with the purchasing, production/machining of the custom tools (such as the “spinners” and “pullers”) that are needed for safe, efficient rebolting. This is an ongoing need; these tools wear out and sometimes break!
We would like to call for a town-hall style meeting, perhaps in June. This would be for anyone interested in the bolt replacement effort in any capacity. We can use that time to plan out how the groups described above can work, meeting on a more regular basis, re-equipping our climbs, making us all better stewards of our crags and crag hardware.
To help us get an idea of the level of interest and skill level, please fill out this very short BCC form/questionnaire:

https://forms.gle/4V2MNHcybPrTYf228

Thanks, Steve "Crusher" Bartlett,
Boulder Climbing Community.
Kyle Taylor · · Broomfield CO · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for the info! I would like to get more involved in the process of replacing bad/worn hardware. 

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86

I support the BCC, I do a combo with my access fund membership, I do a big yearly donation, work matches the donation. I always specify for bolt replacement. That said...

I don't feel like the BCC actually replaces bolts. They claim 750 bolts to date. Wave bolts are $5.75, SS rawl $12 with the hanger (assuming BCC can't hook up a discount). Maybe my prices are way off but it seems on par from searching the internet. Assuming all rawl bolts that is about $9000 for the bolts. There are other costs but a lot is volunteer time and tools.  Even if you double it, just say $20k, how do we, in the front range, not have more money than this to save our own lives? Do we just suck completely at donations? Does the BCC actually prioritize other programs, trails, wag bags, etc, over what should be a driving mission, bolts?

Maybe it is not a bcc issue and our community just sucks? I haven't made a donation this year yet, I gave a lot more money to the CAIC as well, I just feel like I don't see action from the BCC. Maybe I should do more than just giving money and walking away?

Feel free to tell me I am wrong, just doesn't seem like BCC gets it done.

Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 250

I’ve been meaning to join BCC for a while now and my Access Fund membership has been lapsed.  This was the reminder I needed to join both. Thanks for helping to keep us all safe, Steve.

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321
Parker Wrozek wrote: [...]

Feel free to tell me I am wrong, just doesn't seem like BCC gets it done.

Parker- It sounds like you may have an unrealistic expectation of how easily fixed anchors get replaced. The huge number of sport routes that were put up in the late 1980's are particularly rusty and due for replacement. It will take far more effort per bolt to replace them, and finding enough qualified volunteers to do that work is the bottleneck. We need money, too, but the crux of this matter is effort.

The Restop bags and the trail work that the BCC does have a bigger impact than bolt replacement. If you think about it from a land manager's perspective, those efforts mitigate the damage we do and improve water quality. We can talk about relative priorities within the BCC mission, but we are doing good work. There is much to do.
Jay Eggleston · · Denver · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 19,127

I’ve helped re-bolt with support of the ASCA.  The BCC is great and I’ve built trails with them but there are other great organizations out there as well.  So yes, support the BCC but also do more if you can.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86
Gregger Man wrote:

Parker- It sounds like you may have an unrealistic expectation of how easily fixed anchors get replaced. The huge number of sport routes that were put up in the late 1980's are particularly rusty and due for replacement. It will take far more effort per bolt to replace them, and finding enough qualified volunteers to do that work is the bottleneck. We need money, too, but the crux of this matter is effort.

The Restop bags and the trail work that the BCC does have a bigger impact than bolt replacement. If you think about it from a land manager's perspective, those efforts mitigate the damage we do and improve water quality. We can talk about relative priorities within the BCC mission, but we are doing good work. There is much to do.

I appreciate the thoughtful response. Maybe it is a lack of the community understanding the need for volunteers who can do the work. It looks like this survey and potential meetings are trying to address this issue. Maybe I can be more involved (typically donating money over time) and help get to the bolts that need work. the bolting I have been around has been pretty quick but I can understand how long it takes when trying to reuse the same hole.

Trail work does have a big impact for sure. I feel like the land owners should take a bit more responsibility for this work (organizing, funding, tools, etc).

Wag bags are so cheap people really should be able to purchase their own. I don't understand how people can't get with the times on poop control. It is something that should always be in your pack.

I am going to keep supporting BCC for sure, just to be clear. I think bolt replacement should be a top priority. Perhaps more engagement is needed to push that.
Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,823

Parker, THANK YOU for donating cold hard cash for bolt replacement!

Replacing bolts takes teamwork, starting with donations, then purchasing and supplying the bolts, identifying which bolts need replacement, and then the long hard work of actually replacing the bolts. A really good day for a couple folks out replacing at a sport area is 10-15 bolts replaced in the original holes. The same team could easily do 30+ bolts in the same amount of time if they just chopped the old bolts and drilled new holes. I’ve been to crags in Europe that have 2 or 3 old chopped bolts next to every single bolt (no joke). It’s really ugly (super ugly in some rock types), and it often moves the bolt location to a spot that’s harder to clip.

Also that same team might get only 2-4 bolts if they’re working on bolted anchors at a trad area where the bolts are few and far between - more than once I’ve spent an entire day to go after a single bolt when it’s the only bolt on a multipitch trad route!

The BCC does an awesome job of putting on the big bolt replacement days, I think it was 150+ bolts replaced at Castle Rock, then 214 last fall at North Table Mountain. That is a TON of work, particularly when most bolt holes were being re-used. The ASCA helped with some hardware at both events, and we help local groups and individuals all across the country, but the key is the huge amounts of volunteer time and effort to actually get the bolts replaced. Making these sorts of events actually happen takes loads of work and logistics, and the BCC deserves a ton of credit!

Please don’t underestimate your contribution - donations are why people out replacing bolts can use good stainless hardware. Rebolters used to use non-stainless hardware just because we couldn’t afford stainless, and at least a new plated bolt was better than the old rusted bolts that were breaking on people! Even now the ASCA still supplies plated quicklinks for some desert areas to save money for stainless ones in wetter areas, and we don't even have stainless chain at all.

Also, just a side note on the hardware calculations - it’s not just the bolts and hangers, anchor setups get really expensive when stainless hardware is used. Drill bits, hole patch epoxy, and semi-disposable tools like hole brushes, blow pumps, etc also cost money. Many of the replacement tools have limited life spans, and those take a lot of volunteer time plus some money to produce. And I have no idea how much the BCC takes in as far as donations, but the ASCA spends around $55-70,000 per year on just hardware, and that’s across the entire U.S. The Access Fund distributes $10,000 nationwide each year through their Anchor Replacement Fund Grants. So that’s not a ton of money considering the tens of thousands of old bolts that need replacement at hundreds of crags across the country, and every dollar the BCC spends on hardware for the Front Range saves money for hardware for crags in areas with fewer climbers.

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

Does the AAC also contribute to those anchor / bolt funds?

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,823
Cor wrote: Does the AAC also contribute to those anchor / bolt funds?

Not that I know of. They are much larger and may be worried about liability?

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460
Greg Barnes wrote:

Not that I know of. They are much larger and may be worried about liability?

Hmm..  They need to get on board!

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321

Parker-
Thanks for your support. 21 responses so far on the questionnaire. We'll compile the results and share it with the folks that come to the town hall meeting at the very least.

Regarding land managers paying for trail work - a lot of them do, but some of them could not even if they wanted to due to bureaucratic red tape and/or tight budgets. Each jurisdiction is a little different.

Wag bags - providing them for free gives people an easier opportunity to do the right thing. Buying/bringing/using/disposing of their own wag bags would be an even better thing, but that isn't happening much (yet). There is hope.

Priorities - I'm curious: as a percentage of our annual budget, where do you think bolts should fall relative to trail work and wag bags?
Our model for trail work includes an in-house professional crew, but the bags and bolts programs are all unpaid work. Trail projects and the wag bag dispensers are high visibility for climbers and non-climbers alike, but new bolts are only seen by other climbers. In addition, the majority of climbers don't notice whether they are clipping freshly replaced bolts or decades-old ones. The stamped ASCA hangers are a good reminder for folks as they anchor themselves to think, 'Hey. Somebody donated money and time to make that happen. Maybe I should help out, too.'

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,823
Cor wrote:

Hmm..  They need to get on board!

Also the AAC donated some of the very first money to get the ASCA rolling back in 1998 or 1999, I think it might have even been before the ASCA received 501c3 status (which was '99).

Tim Lutz · · Colo-Rado Springs · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5
Gregger Man wrote: 
Wag bags - providing them for free gives people an easier opportunity to do the right thing. Buying/bringing/using/disposing of their own wag bags would be an even better thing, but that isn't happening much (yet). There is hope.

since Roy, NM is mobbed every weekend by front range Greenies, can Roy get some Wag bags too?  the poop situation is out of control

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321
Tim Lutz wrote:

since Roy, NM is mobbed every weekend by front range Greenies, can Roy get some Wag bags too?  the poop situation is out of control

Noted. The BCC has done work at Castleton and Indian Creek where the license plates turn green every spring and fall. The Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance is doing wag bag stations, too, and they are closer to the NM border. 

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86
Gregger Man wrote: Priorities - I'm curious: as a percentage of our annual budget, where do you think bolts should fall relative to trail work and wag bags?

Honestly I have no clue. I don't even know what the budget of the BCC is and what all goes into it. I guess since I feel like it should be the driving effort of the organization a minimum of 51%. 

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86
Greg Barnes wrote: thoughtful insight

thanks for the thoughtful insight Greg. You shed a lot of additional light on how things get done and the money and time required to make it happen. I will keep doing what I can to help in the front range and keep learning about the issues and what we can do to as a community to improve out impact and keep people safe.


(Or I will just climb Trad and walk off... kidding of course)
Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86
Tim Lutz wrote:

since Roy, NM is mobbed every weekend by front range Greenies, can Roy get some Wag bags too?  the poop situation is out of control


I just don't understand how people can't buy wag bags and use them. I would guess for every 10 I buy I give 5 away.

They are only $3 on this site right now: ​cheap wag bags​​​
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579

FWIW my priorities would be
1- education
2- sustainable approach trails
3- bolt replacement
4- wag bags

But honestly I appreciate the efforts of this volunteer organization and will support them in whatever they choose to prioritize. 

ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145
Mark E Dixon wrote: FWIW my priorities would be
1- education
2- sustainable approach trails
3- bolt replacement
4- wag bags

But honestly I appreciate the efforts of this volunteer organization and will support them in whatever they choose to prioritize. 

I agree with this order, but would add in 1.5) maintaining good relationships with land managers

Doug Lintz · · Kearney, NE · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 1,150
ErikaNW wrote:

I agree with this order, but would add in 1.5) maintaining good relationships with land managers

The cheapest priority with arguably the highest dividend.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Colorado
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