Retrobolting Opinion

Article Index

Retrobolting Opinion

From Discussion of Adding Bolts to Hair Raiser Buttress (HB), Post to Supertopo Website, 2006

Posters should know they are not alone in their disappointment at turning back from nice walls like HB because the protection/mix is problematic. I certainly have passed on great looking climbs due to a protection/difficulty balance beyond me. See my previous posts about turning back from certain climbs, for example a long sought prize - Super Pin in SD. Closer to home, I was disappointed at turning back from the Bachar Yerian and You Asked For It (sidebar: attempting them with a solo self belay system was stupid). The point is, depending on our abilities and the protection, all of us face climbs too difficult or dangerous for the day. I never thought to ask Bachar to add bolts to insure my safety. Being humbled is part of the game, especially early on when pushing and hungry. Overall, I believe the best response is to alter our own behavior (get sane or better) not the climbs.

Some posts also express quandary at why I kept the number of bolts to a minimum on HB, or certain other first ascents. My motive was not to create death defying or "manly" routes (a poster asks, "You want a bold route that other climbers will aspire to do in the same manly style you did?" See T&T post, Dec. 1). Under clean climbing standards and ground up rules I grew up with (see previous T&T post about strong role of my mentor), bolts were the last resort. Minimizing their number was not to create mind games for others but leave the rock marked with as few bolts as possible. I realize my attitude may seem quaint in the era of sport routes, but we are products of our times and mentors, and that was the attitude instilled in me.