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Bolting for Climbing

“It’s important to stay safe whilst getting off”

The Bolting Bible

Bolting For Climbing

Welcome to our free course as our way of contributing to the bolting community. It's nice to understand what you are clipping and trusting with your life, even if you never plan on installing or removing bolts. Also, if someone is going to spend their time and money to bolt something, I assume, they probably want to do it as good as possible. Hopefully, the Bolting Bible gives you the tools you need to do a great job. Get it?

Our courses are A-Z content in blog format, glued together with an overarching blog we call a textbook. A blog format is easy to read, easy to update, and easy to translate. Be sure to begin at the TEXTBOOK and at the end of each episode we'll point you to the next.


A huge thanks to Bobby Hutton for contributing so much information and doing so much development in the Sierra Nevada climbing areas.



When replacing bolts, if you are making any changes to the original route, you will create a lot less drama if you ask the first ascensionist if they are available. Imagine if everyone just changed the bolt placements that showed up to climb. There is some merit to keeping the original climb original. The flip side to that is, if it is a popular route and the bolts are placed sparsely or in places that weren't fully thought out, then let's improve it like we improve everything else in life. Just don't willy-nilly change something without the "community's consent."

IF you are replacing hole for hole, bolt for bolt, and not changing the characteristic of the climb itself but returning it to its original level of safety, you're doing what the first ascentionist wasn't able to, or couldn't be bothered to do. If possible, do bolt replacement with the first ascentionist. It's good community building and avoids drama. But if you are not able, thank you for making the route safer.


Videos might make route setting look cooler than it really is but don't just go throw bolts in any rock that you want. Know your area first. There is a very high chance there is already a community built around that area, get involved with that community and make sure what you do will be appreciated by...most. If you are in an area that has a long history of climbing, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to install or replace bolts without being connected to law enforcers, access groups and the locals. In the USA the Access Fund is our advocate for climber access and is a good place to start if you have questions about your area.

What's more expensive than all your bolting supplies? A big ticket for bolting illegally. Not all areas are legal to bolt or even replace bad bolts. Don't make access worse than it already is because you didn't know your area first.

Get Involved

If you find out there is a local do-gooder making an area better that you frequent, whether that is trail building or replacing dangerous bolts, get involved. Not showering them with your opinions from your Suburu, but with a currency that hardware stores accept (beer doesn't buy bolts), showing up to help do the grunt work or just appreciation for their effort.

Not sure who to help, but appreciate that safe bolts magically are available for you to climb for free, support organizations such as the ASCA and Access Fund or organizations like them in your country. ASCA supplies bolts so volunteers can update bad hardware and the access fund fights for climbing access all over the USA.

Bad bolt porn - let's keep our areas safe

What's The Best Bolt?

So many climbers want the one bolt that solves every problem. Let us know if you find the unicorn. Glue in popularity is on the rise but isn't necessary if the rock is good. It is more complicated to install and therefore more room for error. 5 Piece Powers are popular but are finicky, expensive, and a bitch to replace. Wedge bolts stick out the more you tighten them but are the strongest mechanical bolts we've tested and the best bang for your buck, assuming your rock is solid. See all your options in the Old Testament of the Bolting Bible.

Bolt Placements

Here are 2 videos showing two ways to bolt a sport climb. Top-down or bottom-up.