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Topic - Why do we place bolts?

andyathome - on 12 May 2014
Well: I'm a bit reluctant to start this topic but I think it is pertinent given the thread on Marian Bach ( ) and the apparent bolting of potentially well protected Severe and Very Severe climbs. And maybe it does need a context/crag free debate.

Just what is the function of a bolt placed to protect a climb?

I do seem to recall, when we were back at the 'thin end of the wedge', that bolts were needed to enable us to push grades on rock that just couldn't be protected in any other way. I accept that.

I also seem to recall that there was a plea that this new way of climbing was accepted as simply an alternative to trad. and that we could develop a 'mixed' view of climbing with trad and sport mutually acceptable. I accept that.

I now understand (see link to thread above and many others)that the role of bolts is to
a; demarcate those routes/crags that are 'sport' and where 'trad' is not the predominant ethic (which rather scuppers the original argument that we could all live together peaceably in a mixed milieu!) and
b; enable climbers to not bother carrying and using using leader placed protection on crags of choice.

So why are bolts actually placed in the UK now? To protect 'unprotectable' routes or as a sort 'marker' that says 'hands off' this is 'sport' territory?
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