Code of Bolting and New Route Development

Experience shows that well bolted and developed new routes increase the enjoyment gained from climbing, whereas poor practices can actually diminish the climbing experience.

The CAWA Code of Bolting and New Route Development establishes the standards that all climbers in the State of Western Australia are required to adopt in regard to developing and bolting new rock climbing routes.

  1. Persons considering bolting or altering rock faces should ascertain who owns or administers the area and take this into account. For new crags, it is recommended to approach the land owner/manager for consultation. This Code does not supersede legislation or regulations pertaining to any area.
  2. Fixed protection may only be used on new routes where there is no possibility of arranging protection by removable means, such as slings, nuts and cams.
  3. Bolting is to be carried out only by persons who have sufficient knowledge of outdoor climbing and methods of protection. Good judgement is required when placing bolts, and this can only be developed from long climbing experience. Practising placing bolts is not to be carried out at climbing areas.
  4. New routes are to be bolted beyond reach (minimum of 1m sideways in either direction) from established routes.
  5. Bolts should be visually unobtrusive, especially in areas visited by the non-climbing public. The bolt installer is to use the least conspicuous method of bolting and installation and minimise the number of bolts, consistent with safe practice.
  6. Modifications to rock are not acceptable for the purpose of creating climbing holds, as they destroy the natural quality of the rock face. This includes, but is not limited to, gluing or bolting additional holds onto the rock, and drilling or chipping out holds in the rock.
  7. Only fixtures and materials of sufficient strength are to be used:
    1. Deformation-installed (“bash-in”) carrot bolts (“carrots”) and pitons are not to be used as permanent fixtures.
    2. Glued-in machine bolts are acceptable, and are preferable in areas of high tourist exposure due to their limited visual impact.
    3. All outdoor fixtures are to be made from stainless steel of 304 or higher alloy grades. Expansion bolts placed in coastal areas are to be made of stainless steel 316 or higher alloy.
    4. Minimum bolt diameter is to be 10mm for threaded bar and 8mm for unthreaded bar.
    5. Expansion bolts are not to be placed in limestone.
    6. Any carrots, pitons and old bolts deemed to be of insufficient strength can be replaced by new bolts. A reasonable effort should be made to contact the first ascentionist, however no permission from the first ascentionist need be obtained for this action.
    7. U bolts are not to be placed into granite under any circumstances.
  8. The maximum bolt spacing on any bolt-protected routes is to be such that the climb is considered safe by most climbers. The route developer is to take into consideration other climbers abilities, statures and experience.
  9. Wherever the cliff top or descent path is subject to erosion, new routes are to be equipped with threadable lower-offs.
  10. Bolts are not to be added to existing climbs or to boulder problems. Existing routes should not be interfered with in any way without the permission of the first ascentionist. However, items 2 to 9 have priority over this item.
  11. Arguments about bolting by referring to past practices are not considered valid. For example, areas with existing carrot bolts are not to have more of them added.
  12. No new bolts are to be placed:
    1. within the Stirling Ranges National Park anywhere east of Chester Pass Road;
    2. at highly frequented tourist areas, including the Gap, Natural Bridge and the Blowholes near Albany;
    3. any area designated as an Adventure Climbing Zone (ACZ) by climbing guidebooks or management authorities; and
    4. at other areas as per local regulations. The list above is not complete. Ignorance of any applicable regulations is not a valid excuse.

Please also read the CAWA Code of Conduct