Chopping debate

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Ross 3 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #150235 Reply


    Sooooooo, I want to put a topic ‘out-there’ because I am very interested in the responses it may get. Well, better get started!

    In the early years of Perth climbing (or climbing in general) I know that “crash-pads” were never a thing and if a climber wanted to climb something they had to consider the dangers of the fall. Now, I am not sure when WA’s carrot-fest took off but it seems to me that if a boulder was climbable and what some would nowadays call “high-ball”, peeps would just smash in a quick carrot bolt to protect a hard move (the bolting here is so retarded that they would rather bolt a hard move than to protect a groundfall).

    In saying that I can empathise with the thought process, no one really wants to get hurt, so they best way to avoid that was bolting. With the advent of boulder pads it seems to me that this ethic of climbing is now outdated. Soloing has to be one of the purest forms of climbing and by association so is high-ball bouldering. If a 6 to 7 meter wall, with a single bolt, can be protected with pads and climbed without a rope, is it acceptable to chop a bolt?

    I am trying to refrain from bias here but I think one or two bolts on a climb that can be protect with pads is not only pointless but also an eye-sore. Just the same as I believe if you can do a route that can go purely on non-fixed protection, or have parts of a climb that can be protected with non-fixed gear there should NOT be a bolt. Minimal impact and what not.

    So when is it acceptable (if ever) to chop a bolt? If you can prove it goes on trad or by bouldering with pads, shouldn’t we encourage the removal of the eye-sores known as carrots?


    #150236 Reply

    Kerrie Mott

    I completely agree, wherever possible to remove bolts, particularly in areas of natural beauty, especially if they are popular with the general public. Perhaps not in the quarries as they aren’t naturally formed. Only leave the bolts where there is no or very limited natural protection. I think every climber needs to know how to make themself safe using their own protection as there are times and places in the world where you can’t trust the “permanent protection”.

    I come from a beautiful part of the UK where there are hundreds of crags and the only way to tell they are climbed is by reading a guidebook or spotting the climber half way up the face. One of the reasons we climb in the locations we do is because of the picturesque views and natural beauty so why ruin that, don’t leave rubbish, chalk marks and bolts. Only take pictures and leave only footprints.


    #150239 Reply


    There is an argument that if a route is possible in a purer style then we should make that the standard for said route (i.e.chop bolts on routes that can be climbing using traditional protection/pads) but I think it’s important not to get carried away with this idealistic approach – otherwise you might find the bolts missing from routes such as She Magic in Kalbarri.

    Remember to consider the style of the crag as a whole, what would suit the greatest cross section of climbers trying the route (don’t ruin a classic sport route because one guy is bold enough to climb it on trad/highball) and most importantly the opinion of the first ascentionist as they went to the trouble of bolting it in the first place.

    #150251 Reply


    If it was a new climb and a single carrot bolt was the protection I think that may be highly scrutinised but if the bolt was originally there from the first ascent a long time a go when this was the standard then I like that little bit of history and if people want to high ball it then go for it and give it a highball grade or just climb it for the pure fun there are lots of climbs around the world with single bolts that people now highball (I remember doing a few in NZ, great fun) and it’s still sometimes fun to climb things in the way it was first climbed. In my opinion it’s nice to have a little tradition to a area that makes it unique.

    #150263 Reply


    Tyrone- why do you feel the need to remove the bolt?. if you want to boulder it with pads, just do it. You are not going to get to rename it or have your name in a guidebook if you boulder/solo it. if there is “enough” natural gear then maybe, but the boulder argument seems like a troll to me.

    #150276 Reply


    This discussion seems to be heading down a personal path. I don’t care for FA’s to sooth my ego, there is more than enough untouched rock out there for that. My point come from the pure necessity of needing to protect a fall with a bolt when you can get the same from a crash pad. It’s not soloing it is bouldering – perhaps at worst a highball problem. I get that now it’s a bit late the bolt is already in the rock, but just like cleaning chalk of climbs to minimize impact, why do they need to be there? I just want to understand why a single bolt needs to be in a 4 / 5 meter boulder.

    #150277 Reply


    Also, I was posting this just to gauge what people thought on chopping bolts. I am not saying I’m going round chopping bolts, it’s just nice to get opinion of other Perth climbers – I was just curious.

    #150284 Reply



    #150320 Reply


    Hey Tyrone,

    Which boulders are you thinking of out of interest?

    Also you can chop the bolt but there will still be a scar/hole. The damage is done. Seems like a pretty pointless exercise from an aesthetic point of view.


    #150472 Reply


    I would not worry about the odd carrot on what would today be a boulder problem, it can still be bouldered. Bouldering a bolted route is possible but protecting a blank rock with bolt removed is not possible. So removing bolts removes choices. It says “I don’t care for YOUR style, I don’t need this bolt for MY style so I will remove it.” Not sure about carrots being an eye sore, unless one has very good eyesight.

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