Bolts, there is a lot of unknown trust that goes into clipping that bolt and having faith that it will hold a fall.
There is a lot that goes into the integrity of a bolt…..who placed it, what kind of bolt did they use, is the rock solid enough, how old is the bolt, what kind of environmental factors have come into play, is it rusted where I can’t see?
Bolt technology and bolting standards have come a long way over the last twenty years and luckily in the Bay Area we have a number of veteran bolters who have invested a lot of time and money into ensuring that our local crags stay safe. Jim Thornburg is definitely one of those people.
Photo Credit: Jim Thornburg
When Jim Thornburg approached us about working with him to tackle the replacement of some obviously rusted and dangerous bolts at Dry Sea Crag we were 100% up for it. As you can see from the photo above, the old bolt on the left was definitely in need of replacement. The new bolt on the right, a glue-in titanium, has been a popular option for ocean-side crags around the world.
Photo Credit: Casey Zak
The all-star team of experienced bolters – Jim Thornburg (author of Bay Area Rock guide-book), Casey Zak (BACC Vice President), and Steven Roth (amazing climber and experienced bolter) – were able to install 26 new bolts and remove 6 old bolts.
Why didn’t they remove more of the old bolts? Unfortunately, a lot of the older bolts were so far gone that they were not possible to get out without risking damage to the rock…..so when you are climbing at Dry Sea Crag and you see two bolts, pick the one that isn’t rusty.
The Bay Area Climbers Coalition has established a Bolting Advisory Group to work with land managers and experienced bolters like Jim Thornburg to take on projects like this at crags around the Bay Area. If you have experience with bolting and are interested in helping out, please drop us a line – firstname.lastname@example.org
Huge “THANK YOU” to the ASCA (American Safe Climbing Association) for providing the drill bits, glue, and titanium bolts!