The cliffs we climb on are a finite resource and it is up to us to preserve them for future generations.
The rusting remnants of previous bolting eras are a common and unsightly feature of many older cliffs, the failure of climbers to remove old bolts and instead place yet another nearby is slowly leading to a situation where there are no more sound placements to be found, while the spread of rusting metalwork makes climbers an easy target in sensitive areas.
LONGER BOLT LIFE
Many routes are on their fifth generation of bolts and while the widespread use nowadays of stainless steel bolts will slow down the pace of replacement the problem of what to do in 50 or 100 years is a serious one. Poorly placed bolts, unsuitable materials and misuse by climbers are all issues which have led to wholesale bolt replacement.
The use of stainless steel bolts, correctly treated to reduce corrosion and carefully glued in place will enormously extend the lifespan of the protection fitted, while for lower-offs the issue of wear can only be adressed by making them replaceable or of thicker material. It is quite obvious from visits to most popular cliffs that efforts to educate climbers to use their own equipment for top roping or to abseil from routes have failed and climbers will continue to use bolts directly threaded through.
For this reason we offer all our lower-offs and rings in 12mm rod to give hopefully decades of life.
No matter how strong or thick bolts are made the issue of replacement will sooner or later arise and to avoid adding to the number of holes and "dead" bolts in the cliff the old bolts should be removed and the hole re-used, ideally this will be then repeated ad infinitum.
All Bolt Products glue-in bolts are removable and the hole can re-used. We have specifically designed our bolts to be removable at a later date, then simply drilling out the old glue allows a new bolt to be glued in. This is the only long term way to ensure the continued use of the rock.