Access Fund and Petzl to Engage Climbing Community on Issue of Aging Bolts

03/03/2016

Access Fund and Petzl have teamed up to bring the Future of Fixed Anchors II conference to Las Vegas, Nevada on April 1-2, 2016. The conference will address the issue of aging climbing bolts and outline a vision for the future of fixed anchor replacement in the United States.

The conference will bring together a broad cross-section of climbing advocates, outdoor industry professionals, and climbers who are actively developing and rebolting America’s crags. Over the course of a day and a half, the conference will cover the current climate of land management policies around bolting, strategies to mitigate liability, a practicum on bolt removal and installation techniques being used across the US, and consensus on a core set of best practices. The conference will run parallel with the Red Rock Rendezvous.

This conference comes amidst a growing concern within the climbing community over the sustainability of America’s aging bolts—and the implications they will have on climbing safety and access. As the huge number of climbing bolts placed during the sport climbing boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s begin to reach their 20th or 30th birthdays, the stories of bolt failures are sure to increase. Accidents caused by bolt failures could endanger access, just as placing and replacing bolts without regard for best practices in a particular area can endanger it. Access Fund is addressing this issue on a number of fronts: they launched the Anchor Replacement Fund grant program last year to provide local climbers with funding to replace aging bolts; they published an extensive online resource center for how to safely and effectively replace aging hardware; and they are now reconvening leaders in the climbing community to establish standardized best practices in bolt replacement.

Access Fund first convened leaders in the climbing community in 2012 to discuss the future of fixed anchors in this country. However, a lot has changed in the last four years—the National Park Service released Director's Order #41, legitimizing and providing guidelines for bolts in NPS Wilderness; UIAA has released new recommended standards for hardware; media outlets are highlighting concerns over safety and longevity; and local communities are motivated to replace aging hardware.

Access Fund and Petzl invite interested parties to join them for this important conversation. Register today at: www.accessfund.org/ffa2.

Contact Ty Tyler, Stewardship Director, with questions.