Bolt Restrictions, Hardware Committees, and Threatened Access (Ep.14)

As the number of people that are climbing outside continues to explode, there is increasing pressure on land managers and advocacy groups. This often leads either to “active management” (e.g., restrictions on bolts or route development, etc.) or to complete closure. Does this stuff work? Why do we need these types of interventions? How are the ethics and culture of climbing altered or preserved through rules implemented by non-climbers?

Bolt Restrictions, Hardware Committees, and Threatened Access
Dave Alie on Ten Digit Dialing (5.12), Clear Creek Canyon, CO. (photo by Katie Sprinkel)

Furthermore, this trend is picking up steam all across the US. As just one recent example, a handful of Blister Climbing Editor Dave Alie’s local crags in Golden, Colorado have seen dramatic increases in the number of visitors in recent years, causing the County to step in and take a more active management role. So in this episode, we take a close look at how this practice has impacted climbers through the lens of some high profile Front Range crags. We hear from both Eric Kraus, who oversees outdoor recreation for Jefferson County, and Dave Montgomery, who sits on the Fixed Hardware Review Committee that advises the county on climbing related actions.


Part I – Eric Kraus

  • What are Jefferson County’s goals in managing the explosion in climbing? (5:50)
  • Which places were instructive to JeffCo when deciding how to manage climbing? (9:30)
  • What is the fixed hardware review committee? (11:50)
  • Why is it important to have the public sector involved in managing climbing? (13:45)
  • What is the process for developing new routes / crags? (15:20)
  • Is there oversight for installing / replacing hardware? (21:15)
  • Is the useful criticism from the climbing community? (24:35)
  • Are we generally headed towards proactive management? (27:00)
  • What message would he give to JeffCo land users? (28:40)

Part II – Dave Montgomery

  • Dave and Luke’s Introduction (30:45)
  • Why does DM have mixed feelings about the fixed hardware committee? (32:50)
  • Do they take into account the different climbing ethics for each crag? (39:20)
  • What was Dave’s introduction to developing? (42:30)
  • What are the advantages of recording who’s putting up routes? (45:05)
  • What falls under the fixed hardware committee besides climbing? (46:30)
  • What would DM personally like to shift in the fixed hardware committee? (53:40)
  • What is it like standing between the county and the climbing community? (54:50)
  • What can climbers do about raptor closures? (57:40)


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