YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
What is "climbing access"?
Climbing access is a term used to describe whether or not rock climbing is permitted at a climbing area. For example, if rock climbing is not allowed then there is no permitted "climbing access". If access is sensitive, there are probably specific rules/regulations/season closures or considerations. Gaining approved climbing access is generally due to the hard work of local access groups, guides and volunteers. It is important to become a member of your local access coalition. "Strength in numbers" is key when fighting to keep cliff access. See more resources
There are quick draws left on a climb, can I take them?
I can't make it to the top of a climb, how do I get my gear back?
What staples should I always have in my climbing pack, outdoors?
When climbing outdoors, it is best to be prepared for everything: weather, hard long hikes, a physical day in the elements, accidents, hiking out in the dark, etc. Listed below are some key staples to keep in your climbing pack.
- Climbing tape
How do I know if a bolt is safe?
Before climbing outside, you should educate yourself about bolts. If you don't like the looks of a bolt, do not trust it! If the hanger is loose or spinning ("hanger" is the part of the bolt that you clip to, see above), this can be fixed by hand tightening the nut or by using an adjustable wrench. Do not over tighten the bolt! If the actual bolt itself is wiggling in the hole, do not trust it. Never assume that all bolts outdoors are safe for climbing, always assume your own risk. Learn More: Here or Here or Here
Who bolts the climb?
These climbs exist because of the extremely hard work of a generous rock climber. Some areas require bolting permits and special permission to bolt, obey these rules or you could risk permanent closure of the cliff. Some areas are permanently closed to any further route development, obey these regulations and set a good example. Bolting a climb requires an extremely high level of knowledge and experience, as well as physical strength, time and money. Spare a thought for all of the time and money that others have put into developing a route before you complain about the line.
Who maintains the bolts?
Most of the time the same folks that bolt the routes also help maintain them. Local access coalitions or bolt funds sometimes give bolts to volunteers willing to replace old bolts. Local guiding companies also help maintain bolts and monitor cliff safety. Donate to local bolt funds or access coalitions and report bad bolts to local access coalitions, guides or bolt funds. There unfortunately is no current sole organization for dealing with bolting or access in Canada. Alberta has TABVAR that deals with all bolt replacements in Alberta.
Are outside climbs bolted like the gym?
NO! Never expect that the bolts outside will be close together, safe, or exactly where you want them to be. Outdoor sport climbs can be bolted in a variety of styles depending on the person who bolted it or sometimes even the year it was put up. Often the older the route, the further apart the bolts could be as old climbs were often put up on lead (ground up), or with traditional gear placements between the bolts. Newer routes tend to be better bolted, but again it may depend on the knowledge of whoever bolted it, or the rock quality/bolting situation the developer had to face. Remember to regularly assess the risk as you progress upwards and be aware of the length of fall you face when lead climbing and the hazards around you like ledges/ground.
The first bolt is really high, how do I clip it without getting hurt?
You will see this a lot outside, route developers are sometimes bolting routes with the first bolt rather high, assuming that climbers use a "stick-clip" to pre clip the first bolt. A stick-clip is an extendable pole that you can use to pre-clip the first bolt with your quick draw and rope, so you don't risk ground fall. You can also make a stick-clip out of a stick! Lots of ways to do it, ask a climber at the gym, or google it.
Do you have questions of your own? We would be happy to answer them. Submit a question below and we will post it to our FAQ - it's likely that other people have similar questions, you will be doing them a favour!