Land Management Policies

The North Cascades National Park has instituted a moratorium on bolt placement. At this time it is unclear if it is legal to replace degrading hardware within the Park. Please visit the NPS website for more information:

US Forest Service – All replacement efforts within USFS managed Wilderness is done with a hand drill, in accordance with the Wilderness Act.

Land managers have differing policies depending on agency, location and local, state and national leadership. As such, relationships must be established with current land managers and specific climbing policies–including those regarding fixed hardware– explored or established prior to beginning replacement work.


Properly selected and installed hardware will last 50 years or more in our region. Dissimilar metals (e.g. a stainless steel hanger with a carbon steel bolt) lead to rapid corrosion and degradation.  Rust is the main culprit in anchor degradation in Washington, so stainless steel (and occasionally marine grade stainless, HCR or Titanium) is necessary for the longest lasting replacement hardware.

Bad Hardware

There are many factors that can indicate a low quality bolt including:

  • Bolt diameter less than 3/8″
  • Rust
  • Mixed metals (stainless steel hanger with non-stainless bolt)
  • Hardware store bolts (these are not rated for climbing)
  • Loose or spinning hangers (often these indicate poor placement)
  • Homemade hardware—commonly hangers
  • Leeper or SMC brand hangers (these were recalled, but still exist on many routes)

Good Hardware

These factors often indicate a quality placement:

  • Bolt diameter 3/8″ or greater
  • Stainless Steel bolt paired with a Stainless Steel hanger
  • No rust
  • Hanger is tight and does not spin
  • Hanger is made by reputable manufacturer (Fixe, Metolius, Petzl, Mad Rock, etc)