There are several reasons for the removal of a bolt anchor.  The first and most obvious reason is that it has degraded from over use and/or extended exposure to weather.  Most bolts that were manufactured and placed before the early to mid 1990's are manufactured of carbon steel.  These bolts corrode quickly when exposed to water.  After removing over 300 bolts over the years I have found it amazing at how easily some bolts break.  Please use common sense when dealing with permanent anchors.  If it looks bad it probably is.

rustysheetmetalhangars01.jpg (99725 bytes) homemadehanger ring02.jpg (59196 bytes)


    The next most common reason for removal is that it is not needed.  With the boom in sport climbing over the past 10 years many old gear routes have been retro-bolted either accidentally or sometimes on purpose.  When this happens the general consensus of the climbing community is to restore the route to it's original condition.  In other words, don't placed a new bolt on an existing route or next to obvious traditional gear placements.

      Do not attempt to remove a bolt unless you have a legitimate reason.  Also remember that working with tools while in a vertical environment is dangerous so don't hurt your fool self or anyone else.  No bashing your finger with a hammer, no dropping tools on bystanders or other such foolishness allowed.  We are not responsible for anyone's use of this information.  NEVER, EVER attempt to remove a bolt and then abandon the project.  Once you start wrenching on a bolt you better get it out.

MC hammering a bolt.jpg (150216 bytes) MC patching holes.jpg (141247 bytes)

     My two favorite tools for removing bolts are a large wrench and a large hammer.  Step One.  For stud type bolts I usually start by seeing if I can remove the nut and hanger.  If the head of the stud has been hammered down or the threads have other obvious damage then skip this step.  Step Two.  I then replace the nut with a washer and using a large wrench I start over tightening the nut until the bolt starts pulling out of the rock.  I try to move it from 1/8 to 1/2 inches out from its starting position.  Sometimes the bolt breaks at this point.  If so skip to step Four.  If the bolt starts spinning then skip to step Five.  Step Three.  Remove the nut and washer.  Step Four.  Using a large hammer start tapping the bolt up and down without bending it too far at a time.  Metal fatigue will soon cause the bolt to break at surface of rock.  Step Six.  Use a punch to drive the remaining stud back into the hole leaving room for patch material.  Step Seven.  Patch the hole.  I use automotive bondo,  for sandstone I use red hardener and for granite I use gray hardener.  Use much less hardener than required on the instructions or it will dry much too quickly.  I also find some small rocks the same color as the stone to be patched and crush them with my hammer and mix some with my bondo and put some in a convenient container.  Use your finger to apply patch material, wearing rubber gloves if you are a wimp, and be careful to just get the material in the hole without getting it all over the rock.  Step Eight.   Press some of your rock dust and chips onto the surface of the patch material to match the surrounding rock texture.  Many of the holes I patch this way literally disappear. 

New patching technique:  Instead of using bondo try epoxy based wood filler available at most woodworking supply stores.  It comes in a stick and is available in different colors.  Choose the appropriate color, break off enough to fill the hole then knead the putty to activate the epoxy.  Fill hole and press in some rock dust/chips for texture and you have a no mess, no fuss, quality patch job.

lotsofbolts02.jpg (132364 bytes)  Chopped Hardware.jpg (147830 bytes)