To Bolt or Not To Bolt is a historic document published by the UIAA Mountaineering Commission.

It was produced in response to requests from national mountaineering associations for advice on the use of fixed equipment. The views held on this subject are strong ones. Some organisations were becoming concerned that without a clear consensus between climbers and mountaineers, other institutions would attempt to impose regulations on our activities. In some alpine regions major disputes arose between “plaisir ” climbers and “purists”, climbers favouring a traditional style of mountaineering and climbing. The dispute sparked off a vicious circle of bolt chopping, retrobolting and repeated chopping on certain routes.

At the request of the UIAA Moutaineering Commission, in 1998 the Austrian and German Alpine Clubs, who were already discussing the topic, set up a work group to a draft position paper. A wide range of views were considered by the group. Also, information was presented at meetings like ENSA in Chamonix on November 12-13, 1998, about the use of bolts in the Mont Blanc range.

The document was then presented to the 1999 International Winter Climbing Meet and Seminar in Aviemore, Scotland. This meeting was attended by over 100 climbers from 28 countries, who unanimously supported the paper. It called on climbers world-wide to consider the paper in detail so that a firm consensus based on good practice could be established and the freedom to pursue our activities protected.

The document was finally adopted by the UIAA Council in May 2000, during the meeting in Plas y Brenin, Wales.

The following people cooperated on this project:

Stefan Beulke, German Mountain Guide Association
Alexander Huber, professional climber
Nicholas Mailänder, DAV
Andreas Orgler, climber and mountain guide
Robert Renzler, OeAV
Karl Schrag, DAV
Pit Schubert, DAV-Sicherheitskreis