petzl rebolt
Volunteers from the Southeastern Climbers Coalition doing crag maintenance; (photo/SCC)

Petzl Tours for Climber Safety: ‘Rebolt Trip’ First Stop Chattanooga

Climbing’s rapid growth means sport climbing anchors can get worn down more quickly. A joint effort by Petzl and climbing groups aim to improve safety — for all.

Petzl will work with two climbing nonprofits this fall to address aging hardware and battered trails at climbing crags in Tennessee.

The initiative, called the Petzl Rebolt Trip, involves several events in the Chattanooga area over the next 3 months. Working with the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) and The Access Fund, Petzl will restore trails and replace 300 bolts on local routes.

The climbing gear company will also provide training to SCC volunteers, nurturing their ability to maintain crags for years to come.

“The first and best line of defense for protecting climbing areas is almost always the local climbers who are familiar with the areas and the issues,” the Access Fund said in a statement about the initiative.

As climbing grows in popularity, fixed hardware ages more quickly, and climbing areas see excessive erosion, human waste, and parking problems. The influx of new people has taken an extensive toll on underdeveloped crags. That has resulted in safety issues and sometimes closures, Petzl said.

“Together, we will be able to create awareness, generate funding, and share the technical expertise to sustain the areas that need help the most,” Petzl said. “We believe this is a great first step toward creating a better future for climbing.”

aging bolts
Climbers sort through aging hardware; (photo/SCC)

How to Get Involved

Petzl offers several ways for climbers to help out in the coming months.

Rebolt Chattanooga begins with a couple of fundraisers in September and October. From Sept. 1 to Oct. 31., 10% of all Petzl sales at participating retailers will go directly to the SCC.

Nine local retailers will participate, including Triangle Rock Club, High Point Climbing & Fitness, Cumberland Transit, and Travel Country Outfitters.

However, there’s also an in-person event. The Carnival Fundraiser takes place Nov. 12 at High Point Climbing & Fitness in downtown Chattanooga. Attendees will buy tickets to play “climberized games” and enter raffles. All proceeds go to the SCC.

A day later, the real work begins.

Petzl employees and SCC anchor maintenance volunteers will undergo a day of training with the Petzl Technical Institute on Nov. 13. Then, they will spend 5 days working together, replacing aging anchors at Foster Falls and Denny Cove. The initiative will replace about 300 bolts on roughly 30 routes, Petzl said.

At the same time, everyone is invited to help restore trails at Woodcock Cove with the Access Fund Conservation Team. Trail work begins at 9 a.m. each day from Nov. 14 to 18.

trail work
Volunteers doing trail maintenance; (photo/SCC)

Future of the Petzl Rebolt Trip

Petzl doesn’t plan on ending its Rebolt Trip with Chattanooga.

In early 2023, the company will accept applications for the next crag to get a Rebolt Trip.

Once done in Tennessee, Petzl also plans to launch a Nationwide Rebolter Program. The company will ask climbers across North America to nominate local volunteers to receive a Petzl REBOLT kit and rope system training. After receiving nominations, six nominees will be selected, the company said.

“We believe this is a great first step toward creating a better future for climbing,” Petzl said.

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Andrew McLemore
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An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.