For many years the bolting of sea cliffs adapted for sport climbing and mixed trad (bolts exist where there is no possibility to protect other way) was carried out by the small Portuguese climbing community itself. Since old times, people always equipped routes with money from each pocket, fund-raising campaigns, climbing events with funding purposes and other non-official tricks. This way, it was possible to complete climbing projects using a “homemade” approach. The Portuguese climbing community used stainless steel as the main type of bolts. This is expensive hardware but it was manageable because climbing sites were generally being created slowly and naturally over time, depending on personal budget, some charity and climbers inspiration. UNTIL NOW!
Unfortunately, bolts started TO BREAK, as in Thailand and other Asian countries! The biggest problem is that it is impossible to see exteriorly the oxide degradation and bolts with good-looking aspect are breaking at extremely small loads, sometimes less than 5 kilos. Many sea cliff routes are now considered “time bombs” and death risk is a reality, especially in sport climbing lines where you can´t back up with another kind of protection. The phenomenon is very scary and requires extreme safety measures. Many years of slow but steady development are now at serious risk and Portuguese climbers are facing their biggest challenge ever. From one day to another hundreds of routes are in urgent need of re-equipment.
New investigation and international studies show that the best way to do a more sustained sea cliff re-bolting is to use Titanium as bolt anchors. But the main problem of Titanium is, of course, THE PRICE!
In a country with very little institutional support and in the middle of a huge economic recession, this problem can represent a truly climbing stagnation.
Some volunteered Portuguese climbers formed now a “working group” to face the challenge and immediately created the TITAN PROJECT.
The TITAN PROJECT, is focused on saving the climbing in Portuguese sea-cliffs and the main goal is to exclusively re-bolt the existing dangerous routes. For that, we desperately need all contributions available, including international help.
So, if you want to help saving the future of rock climbing in Portugal, please join us and contribute! All contributors will be contemplated with the topos for the trad and sport climbing areas around Lisbon.
An entire community will be thankful for your kind gesture.