Application Process

NOTE: This process is for adding new fixed hardware to an existing or new route. Click here for details about replacing old or worn fixed hardware on established routes.

The fixed hardware application process was born of a written understanding between the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department (OSMP) and the Flatirons Climbing Council (FCC). The goal of the application process is to demonstrate to OSMP, in a mutually beneficial fashion, that the climbing community is interested and responsibly motivated to encourage climbing in the Flatirons.

In addition to the more apparent issues associated with fixed hardware on vertical terrain, the Fixed Hardware Review Committee (FHRC) also considers potential impacts to the approach and the base of the climb.  Special attention is given to such variables as: 1) the ability to access a route from an existing trail and 2) the availability of an appropriate staging area that will not damage flora nor require grooming.

OSMP has a very conservative approach with respect to fixed hardware and prefers that we don’t place bolts when there are natural gear placements. Our recommendations on route development reflect this wish and are consistent with other local hardware review organizations such as ACE.

OSMP does not allow any fixed hardware in the Flatirons, other than bolts via the permitting process.  This includes any quickdraws, perma draws, chains, slings, or fixed ropes. Climbers, hikers, and others also generally prefer these natural areas to be devoid of unnecessary hardware to preserve the aesthetics and the environment.   Please do not leave draws or any other hardware on routes.

Please contact us with any questions on route development in the Flatirons.

Application Deadlines

  • January 1
  • May 1
  • August 1

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications well in advance of the due date to afford them and the FHRC sufficient time to work together on the application in advance of presenting the application for public notice.

Upon receipt of an application, a member of the FHRC shall work closely with the applicant to thoroughly prepare the proposal for public comment. A public meeting will be held to discuss the proposed hardware and then a vote is taken as to whether or not the application should be approved. The FHRC shall have four votes and the collective public in attendance shall have one vote. A minimum of three votes is needed for approval. The recommendation is then sent to OSMP for their final decision, which can take up to a month.  Thus far, OSMP has approved the vast majority of the applications submitted through this process.


Questions on the process may be directed to the FHRC via

How to Submit an Application

Please send a detailed description of the route you would like to bolt to (Read procedures and standards here.) It’s best if you, as your first draft, first compile all the necessary information asked for within OSMP’s official form (Doc or PDF), as this is what will be submitted for FHRC review and—ultimately if the route passes—for OSMP approval. The FHRC can assist you in compiling this information.  You can view all previously submitted applications here.   Please submit all photos separately as JPEGs.

Necessary information for the “OSMP New Route” form includes:

  • A photocopy or diagram of the rock formation with the proposed route drawn in.  Please submit all photos separately as JPEGs.
  • A description of existing routes on the same face of the rock formation, including the number of routes, route names, route grade, type (traditional or bolted), and approximate distance between routes (a photocopy or diagram of the existing route[s] is required).
  • A description of the approach. (Include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails leading to the climb and condition of the trail, and state whether there is a durable surface, such as rock. Include photographs of the approach.)
  • If different from the approach, a description of the descent. (Include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails, a description of the trail condition and whether there is a durable surface, such as rock. Include photographs of the descent where applicable.)
  • A description of the staging area at the base of the climb. (Include existing levels of soil compaction, existence of a durable surface such as rock, and existing soil erosion. Include photographs of the area at the base of the climb).