First up, I am pretty much a sport climber. Started trad in the dark ages when there was no real bolting going on, and whatever bolts that were placed, were done by hand with one of those historic Petzl 'pound it till your hands are blistered' jobs.
A serious disincentive for overbolting if there ever was one.........
Sport only really started off in '90 or so, and to be honest, I climbed in boots and all. Trad was/is great, but for sure sport suited me better.
But, and this is a reasonably big but, a fair bit more respect was then given given to trad routes (existing and prospective), irrespective of the location of the crag.
Later we had crags develop that were acknowledged as sport only, and Boven is a good example. But what started as a good idea, somewhere along the line lost the plot.
Initially Boven development was driven by ex-trad climbers, that had a fair degree of hard trad behind them (Lobster, Muv, Slop, Richard et al). The routes bolted were pretty much sportable only, and (my personal favorite) they were sportingly bolted...read: screw up to your hearts contect, you're safe, but 'out there' enough to make you pay attention to the job at hand.
Later as sport climbing became more mainstrean and accessible, and as the more obvious 'sportable only' lines started to peter out, the inevitable uptick in questionable bolting began to occur i.e. either the bolting of a new line that could be opened on trad, or perhaps the retro-bolting of old trad lines.
At the level of Boven one can perhaps make a case for this being acceptable (I am deliberately not using the word desirable).....but overbolting aside, you are going to be hard pressed to convince me as to the merit in some of the arb 'routes' that have been bolted.
Don't get me wrong, we ALL at some stage open a route that if frankly a waste of metal and time, but individual climbers averages in this regard differ markedly.
And when you then overbolt a cr@p line, and continue to repeat this simply because you can, then the silliness begins to spiral.
I agree with the above comment re Strubens, sure it is accessible and consumer, but is also an excellent example of 'lines' (they are not even routes) that are both contrived and overbolted.
And the very real danger is that anyone that gets introduced to climbing via this venue is going to have a very bad introduction to bolting practices in general. And this then gets translated to the next crag, and so on and so forth.
My take after a 12 year layoff is that there is some serious overbolting and overgrading going down, admittedly more often than not crag and individual specific. And it is a pity, because all that we are doing is dumbing down the system and allowing new climbers to legitimately screw things up going forward. I get despondant when I do a '23' at the Chosspile, and there is no way in hell it is even 21. It is all very flattering, but really............
I get grumpy when I am approached as to whether I would mind if a route I opened on trad in the Kloof's may be bolted. If I wanted it bolted I would have done so at the time.
And this is rich, seeing as I had Trippletwit chop bolts on a route of mine in Hidden Kloof (The Perpetrator, 23), because he felt that it was naturally protectable. And he was right, so I went back, drilled out the stubs, epoxied rock dust into the holes and re-opened it on trad....interesting lead, but certainly safe.
I've bolted a bit, and have done a good few lines at Boven, you know....the kind that people tend to acknowledge as being worth remebering (try 'Jump In The Fire' for a fun afternoon). Sure, not all lines that we open are going to be super classic, but for sure we need to show some degree of responsibility when it comes to judgement.
From my perspective I would rather open fewer quality routes than more indifferent ones.
Oh yes, and on retro-bolting....please would someone go and retro 'Raging Bull' in Tonq's, my backside is still stinging from a month back? And this is very tongue-in-cheeck.......