One of the things that pisses me off is the attitude of so many newer climbers who think cams are automatically bomber. They are not. [...]
In another thread around here someone mentioned running into a kid demonstrating a nut pulling out of a placement and proclaiming that therefore cams were better than nuts. This kid should be bitch slapped silly. A bomber nut is always better than a cam. Always. In fact, I contend that a bomber nut is generally better than a bolt, because you know the history of the piece and the quality of the placement, because it's yours and you placed it--neither of which is true with the bolt--and in both cases the piece is basically as good as the rock.
I asked an engineer who test metal on bridge for the solidity if there is a way to know if a bolt is good or not, and he said that there is no way to test it in the field. As the nut and the bolt are both in metal, there is no way to test any of them. For the nut, we will agree that the wedge effect, dispersion of a downward pull in an horizontal one, is the principle which keep the nut safe. For a bolt, the principle is more like an ice screw: the front part will hold a force downward and the bottom part will hold a force upward. Futher more, the hanger, where we attach the bolt, is like a boot belay on ice...it make the front part bigger. So, we can test the position of a bolt as well as the position of a stopper. (The glue is more to avoid that the bolt make a groove in the rock after multiple fall.)
As a bolt is make to hold 24 KN, it most be a little bit stronger than the stopper, but as a fall is always less than 11 Kn with the new rope, it is not very important. and I agree with Papy that it is more fun to place gear than to clip a bolt in an ethic of trad climbing.
Where is the place of bolt in trad. As we know that in sport bolt are use to avoid the danger of a long whipper, and any nuts or cam placement to make harder move, in trad, gear placement is part of the game. Route finding and strategy to accept longer safe fall and avoid shorter dangerous one is part of the game. As nothing protection exist, like on a slab, and you have to make them, the bolt most be place, in trad, to avoid an injury when you take a fall.
Than, the finest whipper most not be the longuest, but also the more dangerous.