Some opinions (*), interspersed with a bit of history. A bit late in this thread, which I've skimmed through, but not never:
* My thought is that you should always try to improve on style of the FA and FFA. This can be tricky when the FA and FFA are different.
On the FA of INXS we started ground up, intending to follow the water streak directly, and free. Ha!
I led the first pitch, placing one bolt from the top of the mini-pillar, then the anchors. Mike led the 2nd pitch, which quickly got too steep for us granite-neophytes to climb straight up and drill on lead, so he veered right to avoid the bulge, and used hooks to drill from.
(* At this point we refer to the Bachar-Yerian, which was drilled on lead, no aid. But then Bachar climbed on granite almost exclusively ...)
Once we had started aiding, we continued that way for most of the rest of the route. We wanted to climb the line, and seeing we had flown up to Namibia for just a few days, we felt, perhaps incorrectly, that we should climb it any which way.
(* Here we refer to Messner's article: \"Murder of the Impossible\")
Our method was to drill a 2mm hook hole, into which we placed a household curtain hook, bent at 90 degrees. Top-runging off this, we drilled the next 2mm hole, and so on. The usual format was 5 hook moves, i.e., about 25 or 30 feet, then a 10mm bolt. Because we were drilling on lead, we felt justified in extending the runouts, because we took the risk. I remember leading/aiding the last (hard) pitch, pushing the runout somewhat. I guess some of the gaps between bolts are about 30 feet, which sounds horrendous, but since the angle is so low, isn't that bad.
A short while after the FA, I left SA for the UK and USA. In the following year or two, Mike went back twice with Martin Slang Seegers, and they attempted to free INXS. I don't remember all the details, suffice it to say they were not able to free all the pitches. They felt one of the pitches was 25 or 26, plus Martin had badly sprained/broken his ankle on (the crux?) pitch.
After having spent a couple of years away from SA (Michele and I were moved to the USA by my company), I went back on vacation, and Mike persuaded me to join Martin and him for another attempt. They drove up, and I flew in and met them at Spitzkop.
The first day, we rapped down and practiced a couple of the crux pitches (not much - as much as one can do in an easy day). The next day we freed the first half of the route, starting at crack of dawn, then sheltered in the big drive-in cave somewhere near Spitzkop, and the following day, again very early in the day, freed the remainder. I don't remember the month, but it was hot enough not to want to be on the face after midday.
We ended up grading the crux pitch 24 (I led this, after a single, clean TR, and also the last 22 pitch, after no TR). Mike felt that the crux pitch was 25, but I felt it was 23, so we compromised at 24. I didn't find it too hard, since I had been climbing at Joshua Tree a fair amount, and it felt just like a J-Tree 11a.
So, how does someone approach it if they want to climb INXS onsight? I recommend some warm up on slabby granite, obviously. It is a little scary to lead free, but not if your granite skills are OK And because the rock is low angle, falls are more like slides. And courage can be carried in the form of a cheatstick.
* Now, what about the issue of adding bolts? Bottom line - I don't think any more bolts should be added. Originally, after the FFA, I had mixed feelings about adding hardware. This was for two reasons:
1) After the FA (Smith & Cartwright), Mike and Martin added a couple of bolts, both to support free climbing (the original bolts from hooks didn't have enough regard for climbing features), and to better protect the crux; and
2) The FA was not done in good style, basically it was mostly an aid route, and the FFA was also done in less than perfect style, so the route was fundamentally flawed.
Accordingly, when Andrew & Glenda Lainis said they were planning on...