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Bolt cutter in Central Mass.
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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
May 15, 2014
Dear Bolt-Cutter,
You cut bolts on our small local crag sometime between Monday noon time and Wednesday morning. The crag is on public property but access is not, your shenanigans are going to restrict access for other climbers...yes locals will continue to use it.
You're welcome to enjoy our hidden gem but please be respectful.

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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
May 15, 2014
old 1/4" bolt.
javd.....wow, that must be very frustrating, but can you be more specific regarding what you mean by "bolt cutting." Also, why warn the perpetrator that you're going to establish surveillance? Just do it. From CT? Do you know the suspect? Please don't tell me there's been another Ken Nichols sighting.
Could you post some photos of the damaged bolts?

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
May 15, 2014
modern man
they arent chopping bolts here, if they do many of their favorite top ropes will never be the same again.

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By Matt Wilson
From Bethel, Vermont, USA
May 15, 2014
Uh oh, I hope this isn't the start to another bolt cutting war with the infamous bolt cutter of southern new england

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By Joe M.
May 15, 2014
If the infamous bolt chopper gets caught, he will end up in jail...

stopken.org/Home.html

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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
May 15, 2014
Unfortunately you have no legal recourse against Nichols. (It is him who chopped High Rocks.) At Farley he came on privately owned land and vandalized it and was arrested and prosecuted. On privately owned land the landowner can put in bolts, paint the cliff blue, or tear the cliff down. He/she/it owns the land. On public land (at least in MA) there is no law that says you can put bolts in. In fact just the opposite. Massachusetts State Park and Forest Regulations say:

12.15: Technical Climbing
Technical climbing, defined as mountaineering of sufficient difficulty to require the use of ropes or other forms of specialized mountain climbing equipment to aid in ascent or decent, shall be only by special use permit issued by the Director.

So the only thing you can do is kick his ass. Not that I'm advocating that.

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By Joe M.
May 15, 2014
Brian,

You are correct, but read this is from the stopken website (I added the bold):

"The judge signed off on the plea deal negotiated by the District Attorney, Nichols’ Attorney and the Western Mass Climbers’ Coalition. The deal, which allows Ken to avoid a trial and possible jail time, stipulates the following:

Nichols must pay $249.99 in restitution
Undergo 24 months of probation
Is banned from entering five Western Mass crags
Must never chop another bolt anywhere.

The guilty plea stays on his permanent record; that coupled with the no chopping decree make future prosecution easier and the penalty more severe. Additionally, Ken had to pay various court fees, attorney fees and buy an ugly suit."

So, Ken agreed to this and CAN be arrested if he is caught chopping bolts "anywhere" Do you have conclusive proof that he chopped High Rocks????

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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
May 15, 2014
Joe M. wrote:
Brian, You are correct, but read this is from the stopken website (I added the bold): "The judge signed off on the plea deal negotiated by the District Attorney, Nichols’ Attorney and the Western Mass Climbers’ Coalition. The deal, which allows Ken to avoid a trial and possible jail time, stipulates the following: Nichols must pay $249.99 in restitution Undergo 24 months of probation Is banned from entering five Western Mass crags Must never chop another bolt anywhere. The guilty plea stays on his permanent record; that coupled with the no chopping decree make future prosecution easier and the penalty more severe. Additionally, Ken had to pay various court fees, attorney fees and buy an ugly suit." So, Ken agreed to this and CAN be arrested if he is caught chopping bolts "anywhere" Do you have conclusive proof that he chopped High Rocks????


Joe,

As any lawyer will tell you, those stipulations are unfortunately only enforceable while he is on probation. His probation is over. They would have to re-try him. They can't just haul you into court without arresting you for a crime and without an arraignment unless you are on probation from a previous crime. And, also unfortunately, it is not a crime to chop a bolt on state land in MA. In fact it is a crime to put a bolt on state land. (Although I'm not sure if this is state land; town land?) No one saw him chop them but his climbing partner's car was parked blocking the access road the day they got chopped.

Brian

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
May 15, 2014
Bocan
Plus any lawyer worth his salt could argue that this is unreasonable.

"Must never chop another bolt anywhere".

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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
May 15, 2014
I don't know who it was that cut them but it was done between Monday morning and Wednesday. They look to have been sawed off rather than cut with bolt cutters.

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By D-Roc
May 15, 2014
I advocate kicking his ass...

So his car was blocking the access road? No one called to have it towed?

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
May 15, 2014
Rumney
Scott McMahon wrote:
Plus any lawyer worth his salt could argue that this is unreasonable. "Must never chop another bolt anywhere".


Only if you're a bolt chopping addict. I have 39 years clean from my bolt chopping addiction. I didn't even need a 12 Step program to stop, I stopped with my first breath of air! lol

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By JD1984
From Worcester, MA
Jul 2, 2014
Nichols was nice enough to leave half a sharp, jagged bolt hanger sticking out of the wall in perfect line to cut your rope if you fall on top-rope doing the 5.10 face route. So I guess he is careless as well as being an ego-maniacal asshole.

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Jul 2, 2014
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
This sucks, I hope y'all are able to find this jerk and/or find some way to put an end to their shenanigans.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 7, 2014
Stoked...
Hey Brian - thanks for giving up some info... clearly you know more about what happened here then the rest of the folks on MP.

Is it on purpose that you didn't supply Ken's PARTNER's NAME and the MAKE, MODEL, AND LICENCE PLATE of his car? It would seem to me that this is VERY pertinent information especially if this person might be in other areas doing the same things. Are you friends with this person and are trying to protect them? If so have you confronted them about the issue?

Lets get the important info out there so that folks can be aware and on the look out.

Additionally, chopping a bolt on a climb in Mass could easily be framed as public endangerment and disorderly conduct (I think the Mass ruling created a precedent for this but im not 100%). The fact that he is legally banned from entering some areas, has a record, and has been ordered to stop previously would give the police, if they responded to a call because, say, someone spotted his partner's car (because u gave the info to people) reason enough to arrest him or escort him off the property and issue a restraining order for that property.

No need for a lynch mob but if this person was not involved they deserve to A. clear their name B. set the record straight. You hiding them only helps to further the chopper's causes and perpetuate confusion and the back and forth.

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By eddysamson
Jul 7, 2014
Morgan Patterson wrote:
Hey Brian - thanks for giving up some info... clearly you know more about what happened here then the rest of the folks on MP. Is it on purpose that you didn't supply Ken's PARTNER's NAME and the MAKE, MODEL, AND LICENCE PLATE of his car? It would seem to me that this is VERY pertinent information especially if this person might be in other areas doing the same things. Are you friends with this person and are trying to protect them? If so have you confronted them about the issue? Lets get the important info out there so that folks can be aware and on the look out. Additionally, chopping a bolt on a climb in Mass could easily be framed as public endangerment and disorderly conduct. The fact that he is legally banned from entering some areas, has a record, and has been ordered to stop previously would give the police, if they responded to a call because, say, someone spotted his partner's car (because u gave the info to people) reason enough to arrest him or escort him off the property and issue a restraining order for that property. No need for a lynch mob but if this person was not involved they deserve to A. clear their name B. set the record straight. You hiding them only helps to further the chopper's causes and perpetuate confusion and the back and forth.


If I knew his car and it was blocking the road (and if my car wasn't super nice) I'd probably push my car right up against his and try to push it off the road, fuck that guy. Seriously, though, this guy needs a severe beating. Especially if he's leaving cut off bolts that could sever top ropes.

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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
Jul 7, 2014
I don't think anyone, unless they were there knows who cut the bolts. I also know Brian is not withholding any information because he was not there and does not communicate with ken anymore.

I can narrow it down to about a 24 hour period when they were cut. I live very close to there and frequent it regularly, either climbing or otherwise. Since I drive by the access or walk/mtn bike the access regularly, I have been looking for him or his vehicle. It is a seldomly used crag because of access. I have never seen anyone else there, just chalk marks... Or cut bolts.

It is likely Ken or one of his mindless minions but as far as I know, no one saw him or them. I also do not know anything about a car blocking the access road, which is private property. There are two ways in, private property (shorter) or through the state forest (2 mile hike). Ken lives relatively close over the boarder in CT.

Yes, one bolt was left sharp and jagged. In fact, on one occasion when I was top roping, my rope slipped dangerously I to the cut bolt. I plan to finish removing that bolt for safety. Please don't lynch me if you see me do it. I would replace it but he would just cut it again. Bolts have recently been cut at Ross Pond too.

The bolts have been cut twice this year which makes me think he frequents there.

If you want to know any other info, please pm me. I'd be glad to tell you all I know or bring you and show you.

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By zswan
Jul 19, 2014
Hey guys, as an FYI yesterday I was chatting with a guy at Farley who said he sometimes climbs with Nichols in Western MA. Apparently there's a piece of state property with private access, and the land owner only lets a few people in, including Nichols. I was belaying at the time so couldn't write down the details, but I think he said it was near Monson. At any rate, Nichols is definitely back in MA. I also notified the WMCC with the details I was given.

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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
Jul 19, 2014
That's probably Bunyan mountain but if he's there, he's probably at high rock too. I've been looking for him there.

I think that fruit bat has to resort to obscure crags because his popularity is next to zero.

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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Jul 19, 2014
Yup...that's Bunyan.

You can tell if he is parked at your local crag by his license plate. CT plates: car is: 949-TPF pickup is: 53C-190.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Jul 19, 2014
people are lucky that folks don't fight fire with fire or Dol Guldur would be a pile of sand by now...

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By ward smith
Jul 19, 2014
javd wrote:
I don't think anyone, unless they were there knows who cut the bolts.



Ken denied that he was chopping Farley, and I caught him red-handed in the act, even though he had a restraining order telling him specifically not to visit the property, much less chop bolts.

He is a zealot and a liar, a very bad combination.

Good luck you guys, that is a great crag, hate to see more bolt scars.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 21, 2014
Stoked...
Brian wrote:
CT plates: car is: 949-TPF pickup is: 53C-190.


THANKS Brian! This is great info!

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By Eric Engberg
Jul 22, 2014
There was recently a reliable sighting of KN at Podunk. By someone I trust. Seems to coincide with the chopping. Coincidence?

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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
Jul 22, 2014
Do you know whether or not he's going in through private property off Podunk rd or State Forest from Sturbridge?

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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Jul 22, 2014
javd wrote:
Do you know whether or not he's going in through private property off Podunk rd or State Forest from Sturbridge?


Jeff, I'm pretty sure he is going up the private road. He is not always in his car. Sometimes he climbs there with others.

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