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Bolt cutter in Central Mass.
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By Justin22
From Redlands, CA
Jul 22, 2014
Jumpin
I'd kick this guys ass.

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By Matt Wilson
From Bethel, Vermont, USA
Jul 23, 2014
No, you wouldn't

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 23, 2014
Stoked...
lol

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By Bill Shubert
From Lexington, MA
Jul 23, 2014
Me on Kamakaze 5.10a (Ozone)
I would post on the internet that I would kick that guy's ass.

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By shoo
Jul 23, 2014
Rock wars, Red River Gorge
Bill Shubert wrote:
I would post on the internet that I would kick that guy's ass.


No you wouldn't.

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By mitchy
From nunya gotdamn business.
Jul 24, 2014
I would F--- that guys ass.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 25, 2014
Stoked...
mitchy wrote:
I would F--- that guys ass.


Hum... in like a man love way?

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By Jonathan Haggerty
From Arlington, Massachusetts
Jul 27, 2014
Why hasn't there been a movement to chop the crappy old pitons and sketchy fixed gear floating around New England?

It seems completely backwards to me that one could take a stance against bolts, but not a 6-piece webbing/piton anchor in the middle of a cliff.

"Trad" as we all know, in New England, is simply a state of mind more than a reality...

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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Jul 27, 2014
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH
Justin22 wrote:
I'd kick this guys ass.


If I were going to, I wouldn't post it on the internet first ;)

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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
Jul 27, 2014
I agree Jonathan. Pitons are nothing more than old fashion bolts.

The problem with Ken the Bolt Chopper is that he has severe mental health problems. This retard a legend in his own mind. The guy is in his 60's climbs exclusively in pajama bottoms, I think that summarizes his mental state.

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By beensandbagged
From R.I.
Jul 27, 2014
beer
javd wrote:
I agree Jonathan. Pitons are nothing more than old fashion bolts. The problem with Ken the Bolt Chopper is that he has severe mental health problems. This retard a legend in his own mind. The guy is in his 60's climbs exclusively in pajama bottoms, I think that summarizes his mental state.


Slow down for a minute. While I can not justify the chopping of bolts, and would support the rule of democracy,the unrestricted placement of bolts (bolts instead of gear placements) has without a doubt lead to a lowest common denominator in the demands of climbing. Clipping a bombproof bolt and climbing upward towards the next often visible bolt is no way as taxing as placing your own piece,(hoping it is as good as it looks) and launching up towards the unknown. Whoever the bolt chopper is, however misguided, I do not think he is retarded. He, I would suggest is trying to protect what he sees as the integrity of a sport that he has devoted years of time and energy to (perhaps he should get a life) perhaps he is trying to protect this sport from those who would make it less. Ward had it right when he said he/them was a zealot. Of course this leaves the lingering question when you go off to climb why do you want to do so in a manner that does not demand the most from you?

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By shoo
Jul 27, 2014
Rock wars, Red River Gorge
I think I know the solution

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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
Jul 27, 2014
I appologize, "retarded" is not politically correct.

He is a mental midget.

Just to clarify, in this case, the bolts were cut on a route that could not be safely lead with trad gear. It was a mixed 5.10 that required gear for the first half, then became run out and a potential for ground fall. Some of the bolts were left with sharp edges that were a hazard to climbing ropes. He also cut top rope anchors that were there to prevent damage to the trees. It was the only bolted route on the face.

His actions are jeopardizing access as access is through private property.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 28, 2014
Stoked...
Jonathan Haggerty wrote:
Why hasn't there been a movement to chop the crappy old pitons and sketchy fixed gear floating around New England? It seems completely backwards to me that one could take a stance against bolts, but not a 6-piece webbing/piton anchor in the middle of a cliff. "Trad" as we all know, in New England, is simply a state of mind more than a reality...


This is something that has always bothered me in my access discussions and time in an LCO. Trad folks are so quick to condemn bolting but then just as happy to leave Pitons and all the fixed crap tradies leave, as not a problem. It's a double standard really. IMO any discussions should be framed as fixed protection, not just bolting. To have a discussion about just bolting is to immediately polarize the issue between trad and sport.

The whole situation sucks and ya.. the guy is a zealot and clearly has some mental health issues. And I've shared a rope with dumb ass so I have some first hand exp to base that on...

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By God'sOwnRock
Jul 28, 2014
javd wrote:
I appologize, "retarded" is not politically correct. He is a mental midget. Just to clarify, in this case, the bolts were cut on a route that could not be safely lead with trad gear. It was a mixed 5.10 that required gear for the first half, then became run out and a potential for ground fall. Some of the bolts were left with sharp edges that were a hazard to climbing ropes. He also cut top rope anchors that were there to prevent damage to the trees. It was the only bolted route on the face. His actions are jeopardizing access as access is through private property.


Just to give another argument here from a different perspective. I haven't been living here (New England or the USA) long and only just got out on trap rock, which is great btw. I don't agree with bolting routes like this, in fact I think you should have trad crags and sport crags and not mix them but that's another issue.

There are days when you are able to control your fear and set out on a bold climb. The knowledge that gear is poor and there is ground fall potential makes it very hard to commit but once you do and keep it together, well these are the best and most rewarding climbing experiences I have had. They don't happen very often, so when they do they are very valuable. By bolting these climbs you are taking away the opportunity for someone to have this experience. Unfortunately this does require time and effort, experience and commitment. Some people say you could just not clip the bolt but the mere presence of the bolt reduces the commitment required to start up the route. Steep crags with no gear make excellent sport crags. Crags with a mixture of protectable and protectable but bold routes should remain trad.

I was interested in this Nichols character so I read some of the previous threads on here. There were comments like, placing gear takes time and sport climbing is so much quicker, why should I have to buy trad gear. I think it's this sort of selfish attitude, which is not one of safety but one of convenience that he is trying to protect against the encroachment off. I don't know enough of the location yet to make some individual judgements but from what I have seen so far, the bold routes wouldn't make interesting sport routes.

I'm not defending the guy's wholesale chopping of bolts as I think we should consider the bolting of crags on their individual merits. I'm just saying I can see why he does what he does. If I'd had the first ascent of a bold but not completely unprotectable route and someone just bolted it without even consulting me first I would be pretty pissed off too (I know it's not just his routes).

I can also see the frustration of people who's bolts keep getting chopped. Also if you are gonna chop you should damn well do it properly, just like if you're gonna place a bolt you should do it properly too. Sport climbing is fun there is no doubt about it and I am sure there are some great sport cliffs, I can't wait to get to Rumney. It's not an easy issue but I don't think you should be so quick to throw a strong ethical tradition away for convenient clip ups.

On another issue which people seem concerned about, the conservation of the trees on top of ragged but any bolted belay would be cut. In Britain in these situations, for example at the top of sea cliffs (strict no bolt ethic in most areas) where there is no rock or trees available to set up a belay we often hammer big steel stakes into the ground. These do not permanently change the ground like bolts do the rock and they probably last longer in most cases. Has this ever been thought about as a compromise?

I'm not trying to anger anyone with this post, just share a different perspective.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 28, 2014
Stoked...
God'sOwnRock wrote:
Has this ever been thought about as a compromise?


With regard to Ragged and other heavily used crags... it's entire cliff ecosystems that are severely damaged and destroyed, not just the trees. The loss of topsoil is the loss of habitat. And YES! Stakes, Staples, bolts, it has all been considered but the folks who run the RMF and are responsible for protecting that environment don't care to do anything and in their eyes the cliff top looks great and is in good condition, honest. That's Chuck Boyde's amateur assessment... sad state of affairs really but they don't want to do anything (and don't let them tell you they can't, thats BS).

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 28, 2014
Stoked...
God'sOwnRock wrote:
I don't know enough of the location yet to make some individual judgements but from what I have seen so far, the bold routes wouldn't make interesting sport routes.
.

What about this one???

Golden Age

Or Lightening Strike (5.13 arete of Thor's Hammer)?

Photo


Nichols put up many hard ascents with bolts and pins, and then later ripped them all out and was known for chopping anyone trying to replace them so they could recreate the ascent of the first party... Then tells everyone they must do it like him, now...

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By Dylan B.
Jul 28, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Morgan Patterson wrote:
This is something that has always bothered me in my access discussions and time in an LCO. Trad folks are so quick to condemn bolting but then just as happy to leave Pitons and all the fixed crap tradies leave, as not a problem. It's a double standard really. IMO any discussions should be framed as fixed protection, not just bolting. To have a discussion about just bolting is to immediately polarize the issue between trad and sport. The whole situation sucks and ya.. the guy is a zealot and clearly has some mental health issues. And I've shared a rope with dumb ass so I have some first hand exp to base that on...


I don't think that most of those who do object necessarily have a "double standard;" The objection is to the extent or degree of the impact, not to the simple fact of placing a bolt. It's not that there's a distinction between a piton and a bolt, it's that there's a distinction between a line of 10 bolts + chains on a 30 meter pitch, or three pitons on a 60 meter pitch. Also, to a small degree a piton does less damage to the rock too; (but that's a pretty minor distinction if you ask me).

If someone genuinely argues that no bolts should ever be permitted because they damage the rock, then yes, it would be inconsistent for them to argue that pitons are OK. But I don't think that's the usual argument. (For some people, maybe it is, but are they placing pitons?). Most people have more nuanced ideas about when fixed protection is OK and under what circumstances. So I don't think many people are being hypocrites in the way you suggest.

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By God'sOwnRock
Jul 28, 2014
Morgan Patterson wrote:
. What about this one??? Golden Age Or Lightening Strike (5.13 arete of Thor's Hammer)? Photo Nichols put up many hard ascents with bolts and pins, and then later ripped them all out and was known for chopping anyone trying to replace them so they could recreate the ascent of the first party... Then tells everyone they must do it like him, now...



I did say from what I have seen, I haven't seen those routes, they'd be too hard for me anyway! For me if the bolts can be reached from adjacent trad lines they're a definite no no, otherwise I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it, my instinct says no but I haven't climbed enough here yet.

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By Dylan B.
Jul 28, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
I also think that most traddies who object to new bolts have a "climb what's there" mentality, and are not themselves adding pitons. If someone is pounding pitons on a Tuesday, and chopping bolts on the same crag on a Wednesday, then they're probably hypocrites. But apart from that, I think most people who object to adding bolts are not applying a double standard.

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By God'sOwnRock
Jul 28, 2014
D.Buffum wrote:
The objection is to the extent or degree of the impact, not to the simple fact of placing a bolt. It's not that there's a distinction between a piton and a bolt, it's that there's a distinction between a line of 10 bolts + chains on a 30 meter pitch, or three pitons on a 60 meter pitch. Also, to a small degree a piton does less damage to the rock too; (but that's a pretty minor distinction if you ask me).


This is true, it's often possible to add one or two bolts to a route without changing it's character, trouble is often this leads to more being added.

For most people in my experience the rock damage is only one consideration. The main reason is changing the character of the climbing and denying people a chance to make deep decisions about risk and commitment and have an overall rewarding experience just for the sake of convenience.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jul 28, 2014
Stoked...
God'sOwnRock wrote:
I did say from what I have seen, I haven't seen those routes, they'd be too hard for me anyway! For me if the bolts can be reached from adjacent trad lines they're a definite no no, otherwise I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it, my instinct says no but I haven't climbed enough here yet.


Most of the bolting that people want to do in this state is for hard routes which are not safely leadable without some fixed gear, not retro-bolting trad routes. There's a fair debate about bolting and placing fixed gear on TR's, I fall on the make them leads side rather then leave it as a deathroute no one will enjoy soloing. There are quite a few routes that have been put up with mixed (fixed gear and trad gear)... IMO that's the new standard to strive for in developing in state. As far as crowding routes, I agree, new routes shouldn't significantly detract from old routes.

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By God'sOwnRock
Jul 28, 2014
Morgan Patterson wrote:
Most of the bolting that people want to do in this state is for hard routes which are not safely leadable without some fixed gear, not retro-bolting trad routes. There's a fair debate about bolting and placing fixed gear on TR's, I fall on the make them leads side rather then leave it as a deathroute no one will enjoy soloing. There are quite a few routes that have been put up with mixed (fixed gear and trad gear)... IMO that's the new standard to strive for in developing in state. As far as crowding routes, I agree, new routes shouldn't significantly detract from old routes.


Sounds like we're not thinking too differently, although I think there is a difference between routes with a big whipper/deck potential from some points only and completely unprotectable routes. And even then it depends on the routes.

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By christopher adams
Jul 28, 2014
Morgan Patterson wrote:
Most of the bolting that people want to do in this state is for hard routes which are not safely leadable without some fixed gear, not retro-bolting trad routes. There's a fair debate about bolting and placing fixed gear on TR's, I fall on the make them leads side rather then leave it as a deathroute no one will enjoy soloing. There are quite a few routes that have been put up with mixed (fixed gear and trad gear)... IMO that's the new standard to strive for in developing in state. As far as crowding routes, I agree, new routes shouldn't significantly detract from old routes.


I think for the most part that's true, but this was not exactly the case at Firewall. A number of the sport routes were put up directly over or immediately adjacent to existing trad lines that were PG at worst.

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By Greg DeMatteo
From W. Lebanon, NH
Jul 28, 2014
ward smith wrote:
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.


I literally stumbled into Farley, which was just a legend to a 16 year old back in 1993, and to think that Nichols is still rolling around creating this drama in 2014 is insane.

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