/ NEWS: US Bolt Chopper Banned By Judge From Chopping Bolts

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Michael Ryan - on 30 Jul 2007
Ken Nichols, 59, of Connecticut has been chopping bolts at the crags of Western Massachusetts and New England in the Northeast USA for nearly 20 years. But no more.

He spent a day in court in front of a judge after being caught chopping bolts last April.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/
banned profile 74 on 30 Jul 2007 - 88-107-107-60.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: like banning people from speeding,wont really dtop him imho
Guy "Fawksey" Wilson - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to beastofackworth: If they hung one or two speeders from lamp posts I think the message would get through
Bob on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Was he chopping bolts from routes that had previously been climbed without or routes that were first climbed with bolts for pro? If it's the former then it is the bolters who should have been up in court.

I remember the name from twenty years ago, but then it was about his unusual protection methods - skyhooks tied down by jumars on ropes fixed between the hook and tree roots; sarcastic notes blutacced to the rock - "pumpy isn't it?" and so on.

boB
thomasadixon - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Poor guy.
Padraig on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I'm kinda wondering why THIS news would concern us Mick??

SLOW news day?
P
Michael Ryan - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Bob:

That's the chap Bob...sky hooks tied down with ropes on routes at Ragged Mountain in Connecticut. He wroote the guidebook to that cliff as well. I think Chris Plant might have belayed him on one occaision.

I think most were originally climbed with bolts: Rumney routes certainly were...and the rest, Mormon Hollow etc

I remember one Christmas, '94 I think. I climbed at Rose Ledge in Western Mass with Roger ?, Jerry Peel, Mark Radtke and Micky J. Sport routes...and a spot of bouldering. We went back a coupla days later and the routes had all been chopped.

Mad as a hatter Ken Nichols.

Mick
SI A on 30 Jul 2007 - 77-100-106-196.cable.ubr03.hawk.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to thomasadixon:

i dont necessarily feel sorry for him. if he was doing something that was against the agreed method for protecting the crag.

a small minority cant just disagree and carry on without any thought to the general consensus.

sad though that it had to go to court and they couldnt agree. the guy was obviously very motivated, seems he lived in the wrong country.
Michael Ryan - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to SI A:
> (In reply to thomasadixon)

> sad though that it had to go to court and they couldnt agree.

People tried. Remember this had been going on for 20 years.

Imagine if someone decided to do this in this contry, say at Portland or Malham....after 20 years of bolt chopping you don't have many alternatives left.

> the guy was obviously very motivated, seems he lived in the wrong country.

Which country should have live in then? I'm sure he is quite happy in the US as most are.

Bob on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I got the definite impression (back in 1984) that he regarded Connecticut as his own personal fiefdom. Like you say, a few pennies short of a shilling.

boB
Alan Rubin - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Bob: Nichols removes ALL fixed protection, he doesn't care about the previous "history" of the routes at all, and doesn't limit himself to bolts but removes fixed pitons as well. But for what its worth, the bolts at the crags here in Western Mass. are in almost all cases, on routes that were not previously led without(there are just a couple of exceptions that have been accepted for different reasons---changes to rock limiting placement of clean protection, etc). While there are some pure sport routes most of the routes here are either traditionally protected or a mix of trad gear and bolts--often just one bolt on otherwise traditionally protected lines. Remember we have a different ethic here than in the UK and while there are also a few death or serious-injury headpoint routes as well locally, they are not the norm. The local climbing community is and has been virtually unanimous in the way our crags have been developed, including leaving some crags totally free of fixed protection (except for some possible anchors to preserve vegetation), so to have this one person--let alone that he is an outsider who rarely climbs here--repeatedly destroy our work, and to jeopardize the years of hard work we have invested in establishing good relations with the landowners, eventually gave us no choice but to proceed against him through the court. It is worth noting that for some of these crags he spent considerable time--in one case approximately 18 months--searching for the crags, not to climb on them but solely to remove any fixed protection that he heard was there.
IainSunderland - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Padraig:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> I'm kinda wondering why THIS news would concern us Mick??
>
> SLOW news day?
> P


It concerns me. Rumney, the Gunks and the 'Dacks are relatively close crags to me and are generally important to Ontario climbers. I'm interested in keeping up with the latest battles of the ongoing bolt wars.

I wonder if it was this guy who chopped the traverse pitch on Thin Air at Cathedral Ledge?
Bob on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Alan Rubin:

Thanks for that Alan, I wasn't intending imposing UK ethics on you guys just that neither the news item nor the linked website gave any background to the issue.

The whole saga just seems a little sad really.

boB
Alan Rubin - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to IainSunderland: No it wasn't Nichols who chopped the bolts on Thin Air at Cathedral Ledge---that was a North Conway local, who was trying to restore a route to its original condition that had had bolts added largely for guided parties---a very different story, though that situation also ended up in court I believe. And, Mick, it couldn't have been Rose Ledge you guys visited in "94, as Rose has always been a no-bolt crag, it was probably Farley or possibly Mormon Hollow.
Michael Ryan - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Alan Rubin:

Hi Al,

I remember it had an off-width crack there, or we walked past one, and I think we went through a rock arch to get to the sport routes....maybe Farley.

It wasn't Mormon as they had just been chopped according to Steve Weitzler and Ton Nonis.

Mick
Padraig on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to IainSunderland:
"It concerns me."

This is UKC! NOT USC???? Have I missed something??
Alan Rubin - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Hi Mick, Yep, that was Farley---the "arch" led you to what is known as the "Bat Cave area". That is a great example of the negative effect of Ken's actions on the climbing community around here. The Bat Cave routes were first bolted early in '94---a few were pure sport, some mixed and there is only one trad. route in the "sector". One reason that area was bolted is that it was hidden away and it was hoped that Ken wouldn't find it. During that summer there was a group of,mostly local, climbers happily climbing there most evenings, enjoying ourselves, socializing as well as climbing as is so often the case at outcrop type areas.Then one day we arrived to find that the routes had been chopped, clearly by Ken(he has his own way of trying to sabotage the remains so the holes can't be reused, as well as other "signatures").Immediately the cliff was vitually abandoned by climbers, the group that had congregated there went their separate ways(to Rumney's benefit was Ward Smith, Paula King and other Team Tough members focussed their new routeing there instead), people here became that much more isolated and paranoid, and access difficulties resurfaced---all because of Ken's "attack". Its taken over a decade, and alot of hard work by alot of folks through the Western Mass. Climber's Coalition to bring things back to the way they were. And this summer, once again many of the same folks, and new faces as well, are again climbing and enjoying themselves---thats what it's suppossed to be about isn't it?--in the now again accessible and rebolted Bat Cave.That off-width you mentioned was finally climbed a few years ago by John Lavalley, after many failures by others--including Nichols!!!!--totally traditionally protected, weighing in at 5.13b(I believe)--one of the hardest off-widths in the east--or anywhere, I imagine. Its called Bulletproof. Thats whats great about Farley and our other local crags a great mix of trad, sport, bouldering, even top-roping(shock,horror!!!!)that everyone--except Ken--is happy to accept and enjoy.
Mick Ward - on 30 Jul 2007
In reply to Alan Rubin:

And we thought we had problems with our Ken!

Mick
Wee Davie - on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to Alan Rubin:

Me and a pal spent a week climbing on Cathdedral and Whitehorse Ledges NH in the late 90's and compared to this country (Scotland) the level of fixed pro was quite striking.
I remember Thin Air, for example, having a lot of pegs on it and feeling that they were excessive. You certainly wouldn't encounter it on the crags here.
It was good to see the slabby Whitehorse Ledge had been left less tarnished.
Brilliant climbing though, and I'd love to go back.

Davie
banned profile 74 on 31 Jul 2007 - 88-107-125-115.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Fawksey:
> (In reply to beastofackworth) If they hung one or two speeders from lamp posts I think the message would get through


like putting murderers to death in america has stopped people commiting murder?
Michael Ryan - on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to Wee Davie:
> (In reply to Alan Rubin)
>
> Me and a pal spent a week climbing on Cathdedral and Whitehorse Ledges NH in the late 90's and compared to this country (Scotland) the level of fixed pro was quite striking.
> I remember Thin Air, for example, having a lot of pegs on it

Old aid remnants I think Davie. Similar to many tall granite cliffs in the USA. Compare to say, Millstone or many of the grit quarries that were used for aid climbing.
In reply to Padraig:

> This is UKC! NOT USC???? Have I missed something??

Clearly, yes.

Are you really so parochial that you take no interest in climbing outside of your country? Even when it has echoes to some of the ethics and style discussion that we are continually having in the UK? Perhaps you think us British climbers have all the answers but I suggest we could all learn from the mistakes and successes of others elsewhere.
In reply to Alan Rubin:
> That off-width you mentioned was finally climbed a few years ago by John Lavalley, after many failures by others--including Nichols!!!!--totally traditionally protected, weighing in at 5.13b(I believe)--one of the hardest off-widths in the east--or anywhere, I imagine. Its called Bulletproof.

Hi Alan, do you know of any pics of the route on the internet? Although I will never be able to climb any of them I take a voyeuristic interest in amazing level of US cracks climbs - so was surprised that I hadn't heard of this one. I'd love to see a photo.
Craig Smith on 31 Jul 2007 - cf-cf208-002.sbs.man.ac.uk
In reply to Padraig:


>This is UKC! NOT USC???? Have I missed something??

Yes, you missed how much of an idiot you sound.

Re Ken: Having first hand experienced the distruction this guy causes it's about time. He reminds me of the US moral minority that have done a great job of screwing up the world. Pleae can somebody ban them?

C


seagull on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to Craig Smith:

Sounds like it's a shame he wasn't banned a long time ago. What a total p***k, IMVHO.
Alan Rubin - on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to TobyA: Hello Toby, I don't know of any pictures of the route---I'll ask John when I see him. However it really isn't a particularly photogenic pitch, a steep wide crack on a rock in the trees!!!! In fact on first impression it doesn't look so hard, even I initially had delusions, but then you get on it.....!!!!!
Michael Ryan - on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to Alan Rubin:

Did Barry Rugo give it a try!
Alan Rubin - on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if he did.I have some vauge memory of a rumor that he did try it. But, till recently, thats been the deal with Farley--an obscure crag in the woods with on and off access problems that would occasionally be visited by variouss parties who did their own thing and didn't say much about it. I haven't seen Barry in a few years now, he seems to have disappeared from the scene. Too bad--nice guy, great climber--one of the many little-known top performers. As far as people know Wayne Burleson was the first to get up the crack--on top-rope--but with "tape-enhanced" hands!!!! John eventaually led it, and I don't believe its seen a repeat lead. Zeb Engberg got up it on a top-rope---by laybacking and weird body contortions, but I don't think he's yet led it.
Robbie H - on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

> Which country should have live in then? I'm sure he is quite happy in the US as most are.

Ireland. A couple of weekends and he'd have the entire country bolt-free.
fish08 on 31 Jul 2007 - notes.servalsystems.co.uk
In reply to Robbie H: I'm pretty sure Ireland has enough over-zealous choppers already thank-you-very-much.
Ste Brom on 31 Jul 2007 - dhcp-892b0567.ucd.ie
In reply to fish08: it would probably take him an afternoon, with a break in between.
Morgan Woods - on 31 Jul 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

he should get an ASBO....an anti social bolting order.
Pete Diah Clark on 01 Aug 2007 - 12.154.170.34 whois?
In reply to Alan Rubin:

Rubin, Bulletproof is one of the most asthetic lines at Farley! It is gorgeous! The Rock, The light!. I have photos of myself and Zeb on it. Unfortunatly I am en route to UTAH, so I cannot share them for some time. In terms of the grade, it is very hard for .13b. It is more like "Jon Lavalley 13b". It has been tried by some of the best (as you know), like Henry Barber and Tim Kemple (hey, he is a decent crack climber right?). It eats you alive! ZEB freaking did it on TR ... laid back. Epic
simes303 - on 01 Aug 2007
In reply to Padraig:
> (In reply to IainSunderland)
> "It concerns me."
>
> This is UKC! NOT USC???? Have I missed something??


its an interesting news article. whats wrong with it being about foreign climbing. do you also object to the dave graham climbs realisation article. etc.

sorry, my question mark button has stopped working.

si.

A Longleat Boulderer - on 01 Aug 2007
In reply to Padraig:
> (In reply to IainSunderland)
> "It concerns me."
>
> This is UKC! NOT USC???? Have I missed something??

Obviously you have.

Personally I find it an interesting news article.

Do you not watch the BBC news because it involves news items from, for example, Iraq?

No? Well give Mick a f*cking break then.

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