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.
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.
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.
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> I'm kinda wondering why THIS news would concern us Mick??
> SLOW news day?
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?
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.
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.
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.
> (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.
> This is UKC! NOT USC???? Have I missed something??
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.
> 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.
>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?
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.....!!!!!
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.
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