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Little John's Big Stick 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Richard Wright
Page Views: 2,532
Submitted By: Tony B on Jan 1, 2001

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The fun overhanging finish. The rope to the left i...

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  • Description 

    Near the top right hand side of Sherwood Forest, an obvious right-facing corner leads up 40 feet to a pinnacle. Surmount this and place textbook gear in a horizontal, then make moderate moves to reach the first of 3 bolts, continuing to the top of the route.

    [Eds. This route and its comments have been the site of a great deal of passionate and negative energy. Much of that has been deleted as it was a stain for the climbing community and for this site. Apologies to those who feel slighted. Some of the essential comments have been left. Please direct your energies (hopefully positive) elsewhere. Life is short. Do something fun!]


    A full set of cams from 0.5" to 3.5" and a set of tricams or stoppers to the top [of] the dihedral. The route starts off with a good #3 Camalot placement and climbs on good gear to the top of the tower, where one of several cams can be put in an excellent horizontal to the right. From there, 3 bolts with cold-shut hangers lead to a cold shut anchor at the top. A few longer slings are good to have for a section where the handcrack jogs right then back left.

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    Comments on Little John's Big Stick Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 2, 2008
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Mar 5, 2002

    Not worth the effort.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Aug 2, 2004

    For those that don't know or can't remember the facts of the matter, which as noted by another poster, are archeived on this site... Or for those who didn't bother to read them, or maybe those who KNOW the facts, but just don't want to discuss them honsetly... I didn't even contact Richard Wright about removing the bolts until after he posted publically to this website saying to "pull them."

    Kudo's to Richard: there are ethical quandries about both placing and removing bolts next to potential gear placements that's I'm unprepared to deal with unilaterally. I removed these bolts with permission, and without it would not have done so. So maybe there was a different "choppin' posse" forming, but I wasn't part of it. I preferred to think of this route as a reasonable and diplomatic agreement of both sides as opposed to ignition of a bolt war. I have no interest in a bolt war. Other people will always see it in their own light.

    By the way, I was up clipping bolts with Richard just a few weeks ago at a crag he has been developing, Ra. So who said I was anti-bolt? Obviously someone who doesn't know me.
    By Richard M. Wright
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Aug 2, 2004
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    On second reflection, perhaps it is all well and good to hold an ethical discussion over a minor route. It's likely that there would not be much to discuss if the bolts had been placed on the 5th pitch of the Naked Edge, or up Pervertical Sanctuary. Like all good discussions this one has at least two worthy and rational sides to it. Tony approached me with the proposition that because popular opinion seemed to lean heavily toward pulling the bolts on LJ, he would do so if I consented. This was a level headed, reasonable, and anything but hysterical request, and that is certainly one characteristic of his. What I told him, in what was hopefully no more agitated a state of mind, was that I personally thought it not a good idea to get into something that smacked of an ethics police "vigilanteeism", but if the general tenor of things favored removal, then pull them. What the F***, I wasn't heavily invested in it in any way and I had no trouble accepting consensus opinion. Bob's argument is every bit as reasonable, and please correct me if don't say this right. The crag was developed largely with bolts since most the routes needed them, and the dozen feet of climbing in question don't add up to very much. There is also a very long tradition in climbing to leave a route in the form of its original ascent, and stripping LJ invites vigilantee bolt wars, and it gives unwarranted credence to the most vitriolic element. Furthermore, the tolerance implicit in Bob's stance provides an opportunity for the climber to exercise their own judgement in their own work. We're climbers afterall, and at least one of the reasons we climb is to define ourselves differently from the 9 to 5 herd mentality that consumes most of our lives. If one tries to cobble together these different sides, along with Steve's position, then it seems to me that we come up with something like the following. If you are putting in new routes, then for the most part you will be working on something you don't own and putting in a route does not confer any greater ownership on the crag. It's still not yours. There is a general preference in Colorado that if the balance of a pitch can be done trad, then leave it trad. If consensus wisdom argues for adjusting a route by adding or removing bolts, then accept the decision based on the greater wisdom. We can all make mistakes. However, I would also add that if we are going to preserve the individuality of climbing and if we are going to recognize the investment that each climber places in climbing, then we are going to have to accept that some things will be done differently than we might choose ourselves. If we can't do this, then climbing is not worth the effort.
    By Greaser
    Aug 3, 2004

    Paul, where, exactly do you stand on this issue???

    Show me the [relevance] of WHATEVER I said to the incremental n=1,2,3...infinity expression (Are you trying to express this in terms of a series...) you used.

    Would you approve of the removal of any bolt on the routes you established? I'm not suggesting you approve, just trying to understand what you are getting at.


    You had to of known that this would become the topic of another heated debate that you have very definite views on. And you have cast youself in the middle of it. I can't help but wonder what you real intentions are??? megalomaniac???. You say that you did this in order to ease tensions in regard to what some "anarchist" were planning, but I think that you just appeased them. "Give [an] inch and they will want a mile". Time will tell where this will lead. In that moment you were right (I can't disagree), but your actions MIGHT precipitate more anarchy. I hope not, and I hope that you will be right in the long run.....
    By Michael Komarnitsky
    Founding Father
    From: Seattle, WA
    Aug 4, 2004

    We were kinda overdue for one of these discussions... but a quick note from a "moderator" of the site:

    One, this is a legitimate topic for discussion.

    Two, people seem to be failing to follow the single rule we have for posting: "Don't be a jerk." I know that's pretty complicated, but please do try.
    By Darren Mabe
    From: Flagstaff, AZ
    Aug 5, 2004

    NOW that the hornets nest has been stirred and everyone has "bolting ethics" on their minds...

    Regarding Castle Rock: P2 of Corinthian Vine has an old fixed copper head near the top (after you pull out of the dihedral and onto the jugs). There is no other gear available and a fall here would slam you into the ledge above Boot Lead/Close To The Edge (assuming the head rips). Should a bolt replace this "fixed" head? Or should this lead continue to be spooky? And why is there a bolt on that ledge anyway? Suppose that the fixed head wasnt there anymore?

    ok, gentlemen, start your engines...
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 5, 2004

    posted on this site: By: Richard M. Wright On: 8.24.2003 Comments: Pull them.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 9, 2004

    Oh brother, Tony's weary. Tony, you started this. You sat on your high horse and loudly proclaimed your intentions to the world. Deal with it ya whiner.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Aug 12, 2004

    I sent you this before, but so long as you continue lighting fires pretending this does not exist, I guess that my moral compass says it is the least of the possible evils to post it. Richard, if you are reading this, forgive my divulsion of a personal email. Since you said you wanted to avoid a bolt war, I am acting in my best conscience in posting this to do so. Maybe I shoulda done it a long time ago, maybe you shoulda.

    Maybe, Bob, you are interested in this because you've bolted handcracks yourself such as up in CCC on the Crystal Tower, chipped holds in climbs, and claimed the FA of routes you have never climbed... but I digress.

    So here is the permission from Richard. Apparently there is confusion and I generally don't like posting formerly private emails, but if it will put a bolt war to bed, here it is.

    Thanks for contacting me directly. Frankly, LJBS has always been an after-thought in my mind. Not a big deal by any means. I could care less whether it is bolted from the start or trad, so if you are in the area and want to yank them, have at it. If you do pull them, it would be a good idea to have this noted somewhere. While it would not take a rocket scientist to see that some pro would be useful, with the notation placed in the route description, someone could plan on taking the gear. We should be careful not to start an all-out trad-sport conflict.

    (Insert- I have removed a few sentences of text here regarding other bolted cracks and their locations and FA parties which I don't know Richard would approve of me posting.)

    Perhaps if it is clear that the FA party is in agreement, or doesn't care, then it may be less of a declaration of open warfare.

    -Richard "

    Bob, are you satisfied now that this is public? Can we move on? You can call it alleged if you like, and I won't argue. You know well enough though that I am honest and try to do right, and I think you know (regardless of what you might say in public) that I am not making a word of that up.

    Richard's 'consensus' statement was much later and in the context of involving a local bolt chopper and what he said was: -----------"So long as there is no disagreement about bolt removal, it may not matter a great deal who does so. But, I do agree that ************ is probably the wrong choice."---------

    So let's not cloud that any further. Let's move on. Regardless of what was said later, I was given permission to remove the bolts and that is clear. Richard also warned me that it might touch something off. He was right. I did what I did because I saw something touching off if I didn't and I though that the bolts were unnecessary and that proper removal (clean, non-violent, with permission) is better than hanger-smashing, which is less reasonable and certain to enrage.

    Now that all of the facts are out, I have nothing further to say. I accept the responsibility for what I did, and I accepted it openly before. But I'm not taking crap for what I didn't do and I absolve myself from any responsibility for the future. I told you what I think is impending and if it happens, remember I told you about it in advance and you made your own choices. I'm over it.
    By Ron Olsen
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 12, 2004

    I brought my trad rack to Sherwood Forest this afternoon and led Little John's Big Stick on gear. The direct start up the corner is hard and poorly protected, so I came in from the right and got a bomber #3 Camalot as my first placement, just as Tony says. Above, I got solid placements with a #.75 Camalot and a red Alien before reaching the detached pillar. I put a #2 Camalot in the crack at the base of the pillar, but avoided putting a bigger cam up higher. At the horizontal crack I got a good red tricam. From here, it's three bolts to the anchor.

    My assessment: LJBS is a reasonable and fun climb done in this manner. All gear placements are in solid rock, and the #2 Camalot placed at the base of the detached pillar would exert mimimal levering on the pillar in the event of a fall (which is unlikely since the climbing is easy in this section).
    By Paul Hunnicutt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 2, 2008
    rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    I lead this bottom section on gear. You could pretty much stand just above the ground and place a very small stopper or RP to protect the first move to good gear. I didn't bother and just clipped the bolt. Then lead on good gear until the start of the dihedral. After that it would be dicey on gear at best.

    I won't even bother with the gear/bolt debate above, and I just lead it because I enjoy placing gear. Probably could just bring 4-5 cams for this. I placed a #0.5, #1, #3, and a yellow Alien. Probably should have used a #2 as the #3 is high on the pillar as Ron mentioned. You probably could find some crap in the dihedral, but why bother. This isn't Serenity Crack.

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