Throwback Thursday - Way Back at the Woods

Here's an oldie from our Bouldering School history section:

The Rhodey Loadies

So named for their penchant for smoking loads of pot, the Rhodey Loadies were the driving force at Lincoln Woods in the 1970s and 80s. Many of their members did the first ascents of such classics as Mack's Traverse, Iron Cross, Try Again, and others. Paul Baird, a member of the Gunks' famed Vulgarians, was the group's ringleader and introduced the woods to most of the other Loadies. Paul wrote us and said, "The triathalon was really a quadrathon (Rhody Loady Rodeo): 1. Swim across the lake, 2. Boulder 250pts not 100, 3. Bike 50 miles (up into Burriville(sp?) and back), 4. 10K run around the lake (Start & end at Lower Druid Circle picnic area). When the one time the Loadies did it as a race we eliminated the swim for fear of drowning (still a killer workout); however I used to do it with the swim as a wacked out training program and could never get any of the Loady youngsters to join me!" John "Whitey" McLean, one of the best known climbers in the northeast, was an early member of the group and sent many problems during this time which remain stiff testpieces. The Scoop on the Heart Boulder and Whitey's Hardest on the Yosemite Boulder are two good examples. At a young 44 years old (Whitey is now a bit older than this!), Whitey still pulls down with the best of them and is an inspiration to old guys everywhere.

John McLean circa 1978 on the third ascent of The Great Thanksgiving Day Smokeout (reverse Iron Cross) shortly after the first and second ascents.

John McLean circa 1978 on the third ascent of The Great Thanksgiving Day Smokeout (reverse Iron Cross) shortly after the first and second ascents.

Neil Pothier, the original teen sensation, amazed the loadies by sending many hard problems of the day including Neil's Lunge in The Cave and Neil's Nose on The Egg. Neil occasionally shows up at the woods, and even right off the couch, still can climb pretty hard problems. Ed Sewall was the first one to snag the finishing hold of Try Again, and climbed many other hard problems at the woods.

Ed Sewall bouldering on the Whitey Whale (the classic Slick 50 is just to the right of this photo). This boulder is now covered with graffiti.

Ed Sewall bouldering on the Whitey Whale (the classic Slick 50 is just to the right of this photo). This boulder is now covered with graffiti.

Mack Johnson, of Mack's Traverse fame, put up a lot of problems at the woods, but may be most well-known for putting the R on the rating of Blackjack Crack at Rumney. Although it is not clear whether he was soloing the route or attempting to lead it, Mack fell and broke his back on the talus at the base of this massive boulder. A latecomer to the Loadies, Andrew Sornborger sent many hard problems at the woods including Pete's Problem and Just Do It on the Try Again Boulder. Most of the Loadies took the climbing skills they honed at the woods to cliffs and boulders across the U.S. Baird has done first ascents across New England including on Cannon, Whitey has redpointed many 13s at the New River Gorge, and Ed Sewall reportedly redpoints 13s at Smith Rock.