The information below is for the benefit of the experienced
climber/bolter! Use this information at your own risk. The Willy-Stick
can be a beneficial aid in lead bolting and dangerous if used without caution.
Do Not use this information without considering all the risks. You are
responsible for your actions. If you can't handle this Click Here
What is a Willy Stick?
The Willy stick is simply a 2x4 piece of lumber that you can get at any hardware store. The diagram to the left shows the length and spacing that I use on my Willy Stick, and I don't recommend veering to far from those dimensions. Use 3/8" bolts with locking nuts to attach the bolt hangers to the stick.
As you can see in the pictures above, the Willy Stick works on leverage. The middle bolt clips into the last bolt placed and the top bolts are to hang aiders from and to clip into once you get your waist up to the top of the stick. ALWAYS keep downward pressure on the stick once you're on it. If you lean into the wall too far the stick will spin and give you a ride we call the Windshield Wiper. Bill and I witnessed this firsthand one day when a Willy-Stick noob was putting up a new route on a new wall in Maple. The wall was later named the Windshield Wiper Wall.
If you have any questions or comments about the Willy Stick drop me a note.
Bill Boyle bolting a route in Maple Canyon, Utah on the Willy Stick.
Photos courtesy and property of Jalayne Engberg.
The Willy Stick was created by Bill Boyle during the early days at Maple Canyon, Utah. Boyle and other climbers established most routes by placing bolts while hanging from the last bolt they drilled. They adopted this ground-up, bolt to bolt method because the tops of most cliffs weren't accessible for rappel drilling and because many of the cobbles seemed too insecure for hooking. This bolt-to-bolt method of drilling can be a very strenuous way to establish a route and even harder on steep rock, not to mention that you don't get as much space between bolts. So, after one grueling day of drilling, Bill went home put on his thinking cap and, after a few High Point beers, conceived the Willy Stick.