Trail Tools: Spartacus (Revisited)

Spartacus, our rock moving tool developed by one of our own members, last made an appearance on our blog back in 2008 when Ron debuted it with links to the plans.

I am revisiting Spartacus here to centralize the information we have about the tool and link to the blueprint plans.
In our original post back in 2008 we wrote:

“Tom Erb designed Spartacus several years ago to help with much of the rockwork at Klondike, but since we’ve been using it quite a bit as of late, I thought I’d mention it again.  This is a very clever device, made out of chains arranged in concentric circles, that lets you move heavy objects, usually rocks, when you don’t have the luxury of bringing in heavy equipment. The rock is maneuvered onto Spartacus, and then up to 8 handles allow for a number of people, strong of back, weak of mind, to carry or drag it to the desired position.

The plans for building your own have been released under the Creative Commons license, or you can pay Tom to build one for you.”

Well, it’s not clear if Tom has the time anymore to build one for you but we are sharing the plans with you. We have enhanced the Spartacus concept by applying the same design using nylon straps like those designed to tie down large truck loads. This has decreased the standalone weight of Spartacus by over 20 pounds (or more). This is a huge improvement as the complaints from volunteers who have had to carry Mr. Spartacus more than a half-mile have been silenced.


Image of nylon Spartacus in use  poor visibility)


Finished product courtesy of Spartacus rock delivery method

Below you will find the original document describing Spartacus:


The Spartacus is a chain sling used to enable people to move heavy rocks and objects during trail work. It is ideal for moving rocks bigger than a few people can move, to enable crib walls, stunts, and other rocky features. It’s also the ultimate tool for closing renegade trails and building choke points into your trails to discourage unauthorized user groups.

! Specifications:

* Constructed of over 40 feet of 750 pound working load proof chain
* Connecting links are stronger than the chain
* Eight handles allow everyone a comfortable grip

! Directions:

1. Use multiple pry-bars to roll a heavy rock onto the Spartacus.
2. Get a bunch of strong people to pick up or drag the rock to near the desired place.
3. Roll rock into place.
4. Keep a sledgehammer handy to help rocks fit where you want them to.

! Warnings:

1. Not for overhead lifting
2. Use at your own risk
3. Only people should use the Spartacus. Connection to mechanized equipment is not recommended and should only be attempted by qualified personnel.
4. Inspect your spartacus daily for damaged links and connecting link
closures. After years of use, we haven’t had one fail yet, but you
could be the first. See numbers 1 and 2 again.
5. Wear boots and gloves, duh. Consider steel toe boots if you do this a lot.
6. If thrown like a fishing net, Spartacus may cause brain trauma.
7. Spartacus is not a toy.
8. Do not taunt Spartacus.


Plans, assembly directions, and parts lists are available free of charge under the creative commons license.

Download the blueprints in PDF format (117KB)

Contact GORC via our message board if you need one pre-built.

We do ask that if you build a Spartacus, please send us photos of it in action at gorc at gorctrails com.

Best of luck in your trail building endeavors.