some gear development history of the 80's


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Pagosa Springs CO
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 16, 2005 - 07:23pm PT
Before I put all this stuff away in my archives, I thought I post some pics of some gear developments I was involved with in the 80's:

Here's the evolution of the hauling pulley:
The left one is an early Metolius model, the first, I believe. Although a great innovation, it slipped a little with high loads as the cam pressed against the rotating pulley wheel. The next three are prototypes I designed with Rock Thomson, of what was then RockExotica (I was part owner of his company as well).

Then we worked on solo devices:
After Rock came out with the Soloist, we co-designed the SoloAid. It was only slightly better than a clove hitch.

Here's the first Hurricane Mountain Works hand drill, and the commercial version:
HMW was a company I started with Tim Martin, an amazing machinist (he designed all the robotic manufacturing equipment for Chums). Still my favorite drill, as it allows for any hardware store bit of any size shank to be used.

Next, the BirdBeak:
The left two are Czech handmade beaks from way back, precursor to all the modern ones. The next five are my prototypes, after Bridwell showed me his sawed off Crack'n'ups that he used on a first ascent on Half Dome. The last one (never produced) had a swinging small wedge for clean placements.

Slider Nuts:
Though Porter reputedly made slider nuts in the 70's I never saw one. The first one on the left in the Metolius. Second two are Don Best's designs. The fourth one is my "Monkey Paw" (precursor to the BallNut). The fifth, the BallNut (an original from the Wired Bliss shop, before Lowe bought the patent), and the last two are other designs that came out later.
Close ups:

Here are some of my prototypes of the Monkey Paw:

More later...

can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Mar 16, 2005 - 07:50pm PT
Damn, who said flashbacks don't happen? Great history there John.

Do you remember a guy named Fig and his role in the ballnut idea by any chance?

So what'cha going to do with all the empty closet space?


Pagosa Springs CO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 16, 2005 - 07:53pm PT
More junk:

here's the first climbing gear I ever manufactured, in the college machine shop in 1978:
They were modeled after some nice "Seneca" stoppers I had once seen but which were unavailable at the time: squatter and more taper than the Chouinard/Frost models widely available then.

Some wierd things to smash into rock:

And some Czech knots that were used for clean pro:

But here's my real treasure: junk collected off routes over the years:
Each piece brings back some real memories, like that bolt hanger on the left that pulled under body weight and I took a 50' whip on a Burton/Sutton route (Magic Mushroom) I did with Corbett.

Not to mention the original Shiprock piton hand cleaned off the Ormes rib:
(placed in the javalina skull Walt and I found after a new route in Sedona--the whole edifice is the "Walt Memorial")


Trad climber
San Rafael, CA
Mar 16, 2005 - 08:09pm PT
Great post!

Mar 16, 2005 - 08:53pm PT
The left one is an early Metolius model, the first, I believe.

So John, I still have the one you gave me. Which one is that? And I filed those notches in it like you originally suggested and it worked like a dream. Somehow this haul-pulley is still the best one I own.
David Nelson

San Francisco
Mar 16, 2005 - 08:56pm PT
Have you considered giving the originals to the Yosemite Climbing Museum? THen they could rest next to the original Stoveleg Pitons, etc.

Pagosa Springs CO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 16, 2005 - 09:17pm PT
well, all the stuff in this post I am going to hang onto. Someday some of it may be worthy of a nice spot like the yos museum, but still want to hang onto it for a while.

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Mar 16, 2005 - 09:57pm PT
Awesome. Thanks for sharing. I still have some of those sliders. Used them in Zion in the 80's and learned how they got their name....they slid! Probably operator error...
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Dec 2, 2009 - 02:05pm PT
Hi Deuce,

Nice thread.


Trad climber
Dodge Sprinter Dreaming
Dec 2, 2009 - 02:52pm PT

Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Dec 2, 2009 - 04:24pm PT
hats off to deuce4,
for paying attention to the hardcore
niche stuff, making it happen, and
for being one heck of a cool guy.

Can you say "research and development"?


thanks for posting.


Dec 2, 2009 - 04:37pm PT
Nice thread revival. Never seen some of that stuff!

Hey Deuce, can you document the history of the A5 hammer? Wasn't Chouinard already making great forged head hammers? Why did you choose to make your own? Was it that the hole in the head was something you wanted and the Chouinard didn't have it? Weight? Something else? Just curious.....

the Fet

Dec 2, 2009 - 06:30pm PT
Yeah good bump, missed this the first time around.
Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)

Social climber
Dec 2, 2009 - 08:02pm PT
Great stuff. I'm especially enjoying those new floors ;)

Arkansas, I suppose
Dec 2, 2009 - 09:07pm PT
Very groovy, thanks for sharing.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Dec 4, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
Pate, thanks for the obscure drag'n'drop!

Deuce deserves it.
John, I still have my old wall hauler!
It got a bit tweeked somehow.
I can still use it though, just make sure it's well backed up, which I did anyway....

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 4, 2009 - 12:58pm PT
Damn, this sort of thing gives Stephane heart palpitations.

Oct 20, 2010 - 06:30pm PT
I know this is an old thread, but does anyone know what that ballnut is that is second from the last? The one with the two rollers it looks like?

Thanks !!!
The Mayor

Social climber
Billings, Montana USA
Oct 20, 2010 - 06:44pm PT
Rock N Rollers

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 20, 2010 - 06:51pm PT
yeah, Rock 'n roller from go -pro. Not the current gopro, I think.
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