Wings of Steel Part III

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the Fet

Trad climber
Loomis, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 30, 2006 - 05:38pm PT
"Wings of Steel (Continued)" the thread was getting long too, so here's the third installment in one of our SuperTaco land favorites.

First, to answer Lovegasonline's questions from the end of the last thread.

"Was your Valley Name "The Madbolter"?"

The mad bolters are what they were derisively called during the ordeal. Very cool and funny screen name for Richard.

"I recall my first season in the Valley hearing about a wall that was 'chopped behind itself' as it was ascended."

Porcelain Wall on Half Dome by Harding perhaps?

Ok, on with what ended up sounding like an 8th great book report...

I have finished reading Wings of Steel – A record 39 days on the face of El Capitan. A fascinating adventure and powerful spiritual odyssey.

First off I thought it was excellent. Well written, engaging, fun to read. Like a long trip report with some explanations of climbing for the layman and some relevant spiritual discussions. Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down and finished it in a couple days.

I started reading the forward and thought “Wow that sounds like Warren…” Of course it was, who could mistake that intelligence and wit. “Perhaps this could explain the rather atavistic behavior of some of the resident climberfellows who, mentally don’t appear to be very far removed from the caves! They were simply defending “their” turf.”

The first chapter explains climbing to the layman, but it’s a fun read even for experienced climbers, IMO. It’s a much better summary of what climbing is than in most “Instructional” books I’ve read. Statements such as “You don’t like to drill the rock, because the whole idea in climbing is to accept the situation that the rock presents naturally and to adapt to it.” Give a good idea of Richard’s ideas of ethics and style.

“There was a can of chili rubbed through the pile with the can on top. But I could tell that the odor wasn’t chili…” I’ve got to hand it to Richard and Mark for the amount of tact they displayed dealing with this situation, in this thread, and in the book. I would have wanted to rip someone’s head off. And props for the perseverance needed to overcome the ‘external’ challenges of this climb. Just like Batso again. Maybe everything you are supposed to face in your chosen challenge doesn’t just take place on the rock?

Although I’m not Christian, I could relate to most of the religious parts. They weren’t overdone at all. The ideas were easily applicable to my beliefs and an inspiration.

This review doesn’t do this fine book justice. It’s a worthy read.

Although the book and the climb weren’t perfect, what is? They’ve gotten enough criticism, so I’m not going to bother to try to think of anything negative.

And although I thinks it’s the most overused, clichéd word used by climbers today, I just gotta say to Richard and Mark if you're listening:

PROUD!!!
Rhodo-Router

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Jan 30, 2006 - 05:46pm PT
Well Fet, you'll obviously never be one of the cool guys.
pc

climber
Eastside
Jan 30, 2006 - 05:48pm PT
Nice post Fet. Thanks for the tip.
pc
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 25, 2006 - 12:17pm PT
Well, Fet, you've brought me out again, not particularly because your review was complimentary (although I do thank you for that), but because you are obviously a thinking person, which again arouses my hope for what these threads could become. I have really appreciated your thoughtfulness in past posts, and your most recent post is just a continuation of that trend.

What I had hoped for in these threads is that we could quickly get past the criticism/defense mode and move on to a much more generally fruitful and interesting discussion of big-wall and aid climbing ethics. In particular, certain questions interest me:

1) What relation (if any) exists between "modifications" (including everything from traditional nailing to full-on bolting) on an aid route and the value of the route?

2) Must a route be "repeatable" in order for its first ascent to have been valid/respectable?

3) What is the nature of "climbing" itself? I take genuine risk to be an integral part of it, but why should it be? The answers to this question should tease out what makes aid climbing actually "climbing," while (horrors!) perhaps sport climbing is something more akin to gymnastics than to "climbing."

4) HOW should the climbing community "regulate itself," which is to ask: how should we treat each other in the face of controversial climbers/ascents? This issue also involves the question of how the climbing community properly evaluates new and potentially "cutting edge" advances in tactics/equipment.

I have other ethical interests, but these seem most pressing. Of course, discussion of these issues has been started elsewhere, and such discussions will continue in many venues long after we're all dead, but the the WoS debate does provide a compelling context for these issues.

Regarding my choice of handle, I do have a Ph.D. in philosophy, so to my rabid critics: in future criticisms, you shall refer to me as "Dr. Mad Bolter," or "Dr. Butcher," etc. :) Seriously, though, I do hope that future discussions can be a bit more elevated and worthwhile now that the criticism/defense phase seems to have passed.

To Fet, thanks again.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 25, 2006 - 12:20pm PT
Also, as a public post, several people from the previous threads asked Mark and/or me to email them an original topo of the route, and we agreed to do so. Mark and I have scoured our files in vain for the original topo we had, which showed the exact location of every drilled placement.

We have both moved repeatedly since WoS, and neither of us can find that topo. What we both have now is the one we submitted for the Meyers guide, which doesn't give more detail than what can be found there. We will keep looking, and eventually some obscure box will be found to contain the original. Until that time, however, the Meyers topo is the best we have.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 25, 2006 - 01:11pm PT
I'll make the popcorn.....
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 25, 2006 - 01:12pm PT
Russ are you suppling the beer??? Does the title of this thread mean there is two more pages full of bullshit like this???
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 25, 2006 - 01:14pm PT
Yo turnip truck.... you MUST read the other two. They were really something. A vibrant piece of history was diseceted over and over and over in part I and II.

edit: part 1:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=72849#msg131929

part 2:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=114602#msg116278

was there more???
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 25, 2006 - 01:25pm PT
I would like to read Wings of Steel – A record 39 days on the face of El Capitan

How and where do I get a copy?

Anyone want to make the second ascent? I have a bit of time this spring.....
JIMB

Trad climber
Apr 25, 2006 - 02:36pm PT
No second ascent. How many years has it been?

Must be that the topo isn't any good:

I'm sure some of the hard men on this site might want to do it.....if they had a good topo.

Sigh.........most unfortunate.

Someday:..........sigh.......someday....someday we'll find that damn topo. Or maybe some hardman can head up with a bunch of bolts, rivets, drills and hangers.....just in case.
JIMB

Trad climber
Apr 25, 2006 - 02:38pm PT
Wait, what's this, eh? A champion?

Go Pete, go!



Wonder when was the last time Fish did a wall? Hmmmm, wondering.

Hey Pete, maybe Fish would be interested.
JIMB

Trad climber
Apr 25, 2006 - 02:39pm PT
Wait, Fish doesn't climb any more does he really?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 25, 2006 - 03:07pm PT
A second ascent could be tricky. Apparently there are crumbling hook placements that may no longer be useable. I have not waded through the previous two threads, and I suffer from CRS. Are there bathook holes to use?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 25, 2006 - 03:30pm PT
Sorry JIMB'o,
but I would Prefer tO Spend my time other ways.
Read them there threads to find out why I ain't going with Pete.

edit: Pete: try http://www.bookfinder.com
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 25, 2006 - 03:32pm PT
Russ, remove those threads before Pete can read them.

Pete, the glorious second ascent awaits you!
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Apr 25, 2006 - 03:34pm PT
Russ, I am not happy about not being included in the group picture.
SueV PHD

climber
San Diego
Apr 25, 2006 - 03:35pm PT
even if i had done as many captain routes as Pete, I can still think of 20 or 30 better routes than wings on a pig, er.. pile of steel, er... rope coiled at the base covered in feces
Elcapinyoazz

Mountain climber
Anchorage, Alaska
Apr 25, 2006 - 03:37pm PT
the Fet

Trad climber
Loomis, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 25, 2006 - 03:49pm PT
IMO:

1) What relation (if any) exists between "modifications" (including everything from traditional nailing to full-on bolting) on an aid route and the value of the route?

With everything else being equal, less modifications = more value.

2) Must a route be "repeatable" in order for its first ascent to have been valid/respectable?

No/repeats will possibly help garner respect

3) What is the nature of "climbing" itself? I take genuine risk to be an integral part of it, but why should it be? The answers to this question should tease out what makes aid climbing actually "climbing," while (horrors!) perhaps sport climbing is something more akin to gymnastics than to "climbing."

I don't think climbing needs risk. Risk can add respect/style to an ascent, but it's not an integral part of climbing. Risk adds thrill and challenge and has it's place, but I've had a lot of fun on climbs with very low risk and that's good enough for me sometimes.

4) HOW should the climbing community "regulate itself," which is to ask: how should we treat each other in the face of controversial climbers/ascents? This issue also involves the question of how the climbing community properly evaluates new and potentially "cutting edge" advances in tactics/equipment.

I think for the most part the community has done the right thing. It needs people who are willing to chop bolts that shouldn't be there (e.g. retro-bolts), but it also needs people who are willing to think outside the box (e.g. use cams). It needs that give and take to help come to a rough community consensus of what is acceptable.

However, there is a line that is crossed on occasion, which shouldn't be. And that is VERY LAME e.g. crapping on ropes, starting physical violence, stealing gear. But everyone makes mistakes, especialy when they are fired up about something, hopefully they can be big enough to realize it and to apologize some day.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:05pm PT
Hall of Mirrors.....5.13

Wings of Steel......5.16???
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:13pm PT
AlDude, this thing is so YOU!!!

We should get out the bleach and propane torch for the bottom of your shoes and then you can give it a go.... You my man, are just the man for the job.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:15pm PT
Careful, climbing hard slab really dates you.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:17pm PT
Thanks, Russ. It's on order. I'll read it when I'm on the wall not climbing, which is most of the time.

You know, if you're not going to climb, going not climbing with me would be a good start...
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:22pm PT
Russ, We need a breakthrough in rubber technology (hint,hint Charles).Then replace exsisting holes w/real bolts. Then a crisp morning and Divine Intervention. SLAB NIRVANA! That photo rocks!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:29pm PT
Tom! We need a breakthrough in rubber technology! Bring on the Secret Weapon!
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:37pm PT
Gecko Rubber
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 25, 2006 - 04:38pm PT
If you could get those micro-hairs to work.....
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 26, 2006 - 11:12am PT
There were some guys at MIT, Purdue, or similar, that were using nanohairs to produce the Gecko Effect. I think they said it would take a rather large surface area to support a person, though.

A more immediate solution might be just that: a solution, as in glue your self to the wall and use a solvent to unstick and move. 39 days to the top sounds about right.
Landgolier

climber
the flatness
Apr 26, 2006 - 02:42pm PT
Pete, I said it before, I'll say it again, with the standing record at 39 days you could bag yerself a speed record here. Sharpen them hooks!
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 26, 2006 - 03:25pm PT
Dr. Johnson to Dr. Piton:

"That's not wall climbing, that's wall camping!"
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 26, 2006 - 03:36pm PT
Damn straight it's camping. I refuse to climb any other way!

OK, so what has kept people from repeating this thang? Something about crumbly hook placements, only some of which hold body weight? Some don't?

What do you do if the edge that held those guys twenty years ago won't hold you today? Enhance it? Use a cheat stick?

Haven't some people tried the first few pitches and found them to be very hard?

The Reid guide shows two starts. What's the deal with that? Are those x's all rivets, or hooks, or enhanced hooks? Looking at the topo it looks reasonable - one A5 pitch and not too many A4. After 13 pitches you're on Aquarian.

Why did it take them so long? I mean, if *I* of all people am asking this question.....

If Tom and I go for the second ascent, will anyone help us schlepp loads? Will you think we're doin' somethin' bitchin', or doing something worthless?

And I've got the book on order, and it was shipped to Randy yesterday.

I'll confess I *am* curious.....

....my posts

... are starting ...


... to look like Ricardo's....
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 26, 2006 - 04:14pm PT
Pete sez: What do you do if the edge that held those guys twenty years ago won't hold you today? Enhance it? Use a cheat stick?

Therein lies the problem. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Bring a jewlers loupe and hope for the best.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 26, 2006 - 04:19pm PT
Pete, if it goes bad... suicide!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 26, 2006 - 04:21pm PT
Well, I've got one ace-in-the-hole - they say they can't find the original topo, so nobody knows what the hole count is!

"tink tink tink"

I've never enhanced a hook placement, but oh man, have I ever wanted to a few times!
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Apr 26, 2006 - 04:22pm PT
Pete, this has the makings of a magnum opus for you with its intersection of various qualities rolled into one.
Lure Chongo out of retirement, do the second ascent, stay up longer than 39 days, become a part of the controversy as well as the solver of an ancient mystery while putting a lick El Cap's elapsed time record:
If you beat the time of the FA party you get the speed record for the route; and if you take longer, you get an even prouder wall camping record (2nd place?).
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 26, 2006 - 04:28pm PT
Hey Pete:

here is what I wrote in part one.... so you don't have to part the Granite Sea to find it:

WosS FAist writes: Our "enhancements" didn't create a hole or go diagonally into the cliff. There are many enhanced hook placements on Wings of Steel, but, unlike the Sea, when you do the climb you won’t be able to tell which flakes were enhanced and which ones weren’t. **

This is the fatal flaw with the "method". If I can't tell which flakes have been ENHANCED, then am I allowed to ENHANCE my hook placements in order to do the route? How do I know I am even doing the correct route? Do I need to spend full days out on lead with a lupe just to get a legitimate ascent? Here is where it is total bullsh#t. I have been hosed by missing bat hook holes on a route and ended up bailing, only to come back to finish the route with a new topo showing the holes. It appears the same will happen to any fool who tries to do a second of WofS, and a good style ascent just may be impossible. Definining the degree of ENHANCEMENT is a silly game. The difference between we only cleaned a little with the drill, and drilling a hole is minimal in my book. I think I actually would prefer a hole with something in it. **


Then JIMB'o called me pussy and asked I would like every hook placement circled with a magic marker or something to that effect. hahahahaha!
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Apr 26, 2006 - 04:39pm PT
Do the route and pass your notes along to C. Mac for inclusion in the next edition of Supertopo BigWalls. Breath some life back into that slab.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 26, 2006 - 04:45pm PT
ok f*#kers... keep jackin off with all this bullsh#t.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 26, 2006 - 07:07pm PT
I'm with Russ on this one. Enhancing hooks just a bit is like being just a bit pregnant. Either you drill, or you don't. You don't "clean with a drill"!

I find it hard to believe you couldn't tell what flakes had been doctored and which ones haven't, then again, it's been 20 years.

Of course, there's only one way to find out. It all sounds so silly, I really am quite curious now.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 26, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
NostraThomas predicts that if someone doesn't go up there, on hooks, the Flatlanders will bondo holds all over the wall (paid for by ESPN) and then we'll have to deal with THAT.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 01:52pm PT
Wellll... even without the original topo, we do know the hole count. As it says in the back of the book, there were 165 holes to do the route, including both starts AND the bat hook holes on the 13th pitch across to Aquarian.

"The deal" with the two starts is pretty simple. We originally did a much harder start to the route, choosing that rather than the second start (what we called "bogus" start) because we wanted to see from the ground up if the route would have enough hookable flakes to be viable (all this is explained in the book, btw). We found that the route was viable, but then that start was chopped. At that point we went up the much easier "bogus" start to reach our second anchor again, finished the route, and then ascended the "bogus" start again to rap-replace the original pitches as they were before the chopping.

I must say that I enjoy the irony of the fact that now some of the same people who originally complained that the route was a "bolt ladder" are now complaining that BECAUSE we didn't enhance the hooks ENOUGH, they won't know if they are still on route!

However, in fact, there are certainly enough rivets and bolts to keep you on route. Just use the best flakes you can find, climbing in more or less straight up fashion between the rivets and bolts.

Perhaps the problem here is that because the tendency on the FA of the famous "hooking" routes is to drill full-on holes anywhere in the vicinity of a flake or bulge, and then call that a "hook" placement, the fact that our FEW enhancements are not circled with magic marker makes our route not a climb-by-the-numbers route. There are a lot of flakes up there, so you can choose the ones that seem best to you! It seems now more like people are asking us to point out to them WHICH flakes actually held us, so that they can avoid the untested ones!

I might add that Slater seemed to have no trouble "finding his way" up to the fifth anchor. So, this whole debate about our "enhancements" seems to be a tempest in a teapot. If you want to count our "enhancements" as "holes," well fine. If you can find them, go ahead and count them. There are a few, and I mean a FEW, so if that ups the "hole count" enough to invalidate the route in your mind, well ok.

The flakes are there, and it's up to the climbers to decide upon which ones they want to use. If all the flakes pull off in a some sections, then new holes will have to be added. So be it. But, there should be at least one tasty fall for each new hole. Right?

As I've said, the debate about whether or not this route is "repeatable" in "good style" is quite ironic, because it appears that the critics now have the OPPOSITE thing to complain about than they did before. I mean, after all, a "bolt ladder" is eminently "repeatable."

It seems that some people will think that the route is invalid for SOME reason, no matter what, even if the current reason is the opposite of whatever their original reason might be. Oh well.

As far as the ethical discussion Fet and I had just started, I will post again later today. I've gotta run right now, and that discussion is worthy of more attention.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 03:38pm PT
Now to an ethical discussion....

I agree, Fet, that in some sense repeatable seems to be more valuable. The problem is that there is an extreme tension between conflicting values. On the one hand, as I noted in my last post, the most repeatable route is a bolt ladder; yet such a "route" has effectively NO value as a "climbing" route. One might as well just lean a giant wooden ladder against the rock, because one is not really climbing the rock at all. Such "climbing" seems more like "hiking." (This point is related to the idea that difficulty and risk are also associated with value in climbing.)

On the other hand, the most difficult routes (all other things being equal, the more respectable and valuable routes) just are those that use incipient, marginal features of the rock. Such features break down, peel off, are beaten out over time, and thus generally quickly change. Thus, holes are added, and the character of the route changes.

This tendency has been observed on every hard big wall, from P.O. Wall on (and I'm sure from before P.O.).

So, I wonder what the connection actually is between value and repeatability. "Value" is a very slippery concept anyway, since it relies upon subjective perceptions of the "Good," which is an even more slippery concept. But that's speaking as though we're after some objectively valid definition, when really we're just after consensus.

Maybe the idea here is that a route has to be repeatable by at least a few qualified parties, in style closely-approximating that of the FA party, before the route breaks down enough to force stylistic changes.

Of course, then the problem becomes: what counts as enough parties, and what counts as qualified? Since WoS seems to be less "repeatable" than many routes, it acts as a good example of this problem. Obviously, no matter how otherwise qualified a person is, if he weighs 200+ pounds, he is going to change the character of the route, simply because he weighs too much to hook most of those flakes without peeling them off. So, must a route be "repeatable" to an 800 pound person in order to count as repeatable?

Ahh... the "average" climber. I say again, a 200 pound person should stay off of WoS. Probably a 180 pound person should too. Someone weighing 120 pounds is going to have a much easier time of it! But now we're talking about characteristics of PEOPLE rather than of routes, it seems to me. And it's simply not the case that every person (given their particular physical characteristics) should be able to climb every route.

An example I remember from the old days is this. The story was that John Long did the FFA of the Paisano (spelling?) overhang at Suicide Rock in SoCal (a wide crack through a roof) by wrapping his fists with duct tape until they were wide enough to fist-jam the crack. Now, regardless of whether or not the story is true, it illustrates the point that a small person with narrow fists is going to have a much harder time with that route, or find it impossible (no matter his wonderous off-width tactics). Wrapping one's fists with enough tape to fill the crack seems to me like a form of direct aid, so maybe the FFA wasn't really "free" after all. Is the Paisano overhang really "repeatable" as a free climb, when only people with the right sort of physical characteristics have a decent chance at the thing?

The point is that characteristics of people have ever affected the perceived value of various routes.

I think that there is a continuum of repeatability, ranging from a bolt ladder to a route consisting only of microflakes hookable by somebody weighing 65 pounds or less (or 30 pounds, or wherever your threshold of the absurd is). Obviously, the closer to the microflake end of the continuum your route is, the less valuable it's going to seem to most people (all the people that weigh more than 65 pounds, for example). Does that mean that there is a parallel (and hopefully related) continuum of value? If so, the big question in my mind is: what is the nature of the connection between the two continuums? The answer to that question is going to have to deal with the other point about difficulty and risk, which I why I'm inclined to think that "climbing" is ABOUT difficulty and risk; otherwise it would be "hiking" or "gymnastics" (which is not to denigrate either of those, btw).
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 27, 2006 - 04:16pm PT
ummm... your analogy is nice but flawed.

One example is a limit of physics and the other is a limit of ingenuity. A midget could use head stacks on Pisano. A known weight (Pete) on an object of known capable load (flake) will never succeed unless you either lighten the load or make the flake stronger.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:08pm PT
Hmmm... I don't think my analogy falls that easily. I agree that one appears to be an ingenuity limitation, but actually both are physical problems. In the one, the climber must fill a space; in the other the climber must not weigh too much. Ingenuity can solve both problems... but within the limits of style?

Your claim that a midget could use a head stack seems to me to miss the point. The point is that crack can be just the size that a person can't effectively fill it with just his body parts (too small for a head jam, too wide for a fist, etc.). Now, sure, by some means any crack can be free-climbed, but at what rating and in what style? Is the route the same rating (or style, for that matter) for a guy who fist-jams it, compared to the midget who head-jams it? Are both going to VALUE the route the same way? The issue is, after all, about perceived value, which it has been said is a function of repeatability (by some means).

The weight problem can be solved in essentially the same way as taping one's fists to be the right size (so as, I assume, to "level the playing field" rating and value-wise). My idea is simple. Let's say that the "repeatable" weight for WoS is determined to be exactly 155 pounds racked. So, you just weigh yourself racked at the base of the climb and then string up and attach to yourself the appropriate number of helium balloons to make your racked weight exactly 155 pounds. Then, you'll be on a "level playing field" with the FA team members and can do the route in relatively the same style (and hopefully the balloons won't spring a leak).

Another alternative, of course, is to, like Christian Bale for the movie The Machinist, simply lose enough weight to climb the route. Isn't that just a matter of ingenuity too?

Whether the physics problem is "filling a space" or "not weighing too much," climbing is just a game of solving physical problems with ingenuity. The issue of how is strictly a matter of style.

So, I don't think my analogy is so flawed after all.

We invent rules of how to play the game, and somehow those rules get inflated to the level of dogma. Is it any more unreasonable to expect a second ascent team to not weigh too much than to expect people wanting to climb the Pisano overhang to have a physical configuration that makes it reasonable for them to do so (without having to resort to... headjams!!!)?
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:11pm PT
WHAT THE F*#K
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:14pm PT
Sounds like a job *for* the Pisano midget.... with a cheat stick of course!

My 230 with a wall rack is feeling kinda big for this one. Klaus is like 123lbs and Pete looks pretty skinny. I nominate them. I do like the balloon deal-e-o though.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:21pm PT
Watch the use of ALL-CAPS, there. I hear that people don't like it! :)
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:30pm PT
I don't see the problem with saying that a person's physical characteristics are important to determining if they can or can't do a certain climb.

The third FA of the Nose was a long time in coming, wasn't it?

I heard Little Lynnie is just that, rather petite. And that particular physical characteristic was a key (the key?) to freeing the roof pitch. A taller person would not be able to undercling the thing, or whatever.

And I seem to remember that Birdwell wrote that he specifically wanted Largo to lead the first section of the FANID because his meaty hooks fit right into the Stovelegs.

And Layton Kor is tall, and the bolt ladder at the roof on the South Face of the Column is notoriously reachy, and perhaps impossible for the stature-challenged.

And for that matter, what if some spindly couch potato (like me) goes up onto the Nutcracker and can't pull the mantel near the top? Does that mean the route is no good?
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:30pm PT
So a cheater stick is a good example of ingenuity? Please keep reply limited to one paragraph... I'm on dialup
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:33pm PT
Cheater sticks for aid are great. The whole aid game is cheating, in a sense.

There was a fifteen foot move (reaching up with a hook to a small edge, no less) on Scorched Earth that otherwise would have required a half dozen rivets.

Throwing a rope around a horn is also very nice. I did that on Son of Heart and saved having to pound a few pitons.


EDIT: Ingenuity on WOS might entail using multiple hooks and equalizing them.
WBraun

climber
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:34pm PT
Madbolter said: "One might as well just lean a giant wooden ladder against the rock, because one is not really climbing the rock at all."

When I was in Borneo there was a bamboo ladder that the natives made and it was hundreds of feet high up a wall. Scariest looking thing you ever saw when you envision climbing that ladder with no pro and rope. Scarier than free soloing. Those natives bare feet and no rope or pro, climb that ladder. Yikes!

And you said: "Such "climbing" seems more like "hiking."

Man, I want to see you do that ladder ......... and see you say that line above again.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:36pm PT
Here is what I see...
-13 pitches... topo shows most rivets/bolts on first 9 pitches except the 13th traverse.
-First 9 look to be like 1000 feet or under???
-Probably at least 120 holes in first 9???
-1000 divided by 120=8.3 feet per hole

Now I can drill a hole on a slab pretty far apart... at least 6 feet. So... umm... how many natural placements in first 9 would you say?

madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:42pm PT
The answer is simple. I quote the book: "We used 151 hooks to ascend the route. All but five were Leeper narrows. We placed 205 copperheads, most of which were #0, #1, and #2."

Gotta be careful with those averages. Every time we placed two rivets in a row, that adds another natural placement between rivets somewhere else. Yup, there are some rivet ladders. That means there are some long sections of hooking.

Keep in mind also that the hole count includes anchor bolts, the count of which is.... 27 or 28. Also, our pitches were long. We figured right at 1,200 feet of climbing up the slab.

Anyway, if the hole count is being used to suggest a rivet ladder yet again, welll... see the last several hundred posts on these three threads.

Regarding the wooden ladder... point well taken. I was imagining something a bit more, well, substantial. :)
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:45pm PT
When I was in Borneo there was a bamboo ladder that the natives made and it was hundreds of feet high up a wall. Scariest looking thing you ever saw when you envision climbing that ladder with no pro and rope. Scarier than free soloing. Those natives bare feet and no rope or pro, climb that ladder. Yikes!


Some cowboy-type did the FA of the Devil's Tower with a ladder made from long wooden pitons/stakes/rungs joined by a vertical rail tied with rope or cord. It was quite the local trade route in its day.


Gotta be careful with those averages.

Exactly. What about subtracting 30-40 right off the bat for the belays?
Elcapinyoazz

Mountain climber
Anchorage, Alaska
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:47pm PT
The damn thing is a contrived piece of swiss cheese. If homeboys are proud of spending an eternity on THE single most contrived POS on the Capt, bully for them. All this wanking is just that. I'm sure there are some difficult and scary hook moves on it, but :

1. It ain't a line, it's a variation.
2. It's absurdly contrived.
3. It was put up at a time when much more natural, compelling lines had yet be done.
4. All the book writing self congratulatory BS for spending half the summer up there is a joke.

Bottom line: I ain't impressed, and will always think it was a bullsh*t, ill advised clownshow by two cats who had the ability to do something great, but squandered it on a steaming pile of dung.

Carry on.
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:48pm PT

OMG!!!


madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:49pm PT
Wow! So am I getting this right? Ladders are valuable now too in climbing??? Excellent! Ok, we admit it, now that we can! WoS was all a grand lie! It IS a rivet ladder! So now there's nothing to argue about!!! It IS repeatable, and it IS valid and valuable after all!!! I'm SO excited!

Not
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 27, 2006 - 05:50pm PT
So Azzz... tell us how you really feel?


{{{{ducking for cover}}}

Ammon: hahahahahaha!!!
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 27, 2006 - 06:18pm PT
Ladders are valuable now too in climbing

Yes. An aid pitch is a ladder comprising pins, heads, hooks, cams, stoppers and anything else you can get to stick 8-)


My point about the Devil's Tower was just a historical note.

I guess I should mention the steel ladder bolted to the wall near the Royal Arches.


(allow reader to catch breath and recover senses . . . . )


It's in the canyon between the RA and Yosemite Point. Or at least it was there 20 years ago. Maybe someone took it down. As I remember, it was moderate fifth class to bypass it.


Ammon: I stole your cartoon and put it in my computer. Ha-ha.
WBraun

climber
Apr 27, 2006 - 06:22pm PT
That ladder you're talking about Tom was put in by the utility people to access the telephone cable going up Indian Canyon.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 06:29pm PT
Tom, I entirely agree about what aid climbing is. I wasn't blasting your ladder story. My point from earlier, which I hope correlates with what you said, is that this is all really a pretty contrived game.

I guess the rules of the game do matter to me, though, as I perceive them, since I've been willing to risk life and limb to abide by them.

Something about the "game" is very important internally, like I'm a different person if I drill just as "courage in a rucksack," as opposed to the person I am if I conjure up some genuine courage to make the gutsy move. Hence, back to the idea that there's something about risk that makes climbing what it is.

LOVED the pic! (Oops, sorry about the all-caps... just couldn't help myself.)
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 06:42pm PT
1. It ain't a line, it's a variation.
As are somewhere around 2/3 of the existing "routes" on El Cap. Mike Corbett can put up a five pitch variation to a variation and call it a "route," while at least WoS does take the ONE apparent line of weakness up what was then the last great unclimbed expanse on El Cap. And, keep in mind that we were the third team to attempt the slab, so, regardless of what you call it, the route was going to get done.

2. It's absurdly contrived.
You mean, it doesn't follow a crack system that any mindless idiot could follow? Uhhh... we'll have to talk more about how in-your-face-obvious a line has to be before it survives this sort of scathing attack. I remember the Bird touting one of the great things about the P.O. wall was how "subtle" it was, in that there's nothing to, as he put it, "hide your ass in." It seems to me that putting inobvious features together can be something other than "contrived," although then the hole-count problem surfaces. But that's been "beaten to death" on these threads.

3. It was put up at a time when much more natural, compelling lines had yet be done.
You mean like Native Son, with it's fab "Machine Headwall" (and much assorted other drilling)? I don't remember the FA team on that one catching any flak. Again, this is purely a matter of opinion on your part, and you seem to be suggesting that NO route should EVER have been done on that slab. Or maybe just a route with a lot less drilling, however much that would be.... Again, beaten to death. Also, see answer to point 1.

4. All the book writing self congratulatory BS for spending half the summer up there is a joke.
I think we covered the "self congratulatory" aspect of the book a thread or two ago, so this is a pretty retro post in that regard. We were, and are, in a damned if we do and damned if we don't position regarding all of our responses.

But thank you for sharing.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 27, 2006 - 06:43pm PT
Hey Mad Bolter,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I just ordered your book, incidentally, and look forward to reading it on the wall in a few weeks. My questions below [in no particular order] come with the caveat that I have not re-read the original l-o-n-g two threads, which I will when I have time, but here are my questions for now:

1. Are you Richard Jensen or Mark Smith?

2. You say Slater made it to 5. Why did he bail? What did he think of the first five pitches?

3. You say the bogus start is easier, and the original was chopped. In the Reid book, am I correct in assuming the original start is the one on the right? After the original start was chopped, did you guys replace it? Is it climbable now, or would we have to climb the bogus start?

4. You say that there were only a "FEW" enhanced hook placements on flakes that you haven't included in your hole count, and that it might be hard to tell which is which. Can you give me a number of your "slight enhancements" please? In other words, what number [more or less] is "FEW"?

5. The Reid Topo calls for only 40 heads, yet you say you used 205 heads. I ain't gonna re-use my heads 4 times! How many heads would I really need?

6. I like Jake's arithmetic - it makes me feel better. 151 hook placements and 165 holes including anchors sounds do-able. Yeah, I get that there will be multiple hook moves in a row because there are rivet ladders. Are there any long hook runouts? Just curious. I've done a several ten-hook-moves-in-a-row runouts and lived to tell the tale. In all cases I was soloing, and prusiked down hooks for pro. [wiping sweaty hands on pants]

7. What's a Leeper narrows hook? What is today's equivalent? Talon? Pointed Cliffhanger?

8. Why did you guys take 39 days to climb the route? That seems excessive, and if a guy like me is saying it..... Where were you slowest, and why? Once you reached Aquarian, how long did it take to finish?

9. Where's the spicy stuff? Is it easier after 7?

10. Why does the Reid topo talk about bathooks on the P13 traverse, yet there are no bathooks mentioned anyplace else. Are those the only true bathook holes then, or are there other bathook holes below? Why didn't you stick rivets in them?

For the record, I would consider any enhancement of a flake whatsoever to be a "hole", which is why I want to know what "FEW" means. This is not to diss you or to render any verdict on the "value" of the route, it's just that I want to know.

To me, the value will be whether I think it's cool or not, and did I have fun. And so far, every route I've climbed on El Cap has been cool, and I have mostly had fun, though there have been a few times.....

If I end up repeating this thing, I can tell you one thing, mate - I ain't goin' on a diet to do it! And I'm not that skinny any more, Russ - I'm a middle-aged lard-assed over-the-hill off-the-couch life insurance agent who climbs walls on his holidays.

Most likely I will have more questions after I read the other threads. And Ammon's horse looks more like a dead kangaroo or maybe a llama? When I was in engineering in university, dead horses always had their legs straight up in the air.

Cheers,
"PTL and PTP Pete"

And dude! For cryin' out loud, quit being so doggon defensive all the time, trying to do something that has already been done for you! [Rom 5:1 and 8:30 and especially 8:1]

Sheesh.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 27, 2006 - 06:55pm PT
Ok... bets...

-Pete even starting the route
-Pete bails
-Pete sends
-Pete jacks off on his own ropes

we shall see.

I don't see how this route is any worse than all the stuff Harding drilled. Holes are holes no matter who drills them.

According to Reid guide... Heading to Oblivion has 140 holes. That route is said to be hard and has less feet of climbing that WOS.

Richard... any pictures from Ring of Fire?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 27, 2006 - 06:59pm PT
No point in placing any bets on whether I will climb it or not, at least not yet since I haven't decided. I'll admit I am quite interested, however. I would need a couple partners who felt the same.

However, if at some point I publically [sic] announce I'll try it, I'd love everyone to bet, because it would be highly motivational! It's much harder to bail if you know the whole wall climbing world is watching you. This has been an effective strategy for me [and some others] in the past.

However I will bet I won't see you on El Cap anywhere this season, Jake.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:03pm PT
Well... I ain't going to where I was going... so I'm sure I will end up on something in yosemite this summer. Run from work cry on loose flakes.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:10pm PT
Well, I stand corrected, then. We will, like, have to have a beer, eh?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:15pm PT
Pete--

=)
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:16pm PT
"A" beer... think big pete... plural!
WBraun

climber
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:17pm PT
OK I bet you'll never make it Pete!

There ..... now you have to go do it. Hahahaha
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:18pm PT
Wow, Pete, I appreciate this post a lot!



I'm Richard.



Slater bailed due to the heat. Regarding what he thought, I'll quote a short section from the book, which was lifted from a phone call and letter he sent us (which he tried, without success, to get published in Climbing mag): "There's a lot of drilling, but there's a lot of really delicate hooking too. Especially the second pitch was very well done. The route contains the most technical hooking I've ever seen. The hooking is way harder than on the other 'hard' routes in the valley, like Lost in America or the Sea of Dreams." BTW, Slater fixed two, and then spent two days and one night getting to five. So even Slater wasn't flying up it.



The original start is the one on the right. We replaced the bolts and rivet on rappel once we had completed the entire route. We came back, reclimbed the bogus start, and rap-replaced the original pitches. Wherever possible, we reused the original holes (like if we could dig out or punch in a chopped rivet). Where that wasn't possible, we drilled new holes absolutely as close to the originals as we could, trying, for example, to get bolt hangers to cover chopped bolts. So, there is no substantive difference in the original start as replaced compared to the FA.



The number would be less than ten. I could say as few as three to five, but I'm just not sure anymore. I don't agree that leveling an edge by tapping one offending crystal off of it counts as a hole, but that's just my opinion (although that opinion has obviously been shared by the majority of famous FA teams, as many route's hole-counts demonstrate).




I'm with you on head reuse. The number you'll need will depend largely on what the current story is in the overhanging cracks above the slab. I don't know how much is still fixed up there. I'd bring 100 (mostly small) if I were you... but, of course, I'm the overkill guy. You know, 39 days and all.




You won't find any 10 hooks in a row on WoS. The trade off is that the odds of you blowing any one of them is much higher. On any established route I've done, I have yet to stand on any hook that I seriously wondered if it would blow. I wondered that a LOT on WoS. The hooking is very delicate. You will find spots where you are five hooks out (and on the second pitch, more)... AND, keep in mind that we used genuine, could-fail rivets. Our rivets are rated to 700 pounds brand new, unlike the quasi-bolts that most routes call "rivets." So, you might have three hooks, then a rivet, then four hooks, then a rivet, then four hooks again, and so on. Bottom line is: if the rivets hold your falls, then blowing hooks won't be too bad. If they don't, then you're going for a ways!




Pointed Cliffhanger is useless. Radius is much to large. Talon is better (smaller radius), but, really, you NEED to find some Leeper Narrows.



Wow, huge question. Briefly: 1) We're slow; 2) I like to get up later than Mark; 3) there was water running down the main waterstreak, which had the best features, often until 11am or even later every day; 4) we were trying to free climb everything we could (back in the days of EB shoes), which often meant waiting for the water to dry up; 5) we lost 5 days to keeping the Sabbath and at least 5 days to rain storms; 6) we fell quite a bit; 7) we're slow. Once we got to Aquarian, I think we took five days to get off, but keep in mind that we had been starving for weeks; I mean, we were really getting weak and exhausted.



The hardest pitch is definitely 2. Prolly easier after 7, but the overhanging cracks had their own excitement too. Long strings of #0 through #2 heading.



There are only bathooks on pitch 13. We had a choice on that one section, as it was totally blank: drill a rivet ladder, or use bathooks to add some excitement to the pitch. It's pretty clear that not everybody agrees that bathooks are a valid way to add excitement, but we didn't want it to be just a rivet ladder.



Right, I understand and appreciate your candor. I don't agree at this point, and, as I said, most climbs today, not to mention all of the FAs going up in the era of WoS have been done by people who, at least in practice, don't agree. I think a "hole" says something about the commitment level to be expected on a pitch, and a lightly chipped hook placement rather than a rivet in that spot certainly keeps the commitment level high. But, nothing of much substance hangs on this debate, since I think that the hole-count of a route is worse than worthless for determining its value.



I'm with you, and if you do it, I hope you find it exciting and fun.




Seriously, if you weigh like 180 when you go up, you may find more of those "few times..." and less fun. :)

Thanks again for a serious post.
yo

climber
I'm so over it
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:20pm PT
I vote jacking. Book it.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:38pm PT
Touché, Jake! What was I thinking?!

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! OK, Werner - if I do make it, how many beers will you buy me?????

Richard,

Geeeeez! I could actually feel the sweat forming on my hands reading that bit about four crumbly hook placements above twenty-five-year-old already-crappy-to-begin-with rivets!

Help John Yates! I might need to buy a ton of Scream Aids!

 the delicate technical hooking sounds pretty rad, and terrifying! The endorsement from Slater is strong

 hopefully nobody has re-chopped the first pitch

 tapping off a single offending crystal might indeed be semi-legit, and could conceivably not count as a "hole" - hard to say

 when you say you need heads on the overhanging bit above the slab, do you mean starting around your pitch 6? I love heading! I feel super-secure on any head that I myself have placed [never pulled one yet] It's just those rusty old ones that might have me worried. [I have one of Bryan's butter knives] You'd find overhanging stuff a lot less daunting with adjustable daisies and adjustable fifis and Russian aiders. [Why climb El Cap in your aiders when you can pull yourself up with a 2:1 mechanical advantage less friction?]

 do they even make Leeper Narrows any more? Do you have any I could borrow? Wouldn't it be cool for your own hooks to make the second ascent?

 no doubt a second ascent would be exciting!

Thanks for your help. I'll wade through the other two threads when I get a chance, and will probably have a few more questions. I do look forward to reading your book, which I had sent to California to be there when I arrive. I didn't know if it would make it up here on time, and you know, I'd just hate to waste six bucks...

  Oh yeah, when it comes to climbing "fast"? I'm all about sleeping in, dude. I even have a pocket NIV for Sunday.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 27, 2006 - 07:46pm PT
Just to clarify, Madbolter said above (as I understand it) about the number of enhanced hooks on WoS:

The number would be less than ten. I could say as few as three to five

Yet higher up, from the part 1 thread, one of the MadBolters said:

There are many enhanced hook placements on Wings of Steel

So is it *many* or *as few as 3 to 5"???? Just want to keep it straight.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 27, 2006 - 08:21pm PT
I vote for Pete to do it! Sounds interesting doesn't it?

and it would be your opportunity to hold a speed record on an El Cap route. One which you might even hold for years!

How else is that gonna happen?

Plus it's a second ascent..Proud.

Peace

Karl
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 27, 2006 - 08:25pm PT
Same question to you, Karl, as to Werner!
WBraun

climber
Apr 27, 2006 - 08:27pm PT
So it's set? Pete goes on Wings of Steel for the second.

I will buy you a case of beer if you make it Pete.

P.S. better start grinding hooks to a point.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 27, 2006 - 08:31pm PT
Ooooooh! The beer is on the table. Note that Werner has merely made an offer, I have yet to accept. I am merely seeing what motivation might come my way.

Then of course I have to convince Tom and probably one other. But a 2-4 is a great start!
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Apr 27, 2006 - 10:17pm PT

BEER... from Werner? OOhh Nooaa, I might have to swoop that one from you, Pete.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 27, 2006 - 10:52pm PT
Pete, point well taken about sounding defensive. I never know where to draw the line about whether or not a particular post needs responding to, and we have caught a lot of flak for not responding, as though it seems that a non-response is taken as a punt or virtual agreement.

Anyway, Leeper Narrows. I would be willing to loan a couple for the second ascent. Of course, if they are that hard to come by, I get worried about getting them back.

Wait... who am I kidding? When will I ever use them again? I'm pushing 50 and with a pretty "trick" lower back at this point. The odds of me doing another hard big wall at this point are slimmmmmm indeed. I would like 'em back, but, you know, I won't hold my breath. I'll see if I can get ahold of Mark and get one from him, you know, split the risk a bit.

BTW, this isn't an offer to "loan" all my big wall gear out, since I prolly won't use it again. You know, just seeing the racks of it on my walls makes me feel like a real man! :)

Pics of Ring of Fire. Yeah, we've got 'em on slides. Haven't scanned 'em yet. How much interest is there? Worth the time to get 'em from Mark and scanned?

So, Pete, no beer from this end, but how about two Leeper Narrows (which is all the leader will ever need anyway)? On loan, of course.

Oh, and not to be remiss... "many" vs. "a few". Well, Mark will have to answer for himself, since I don't know what he was thinking. My speculation is as follows. We were in "hyper-honest" mode at that point, trying to disclose everything imaginable, and Mark might have been referring to EVERY time we used the pick of a hammer to even test a flake. For example, "many" times we would give the top edge of a flake a light rap downward with the pick of the hammer, just to see if it would instantly sheer off. Many of the flakes were actually detatched, with a thin layer of, like, mud between them and the rock. Often the only way to tell was with a light rap with a hammer pick. Sometimes this would break off a crystal or in some other way "modify" the flake from its utterly, untouched, hymen-intact, virginal state (ie: a microgram of rock might be dislodged).

If we're count those as "modified," then, yes, there were "many" such "modifications." What we were not doing, as the second ascent will see, is using the pick of the hammer to bash a slot into the wall, or use the pick of the hammer to intentionally make a flake better than it was. These "raps" were nothing more than seeing if a flake would instantly detach, and so I mean a very light "rap." The reason we did this instead of just trying to weight the flake is that we quickly learned that even the slightest bounce or even sideways motion on the hook supporting us would cause it to sheer. So, we quickly learned that even minimal testing was worse than worthless, as the higher hook failing would often cause the currently weight-bearing hook to fail. Yet, anything more than a very light rap wasn't necessary for the purpose of the integrity test, and more than that would damage an otherwise likely candidate.

What I call a "few" are the very rare times when we would actually intentionally slightly change a flake's shape to hold a hook that wouldn't have otherwise. Hence, my example of using the tip of the drill to pop an offending crystal off the top of an edge to make it flat as opposed to humped. In all cases, however, you will not be able to tell what was done; as I said, we weren't drilling pits or holes behind flakes and then calling them "hooks," as has been done on most of the known hard routes.

And, even if we had wanted to do a lot more modification like we did the few times, we learned in the first pitch to not even try it because the flakes wouldn't take it. Usually when we would even attempt it, the flake would simply shatter in some weird way that made it worse than before, or it would sheer off entirely. Keep in mind that these are like quarters glued to the wall--very delicate. By necessity our modifications were very rare, and then only when we felt that the risk of destroying a flake was a risk worth taking because it couldn't be used as it was, and so a drilled placement was the only alternative left. So, if there were alternative flakes within reach, we didn't bother.

But who knows what Mark was thinking? Good catch on the apparent inconsistency. I'm going to wait along with the rest of you to hear Mark's response.

I do wonder, though: has any other route been subjected to this level of scrutiny? Just asking, not defensive! :) I'll keep answering questions....
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:09am PT
He said "hymen" (hahahaha!)

I would say no other route in the Valley (maybe Werner knows) has had this scrutiny. Maybe routes in other places. But then again, some of them El Cap routes and their FAists do get sh#t over the style. I think all the enhanced ie: drill holes on top of edges, are total bullshit whoever did them. A few routes are sporting these. Too many holes is always a gripe too.... not enough filled holes is a gripe. Harding took massive sh#t. Bard took sh#t.... nobody *took* a sh#t on them (except for that steamer that landed on Dale that one time in his ledge) but grumbles still continue from their antics up there. Chiseled head guys got tons of sh#t back in the day, huh Duane?? I guess we/us/them just like to fuss over stuff, sometimes for decades. You guys do take the cake though as far as I remember for "most sh#t over the longest period of time"™™™™.

Anyway, I really hope Pete does go up there. It will be like finding Nessie after all these years. Ya kinda know what lurks up there, but it is hard to tell just what it is until you get it in the boat.

What were we talking about again...?
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:53am PT
What...you hit all the flakes with a hammer...there goes the free route. Vandals in the Temple!
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:49am PT
Time for Part IV .. . . .

Part IV
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=186142&f=0&b=0


Part I
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=72849#msg114463

Part II
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=114602#msg120102
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