Who first used copperheads in Yosemite?

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JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 8, 2006 - 11:02pm PT
Who first used copperheads in the Valley. Was it Bridwell on PO?

Juan
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:21am PT
Earlier. I think PO was 1975. I am pretty sure that Bircheff and I ran into fixed heads on the Prow of Washington's Column a few years before. Ratty wires and scary as I rembember.

Jim may have been one of the first copper heads on some other route. Werner may know more.
yo

climber
I'm so over it
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:31am PT
Breedlove sighting in the Taco!
Gene

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:37am PT
I don't have it in front of me, but I think the Roper green book makes reference to "bashies" on the FA of the NA wall and maybe the Prow. They probably were around earlier than that.

I'll check the little green book when I find it.
WBraun

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:46am PT
I believe copperheads were first used as a pasted aid placement after Bill Forest invented them as a nut.

Someone bashed one in the rock one day and eureka what have we here!

When did Forrest first come out with those coppernuts?

And Breedloves statement: "Jim may have been one of the first copper heads...."

Hahahaha
Ouch!

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:46am PT
WBraun

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:54am PT
Hahaha

Yikes, not that kind Ouch!
Light&Fast!!!

climber
calgary
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:56am PT
Maybe first ascent of Cosmos... for some strange reason I have that in my head. Could be totally wrong about it though?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:58am PT
I thought I remember seeing this somewhere... Big Walls by John Long & John Middendorf, page 98:

"Copperheads (or "mashheads") are cylinders of copper or aluminum swaged onto a cable; they are mashed into shallow grooves or pockets as aid placements. First created (in the early '70s) by Bill Forrest as a nut, climbers later discovered that they could be hammered into seams and made to stick. Jimmy Dunn, on his remarkable first solo ascent of a new El Cap route (Cosmos), was the first to use copperheads for extended lengths of aid. Although the generic name is copperhead (a trademark of Bill Forrest), "heads" are made of both copper and aluminum."

Ouch!

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 01:04am PT
Interesting pages here.

http://www.needlesports.com/nutsmuseum/nutsstory.htm
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 9, 2006 - 01:08am PT
Cosmos, Never heard of it?

Where is it?

Juan
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2006 - 01:13am PT
click on the "Climbing Routes" button above and search for "Cosmos"
Gene

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 01:32am PT
Meanwhile other new tools developed to make climbing more efficient: Ed Leeper perfected hook design with the invention of the arched base, and Bill (Dolt) Feuerer produced new piton designs. Clyde Deal, a machinist working in the Yosemite Machine Shop, customized gear for the Camp 4 climbers, including the first "Bashies", small rectangles of aluminum with a hole for a sling, used to paste into small pockets in the rock. Chouinard and Frost designed and produced RURPs and Crack-n-ups, and a few inventive climbers began tinkering with adjustable crack jamming devices. Aid-specific software began appearing too. With state of the art harnesses, haulbags and hammocks of his own design, Bill Forrest pioneered technical ascents in the Black Canyon and the Southwest. Forrest also evolved bashies to specifically sized "Copperheads", which enabled thinner and thinner seams to be aid climbed without bolts .

Footnote: But not necessarily without damage. A bashie or a copperhead is often not removable, and once the sling or wire rots or breaks the piece is useless. In fact the problem is serious enough that as early as 1970 Steve Roper coined the term trashie to describe the unusable remains of a bashie.

From: http://www.bigwalls.net/climb/mechadv/index.html


Looks like they dated from the 60s.

Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 9, 2006 - 11:46am PT
"I don't have it in front of me, but I think the Roper green book makes reference to "bashies" on the FA of the NA wall and maybe the Prow. They probably were around earlier than that."

That sounds about right.

RR was a closet bolter/chipper/basher/gluer, according to a rumor.
WBraun

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 11:48am PT
Bashies are not copperheads.

The thread had this question: "Who first used copperheads in Yosemite?"
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:03pm PT
Forest copperheads first appeared around 1971, I think. They were originally intended (and widely used) as nuts. It was a pretty quick discovery that they could be welded into cracks with the pick end of your hammer; and also that anybody could make them, so this was a cost-effective concept. (A nasty fall and rescue of a climber attempting the second ascent of Rainbow Wall occurred when a homemade copperhead failed.)

Bashies -- soft aluminum rectangles made by Dolt and others were already in use for hard aid. The ones I had (Dolt) were not a good design, but we quickly figured out that small Clog wedge nuts could be bashed in as well. I imagine this was the sort of thing many climbers discovered independently, looking at a bad crack and what they had on their rack. It's just a short step from tapping the nut lightly with your hammer.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 9, 2006 - 12:29pm PT
from Steve Roper's 1971 guide (the "Green" guide) in the Introduction under the section heading "Impedimenta" on page 19:

"For those who venture onto A4 and A5 climbs, there is a collection of tools which one must have. Skyhooks are quite useful, especially on aid climbs which have been established since 1963. Soft aluminum blocks called mashies are needed on very few climbs at present, but they can sometimes change the rating of a fearsome aid pitch. Artificial chockstones, or nuts, are becoming exceedingly popular, and all climbers should own at least ten. Nuts save not only wear and tear on the cracks, but great amounts of energy and time."

Then later in the section "Glossary", on page 37:

"TRASHIES are mashies that are left in place with nylon webbing. The webbing soon rots and a hard-to-remove blob of metal blights the rock."

Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Apr 9, 2006 - 01:25pm PT
I saw something reffered to as a 'beat-on,' in a mtn store in Boulder, circa '70 (holubar?) From what I vaguely remember, and what I can infer from subsequent experience, It was some kind of circlehead pasted onto a bowling ball size rock. What I remember was that you could pick it up by the sling/wire and lift the rock off the ground, which at the time blew my tiny little mind.
WBraun

climber
Apr 9, 2006 - 01:28pm PT
Anybody remember the "solderhead"

Where's piton ron, he knows a lot about this stuff.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Apr 9, 2006 - 02:18pm PT
I know I was using Forrest copperheads as bashies on aid routes in Colorado by 1971, and I'm sure others had thought of it already. They actually were also usable as sraight nuts for free-climbing protection, which was probably Bill Forrest's original intention.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 9, 2006 - 03:12pm PT
Hey Werner, my statement about Jim being a copperhead was a late night proofreading mistake. I try to only tease Jim to his face.

Jim is sort of given credit for copperheads in the introduction to Meyer's Green guide published in 1987, but the earliest route listed is Pacific Ocean Wall in 1975.

However, I think that the comment from Light&Fast and Ed's quote from Long and Middendorf about Cosmos may be the correct answer to who used copperheads on big aid. In the Yellow Meyers' guide, published in 1982, the Cosmos rack includes rurps, hooks and 15 copperheads. Cosmos was first climbed solo by Jim Dunn in 1972.

I suppose that pin scars turn into copperhead placements, so its not definitive. But copperheads on not listed on earlier routes or routes done in the same year:

Aquarian Wall--Bridwell and Schmitz in 1971

Magic mushroom--Burton and Sutton in 1972

Shield Route--Porter and Bocarde in 1972

Zodiac Wall--Porter in 1972

And, copperheads are on the racks on routes done in 1973--Mescalito by Porter, Burton, Sutton, and Nelson--and on later routes.

So I think Jim Dunn may be the first to use a lot of them. Solo too!

Interesting comment about Clyde Deal and mashies. I know I used one in a rotten slot on a free climbing route in the summer of 1971. It was hard to smash in without hitting the webbing--needed three hands. Was Clyde making gear that early? I never knew where my mashie came from.

Best, Roger
rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 9, 2006 - 03:39pm PT
When we did an ascent of The West Face of El Cap in 1972, we had some swedged loops of wire made so that I could loop them over small face knobs on aid sections. Especially the second pitch. We also intended that these could be used as bashies, if required. Since they were home-made using a Nicopress, they were cheaper than buying Forrest's Copperheads. These type of thing were well-known parts of the big wall rack by then.

And when Jack Roberts and I did the second ascent of Cosmos in '76, I can attest to the fact that there WERE NOT huge amounts of copperheads and bashies. Jimmy Dunn appeared to use very little exotic hardware during his first ascent in 1972. Although we did a continuous ascent four years later, and Jack and I each took some 30-footers on the thin bits, I don't remember many true weirdnesses. (Perhaps Dale Bard--who did the third ascent in 1980--remembers something else?)
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 9, 2006 - 05:56pm PT
Wow, 2nd ascent in 1976 and 3rd in 1980--three ascents in eight years. Tells you something, doesn't it.

So, Rob do you think that Jim Dunn is the first guy to use copperheads on El Cap on Cosmos? If not, do you have any other clues?

Best, Roger

PS: Hey Werner I know that Juan asked about copperheads, but I really see the difference between copperheads or mashies. The key was filling groves that would not hold pins. I assume that the history books are correct in crediting Jim, if credit is the right word, for using a chisel in corners to make a spot for a copperhead/mashie.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Apr 9, 2006 - 06:10pm PT
I assume that the history books are correct in crediting Jim, if credit is the right word, for using a chisel in corners to make a spot for a copperhead/mashie.

Although copperheads as bashies were familiar by summer '71, Jim (later...what year?) was the first one I heard about using a cold chisel to create placements. That seemed like a whole other thing.
Larry

Trad climber
Reno NV
Apr 9, 2006 - 06:43pm PT
Z-M, '81?
rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 9, 2006 - 07:19pm PT
Roger, I can't say whether or not Dunn was the first to use copperheads on Cosmos. My guess would be not, though. Mashies and bashies were so common back then, that the first individual use of a Nicopress swedge to get slammed into a crevice might be hard to pinpoint. When was the first aluminum dowel used? The Dawn, maybe? I remember seeing those mashed into pretty unlikely places. And wasn't someone slipping doughnuts of Al onto steel cables that could get bashed into seams? Really nasty, those.

Like I said, Cosmos didn't have too many really out of hand sections. And I really don't remember any particular pitch where a lack of Copperheads™ would have killed the deal. However, towards the top Dunn's desperation was really apparent. Two pitches from the top, just below Thanksgiving Ledge, Jim avoided doing a sloping ramp up-and-right, preferring a horrific crumbly A4 crack/seam up a slightly overhanging wall going directly up. The ramp, with a second, became a moderate 5.10 free climb; something that wouldn't have been an option for Dunn on a solo. He was literally at the end of his rope. Indeed, he stuck a bolt in the middle of this nasty crack, to lower the risk somewhat. We were able to just climb around and avoid that nastiness.

Story was, that Dunn never talked about his experience and sold all his gear before giving up climbing and moving back East. Hence the increased rep of that route.

Cosmos (VI 5.10 A4), El Capitan. Up around the fifth/sixth pitch, just into the start of the first A4 business...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 10, 2006 - 03:59pm PT
When did Charlie's version of sized bashies (labeled for Porter Equipment) first appear?

rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 10, 2006 - 04:02pm PT
A quick Google search located the following Middendorf article:

Mechanical Advantage (found on www.bigwalls.net)

wherein Clyde Deal is given credit for the first bashie: "...a machinist working in the Yosemite Machine Shop, customized gear for the Camp 4 climbers, including the first "Bashies".

No date is given though...
zabet

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Jul 3, 2016 - 04:56pm PT
Ray Jardine and Bill Forrest developed the single cable climbing nut, including copperheads in the basement of Bill's house in Denver in 1968-69. Ray used in Yosmite soon after that. Before their invention, climbing nuts had loop cables.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jul 3, 2016 - 05:10pm PT

Advanced Rockcraft – August, 1970 - by Royal Robbins


Robbins specifically refers to copperheads being useful for hard aid pitches (i.e., as bashies pasted into seams)


Copperheads . . . . Bill Forrest's gift to the aid climber.




Copperheads used as bashies are bashies. Used as nuts, they are nuts.

Not all bashies are copperheads, but all pasted copperheads are bashies.




Not all copperheads have copper heads.

Discuss.





I remember seeing aluminum copperheads in a Chouinard GPIW catalog, with the boastful claim that the soft aluminum they used was "just as sticky" as the more expensive copper.

If you can find it, unalloyed aluminum would be just like that. And, pure hell to drill holes in, too.


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