Wings of Steel - Part IV

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Messages 1 - 68 of total 68 in this topic
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 28, 2006 - 04:55am PT
Like Dracula himself, this topic just won't die . . . .


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

Part III
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=147272&f=0&b=0
MSmith

Mountain climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 28, 2006 - 09:26am PT
Tom,
I step away from the computer for a few hours and come back to 30 minutes of new posts ending with a message that the window of opportunity to post to the WoS III thread has passed!

Some criticisms of WoS popped up in the former thread which were pretty well fleshed out in the two previous threads, but a couple of new thoughts might deserve a response:

“Apparently there are crumbling hook placements that may no longer be useable.”
The Great Slab is the highest quality rock on planet earth (GPA possibly excepted). Nearly all of our hooks were on ledges less than 1/4” wide. Sub 1/4" ledges don’t support hooks if there is a hint of crumble. The Slab has been curing since the Ice Age glaciers receded. The rock is very stable.

The Lost Topo™, where is it?
Because of the scrutiny and flak we received, our topo made what was undoubtedly the most detailed accounting of holes for a Valley climb. We gave a photocopy to YOSAR before leaving the Valley that summer. The Meyers/Reid Guide topo was adapted by them directly from that original. I think the Meyers/Reid topo is certainly sufficient (add some more heads than what it calls for), but if it doesn’t do it for you, send Meyers and Reid an email and ask them to dust off their original and fax you a copy.

Pete: I’ve got Leeper Narrows if you need them.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:29am PT
ok pete, I have never met you, but I am pullin for you. Werner says he has a case of beer for you. If you pull it off I will up the anty another case of beer! Dont know if I can be there for the successful celebration. But I guarantee I will send werner the money for the beer (trust me I work for the government HAHA)! But there is a catch! You have to post pics and an updated topo, and crabby has to be there too!

golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:39am PT
uh oh pete...Two cases of beer and a case of fin du monde! We are pullin for ya pete. However, me thinks a couple cases before hand might help with the decision? Let me know, but again pics are required!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:41am PT
And I'll ship a case down to Werner or someone for you if I can't bring it myself. Someone has to get back on that baby and you seem like just the guy with the patience for the job.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:42am PT
Hey WoS guys:

Am I remembering correctly that you had some sort of "angle bracket" or something that got your ledges to hang on a more vertical plane on the slab???

Please advise....
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:46am PT
Fish, I appreciated your last post on thread 3. Thanks.

I am, however, baffled on many levels by the final post on thread 3, so perhaps someone can enlighten me. IF the route can ever go free, at least the remaining flakes were solid as of almost 25 years ago. ;) If the idea is that the hammer-taps somehow invalidate a free ascent, then I guess a world full of FFAs that ascend old aid lines (like Serenity Crack) are invalid. Oh well.

Baffled, I tell you. Baffled.

Pete, there you have it: beer and better, AND both Mark and I will contribute Leeper Narrows. How much better can it get??? Time to talk to Christian Bale. :)
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:48am PT
Yeah, Fish, we designed what we called "extenders," which held the apex of our ledges out from the wall about 18 inches. If you want a design (and after quite a few iterations and, shall we say, extended tests, ours ended up pretty nice), we can talk about some sort of deal.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:01pm PT
madbolter, I have some old leeper hooks that are pointy, are those the ones you used? A very small radius to a point?
Darryl Cramer

Social climber
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:03pm PT
Jake -

You've been losing weight. You and Pete should team up. I have some narrow leepers.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:07pm PT
Finally, Pete, I've been looking in detail at a Talon, and I don't think it will work. Even if you grind one of the hooks down to a small point, the problem is that the hook radius is just too large. You don't want any outward pull on the flakes at all. A Leeper Narrow pulls almost completely straight down (although top-looping does introduce some outward pull that can be minimized by standing on one foot only, with that foot turned sideways to the wall). Outward pull is the bane of the flakes on that route, so if you gear up for it, we will get you a couple of Leeper Narrows.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:08pm PT
Right, golsen. Dems da puppies.
Ouch!

climber
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:40pm PT
That beer you guys are offering Pete. Has it been pre-consumed?
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:46pm PT
....Lurking, with only Part II as of yet unread.....

Mostly, I haven't a clue what the hell you all are talking about, but it sounds like, if PTPP takes on this route, a good time to be had, esecially for me.... sitting and watching the attempt through binocs while safely on the ground....

Sounds like a partee....and if it happens, I want to be there. This, in iteself, will allow me the excuse for heading to Yosemite..... Go Pete!!!

Maybe the FA party can come up behing PTPPs team to make the 3rd run....

I am not sure if I am learning anything, reading these WoS novel threads, but....back I go, a dedicated Lurker.

Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:48pm PT
Happiii:

the entire plan of attack along with dates and times and what you must bring will be forwarded to you as an RTF file
MSmith

Mountain climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 28, 2006 - 12:57pm PT
Fish,

Our extenders are really kick, easy to make, and lightweight. Don't leave ground without it.™ I had one fall behind Truck Stop on Horse Chute. Really torqued me. Someone with some ingenuity might be able to fish it out.
Gene

climber
Apr 28, 2006 - 01:11pm PT
Is this the narrow Leeper hook that's needed? It's marketed as the narrow Leeper Logan hook and is available on line.

madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 01:37pm PT
Yes, Gene, that's the best hook for the route, and it will see a lot of action there.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 01:39pm PT
It works best to tie an overhand knot in a SMALL loop of 1/2 inch webbing, then push the loop through the hole in the hook from the back (outside) to the inside, so that the loop hangs down from inside (like, against the rock), with the knot jamming up in the hole on the back side.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:05pm PT
Fin du Monde?! Merde alors! I didn't know you Merricans even knew what that stuff is! I had some at Christmastime - great stuff!

Spoken in Quebecois accent:

"Eet ees, 'ow you say, strong stuff, non?"


Can you read the 9% on the label?!

So I gotta start adding this up, now:

We've got the 2-4 from Werner. [Hosers say "2-4" not "case"]
We've got another 2-4 from Golsen!
And Healyje's in there for yet another!
And man, if that ain't enough, we've got a 2-4 of Fin du Monde from Dingus!

Can we get a couple of bottles of nice Napa cabernet? I'll have to ask for something a bit more ooh-la-la than Two Buck Chuck or Four Buck Fred - maybe something in the six-dollar range from Trader Joe's?

I haven't yet heard the confirmation of a partner, but I think I need one or two who like big wall camping, and know that it's all about the journey, not the destination. [HINT]

Thanks for the info on the crumbly hook placements. I might have one of those old Leeper hooks lying around in my basement. The reason it's in my basement in Canada and not on my lead rack in California is because [in the past] I didn't like them! I have preferred a Talon most of the time. So are we talking about the little Leepers with the POINTED end, like a bathook? You don't mean the little Leepers with the flat end, do you? I can't believe a Talon wouldn't work as well, but you guys are the ones who climbed it, so we shall have to see. I'd best be well-equipped.

I will GREEDILY accept offers for hooks, so I can leave them for pro! Here's a picture of me leading the notorious fourth pitch of Jolly Roger with three Talons duct-taped down for pro. I would most assuredly do this on WOS! I'll make sure you get your hooks back, no problem. The whole world will know I have 'em anyway.

Those ledge extender thingies sound like they rock! Could we borrow a couple-three of those? Do you have any photos of the things in use?


We are probably in pretty good shape for beer, non? In fact, we will now probably need help drinking it! I think we should make a party out of this. I might actually make it up. Then again, I could die a flaming wreck and you could all call me a pussy.

Either way, it's a guaranteed adventure and a guaranteed party. Like, we won't be hurting for beer, eh? But no Ipod thingies - we want a REAL ghetto blaster - a nice loud one.

You'll have to come along up to the base and join the party, happiegrrrl! We'll see how "happie" you are with a big-ass pig on your back, or if you will say "grrr" instead.

Do you guys think that some of those edges that held you twenty-five years from now won't hold today because they have exfoliated? Should we bring some Oil of Olay exfoliant cream? Holy! You said quarter-inch flakes. We used to dreeeeeeeeam of quarter-inch flakes!

Mark and Richard, don't get the idea I'm a big-time drinker or anything, because I'm not. I'm actually quite a lightweight. One can of Olde English on an empty stomach and I'm about done for. That's why we'll need help.

How tall are you guys anyway? Did you make a lot of sick topstep moves?

Dingus - can I borrow a pair of ring-o-lettes so I can have two dangling like you use? I only have a single pair, and on tricky placements it would be hugely easier having a second pair to dangle. I'll make sure you get 'em back.

Hey! Does Fin du Monde come in cans??? I've only seen it in bottles. We might need to use that for the Meadows party.

I will read through the first two long posts as soon as I get some more time, try to separate out the choss, and most likely I will have a few more questions for you. Thanks for following along with these threads as your feedback is invaluable. I'll take all the beta I can get! Damn, I'm wishing I had that book sent to me here in Canada. Now that I've paid for the thing, don't suppose you guys have a copy you could email me?

Cheers and beers,
Pete
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:22pm PT
I'm up for an adventure, Pete! I actually enjoy slab, when I've been climbing it fairly regularly. I can climb .10c/d slab pretty comfortably and can squeek out up to .11b. That oughta help out a bit on this route. Gets kinda shakey there, however. Man, I can feel the calf burn already!

It really does, in a lot of ways, sound like a great adventure. It would answer a LOT of questions, I think. The route needs to be climbed again, and I don't think there's much denying that. If you want to try to break the 39 day record, however, we might run into some issues. Responsibilities... They suck, but they are real! However, with me being so close to the park and the team moving so slow... I figure if I come up for 4 days a week you'll only have moved, what - 100-150ft? =)

Seriously. I'll talk to you about it offline. I'm game. Sounds fun! At the very least, you *know* you'll get some sherpa duties out of me. Anyone else game yet?

The extenders for the ledges sound like a necessity on this route. Especially with that much slab and that time frame... You guys have pics of them? Have full machine shop access and a CNC machine...

Hell, I even have a couple of Leeper Logan hooks from my Russian Aider fab stuff. And, of course, well, you KNOW I have good wine Pete. Have some really nice stuff in the cellar right now, matter of fact. I'm really enjoying the case of Charles B. Mitchell Grand Reserve I've been working on for a few months. There's a really nice 2002 (3?) Talosa Pinot that has been really nice too. Of course there's always the customary bottle of Yellow Tail that you enjoy so much. It's not bad.

Cheers!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:22pm PT
Hell, I'll throw in a couple of bottles of our finest Oregon Argyle sparkling or another case of the Oregon micro-brew of your choice...
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:33pm PT
Holy frig! I forgot about free climbing! Hell, I've been in Free Climbing Retirement for years! Yes, Randy! HELP!

If the slabs are only the first five pitches or so, maybe we could fix and not need the spreader bars? That sort of defeats the sport of the thing, doncha think? I mean, you guys were up there for so long, and it's not like I'm not used to being on El Cap for a couple weeks.

Richard and Mark, one assumes the belay bolts will need to be replaced? I'm familiar with how to do it having replaced the belay bolts on Bermuda Dunes three years ago. It's actually not very hard once you get the hang of it.

Nanook and Chris - we might need a bit of a resupply from ASCA. Would that be OK?

Reserve wine and Oregon Argyle?? OR a micro-brew of my choice! Yes, please! I love most anything dark, especially porter.

{sniff!} I'm getting .... I'm getting all choked up and .... {sniffle!} ... all sentimental like. You guys are swell! {tears}

Cheers,
Pass the Kleenex Pete
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:42pm PT
Oh frig, brain fart. Sorry Dingus! Sheesh. I don't have any excuse, as I wrote my post before Changeover Time!

Where are ya, Brutus?
Ben Rumsen

Social climber
No Name City ( and it sure ain't pretty )
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:53pm PT
" I'm really enjoying the case of Charles B. Mitchell Grand Reserve I've been working on for a few months. There's a really nice 2002 (3?)" -

Randy, if you and Pete climb this thing I'll help you celebrate afterwards with my last bottles of '97 C.B.M. Grand Reserve!

I love those pointy Leepers - they work great!
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Apr 28, 2006 - 02:55pm PT
Hey Pete,
What you want are some petzl crochet hooks. I bought some in france, and they are the schiznit for that kind of hooking. They make the leepers look like tools from the bronze age. Still unavailable in North America, but worth the hunt.
I got 3 pitches up WOS before summer heat baked my potatoes.
I still think you should do Space instead.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 03:03pm PT
Pete,

Yeah, belay bolts should be replaced... I wouldn't want to hang on those old Leeper hangers!

There are nine LONG pitches on the slab, and Slater (who soloed P.O. wall in five days) spent two days climbing three of 'em. Your call on how much fixing to do, but you should have no trouble going faster than 39 days, unless you develop a massive beer gut low down and gain so much weight that you're taking tons of falls! :)

You might get ground-down talons to work, but the Leeper pointies are definitely the way to go, and it sounds like you have many sources for them now. I think you'll find, though, that there's not much worth taping a hook to, and the pointies are only rated to 200 pounds, so they're not fall-stoppers. I don't remember many 1/4 inch ledges; most were like quarters in thickness. (Nice pic with the taped talons, though!)

Keep me informed about when you go to do it. I'd love to figure out a way to be there, hang out, scope the whole event, you know, just enjoy somebody else's suffering. Sounds like a good time for all!

Happy to answer questions as they arise after your reading of the other threads.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 28, 2006 - 03:06pm PT
Taping hooks for pro... ok that is good way to require drilling if you fall.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 03:09pm PT
Good point, death.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Apr 28, 2006 - 03:15pm PT
Ben-- 97! I've heard that's *really* good. That alone make it worth the trip! Nice gesture! Thanks!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 28, 2006 - 04:12pm PT
Ben! Right on!

Incidentally, Christian, I looked for some over your Marcus Jack Argentinian stuff on my last foray caving to Kentucky, but he told me he hadn't carried it for a while. So I'll keep an eye out for it.

Christian had one of the bitchin'est wine cellars I have ever seen, much of which came from the Safeway in Napa Valley, one of the finest wine stores I have ever seen!
Ouch!

climber
Apr 28, 2006 - 04:24pm PT
Locker will present a framed print of "Fine Art Photography 2"
to a second ascent of WOS.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Apr 28, 2006 - 04:56pm PT
Baffled ; Although my comment was somewhat tongue in cheek I did mean to intimate that your hammer blows do not invalidate a free ascent just possibly make said ascent harder. Sometimes barely attached flakes can be utilized by a skilled climber spreading his weight and avoiding outward vector forces on the little devils.Certainly a few heavy handed "cleaning" tactics have been employed in the past (Jardine,Skinner) on attempts of FFAs' but since you guys were establishing an aid route tapping is de riguer. I personally think WoS is a dramatic line and tried to get Steve G interested but after Team Thaws' attempt at a one day and subsequent report of #2 heads driven in bathook holes the psych was blown!
Ben Rumsen

Social climber
No Name City ( and it sure ain't pretty )
Apr 28, 2006 - 04:57pm PT
" Ben-- 97! I've heard that's *really* good. That alone make it worth the trip! Nice gesture! Thanks! " -

No, thank you Randy for bring the Grand Reserve to Housekeeping the other weekend!



PS - you guys doing this soon? I only have a couple of bottles of that '97 left!!! Hurry up so we can drink it! Hell - I'll throw in some Schug sparkling Pinot too!!
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Apr 28, 2006 - 06:04pm PT
Ben-- You're quite welcome! That was a good weekend, wasn't it? There was PLENTY of good wine going around that night! Everyone had something good to contribute, for sure.

Not sure when this would be. Pete and I are doing a ruote in a few weeks, then he has a couple of other things going on for the rest of spring.

Pete? Fall? This stuff is worth hurrying for!

Ben--Bummer! I only have 2 bottles of my Grand Reserve left as well. =(
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Apr 28, 2006 - 06:23pm PT

Wait a second. Is this beer offer to JUST Pete? Or to anyone who does the second ascent and posts pics? I'm being totaly serious. There sure is a lot of beer being offered to go up some obscure El Cap route.

Should we bet on who will be "rimming out" first? LOL
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 28, 2006 - 06:28pm PT
I was offered 100 dollars worth of beer to go do something. I did it and that was nice. Tho payment came few months later.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 28, 2006 - 06:48pm PT
Nanook and Chris - we might need a bit of a resupply from ASCA. Would that be OK?

LMAO!

ASCA didn't want to get involved in the "controversy" of repairing belay bolts on Bermuda Dunes, even though Steve Schneider had told us he was grateful were going up to do it.

If ASCA supplied bolts for a WOS repair job, the YOSOR (Yosemite Sh#t on Ropes) team would go completely crazy; maybe burn the office down, or something.
etreez

Trad climber
Juneau, AK
Apr 28, 2006 - 08:57pm PT
The only place this Wings of Steel business has to go is for someone to climb it and report with a second opinion. I'll throw in a growler of Lookout Stout from the Haines Brewery. Airmailed to whoever does it first.

Sincerely,

The peanut gallery.
Jacko

Trad climber
Grass Valley Ca.
Apr 28, 2006 - 09:01pm PT
I will drive to the Valley and become a Sherpa, and bring beer.I am willing to pack loads to the base of the Climb.It sounds like a good time, except the part about packing loads to the base..... B.Porter
Jacko

Trad climber
Grass Valley Ca.
Apr 28, 2006 - 09:01pm PT
I will drive to the Valley and become a Sherpa, and bring beer.I am willing to pack loads to the base of the Climb.It sounds like a good time, except the part about packing loads to the base..... B.Porter
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Apr 28, 2006 - 10:02pm PT
call me, i'll hump loads for cash
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 10:26pm PT
Thanks for the clarification, aldude.

Of course, your post raised a couple of interesting points: "...Team Thaws' attempt at a one day and subsequent report of #2 heads driven in bathook holes the psych was blown!"

Who was "Team Thaw," and how high did they get? The fifth anchor is the highest I was aware of any team getting.

Also, why was the "psych blown" by some #2 heads in holes? I guess I don't see the issue here.

Explanation: Pretty early on on the slab we dropped a small bag containing many rivets and our good, large sharpening stone. So, we felt that we were rationing rivets. The one tactic we employed now and then was to drill a rivet hole and drive a #2 head straight into it. We counted each as a rivet, although they were much less secure than even our rivets. Each is part of the hole-count, and we figured that other teams could either just use them as we had or jerk them out (trivial) and replace them with the ubiquitous machine bolts called "rivets" by most people. These weren't "bat hook holes," and they can be trivially filled with regular rivets if people find that necessary.

As I remember, we reached the 13th pitch with four rivets left, which is how many I remember there are in the 13th pitch. If I would have had more rivets, I think I would still have drilled bat hooks on the 13th anyway, for reasons given above, but the fact is that we were out of rivets by then.

So, we were using what "rivet" tactics we could in some instances. I'd be curious from the second ascent team how many heads like that there are, because I don't remember many (like, a dozen, maybe). Also, it seemed to me like they were high on the slab, which again raises my question about how high "Team Thaw" (whoever that is) got.

Thanks again for your clarification.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 28, 2006 - 11:01pm PT
So, what were most of the rivets? Funking those heads out the holes and redrilling them a bit would be easy. The other rivets weren't machine heads? Were they Zicrals, like Valerio states is the case on WoC?

Did you use 1/4" split-shaft bolts for the belays? The Bermuda Dunes belay bolts were that type, put in about the same time, and all of them were rotten. I'm guessing the WOS belay bolts would have to be replaced, especially because they're on the watercourse.

If PTPP went up there, would you object to his replacing the belay bolts with stainless 2" x 3/8" ones? How about the mid-pitch pro bolts? I guessing any reasonable aid rivets would be left in place.

madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:14pm PT
Tom, most of the rivets (other than the few heads) were (can I get this right? Mark always corrects me.) Zamac brand rivets. These are made of zinc, with a split-shaft that expands when the center nail is driven in.

Our own drop tests confirm the 700 pound rated strength of these puppies, which is why we chose them over the typical machine bolts, which we have always viewed much more as bolts than as rivets.

At any rate, they are zinc, which is what the galvanizing process uses to keep steel from corroding, so I expect the rivets to be in about the same shape as they were. The center nail, btw, is stainless steel.

The heads should instantly funk right out, and, as I said, you can put whatever you deem best into those holes.

Anchor bolts, as noted, are probably really scary at this point: Leeper hangers and the old-style, split shaft Rawl bolts. We did put at least one 3/8 x 2 1/2 inch Rawl into each anchor, and if it weren't for the Leeper hangers on them, they would probably still be fairly good. But I would count on having to upgrade every anchor.

We did spread our anchor bolts way apart to make for good belays and bivies, so you won't find any cramped, "vertical to work as upward progress too" anchor bolts. We were CAMPING, after all!

I would expect only minimal work to have to be done on the rivet situation. The Zamacs are scary--by design! But they should still be good for somewhat more than body weight. Keep in mind, though, that we never intended or expected them to hold much in the way of falls. So I hope that this one quality of the route is not changed too much by the placement of too many grade-8 machine bolts.

BTW, I'll be out of town throughout the weekend at this point. So, the long delay is not me refusing to respond. I'll keep being as forthright as possible, and I'll try to catch up on Monday.

Good weekend, all!
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 28, 2006 - 11:37pm PT
At any rate, they are zinc, which is what the galvanizing process uses to keep steel from corroding, so I expect the rivets to be in about the same shape as they were. The center nail, btw, is stainless steel.

I'll look those up. It sounds, from you, that there is a zinc sleeve that has a stainless nail.

Zinc actually corrodes quite quickly.

With galvanizing, the zinc acts as a sacrificial anode for the steel. The zinc corrodes, feeding its electrons to the steel, thereby protecting it. Once the zinc is gone, the steel is unprotected, and it rusts away.

I would be concerned even for those 3/8" rawl bolts for this reason.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:50pm PT
Richard writes re. heads bashed into bathook holes:

"The heads should instantly funk right out, and, as I said, you can put whatever you deem best into those holes."

Yeah, I get why you did it because you were short on rivets. Maybe that's why you said 200 heads! But it's my understanding that this practice is frowned upon. I am assuming you say they should instantly funk out, because that is what you found when the cables were fresh. I should think that with rusty twenty-five-year-old cables, that this is pretty much a guaranteed recipe to a deadhead in a hole uselessly filled with copper.

Does anyone have experience with this? I suspect the cables will break - will they? Or will they funk out easily? [We can always hope...] Is there any way to get the copper out of the hole? Or will we have to drill new rivets?

Thoughts?

Tom writes,

"ASCA didn't want to get involved in the "controversy" of repairing belay bolts on Bermuda Dunes, even though Steve Schneider had told us he was grateful were going up to do it."

Well, not exactly. Here's what happened.

I approached Chris in his ASCA role and asked him if we could get some bolting gear for Bermuda Dunes. I told him that we had spoken with Schneider on the phone and that Steve had given us his OK to do whatever we wanted to the anchors, including ADDING bolts. "Go to town!" were his exact words.

So I told Chris Mac what he said, but I also told Chris that I had never REPLACED a bolt before. I wasn't sure if I could do it, because at the time I didn't know how. I didn't want to misrepresent myself to Chris and blow my credibility, so I told him we would try to replace bolts wherever possible, and only add if we had to.

Chris told me that if I wasn't prepared to promise him I wouldn't ADD any bolts, he would prefer not to sanction me with ASCA stuff. So Tom and I madly scrounged bolts from every other source we could find!

As it turns out, replacing the old bolts was a snap. The learning curve was fast. It's not hard to remove old bolts with tuning forks. I wish I had spoken to Dave Turner earlier - he told me that in his experience, a lot of times you could funk out the old bolts! We should have tried that on Bermuda Dunes, and you can bet we will this time.

It's quite easy to pop out the old bolt, drill the hole out to 3/8", and place a nice new bolt. We did this 23 times on Bermuda Dunes. It was a good job, if I do say so myself! I told Chris Mac this, and Chris told me that for any future projects we would now be sanctioned by ASCA because we had proved ourselves. So Chris and Nanook - if you're reading this - please take note of our request!

We drilled no additional holes on Bermuda Dunes, didn't enhance any placements, didn't cheat. It was a proud ascent, I think. We'll replace the belay bolts on WOS if we go up there.

Tom - didn't we replace a bolt or two on Tribal Rite? One on the left side of that long ledge?

I look for advice on what to do re. bathook holes filled with a deadhead that we can't remove.

Richard and Mark - you say you were short on rivets at the top, and hence drilled the bathook traverse on P13. How would you feel about us putting rivets in those holes? Is this the right thing to do, or not? Thoughts?

"We did spread our anchor bolts way apart to make for good belays and bivies, so you won't find any cramped, 'vertical to work as upward progress too' anchor bolts. We were CAMPING, after all!"

Wow! What can I say? Some guys really do "get it"!

Thanks again.

Pete
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 28, 2006 - 11:52pm PT
This is a zamac nailin anchor, available with a plain or stainless steel pin/nail. I guess if the zamac sleeve (zinc+lead alloy) is corroded these would be easy to pull out and replace with the same type.



'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:54pm PT
See? That's why I bring my metallurgist along. Tom taught me how to replace bolts. He can even climb, too!
pyro

Trad climber
stoney point,ca
Apr 28, 2006 - 11:54pm PT
I remember a few years ago hauling loads for chongo.
I was proud of it! Sammy was my Boss.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 29, 2006 - 12:12am PT
So I told Chris Mac what he said, but I also told Chris that I had never REPLACED a bolt before.

Oh. You never mentioned that. I thought I told you that I'd placed and pulled a few bolts in my day. And that I had tuning forks and a special crowbar to get them out. No point disabling the enterprise by neglecting the resources at hand, eh?

BTW, if the bolts are really rusty, I wouldn't funk them. The bending load of the hanger getting yanked outwards could snap them right off. I had one bolt (at P6) on BD that broke, even with the tuning forks pulling straight out, with no bending.


Tom - didn't we replace a bolt or two on Tribal Rite? One on the left side of that long ledge?

Yes. One 1/4" rusty one at the ledge. I could wiggle it with my fingers. It's 3/8" now.


I forgot to ask if the cables on those heads was stainless. Good point about galvanized cable rotting away quite fast.

If the cables on those batheads™ are rusted away, you can drill out the copper/aluminum head with a normal drill bit (cobalt, not HSS). Turning the drill might be an issue, unless an old hand drill can be found somewhere.



EDIT - added the TM to my "bathead" term 8-) - /EDIT
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Apr 29, 2006 - 02:55am PT

Ok, I have a better idea... then, haa, haa. If you won't answer me question.....

Instead of spending the money on beer, we put the money in a chosen fund that everyone agrees upon. The Yosemite climbing museum (established by Ken Yegar) to name just one that comes to mind.

I'll buy me own beer, aiiigh.

etreez

Trad climber
Juneau, AK
Apr 29, 2006 - 02:58am PT
Climb it and tell me where to send the money!

Inquiring minds want to know!
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Apr 29, 2006 - 03:08am PT

AlDUDE, waz up? Do you have any other details on Thaw and company's FOD attempt.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Apr 29, 2006 - 03:33am PT
Aarg matey,I do indeed : Believe he was with Singer....and the Vulcan (Aischan?). Started in the dark and ran into a mess of batheads... I like that term....with the cables snapped or missing in the vicinity of the third or fourth pitch. Apparently they labored onward by tapping sharp,thin peckers into the blobs but soon ran low on the little jewels. Backleaning was unnerving and time consuming and the constraints of a one day window doomed the enterprise. Maybe a batch of specially designed "needlehead" beaks would be prudent .... or torch the boots and foont like a madman
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Apr 29, 2006 - 03:53am PT
pl a,,pmpm upi can buy ,y beer tpp~!~!!!

edit, um don't know what this means.. ya lookin at this have no idea. I know i meant something but hit way wrong keys. Klaus wake up party is now on st.com cause i ain;'t in the city.
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Apr 29, 2006 - 10:48am PT
Jensen and Smith are just a couple of scapegoats for everything climbers don't like about themselves.

WoS must be the hardest route on El Cap, as it hasn't been repeted, not for lack of trying from some top talent.

We should lay prostrate in the presence of their greatness.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 29, 2006 - 11:30am PT
I agree that Batheads are are a mistake.

I think route-erasing is also usually a mistake. Ask Robbins.

At a minimum the route should get climbed a few times to develop a consensus. It's not like it's an eyesore, just an idea. See what's up there and then decide.

I've seen batheads on Leaning Tower. We gonna chop that? Some used to talk about it.

Peace

Karl
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Apr 30, 2006 - 02:00am PT


I also agree that batheads (good term, AlDude) is a very ghetto way to put up a route.

So, how many X's on the Reid book are actually batheads? Any? And what’s with all this weight issues on slabs? Combine free climbing shoes, chalk and some hooks? You are good to go, just watch your hooks popping off because they are not being weighted.

WoS was one of the last on the list, of my El Cap routes. Out of curiosity, I'm going to check it out on my rest day. Hea, hea…

MSmith

Mountain climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 30, 2006 - 02:09am PT
Elcapfool,
I’ll take that to mean that you’re not interested in starting a WoS Fan Club.

Pete and Tom,
The character of WoS is quite dependent on the nature of the rivets. They must be body weight reliable or the climb would be unreasonably dangerous. Should they be replaced with machine heads that could hold falls, the opposite would happen. That Zamac pictured above looks about 1.5”. Ours were 3/4” (shaft length, fits a 5/8” deep hole). Each anchor in the Slab has one 3/8” bolt that’s not going to come out easily. I’d leave it alone and replace one or both of the other two (1/4”) bolts. The 1/4” bolts in pitches will be fun since you can’t hope to replace them into the same hole on lead. Options are to put a screamer on them or to drill right beside them and then yank the original bolt and fill the hole with epoxy.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
May 1, 2006 - 01:06am PT
So, Pete, if I respond to the flaming posts, am I being "defensive?" Would you advocate that I just ignore some of the most recent, uhhh, "material"? Honestly. It's been the weekend, and I'm waiting for some other reasonable person to spring to our defense with the OBVIOUS response: "Get real! You mean to claim that a few batheads makes the route a botch, and THAT is proof of the FA team's 'hubris'???" But, I'm not hearing it, so, I'll offer up the explanation that should help a reasonable person relax a bit and take my face off of their own heavy bag!

I mean, really, "treating El Cap like it was God's gift to us"??? Maybe the thing I should do instead is to start listing the litany of ridiculous things I've seen on other routes put up by famous and respected guys, and then we'll see if an entire route and FA team can be fairly judged according to MAYBE a dozen "batheads" (I think less). I honestly don't know what this supposed "mess" of batheads is about.

To do over again, the one thing Mark and I would really have done differently is to use stainless cables on everything, and I agree that the batheads were not the best tactic, and we would probably have just bathooked those spots. But, again, people have been moaning about batHOOKING too. So, I guess that when we dropped the rivets, our ready-critics would have just advocated "climb over" at that point (of course, they have been advocating "climb over" from the minute we touched the rock), because rapping back to the ground to get those rivets would have then had our critics accusing us of "seiging" the route.

We made a judgment call to go on and try to make do, and we agree that it probably would have been better to use bathooks, but really nothing we would have done was going to make people happy. So the real question now is whether the use of a dozen (or less) batheads instead of bathooks is this quantum leap of stupidity and "hubris" that a couple of people are now trying to make it out to be. I guess, given what I've seen on other routes, it's pretty clear to me that we will always be held to a different standard of evaluation by some, while, hopefully others have also seen enough imperfections on other routes to recognize that this bathead thing is just another tempest in a teapot to justify decades of antagonism.

It would be nice if somebody unbiased could give the route a go and give a report. Honestly, though, my only goal in these forums has been to be as forthright as I can be (given, I hope, a little charity in the realization that it has been well over two decades since we climbed the route). Perhaps the general ethical discussions I have hoped for, absent flames, just cannot take place.

We have never claimed that WoS was a "perfect" route, or that it was a "great" route, or that we were some "great" team for slowly working our way up it. All we have ever claimed is that it was NOT the rivet ladder it was slandered to be, which was the initial justification on the part of the Valley Boys for treating us the way they did. I don't believe that it is now "hubris" to say that a few batheads are not the great atrocity that they are being cast as, and I don't believe that trying to set the record straight in a book was "hubris" either.

Regarding any "hubris" people think they see in the book, people should keep in mind that an author usually has no control over how a book gets its cover, the blurbs that are associated with it, the marketing tactics, or anything else that makes a publisher think they are going to make money! Anybody who's had a book published can attest to the helpless feeling you have as you watch many of your best passages (and often the most explanatory ones)get trashed on the "cutting room floor," other people decide what the cover is going to look like and what it's going to say, and so on. AND, this takes place after you've signed a contract that let's them (within reason, and that's ferociously difficult to argue, as I can attest) do whatever they want to make their best efforts to make money on the book. For a publisher, the most basic, most bottom line is that a book is about money, not ideas.

BTW, IF there are any batheads lower than the fifth anchor, that's VERY strange to me, since I'm about 99% sure that we dropped the rivet bag and stone from the fifth anchor bivy. Interestingly, Slater never commented on finding any batheads, and my only recollection of placing any was in the seventh pitch. Futhermore, I know for a fact that I didn't place any in the third pitch, because much of that pitch just was a rivet ladder, and it was our first pitch upon leaving the ground for the "final push" (that sounds pretty funny, actually). The point is that we had lots of rivets when we did the third and fourth pitches, and the fifth pitch was about 80% in a series of copperhead seams. So, I don't believe that any batheads below the fifth anchor are ours, and I am quite surprised to hear of a "mess" of them in the third and fourth pitches. That's the honest truth, so believe what you want about that point.

I would fully expect a team to find a "few" higher up, like in the seventh and perhaps eighth pitches, but I have no account for any lower down, and, again, it's a little hard to see how Slater would have gotten to the fifth anchor without any mention of them.

For Ammon, again, I say as I have said before, ALL holes drilled perpedicular to the rock (like a bathook, bathead, rivet, or bolt) were counted as "holes". If we used it like a "rivet," then it counted as a "hole".

If the batheads are broken off now, that is something of a pain for the second ascent team, but certainly no more of a pain than the many, many rusted out, single-strand or no-strand heads in trenched slots or in the only usable pockets that I have found on other routes. Remember that WoS is now OLD, and the idea that you're simply going to go up there and find everything in "trade-route" condition is fairly unreasonable. So, the next ascent team will have to do some upgrades to make the ascent. A speed ascent attempt on a route this old and unclimbed seems suspiciously like "hubris" to me. Just the AGE of the route alone would make success on such an attempt seem extremely unlikely. See, the word "hubris" is pretty easy to bandy about, yet it is an extremely provocative gesture!

Again, it seems that the route is being held to a higher standard than that of other routes. As I said, to do again, we would have used stainless cables, but almost nobody else was using stainless when we did WoS, and we didn't imagine that nobody would do the route for so long.

I think it was reasonable of us at the time to think that the few batheads would be no big deal at all to another ascent team, and that they would quickly get replaced by rivets and just be an utter non-issue. We honestly never imagined the insane level of ongoing scrutiny that every aspect of the route was going to get, and I defy you to find ANY, I repeat ANY, FA team who would make the efforts we have in these forums to tell the DETAILED truth as best we can remember it, so as to relieve the controversy.

For example, try asking Grossman about a bolt placed next to an (at most) A3 crack on the FA of Horse Play about 40-50 feet out from Truck Stop ledge. See how far you get. I could, honestly, begin a litany of such things. My point is that LOTS of imperfections and mistakes are made by everybody who does FAs, and to magnify ours just because we're willing to actually talk about them and try to help produce some clarity is pretty disengenuous.

At this point, I believe that anybody who can call the route a "botch" in the face of the bathead issue cannot be convinced of anything positive about the route no matter what. A reasonable person is going to say, "Crap, so they used ten or so batheads in a 1200 foot slab. Is that make or break?" It's just very hard for me to see how anybody can honestly make a big deal about this "revelation" about one of the many "imperfections" of the route. Surprise, guys, but PROBABLY your parents had sex after your were born too (along with their actual, genuine indiscretions). They were probably still reasonably good parents, which is all any parent can hope to be. "Imperfection" doesn't mean "botch," and it certainly doesn't mean or imply "rivet ladder" or "POS".

This is all a matter of perspective, so we'll see if this thread can find it again, and we'll be happy to keep trying to be helpful.

Oh, BTW, we feel no "rights" to the route at all (as if it would matter anyway), so nobody has to feel any desire to ask us what we think of replacing whatever they want with rivets, bolts, or an elevator. Make the route whatever you want on the next ascent, or chop it if you like. Regardless of what the route ever becomes, having done other routes since then, we now will always believe that the climbing on WoS was high-standard and worthwhile, particularly given the standards of the times, even in the face of what (few) mistakes we made while getting our slow behinds up it.
yo

climber
I'm so over it
May 1, 2006 - 01:42am PT
"pl a,,pmpm upi can buy ,y beer tpp~!~!!!" HAHAHAHAHA!

MSmith sez: "The character of WoS is quite dependent on the nature of the rivets. They must be body weight reliable or the climb would be unreasonably dangerous. Should they be replaced with machine heads that could hold falls, the opposite would happen."

Okay. So...y'all were ripping rivets in your repeated falls or what? Just curious. Just beating the horse.



Somebody please go up there. Preferably Ammon cuz I don't want to wait too long. hahahah Then again, Pete, your whole career has led you to this route: you can go up there and tape down like 30 hooks and drag bags all over the slab and take showers and somehow in the end smash the current speed record! LOL
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
May 1, 2006 - 02:46am PT
Tom, thanks for the very enlightening explanation about what happens to zinc. Never understood that process before.

So, yeah, the rivets might well have to be replaced by now, and, as Mark says, that job will definitely affect the character of the route.

Of course, if one-day ascents are trying it, then perhaps things aren't so bad yet after all. Don't know how long ago the one-day attempt was or how long it takes for the process you described to become a significant issue.

Regarding the question about how the rivets were holding our falls, the farther out on a pitch you are the lower the impact force is going to be on a placement. Most of our falls were not right at anchors, and I think the farthest we were out from a rivet when falling was four top-looped hooks. We took longer falls caught by bolts. We weren't assuming the rivets to hold falls, but we found that they did hold the falls we were taking on them. I would say that the combination of location of falls taken (luck), rope-run over the slab and through placements (adding friction), and the brand new status of the rivets all contributed to them holding. All the way up the slab we weren't counting on any one of them holding any particular fall, and each time one did we were happily surprised.

To elcapfool, all I can say is: Wow! And, we've already had quite a lot of experience with people frothing at the mouth "right in our faces" about such things. If a few batheads (like have been used in countless other routes) can get you this worked up, then I submit that you never moved very far from your starting point after all (much less ever came "full circle")! Who are you, anyway? Care to share a name? I've probably had you "in my face" already, would be my guess.

To Ammon, saying "a pretty ghetto way to put up a route" makes it sound like we were batheading in place of rivets all the way up the route, in effect not using rivets at all. In fact we placed a few of them, higher on the slab, which means that these were the rare exception rather than the rule. This tactic was not the "way we put up the route."

Pete has been much more reasonable and charitable in his assessment of this issue!

Perhaps instead of being "surprised" that we "admit this" tactic, elcapfool should take our ever-willing honesty as something worthy of a little charity in considering the whole picture. If this tempest in a teapot justifies a route-chopping, then I suggest that you had better get your chisel out and get to work on a lot of classic routes (including the Sea) that have far worse indiscretions on them than ours. There is, for example, not a single place on WoS where we chopped flat ledges into a long, thin, vertical flake to create numerous hookable ledges out of nothing! And nobody is going to tell me that the FA team wasn't responsible for THIS tactic, because anybody who has been there can see that there's no evidence of getting up this section without those utterly CREATED ledges.

So, chop whatever you feel you must, but don't pretend like you are standing on some lofty moral high-ground. If there's anything that people respected about Harding it was his "go f*&ck your stupid rules" mentality, and having talked to him MANY times about it, his reason was always the same: even the best of the purists violate their own rules whenever it suits them! Robbins certainly did, and Harding pointed it out, and Robbins was probably the most impressive purist climbing has ever seen. Mark and I have never had Harding's mentality to the EXTENT that he had it, but we certainly have come to agree with his motivations for the way HE had it, because whoever you idolize in the climbing world, they HAVE violated the "rules" in many and in worse ways that we did on WoS. So, chop on, nameless elcapfool, but your frothing doesn't create morality out of the empty landscape of inconsistent ACTUAL practices.
Ammon

Big Wall climber
El Cap
May 1, 2006 - 02:55am PT

Madbolter, maybe ghetto was a bad choice of words. I'm just trying to get the facts. I admit not reading every single post in one, two and three. I’m not criticizing you guys in anyway. Most of us have altered the rock and later regretted it.

It's all just curious to me and plan on checking it out for myself.

[edit] I hope it's badass-
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
May 1, 2006 - 03:20am PT
I appreciate the post, Ammon. I've never felt attacked by you, btw, and I have gotten the impression that you're taking a reasonable perspective in general.

Problem I have with all this is not knowing when something should get some response and when something should just be let slide (and then misunderstood in any of many ways). I've been erring on the side of responding, and maybe that's itself an error. Sigh.

As I have said in past threads, I expect the route to be something between a "botch" and a "badass," probably much closer to "badass" than to "botch," given what all we've seen since WoS. But, at this point, I'll be happy enough to settle for an unbiased ascent that, like Slater's, just reports that it wasn't a botch as was slandered, and then maybe this whole thing can just go bye-bye.

Unlike Harding's public persona, I do care about the rules and about what the community thinks of my tiny contributions. Actually, Harding did too, although his public persona WAS cast iron on the subject.

Thanks again for the post, though, Ammon.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 1, 2006 - 04:39am PT
I don't know, but as a complete outsider with a long LNT history it's interesting how much turns in the Valley on what fills one once a hole is drilled - hook, head, rivet, bolt. Hmmmm, from the outside it looks like the "damage" is done once the hole goes in and opinions about what fills it (if anything and why) seem to range from the "whatever's on hand" practical to a near-fanatical stance where the distinction between [metal] forms starts getting a bit lost on me.

I am curious about these "batheads", though, and whether the "head" was all the way in the hole, flush, or sticking out some such that some sort of "forked" hook would simply slip over them...
MSmith

Mountain climber
Portland, Oregon
May 2, 2006 - 04:30pm PT
Regarding rivet replacement and WoS, the majority of in-pitch holes are rivets. Change all of those to bolts and at least a couple of things happen. First, the commitment level of the climb goes way down. If El Cap had only one route, then making that route reasonably accessible to the masses would make some sense. But given that most El Cap routes are pretty accessible, preserving the commitment level of harder climbs is appropriate. Second, and maybe this is just me, it seems that rivets have a smaller footprint. Bolt hangers are visible with a good telescope from El Cap Meadow. They are very visible walking the base of the wall if you are looking. Our rivets go in a 5/8” deep hole and have a small rounded head that is roughly the color of the wall. Therefore, they probably have the smallest footprint short of a bat hook.

We chose Zamacs, in large part, as a statement against grade 8 machine bolts. A grade 8 machine bolt in a 1” hole is basically an anchor bolt. I’d be disappointed to see any hard aid route have its rivets or dowels replaced with these. We thought Zamacs were the best balance of small footprint and durability, something we did consider at the time. If experience has shown that they fail faster than other similar devices (I have no knowledge here), then a longer lasting device should be found to replace the WoS rivets, assuming they need replacement.

"Shouldn't an old rivet be replaced with something that is itself replaceable?"

Makes sense. What’s out there?

"One wonders if repeating these heading pitches will actually be harder and more time-consuming than the first ascent?!"

Probably yes. Because we used galvanized cable, every head on the route is certainly toast. Anyone who uses galvanized cable should be, well, better not pronounce a curse on myself.

"I am curious about these "batheads", though, and whether the "head" was all the way in the hole, flush, or sticking out some such that some sort of "forked" hook would simply slip over them..."

They weren’t Batcams™, nothing is sticking out to slip over. I’m not optimistic that any can successfully yanked out by the existing cable. Our apologies for having used them.
Matt M

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 2, 2006 - 05:04pm PT
I love this thread (s)! It's like the Supertopo version of In Search of Mallory on Everest! Mystery - "how high?" "what route?" etc etc
Controversy!
A proposed trip to "go find the truth!"

If report doesn't come back on this I'll be seriously disappointed. A book or at least a long article (alpinist - are you listening?) would be even better!

this is the supertopo circa 2002 that I remember - none of the political drivel
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