Crackjacks from 1964

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 25, 2006 - 02:03pm PT
Les Wilson and I designed a device for providing protection or aid in wide cracks. It was simple, just a turnbuckle in reverse and in fact the first units were just large drop-forged iron store-bought turnbuckles with angle iron welded on each end. But as they were very heavy, we then produced a couple dozen aluminum units which had tubing midsections that could be exchanged for different lengths. The units were quite light and tremendously strong. They could be cranked by a hammer even, if necessary. In fact in a number of placements, we broke old climbing rope trying to pull them out of cracks with an automobile and a bunch of slack allowed at the beginning of the test.

So here they are, shortly after manufacturer in 1964:



And here they are in a truly novel photo of myself at the age of 16, aiding the right side of the Hourglass in 1964, shortly after Sacherer freed this tremendous although short route.



and a general view of the beautiful rt side from the base:


The crackjack was even carried by The Ski Hut, thanks to Al Steck who ran the store back then. Hardly any sold of course, they were really expensive and weird for the time. But they provided the strongest point ever, in wider cracks (3.5" and up). The ends were loose-pinned to the spindles.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
May 25, 2006 - 02:05pm PT
Cool azz hell Peter!
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
May 25, 2006 - 02:07pm PT
Whoa, innovative!

Thanks for posting that. When I was up on Salathe gettin' skerred I kept thinking about your solo.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 25, 2006 - 02:08pm PT
Hey Peter, do you still have any of those contraptions? I don't remember ever seeing you with them. Did you use them on the Salathe or any other routes?

Also, pretty cool lounge chair. He he.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 25, 2006 - 02:15pm PT
Dang!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 25, 2006 - 02:19pm PT
Hey Peter, did you ever try to stack those?

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 25, 2006 - 02:20pm PT
Hi Buds,

No, by the time I got out of college (1970) and really got back into climbing, I had not a single one of the units. Maybe Les Wilson had/or does. Bridwell had one, which he kept hidden for years, in his stuff, but he did show it to me secretly. Or maybe I gave him that one, I don't remember.

More on them: One end of the unit simply rotated, the other had thread I think it was 5/8-11NC. The spindles and the caps were of two different aluminums to prevent thread-galling under pressure. The tubes were interchangeable and held in place by stainless steel spring pieces bent to pin into little holes in the tubing and spindles which matched. The wobbly angle ends, captive by a cotter pin through the end as it appeared through the drilled-through vee side of the angle wer 6061-t6 maybe, or softer, maybe t0. Since the tube (6061 or so) had a hole drilled through the center of it for a small sling for screwing the units in or out, you could really cram these things in there, to the point they rang like bells, or old fashion bongs. They were capable of a certain amount of flare, and handling rugosities and so forth. They could even be placed one-handed by someone used to them.

We did no significant ascents with these things. The whole thing was so obscure and kooky then, but now is of course kind of interesting, especially since even now, there is nothing this strong and versatile on the market. And at the time they seemed super-awkward to have on your hardware sling, but nowadays, the big friends are obviously even more ungainly.

best to you all , P

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 25, 2006 - 02:44pm PT
Hi, if anyone does have one of these they'd part with I'd happily forward it on to Stephane's Nut Museum and if there were a trove of them available I'm sure Marty Karabin's collection and the Yosemite Climbing Museum would love to have one as well...
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
May 25, 2006 - 03:11pm PT
Peter,
Man, you've got the Way Back Machine on tilt.

Out of curiosity, did you ever run across a guy named Pat Merrill around that time? He was from the Claremont (SoCal) area and climbed with the Gleason bothers.

Thanks for posting this stuff. It's rad beyond words.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 25, 2006 - 03:17pm PT
Hi Martyr,

(extremely funny name btw). I had to have met him, as I hung out with the Gleasons a fair amount, but never climbed with them, that I can remember. Why do you ask?
pyro

Trad climber
Ventura
May 25, 2006 - 03:18pm PT
that is nice!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
May 25, 2006 - 05:00pm PT


pre-cursor to these?

very cool, thx for sharing.
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 25, 2006 - 05:13pm PT
Right Side of the Hourglass! nice...I remember doing that with Kauk a long time ago. Full blown Valley classic. Nice pic too! We were trying to be as bad azz as the Haan - king of the off-width at the time!

Cool stuff Peter! cheers, jb
noshoesnoshirt

climber
hither and yon
May 25, 2006 - 05:20pm PT

That's tight, thanks for the post.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 25, 2006 - 05:43pm PT
Harding Slot?
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
May 25, 2006 - 07:15pm PT
Peter,
Pat is my uncle--one of two who helped get me into climbing. My folks went to school with the Gleasons and Paul and Phil are still talked about on occasion. The "Inland Empire" (second only to the Holy Roman) was, I guess, a little bit of a hub of cool stuff once upon a time. Tobin lived up in Barrit Canyon (Mt. Baldy area), Largo and Richard Harrison climbed electric a huge electric tower out near Etiwanda, AlpineLite packs were made there. Oh, and I guess there was a shop called Pack and Piton that was a hang of sorts for lurkers and hard men. This, of course, is all way way before I was born.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
May 25, 2006 - 07:29pm PT
Thanks for all these great threads!
WBraun

climber
May 25, 2006 - 07:52pm PT
Peter

Post a picture of the left side of the classic "Hourglass" please if you have one.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 25, 2006 - 10:33pm PT
Werner my wonderful old bud,

Yeah, left side of the HOurglass photos coming up next!!

Best to you, P
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
May 26, 2006 - 05:06am PT
JB: the Haan - king of the off-width at the time!

We did the Haan var. on the North Face (Lover's Leap) a while back. That thing sees no love. Pretty tricky niner, IMO stouter than Traveler's crux.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 26, 2006 - 05:34am PT
Geat pix of both sides of the Hourglass, one area that I never got to in the Valley.

I'll have to remedy that someday.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 26, 2006 - 06:54am PT
Hey Rad, if I ever get back to the States let's hook up and climb both sides of the Hourglass. That is, if I ever get back to leading 5.11.

Which I will.

Peter, with all the non-climbing vitriolic threads of late, your posts have been a breath of fresh air.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 11, 2008 - 09:55pm PT
bump
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 12, 2008 - 12:53pm PT
I realize I erased the link for the actual crackjacks image from imageshack. Here is the image again, now supported by photobucket:


Mike.

climber
Nov 12, 2008 - 02:09pm PT
Really cool. Thanks for updating the pic.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 12, 2008 - 02:21pm PT
A fella might get hurt by them gadgets. Just carrying them would be hard work, and bringing them up and placing them on a climb even more so. Amazing stuff!

Were the crackjacks crackerjack? Were any tests done on them to see how strong they were?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 12, 2008 - 04:10pm PT
Hi Anders,

This thread is a few years old and you will notice in the beginning (where the missing image was of the chaise lounge with the first batch of crack jacks produced---there was a slightly updated version a few weeks later) that I mention trying to pull them out by a car (Dodge Valiant) attached with old climbing rope, and a bunch of slack paid out in advance. The rope broke and the jack remained. You would tie/clip into one end as you would a tee-pin for example. I am sure they could easily have withstood loads in excess of 6000 lbs.

The second batch of aluminum units had thread only on one end, the other end merely rotating. They could usually be placed with one hand but it was awkward. Once you tightened one up it inspired incredible confidence. And as noted in beginning you could put different tube sections in the middle. I think that design was capable of being as short as 3.5" and could expand another 1" or so. The Ski Hut actually carried them for awhile. I never used one after the Hourglass right "all-aid" ascent Les and I did in 1964. Bridwell had one for years; I don't remember if he used it but probably did.
Les23

climber
Nov 12, 2008 - 06:40pm PT
I still have some of these things in the garage.
Les23

climber
Nov 12, 2008 - 06:42pm PT
They are awfully dusty.
Les23

climber
Nov 12, 2008 - 07:20pm PT
They are behind the woodpile. I will take a picture.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 12, 2008 - 07:59pm PT
Hi Les!

This is going to be fun. We are talking 43 years ago for crackjacks. Les Wilson, St'ers, is one of a very few true adventure climbers and still is active. He started me and a few other guys climbing when we were in our early teens in 1963---- 45 years ago. Incredibly cool strong guy with a love of the outdoors that is matched only by a few. One of his sons, David, became a very good climber also.

best ph.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2008 - 11:37am PT
Alright. Here are some more photos of the crackjack circa 1964-1965 taken just now by Les Wilson. He has found some in his storage. And he is trying to get a webpage going: http://www.les-wilson.com/WSCrackjacks/CrackGallery.htm

But here is some of what he has posted. Note that the aluminum angle ends were able to adjust somewhat to different angles as they were loosely pinned onto the shafts (both ends).

original iron crackjacks


exploded view of final aluminum crackjack


free end final crackjack


threaded end final crackjack

Chris2

Trad climber
Nov 21, 2008 - 11:49am PT
Classic...the iron crackjacks, a simple turnbuckle with two pieces of angle iron welded at the ends.
nutstory

climber
Ajaccio, Corsica, France.
Apr 16, 2009 - 07:17am PT
Bonjour Les!
I sent you an email via supertopo.
Stephane / Nuts Museum
David Wilson

climber
CA
May 4, 2009 - 06:31pm PT
Peter -

My dad is definitely old school and his memories of the hourglass and these devices are some of his fondest from his times in Yosemite. They, and you, ushered in the modern era for his Yosemite days.

David

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2009 - 06:34am PT
David,

Your dad is one of the most decent men I have ever known. I am so utterly grateful he started me out climbing back in July of 1963, aged 14. And he had to cope with my worried professor parents at the time too, what a crock. But what an incredible life gift he gave me! I can't imagine what I would have become without my fundamental connection to climbing. I shudder to think, frankly. You probably don't know this, but I also met your grandfather way back then when he was out visiting Les. Maybe before you were born, I can't recall.

best to you, p.
MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
May 23, 2009 - 07:42am PT
This thread is really stellar - I love the process and unfolding of events, connections and gear.

Erik
tom Carter

Social climber
May 23, 2009 - 07:55am PT
Fantastic!

There is always something more involved - the details make the difference. It really is interesting.

Great photos of the jacks and the Right Side.

I remember climbing it with Allan mid- 70's and we found a crushed 9 hex? at the bottom of the last pitch. We were the only ones who saw and or picked up the once 'fixed" pieces.

Way to go Peter
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 24, 2009 - 06:26am PT
Still have that nut, Tom?
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
May 30, 2009 - 01:08am PT
I always thought it was made by Dolt, my bad. See photos Climbers Forum "Dats a lotta nuts!"
I got the crackjack for my museum from Bridwell years ago. He said it was from Harding used on the Harding Slot on Astroman FA. Said it may be made by Dolt. Bridwell wasnt trying to sell me, he is a friend, but maybe just didn't remember. It is a fantastic piece so great job on the craftsmanship. This is the only one I have ever seen. How many were created?
How many different sizes?
For 1964, it is an amazing piece of gear way ahead of its time!

Rock on!

Marty
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
May 30, 2009 - 11:40am PT
awesome thread!
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 30, 2009 - 12:41pm PT
Man, the Right Side of the Hourglass is a big ass sandbag at 5.10a. But who knows. I remember when we were just starting to get good in the Valley it was a requirment to do all the standard hard man off widths and frankly, I had no technique at the beginning and had to muscle/wrestle everything. Hence Despair, Left Reeds, Chingando, Edge of Night, Chopper, Left Slack, Right Hourglass, Vendetta, Cleft (then rated 5.9), Kristina, Absolutely Free Right, and all the rest felt aweful.

Then all of a sudden you can do this stuff. I had to get a lot of mileage and spent some time on Generator Crack to get it all dialed.

Back in the day, there was basically no great way to protect the hard parts of these routes - tube chocks just never fit right. The "pro" was your knee in the crack, and when you had to pull it out (Stepping Out!), things got exciting.

I think the hardest straight arm baring I did in Yoz was on Bad Ass Moma. I couldn't get my knee in and I never learned hand stacking so it was dynamic arm barring all the way. Bleak leverage . . .

Sure wish I would have gotten on Basket Case. That still sounds like the best one of them all.

JL
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
May 31, 2009 - 01:13pm PT
Largo,

There is still room for one of your LONG cams in my museum.
Break out MISTER! I mean, cough, I would love to have one someday sir......

Rock on! Marty
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 31, 2009 - 01:46pm PT
Actually, Largle, I agree about the Right Side of the Hourglass. If a climber is a larger type he can't get a chicken wing in the overhanging offwidth out of the tree for about 20-25 feet as I recall but if you were Steve Moyles, Alex H. sized climber, you'd be winging in a move or two thus making this route two completely different experiences for those two types of climbers. You and I were fairly muscly and thicker-chested so for us that route probably compares out at 5.10b/c. I've done it several times free and have come to this conclusion.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 1, 2009 - 06:34am PT
Here is a crackjack device from Eastern Europe known as a Tendor. Andras Z. just sent the scan to me.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 4, 2009 - 04:55pm PT
Here Harding is pictured on his First Winter Ascent of his Keeler Needle route with a crackjack on his hardware loop.

couchmaster

climber
pdx
Oct 4, 2009 - 08:28pm PT
Nice find Peter! I love that picture of you using them in the Hourglass.
BTW, the Les Wilson link wasn't working, did it get changed, updated or moved?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 4, 2009 - 08:41pm PT
Update:

the links to Les' site pages on this:

http://www.les-wilson.com/WSCrackJacks/Gallery.html


http://www.les-wilson.com/WSCrackJacks/ReportS.html
Thorgon

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
Oct 5, 2009 - 09:32am PT
Innovative Gear Bump!


Thor
Les23

climber
Oct 5, 2009 - 01:52pm PT
Hi Folks...

I recently changed the links to my article and photo gallery on CrackJacks to:

http://www.les-wilson.com/WSCrackJacks/ReportS.html
http://www.les-wilson.com/WSCrackJacks/Gallery.html

Also, I found a 1966 Ski Hut catalogue that listed them.

...Les
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
Oct 8, 2009 - 06:59pm PT
I am soooo glad that here is a photo of a Crackjack hanging off of Hardings harness. The Crackjack that I have is from Bridwell. Bridwell said that Harding gave it to him. Years ago I had Don Lauria take photos of the crackjack to Harding to verify this story and Harding replied "I have never seen this piece of gear in my life." But yet here is Harding wearing the piece!!!!
Maybe my Crackjack still holds its true story!! YES!!
I possibly am holding the Crackjack that Harding is wearing in that photo.
Regardless it is a fantastic piece of climbing history and I am glad to own one! I like the (heavy) #6 Eiger hex which is left of the Crackjack in the Harding photo.

Marty
nutstory

climber
Ajaccio, Corsica, France.
Oct 23, 2009 - 05:05am PT
After many, many years of exciting research, The Nuts Museum was at long last enhanced with some of its most valuable pieces: three CrackJacks!

With these lines, I would like to thank Peter Haan for his assistance with getting me in touch with Les Wilson.... and Les Wilson for parting with such historical treasures.

CrackJacks: 2 originals, made from iron turnbuckles, and one aluminum ...
CrackJacks: 2 originals, made from iron turnbuckles, and one aluminum model
Credit: nutstory

Stephane / Nuts Museum
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 23, 2009 - 07:05am PT
Stephane, that is wonderful to see you finally have a few of these monsters in your museum! Great that you have two early turnbuckle iron ones too! And thanks tons to the legendary Les Wilson!!

Now Karabin: it is extremely likely that the particular crackjack you have is the one in the photo. There had to be less than twenty ever made and the Ski Hut and Al Steck don't remember ever selling any. Bridwell did have one and he never would have bought one; meanwhile Harding was a friend from way back. The fact that Harding did not remember ever seeing one but actually had one on his rack on Whitney goes to show that Harding was getting a few bricks shy of a load after awhile. HOWEVER, Bridwell is a bit that same way too as the first ascent by the Harding party of the East Face of the Column, aka later Astroman, was in 1959. Crackjacks were made in 1965, six years later. However the "East face of Whitney" is close in sound etc..... and we have Harding with one here.

The first aluminum ones looked the same on both ends, namely there was was no thick shoulder on the rotating end for a sling. Then we made about another ten or so that had the shoulder---- the one in Stephane's museum and which Les gave Stephane is the later better model with that shoulder. We realized it was a much smarter design to have the shoulder for slinging---- you did not want to sling the tube itself as that approach would be far weaker and there was no room for a sling at the ends so constructed.

Here is another photo from our second Hourglass ascent 1965. It is Les trying to stuff himself into the crux just above the tree. Kind of funny and a typical "climber's photo":

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 23, 2009 - 07:44am PT
Peter,
If you used those in the desert you could widen the crack to your appropriate heel/toe size.
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Oct 23, 2009 - 08:04am PT
this is such a totally great thread,
amazing.
Robb

Social climber
The Greeley Triangle
Oct 23, 2009 - 08:12am PT
Candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize...that's what you get with..
Oops, wrong Cracker Jacks.
Pate

Mountain climber
MILF Island
Oct 23, 2009 - 10:39am PT
Serious gear Peter. And the climbing hardware is impressive too.
navblk4

climber
Constitutional, states
Oct 23, 2009 - 10:47am PT
Good invention for Red Rocks. Bongs, then Big Bro's?

Though Camelots seemed easier.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 23, 2009 - 12:50pm PT
Kind of an aside here:

The bolt on the right side of the Hourglass should be replaced. It is the only thing you are going off of from a hanging tree belay (belayer is hanging in the tree with no stance on the cliff itself) and the crux is immediately off of the bolt, continuing for the leader---depending on his/her size---for about 10-30 feet after which a chicken wing is possible thus ending the real risk of a high-category fall approaching 2 (!!). This bolt is the original (and unusual) 47-year-old self-drilled head with bolt threaded into it and is not acceptable. It makes the climb factually pretty effing dangerous. I would suggest that either the replacer person put one on the flake itself in that same area, namely on the left side of the crack in the super orange stone of the Hourglass itself and accessible to the leader or next to the old one, a much worse location and much more perilous as the leader could fall on the belayed line and flip over into the tree and the slot it grows out of. Pulling the old bolt probably will leave a huge diameter hole, I remember, maybe 1/2".... so that precludes using the old hole I am guessing. A wrench or maybe phillips set will be needed to undo the bolt threaded into it however.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Oct 23, 2009 - 07:05pm PT
peter - i have some shiny 3/8" bolts. maybe i'll go up and replace that one per your suggestions. great to see any other scans of dad. thanks, david




Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 23, 2009 - 08:17pm PT
David, about ten years ago, Les and Bev came down to my place in the country and gathered up all the slides I had of Les, namely from July/August of 1963. He then digitized them and eventually returned the slides themselves to me. Do you have copies of his digitizing work? If not I can muster these up and do the same for you, David.

Yeah it would be a great thing to do, replace that turkey-ass bolt. Just like that group did the Lost Arrow Chimney's crux bolts last month. Both of these have been buzz-saws for decades.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 23, 2009 - 08:27pm PT
Peter,

Would a leader use large cams instead of the bolt now?
Maybe not even clip the bolt?

This sort of question makes replacing old bolts next to cracks tricky!
Examples:
 Astroman, pitch below Harding Slot
 Nose, Pancake Flake (bolts are gone now, but sleeves still there)
 Right Side of the Folly, top pitch
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 23, 2009 - 08:40pm PT
Actually Clint, maybe so... The crack is something like 5-8" in that early part. Or you could futz around with some Big Bros there. It widens pretty quickly and given more than a hundred feet and more it ends up being an easy S chimney 3-4 ft. at the summit.

But the overhanging crux involves leading out a ways before you are able to hide inside. I guess if you got two things in at the start it would make sense. As it stands now, it is kind of a sketchy situation for modern climbers, leading out on one 47-year old quetionably placed bolt piece on 5.10a++.

Largo has called that crux a ridiculous sandbag at 5.10a and I agree. If you are something beyond 150 lbs, it is quite a bit different than for someone who is thin. I remember my partner Darwin on one of the times I did this climb free was able to get a chicken wing like in a couple of feet. He was pretty small and thin and I was 190 lbs and had to arm bar the sucker for more than 15 feet. Really size-dependent. It can easily be 5.10b with a larger person.
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Oct 24, 2009 - 08:19am PT
Peter: About 1971 my friend Harry & I attempted to climb a striking little pinnacle named "The Arrowhead" in the Idaho Sawooth's. Gordon Webster & a Sun Valley local, John Beaupre, had done first ascent a few years earlier.

The crux pitch is a wide crack that we didn't have protection for. We could see where a piece of its lip had been broken off recently. I remember Harry knowingly saying that the first ascent party had used "some kind of expanding nut" and we then speculated that the nut must have caused the breakage.

Any idea if Gordon Webster had one of your tools?
Wide crack to left of climber is crux pitch.
Wide crack to left of climber is crux pitch.
Credit: Fritz
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Oct 24, 2009 - 10:40am PT
Peter

Somewhere I know I have a photo of Sacherer on the right side of the Hourglass from one of our earlier attempts. Will have to dig for that one.

Looks like Les is wearing the old army fatiguer pants we all wore back in that era?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2009 - 12:42pm PT
Yeah, Les was into those fatigue pants, got me started in them as well and would argue that their flat-felled seams made these pants tougher than the Levi's we later were typically wearing back then. No matter what, you shred anything you wear in big cracks. I was into knickers from Ski Hut for about two pairs 1963-64 but couldn't handle the cost since they got torn up immediately. I eventually just would buy slacks from Goodwill at a couple dollars.

Fritz, no idea if Gordie had one--- it is possible; he was certainly around tons back then. Love the Sawtooth range, spent a day by Elephants Perch and Redfish Lake back in the 80's. wow.

The remarkable values of Crackjacks are plenty: when placed reasonably well you cannot pull one out with an automobile and slack in your line even--- honest, that is how strong they are when tied into at one end on the rotating spindle; you could actually stand on them with absolute security--- they even rang like a perfect bong placement and inspired total confidence; they fit in cracks over 3-3/4" to any width beyond that; and could be even put in most flares--- the softer aluminum angle ends were floppy for this; the units were easy to remove; and when made in aluminum and no longer iron, were really quite light--- lighter than the current Valley Giants; Crackjacks were tolerant of frantic sloppy placing on lead and could be set with one hand within 30-60 seconds often quite a bit less---actually faster than placing a bong and even if put in sloppily they were ridiculously strong; while on a climb or anywhere for that matter, you could interchange the tubes for any variety of crack range without really getting much heavier overall since the tubes weighed almost nothing; and if set by hand only--- namely tightened just by hand, they were instantly worth thousands of pounds and if you then took a hammer and rotated the tube some more with the hammer beak in the tube sling you like granite with the things; and lastly they of course did no damage to the rock and left no trace actually.

All this makes me think we should make a bunch of these; I will consider it. Firing out a couple dozen of them would be easy. It would not be remarkably profitable of course, just really cool to revive them. I think also they could be a somewhat smaller overall diameter, making them even lighter; like the threaded part does not need to be 5/8" but would be fine at 3/8"--- all it has to do is provide the bracing force and does not experience ending bending forces. I would round off the angle end corners so they don't catch so easily on stuff. I would

They would have been more interesting to everybody if by that point in 1964-65 we had had other mechanically operated devices to usher the acceptance of complicated many-pieced designs in general that did come later. As it was, the comparison to the utter simplicity of ubiquitous pitons-- simple metal wedges of two basic sorts was pretty extreme and insurmountable, unfavorable even though Crackjacks have so many virtues. If you consider how open everyone now is to cams--- tri and quad--- and to sizes up to even the 12" that a Valley giant #12 goes, you have to consider that Crackjacks aren't all that kooky. A C4 #5 has at least 18 parts, at least 5 of these are moving parts; a LinkCam has something like 30 part and at least 13-- it is hard to count 'em there are so many--- are moving! A Crackjack has like 3 moving parts plus two floppy ends---a total of 10 parts!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 24, 2009 - 12:57pm PT
Can crackjacks be placed using only one hand?

Looking at the converse, jacks have a few times been used to pry things off deliberately, the most notorious example being a pillar called "Positive Vibrations" at Vantage in central Washington. Basalt columns.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2009 - 01:05pm PT
Yeah, MIghty Anders, they can. One end only rotates while the other end is threaded (RH thread). If you were in an offwidth trying to place one, you would plant either end against the rock almost in any sort of roughly perpendicular fashion and finger the thing to rotate (having set it roughly close to the final length required and in about a couple of turns you have something that is quite good enough. Much like a Big Bro. I like how Big Bros spring out and then you tighten them but their problem is they are basically kind of inflexible at the ends, less tolerant of natural conditions. They are awesome, for sure though.
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Oct 24, 2009 - 02:17pm PT
Peter, if you do seek to build a limited number of these
devices, let me be among the first to wish you much success.

David Wilson

climber
CA
Oct 26, 2009 - 06:02pm PT
peter, sounds like that bolt has become controversial. i better just go climb that thing and report back.

my dad is a bit of a cretin when it comes to technology. he probably has those scans, but i've never seen them. i'll ask him. in that butt shot from 65 i would have been 4 and dad 34. wow, that photo resonated with the years gone by...
navblk4

climber
Constitutional, states
Oct 27, 2009 - 06:36pm PT
Peter Hann,
I'm checking the hourglass possibly for this summer upcoming.
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
Nov 3, 2009 - 07:27pm PT
Sorry about the delay but here is the Crackjack in the Karabin Museum. It is a little longer than the one in Stephanes museum in Corsica. That shorter version is pretty cool! When Bridwell showed me this piece I was instantly in love. I don't think the piece ever left my hands. Great craftsmanship, unique shape, a wonderful collectors piece!!!

Crackjack
Crackjack
Credit: karabin museum
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2009 - 08:05pm PT
Realize that you do NOT clip into the middle of the unit with the cord as pictured. You sling onto the spindle (no-thread) end. The cord as shown just above was threaded through a hole in the tubing so you could carry them on a hardware sling.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 3, 2009 - 09:00pm PT
How is the crash and burn recovery going, Marty?
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
Nov 4, 2009 - 07:28am PT
Peter,

Thanks for clarifying where the clip-in point is on the Crackjack. I was under the assumption that climbers were clipping that mid center cord....yipe! looks like old gold line as well with a follow-thru overhand knot. I figured that all of the Yosemite boys were smarter than that with all of the tied off pitons I have seen.
The leg is healing fast. It has been three months since the femur break and now I am walking with a cane. I hope to be back setting easier climbing routes by the end of November. Therapy is going great but getting tired of having my sore muscles tweeked and pulled on three times a week. I have a great therapist so things are fun in a sadistic way. Plus the doctors have taken the pain pills away..........NOOOOO!!!! But what about my Oxycotton addiction? Well three months of floating was fun, but back to the real world of pain.

I have been putting the Marty info and photos on Mountainproject.com....look under karabin accident.

Rock on! Marty
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Nov 5, 2009 - 07:25pm PT
A crack-jack, like a tube chock or a Big Bro, is set, clipped, and you move past it. A cam, like a Valley Giant, can be pushed up the crack for "sequential top-roping" (the Bird's term), or for crack-jugging.

Setting a piece, or pushing a piece, is a matter of philosophy.
Les23

climber
Nov 20, 2009 - 01:45pm PT
Hello Folks...

For accessing the CrackJacks web pages use the domain name www.crackjacks.com in the future.

Sorry...

...Les
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 21, 2011 - 10:01pm PT
innovation bump
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Dec 22, 2011 - 08:32am PT
skating on stilts
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 29, 2012 - 05:39pm PT
Wide Widget Bump!
dmons

climber
Jan 29, 2012 - 05:44pm PT
looks like you could topple something tightening that down
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 5, 2012 - 09:15pm PT
bump
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