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Big Wall climber
Everett, WA
Jun 6, 2006 - 10:19am PT
I thought that Pipeline was free soloed for the first ascent?

Maybe I'm remembering my facts incorrectly, but I do recall that detail. Anyway, it doesn't matter. It's burly, period.

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Jun 6, 2006 - 11:12am PT
Pipeline was free-soloed on the first free ascent. Many of the sawed-off tubes were still in place in 1979.

right here, right now
Jun 6, 2006 - 11:31am PT
As an aside, there was this German guy in the Valley around '81 or '82.

His name was Sonny. He was the Proto-Uber-Man. Stark blue eyes, a massive frame and a tight cropped mustache; the guy was unstoppable on walls.

If Clancey were to read this he'd post up some stories for sure.

Perhaps it was for the Zodiac: the wide pitch or whatever, but Sonny had fabricated his own tube chocks by cutting cross sections out of a helicopter skid!

He called protection in general, "Materiel" and would say "Vee Need More Materiel"...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 6, 2006 - 05:37pm PT
Read and see more about Pipeline on Mike Hengeveld's website (careful, you may get psyched to do it!):
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 7, 2006 - 02:06am PT
Thanks for the reference to Mike Hengeveld's stories of Pipeline. In fact, he's done the climb twice - some people never learn. But he's still my friend, although he's temporarily abandoned offwidthing for parenthood. And his website is pretty good, though not lately updated.

I suppose we could re-direct this thread, and everyone could tell "the most horrible off-width/chimney I've ever done" stories, which might be lots of fun. I still hope to learn more about the origins and evolution of tube chocks.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 7, 2006 - 11:07am PT
thanks Clint, that is a wonderful site!

I loved Episode III
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 7, 2006 - 11:36am PT
Hi Anders,

I have been trying to think of what was going on with tube chocks when Chouinard and Frost came out with their design.
It seems like such a simple idea I would guess that there were homemade versions of similar designs that preceded Chouinard's and Frost's design.

However, I don't remember any thing before, at least not in the Valley.

I still have two or three of the original designs. They are in great shape because they didn't get used much--they were hard to use. Somehow, aluminum bongs seemed to be more versatile.

Best, Roger

Great cartoon.


Jun 7, 2006 - 11:42am PT
Hi Grug,

Aren't you the person who free-soloed Pipeline for the FFA? It will be nice if you could tell us about your experience.

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Jun 7, 2006 - 12:49pm PT
chiranjeeb. There's not a whole lot to this story. In 1979 I was in Squamish with Tom Gibson, George Manson, Rob Rohn, and Mike Tschipper. We had been coming to Squamish annually for the last 2-3 years. We met up with Squamish locals Perry Beckham and perhaps Scott Flavelle. On that trip, Tom and Rob put up Freeway, one of the great Squamish long free climbs.

Perry was the one who talked up Pipeline. He had known about my Lost Arrow Chimney solo. I remember him showing us the climb from still some distance away the evening before I climbed it. I can't remember much else but setting out the next morning by myself and doing it. Those sawed-off pipes were plentiful (at least 4 of them), and I vaguely remember having a hard time getting around at least one of them.

Perry had suggested the FFA name be called Pipeloads. I sort of agreed, but apparently nothing came of it. I had no idea that this climb would become a classic.

BTW, Hengeveld's article is pretty darn amusing.

San Diego
Jun 7, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
"get DOWN from there, Greg!"


Trad climber
Austin, TX
Jun 7, 2006 - 01:20pm PT
Hey Sue, are you the same Sue from rec.climbing? I recall there was a Sue there who did altitude studies. With you being a PhD, I figured you were the one.

If so, this is timstich. For some reason I went to the alias here, thinking I wanted to hide my internetblabla from prying future employers. Fecking waste of time. I haven't been to the wreck in quite a while. Hope everyone is good over there.

Ice climber
Eastside of ....
Jun 7, 2006 - 01:21pm PT
Batso's "Crack Jack" for ASTROMAN IN 59' may just be the original Tube Chock!

Check out this site...great info!

Social climber
The West
Jun 7, 2006 - 01:28pm PT
Thanks for that post Clint. What a cool looking line. Now I want to do it.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 7, 2006 - 03:51pm PT
Yes, important to remember that Greg Cameron free-soloed Pipeline in 1979 - probably the second ascent, and the first free ascent. Pretty bold stuff!

There are also the Tetons (Teetons? Titons?), on much the same principles. Long pieces of t-bar stock, ends tapered in. Usually used end-ways, sometimes side-ways.

The nut museum website is really good - I'd read about it before. As a trip to Corsica doesn't seem likely any time soon, the site will have to do.


Jun 28, 2010 - 11:25am PT
Bump for Grug's on sight, free solo first free ascent of Pipeloads.
A memorable day indeed!
And Greg did throw my tube chocks off the Pillar on purpose.
That was the genesis of the now infamous bolted lieback into the Flats.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 28, 2010 - 12:45pm PT
Perhaps Tricouni (Glenn) can add stories and photos about the FA of Pipeline, in 1966. He did it with Leif-Norman Patterson and Barry Hagen. I also forgot to mention that they obtained at least some of the aluminum pipe from my father, who was an engineer with Alcan - I remember one of them coming to our house to get it.

I wonder what became of those pipes? Buried in the loam under the cliff, or?

Social climber
Bouncy Tiggerville
Jun 28, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
Great bump, Perry - the old links are broken, here's the main OW page:

and the Pipeline...err...Pipeloads page:

Trad climber
Jun 28, 2010 - 01:10pm PT
I thought it was either Bacher or Werner who invented the tube socks?

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jun 28, 2010 - 01:30pm PT
Dan Smith and I made some crude tube chocks, using aluminum pipe about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, in 1971. We weren't aware of anyone else having them then, but I rather doubt that we did it first. If you're interested, I'll post a picture when I get home.


Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Jun 28, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
I could have sworn I had one on my rack in '72 or '73. Between those and the big Chouinard hexes, the crag often sounded like there were wind chimes hung all over the place.
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