Hey, for some reason I hadn't seen this thread since Tricouni (or Chief, for that matter) posted to it. Nice to hear from the first ascensionist and creator of those tube chocks. Seeing them brought on an instant recognition and flashback (I treasure those moments, because I don't always remember the past so well).
I gotta say, I just read Mike Hengeveld's Offwidth 8 part series from start to finish. Sheesh, that's writing I could only aspire to. My wife and I were in tears from Part III on.
Whenever I get around to finally noticing a thread like this,
well, I don't have energy to read the whole thing, and I wish I could
be clear in the details that, yes we were using tube chocks of a sort
as far back as about '65... nothing refined, rather crude... I don't
think I liked them and hardly did use any, but people had them. I think
I recall thinking it was a way to get around leading a scary pitch, and
a part of me liked the idea but another part thought we were trying to
keep from rising to the level of the climb... or something... Then a few
years later I saw some version that had a telescopic effect and could be
greatly enlarged almost to full chimney size.... well, not quite...
So Tricouni and I were talking about obscure climbs and their history tonight, as we sometimes do. He referred to a photo and description of a climb in Culbert's "Alpine Guide to Southwest B.C." (1974). I got looking at other climbs on the cliff, and saw Dick's comment about Pipeline:
"..winds up in a rather serious crack which was aided originally with 6 1/2 - 8 inch sections of aluminum pipe. The route has not been repeated ATP, but the Pipeline crack has been climbed free to its final overhanging nose, and is very demanding."
The photo shows the crack as being graded 5.6, 5.9 and then near the top at 5.10, followed by an A4 bit.
So, who in the world was freeing most of Pipeline pre-1974, not to mention pre-1979, when Greg soloed it? Al Givler? Gordie Smaill? Hugh Burton or Steve Sutton?