Removing Copperheads

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Messages 1 - 35 of total 35 in this topic
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 9, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Jul 9, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
Cool Mark, thanks for the tip!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 08:20am PT
Bump for cleaner walls and challenge!
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Jul 10, 2013 - 11:09am PT
Thanks for explaining how to remove Copperheads!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 10, 2013 - 12:24pm PT
Mark, dig it.

Dark arts have been in the shadows for a long time.


For a flat pasted (where there is very little crack above or below), have you noticed any difference in peeling it by starting at the bottom vs. the top? Preferred starting point?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
The ones that are flat pasted into very little crack are usually the heads that are in appropriate placements and are heads that I don't remove.

The hardest ones to remove are those where some bozo has really plastered it into a deep crack since its hard to reach back there and still get leverage.

It doesn't bother me at all to actually try to carve a little nut placement or repeatedly hammer in a beak or pin to make a hand placed nut, beak or pin placement either.
nopantsben

climber
Jul 10, 2013 - 01:18pm PT
It doesn't bother me at all to actually try to carve a little nut placement or repeatedly hammer in a beak or pin to make a hand placed nut, beak or pin placement either.
Why does that not bother you? It's chiseling where there would be head placement, no?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 01:51pm PT
Yup, and others will decry the repeated placement and removal of the head, and the subsequent destruction of the placement. So the head, fixed, yet crappy, requiring no skill to clip or move past, remains. Might as well drill a bolt or rivet, eh?

Which would you prefer?

And then, let's talk about a chiseled head placement in the first place. Manufactured nut, or hand placed beak, rivet or bolt? Which would you prefer?

All in all, it's a moot point since I've been able to move past 98% of all of the heads I've removed via clean means and the other 2% have required a hammered beak or pin.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Jul 10, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
What about removing dikHeds... There are some of those on the walls too. Especially the european type.













Sarcasm people.... Just lighten up.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 10, 2013 - 02:24pm PT
Which would you prefer?

Virgin Stone, place my own heads, then have my cleaner remove them with our butter knives.

Keeps the adventure found in heading up to the next team.


Edit: For sure Mark, I dig your efforts and agree with every single photo you have posted here, showing obvious placements.

Hell, bunch of those could be 20 years old, and have just stood the test of time.

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
Absolutely, Mucci, I'm all for it, I'd love to place my own heads, in legitimate head placements. This thread though, it mainly about removing heads from placement where they don't belong in the first place, removing them from easy cam and nut placements.

For example, last year on Lost in America, I was really expecting a good battle on the Fly or Die pitch. I really wanted to suffer and be scared. I was severely disappointed to find it pretty much an A0 clip up. All the heads were fixed and there was even a 3/8" bolt in between two rivets. I felt totally cheated.

Credit: Mark Hudon

Credit: Mark Hudon

Credit: Mark Hudon

Credit: Mark Hudon

Credit: Mark Hudon

Credit: Mark Hudon

This cam was actually a bit too small for this placement, I removed it...
This cam was actually a bit too small for this placement, I removed it and placed a larger one.
Credit: Mark Hudon

Really? Someone though this was a legitimate head placement?
Really? Someone though this was a legitimate head placement?
Credit: Mark Hudon
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 10, 2013 - 02:52pm PT
Nice video, Mark. Lots of extra heads lying around on the walls these days. I think you need to make a run up Mescalito.

Now, in case any of you wants to know how to place heads, here is where you can find out:

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/dr-pitons-heading-tips/106076091

Maybe you want to make a cross posting there, Mark - tell us how to take them out, too!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
I absolutely care NOT to teach people how to place heads. Obviously people don't even know where a head is appropriate or not. I surely don't want to teach them to weld them anymore than they already are.

BTW, Max and I have plans for the first three or five of Mescalito this fall...
m_jones

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Jul 10, 2013 - 10:49pm PT
One intact copperhead and four dead heads in the space of a foot and a...
One intact copperhead and four dead heads in the space of a foot and a half near the top of the third of mescalito. Looking down there were at least dozen useable heads in a row and I am guessing maybe 25 dead heads in that 30 feet. Time for some cleaning
Credit: m_jones
nopantsben

climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
So the head, fixed, yet crappy, requiring no skill to clip or move past, remains. Might as well drill a bolt or rivet, eh?

What's your thing with skill? Routes require the skill they require. There is no need for some police to go up there to make sure appropriate skill is required for a given route. And there is huge difference between a rivet and head.
It's clear that trade routes like LiA do not provide the most challenge. Is that news?

And then, let's talk about a chiseled head placement in the first place. Manufactured nut, or hand placed beak, rivet or bolt? Which would you prefer?

rivet. And there is a huge difference between a fully manufactured head placement in a blank corner or a little help from a chisel to avoid a rivet. The good thing about aidclimbing is that people can do whatever they want as long as they don't drill on established routes and keep them clean.

The photos you show where you moved past heads with "easy cam placements", all have clean gear that was probably not available when those heads were placed or the people didn't have them. Or they didn't have the balls to place the micronuts. And what's the big deal anyway? Why not just leave the head in place and clip it (or not) and move past. You can always place your cam (as a backup), no? not enough fun? There are enough routes that are not too hard and still have virtually no fixed gear because they aren't trade routes.

The problem is taking care of itself without hordes of people with butterknives and 5 sets of offsets, because none of those heads last forever (another difference to a rivet) and may never be replaced if they're unnecessary.
Removing deadheads and tat is really nice, and replacing anchors is great too, thanks and respect for that. Thanks for writing the TR's too, I just don't like the fixed heads are lame and people nail too much yadda yadda.
There should be some room for anarchy up there.

I like nailing.
-nopants






Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jul 11, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
First, you approach them, then when they are coiled up you throw a blanket over them... that confuses them. When they crawl out, then pin their heads down and place them a fair distance away from your land in West Virginia. My cousins in WVA taught me that.

Apologies Mark, I couldn't resist (EDIT - considering your Thread Head), and I am from California, but I do have a bit of land (one acre from my late mother's farm) in West Virginia, first and only place I have ever seen a copperhead.
Ian Jewell

climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
in a sense , it still is "anarchy" , i don't think Mark is trying to squash that.
and he couldn't if he wanted to.
he is merely exercising his right to do whatever the fvck he wants up there, by cleaning what he sees fit.

maybe it's the internet spray that rubs people the wrong way , i don't know if that applies to you ben. i guess it could come off as judgmental , and just the "hey, look what i did" nature of it might be construed as sprayish.

i confess , that is how i perceived some of mark's posts like this when i first came across them.

somewhere along the way though , i sort of began to dig what he is doing with this stuff, and the only way i even know about it is the threads with photos and videos. so i can't very well begrudge the sprayishness of it too much anymore.
after all , it is a climbing site, and really ,the whole point of the forum ( ideally ) is climbing content, essentially, stuff like Mark's posts.

when all is said and done, regardless of the ideology or motivation, he goes up there and when he is done a route, he has restored it to a much closer version of it's original condition.
it's impossible to restore the rock to it's actual original condition , but Mark makes an effort to get as close as he can, which i can't help but admire somewhat.

i guess i can see questioning the motivation , whether or not it is like elitist ,or an effort to gate keep the wall to preserve the rad factor of ones own accomplishments, or sit in judgement of the style of others' ascent.

it makes me think, and i don't know if this is an applicable reference , but it seems so to me, of when Ivo and Gabe went and cleaned the shlt out of Zodiac in like 2006 or 7 ?
it was super fixed and everyone was climbing it really fast and the Hubers set the speed record, and the next spring? , no, late in the season , Ivo and Gabe spend three days stripping the living hell out of all the fixed mank.
it changed the nature of the route , most would say for the better.
the route had become , like Mark warns of , pretty much a total clip up.

any way , interesting discussion.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
Climbing big walls is all about the challenge. Placing the gear is the challenge. Quite often fixed heads remove that challenge. Removing the heads restores the challenge.

Done deal as far as I'm concerned.
Ian Jewell

climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
those photos are pretty hard to argue with.

most if not all are definitely NOT ancient heads from the time before modern cams and micro cams.

looks like , as Mark says, lazy, fearful and misguided placements.


PTPP had some photos from , was it Dihedral wall or Magic Mushroom, of bomber C1 # 1 & 2 camalots, 6 inches away from new shiny protection bolts. implicating TC, if i remember correctly
Offset

climber
seattle
Jul 11, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
climbing a wall may or may not be about the challenge. placing the gear may or may not be the challenge for said wall climber....

everyone's got their reasons....
nopantsben

climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
You got all very good points Ian. I agree, especially about Mark's right to do this. Mark can do whatever he wants, of course. If he did this without all the finger pointing and internet bragging afterwards, I would find it cool even. I still respect it. But the moral high horse blah blah rubs me the wrong way, definitely.
I don't think trip reports are lame, or talking about your climbs.
It's just this dissing of other random climbers that did something that Mark does not approve of on a trade route that gets me. Even if they have no name in his reports, I find that unnecessary.

Mark should climb routes that are challenging enough for him without his chisels, there are plenty.

Mark gets a lot of credit on this site for good reason, but sometimes the audience here is a bit biased depending on who says what. If some Euro guy had come along removing heads from trade routes and had then posted those photos and summit trash exhibitions and adding bolts to anchors for bivies... oh oh.
btw, just to make sure I don't get misunderstood. I heard from many friends that Mark is a great guy to hang with and climb with, which I bet is true, and this is nothing personal agains him.

regarding Zod and Dihedral.
TC did not add bolts next to cracks on Dihedral Wall, that was someone else.
edit: false info here as ammon points out below.


Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2013 - 02:52pm PT
Another thing I'm trying to do is to instill a respect for the next party coming up the route. If a given route is rate 5.9 A4, I'll bet that party want to climb 5.9 and A4. If the A4 were all fixed, isn't it totally legitimate for that party to feel cheated? If the route is covered in tat slings, and various debris, doesn't the next party deserve to feel cheated?
The whole of the Yosemite Climbing Experience philosophy is for subsequent ascents to be able to climb the route in much the same fashion as the first ascent climbed it. Fixing the entire route, or the hard difficult pitches, certainly robs subsequent parties of that doesn't it?
nopantsben

climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
Yeah, I agree that fixing a pitch up on purpose is lame. I think once you start thinking about A4 you know enough about aid routes to know which ones are hard and which ones are fixed and mellow. A route that gets 3 or 4 ascents a year is usually not going to be that hard after 25 years...

Whether or not removing heads is a great idea, isn't really the issue for me, as I said. It's rather the way it's presented, and how you make it a bigger deal than it is, in my opinion. My opinion, which is nothing more than that, and certainly not more valuable than yours.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
Yeah, Ben, I'm certainly don't want to let this discussion fall to the level of the political threads, that's for sure.

At the very, very, bottom, root of my head removal crusade, is my desire that people should be trying to use the appropriate tool for the job and to consider the hundreds of ascent that may come after theirs, to respect someone else's desire to climb the 5.9 and the A4.

Wouldn't, Robbins, Frost, Choiunard, Pratt, Bachar, Cosgrove, Grooseman, et al. say that we should rise to the level of the route rather than bring the level of the route down?
micronut

Trad climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
Ben,

I think you make a good point about how it matters "who" is saying what. I agree that if some rad sport euro came online here and said what Mark is saying...many would bash the guy. But when Mark says it...people seem to jive.

Its because we kinda "know" Hudon and his overall philosophy and that he genuinely cares about climbers, the tribe, the routes, nauture, the features, the history....he really digs the experience and wants others to share in its purity.

That's why folks don't tend to bust his balls when he rants with his ethic. I'm a wall wannabe with only a handful of pitches and a couple bails to my credit, but I agree with Mark's ethic. Its why we took some peckers and hooks up on routes that have heads in case they were blown or sheared off of in general un-use. These days, with smaller cams, sneaky beaks and a more clean ethic...there seems to be a need for less heads like in the old days.

That's what I'm hearing from Mark. Heads where only a head will do. If there's a potentially clean placement right next door or in the same place, lets get rid of the time bombs and restore the route to it's initial character. I'm a C2 guy, on my best day, and I can appreciate his take. And make sure you don't mistake stoke for spray. There's a fine line but I think Mark leans more toward the stoke side than the attention hound side if you ask me. But maybe you shouldn't ask me....I once made a doll of him and carried up my first Big Wall. I'm suspect.
Paul Brennan

Trad climber
Ireland
Jul 11, 2013 - 04:22pm PT
Good info on removing heads. Been shut down on a route before because the old heads were blown, I didn't know how to get them out, and I refused to drill. Mescalito needs to be sorted out. Lot of fixed and dead heads on the first few pitches as per Max's description. I think it was at the end of the 2nd or 3rd where I put a screamer on a decent piece and clipped about 15 heads in a row to the belay. It was sh#t.
Moof

Big Wall climber
Orygun
Jul 11, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Yawn...
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2013 - 05:17pm PT
Thanks for helping move the conversation forward, Moof.
m_jones

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Jul 11, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
Yes Paul I think that was the end of the pitch I saw when rapping off of the right side of the tower this spring.

I was shocked and a bit dismayed at the number of copper heads in that ladder. Then on closer inspection was pretty amazed that the crack is in pretty good shape pin scar wise for how much it gets done. I am going to look for photos of this pitch when Mark and I did maybe the 5th or so ascent way back in the stone age to compare and maybe to see what we placed. Maybe it is for the best that copperheads were overused instead of pins the last 20 years.

My perspective switched to thinking that the pitch had been gradually capped, sealed and preserved over the years for when new tools could be used and removed with much much less damage.

I'd much rather see the head ladders than huge pin scars and am very curious at what lies under the oldest heads which were most likely placed in the best weaknesses. Maybe some very nice beak placements, maybe safer and more interesting pitches as a result. Maybe trade routes that teach people how to use and become proficient placing small gear.

We have better tools now that are easier on the rock. We should clean things up a bit and use them.
nopantsben

climber
Jul 12, 2013 - 01:54am PT
well maybe you're right in that if people made a bigger effort to keep routes clean or clean them up the usual degradation of difficulty would not happen nearly as fast (if the features don't break). Didn't think that was possible, but maybe it is...

And make sure you don't mistake stoke for spray. There's a fine line but I think Mark leans more toward the stoke side than the attention hound side if you ask me.
i am pretty sure you actually got that more right than I do, Micronut.

Pitches 2-4 of mescalito were the least interesting aidclimbing I've ever done. What starts after 3 or 5 pitches on Mescalito, Adrift?
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jul 12, 2013 - 02:45am PT
Okay, not withstanding my 'off-the-cuff' remark about the pit viper, copperhead, I cannot really remark on this thread about copperheads, found a lot on my first big wall, WFLT, and some on SF Wash Column, and The Prow, Wash Column, and some on my bail out on the Salathé Wall back in 1976.

I was just having fun Mark, about the copperhead snake. Your Thread Head©, Removing Copperheads, just invited me to be flippant.

As for the real deal on climbing, I do not have enough wall experience.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Jul 12, 2013 - 05:02am PT
I always enjoy Mark's musings and his sharing of techniques and enthusiasm is great.

FWIW, (and it's unlikley I'l ever get the opportunity again) removing the junk and litter seems to me to be a sensible thing. It encourages the craft, not just the motions.

I imagine many of these dead heads etc are the aggregation of many years. At some time they would likely have been the cheapest most suitable option, and sometimes, for a variety of reasons folks may have been left with no choice but to weld one in. So, that they're there in th enumbers they are is unsuprising.

But where they are innapropriate they should go. The upside, it makes it more fun, and more of a challenge. The downside, it's more expensive.

Have fun.

Steve

mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 12, 2013 - 08:15am PT
It encourages the craft, not just the motions.

ElCapPirate

Big Wall climber
Reno, Nevada
Jul 12, 2013 - 11:12am PT
he Zodiac was fixed up on purpose to be speed climbed.

This is not true, I was there. The Huber Bro's did fix gear but it was to free climb it, not for speed climbing. The speed record was more of an after thought.
nopantsben

climber
Jul 12, 2013 - 11:15am PT
sorry for spreading wrong info there, i'll edit it out of my post...
btw , I'm writing you an email right now.. ;-)
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