What is a Abalakov anchor?

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Messages 1 - 19 of total 19 in this topic
jahwise

Trad climber
santa fe, nm
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 10, 2006 - 07:30pm PT
Abalakov anchors all info and applications of said anchors please.
jahwise

Trad climber
santa fe, nm
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2006 - 07:41pm PT
just found some great info on the alpine club of canada website
Crag

Trad climber
Oct 10, 2006 - 07:41pm PT
Ala back off is the frenetic pronunciation of this ice climbing anchor first used, dare I say invented by Mr. Abalakov. Common terminology would be “V-thread” and if you can picture taking a 22cm (preferably) ice screw and placing it in to the ice at an angle….Oh hell just google the damn thing urself….

Ok here's a little pic for ya

[Click to View Linked Image]
Hurricane

Trad climber
Eldorado Springs
Oct 10, 2006 - 08:06pm PT
A poor man's way to protect while leading ice while only having one screw.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 10, 2006 - 09:28pm PT
Should be called the "Lowe anchor" after Jeff and Greg. Jeff showed it to Abalakov
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Oct 10, 2006 - 09:58pm PT
AP- that's not quite true. When I went to Russia in 1974, I introduced Abalokov to the constant-angle camming concept,which he had no clue about, and traded him a prototype cam for some titanium pins and biners. But we didn't discuss the V-thread. Abalokov may have thought of that independently. At any rate, Greg and I invented the V-thread for ourselves in '77 or '78. We found that the old smooth-sided snargs were incredibly quick to use in making them. Just pound it in on one side, wiggle the eye back and forth with the hammer pick to lube the tube, then pop it out with a tug. Repeat to form the other leg of the V-thread. Whole thing required about one minute even in hard water ice.
Lambone

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Oct 11, 2006 - 03:39am PT
"A poor man's way to protect while leading ice while only having one screw."

I guess, but who really uses V-threads to protect an ice pitch, other then clipping existing ones? Usually you need two hands to set a V-thread, so that would limit your placement opportunities to no-hands rests. How often do those come by on steep ice?

I've allways used them for rapping when no other option is available.

It's good to remember that V-threads are trash that end up in the river.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Oct 11, 2006 - 10:57am PT
Lambone- with a skinny rope you dont't need to leave a sling for rappelling from v-threads. Just thread the rope through. Works great. Try it. Leaves nothing behind.

Note: unless the conditions are such that the ice is wet and the temps are dropping. Might freeze the rope in place. I;ve never had this happen, though.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 11, 2006 - 12:03pm PT
Sorry, Jeff. These forums are good for getting the truth from the source vs 1000th hand heresay.
I wish we knew about V threads 20 years ago when we were rapping off bogus electrical conduit. There is still litter left at the base but at least the rats get some good nesting material.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Oct 11, 2006 - 12:30pm PT
Hello Jeff (Jello)--Great to see you on Supertopo.

Say, since again the issue of "who invented the cam" has come up, perhaps this forum would be a good place to sort it all out.

As you know, I have written that Abalakov came up with the concept of the modern cam for rock climbing purposes, something that you and Greg dispute. At best it seems to me that the idea, like the light bulb and television, was conceived simultaneously by independent thinkers. But here's my sources for my original crediting to Abalakov in my "Mechanical Advantage" article:

In Off Belay articles, Alex Bertulis states that "By far the most impressive item that the Soviets brought was the 'Abalakov Cam". ... "The cam is easy to make and Mr. Abalokov expressed hope that it would be produced in this country without patent restrictions."
http://www.deuce4.net/web/OffBelay.pdf (Off Belay articles, 3.5MB file)

Also, I discussed the origins of cams with Ivan Samoilenko, who got me in touch with friends of Vitaly Abalakov, who stated that Abalokov had designed cams for climbing in the decades prior to the meeting with the Americans in 1974.

When I researched Greg's published documents, I found some interesting ideas, but without the awareness of the proper constant angle so essential for the modern climbing cam. In 1972, he published an article showing this device:
[Click to View Linked Image]
In Greg's 1975 cam patent (filed in 1973), there is an awareness of constant camming angles, but the cam angle is stated as 60 degrees in the patent, which is far too great for a functional rock climbing cam in parallel cracks (modern cams have cam angles on the order of 14.5 degrees).

It is clear that Abalakov was much more aware of the proper relationship between camming angle and friction by the 70's, which makes me beleive that his concept was based on original thinking.

I do not doubt at this point that Greg came up with his concepts independently, but I do not believe it is fair to state that Abalakov got the idea from the US inventors.

In any case, it turns out that the whole idea was conceived many generations ago (from a 1901 patent):
[Click to View Linked Image]
[Click to View Linked Image]

I hope this find you well.
John Middendorf




graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Oct 11, 2006 - 01:51pm PT
Very interesting 1901 patent!

Thanks for posting that John.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Oct 11, 2006 - 02:17pm PT
Hi Deuce- thanks for the welcome.

We were well aware of the 1901 patent. When Greg and Mike applied for their patent (1972), it was for a constant angle cam used in rock climbing. As far as Abalokov having had the idea first, he sure showed no evidence or awareness of the concept when I met with him in the Pamirs, summer of '74. We exchanged ideas about many things for rock and ice climbing, but he seemed very surprised and interested in the camming concept. I traded him early tri-cam and spring-loaded split-cam for some titanium screws, pins and biners. I chuckled when I saw the Russian claim to have invented the cams, when the article in Off Belay was published a year or so later. In fact, those cams were cut from a pully, and were not constant angle.

As far as what angle works best for climbing, once you understand the constant angle concept, it's only a matter of practical experimentation to determine the best compromise. Our early split cams, which we introduced in 1973, had a 17 to 19 degree angle, which is steeper than todays cams. However, the greater surface area of the cams, coupled with the relative softness of the cast aluminum with which they were made, added up to a total coefficient of friction that was greater even than today's cams which have smaller angles. Those old cams held really well, and wouldn't rip through soft sandstone.

I'm working on a book at the moment, and I'll have a short chapter about this in the book. I'll post the chapter here on the super-taco, for vetting.

Cheers!
goatboy smellz

climber
boulder county
Oct 11, 2006 - 02:17pm PT
Thanks for posting that Bertulis article deuce. Interesting bit of climbing history.

I wonder if those two titanium pitons are still up on Bonanza?
malabarista

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Oct 11, 2006 - 02:25pm PT
I've rapped off of countless v-threads, but never used one for pro. Back it up with a screw, then the last guy down (whose been watching the V-thread the whole time) pulls the screw and raps off it just like Jello said.
Crag

Trad climber
Oct 11, 2006 - 02:39pm PT
...so do we call it a Jello anchor?

(thanks John & Jeff for such wonderful information)
Gene

climber
Oct 11, 2006 - 02:43pm PT
Jeff,

Please explain what your book is about.

Thanks,

GM
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 11, 2006 - 03:23pm PT
Some interesting info on cam's I posted on rockclimbing.com awhile back...(and, CHEERS Jeff!):

Cut and paste from a prior conversation:

edge wrote:
"The article that Curt is referring to is "Abalakov Cams" in the February 1978 issue of "Off Belay", or possibly the February 1976 article "CCCP Spells Friendship". In the 1978 article, the author duplicated the Abalakov cams and made his own, which look very much like tri-cams. It is interesting that the article states "It would be difficult to set up a high production manufacturing operation to produce Abalakov cams, so it is unlikely that they will ever be available commercially.""

Article in '76 was based on a trip the Soviet climbers took to the US in 1975. This was AFTER a trip of US climbers in 1974 to the USSR (seem to recall another prior to that?) . Greg claimed (and I may have this slightly wrong, pardon the lack of a tape recorder and my bad memory) that Jeff took a Lowe cam to the exchange in '74. Then, when the Soviets came over in '75, folks drooled over all the Abalakov inventions...which, were pretty cool. Comment in the article about the jumar was kinda funny. Anyhoo...see pic below:

[Click to View Linked Image]

You can see from the picture, that the Abalakov cam is there....and...right next to it, is a modified Forrest Foxhead. So, did Abalakov invent Foxheads? Nah. Did he perhaps run with the Lowe cam idea he saw in '74 and make some passive cams? I dunno. Maybe?

From the '78 article...

[Click to View Linked Image]

Anyhoo, interesting stuff.

Cheers!

-Brian in SLC
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Oct 11, 2006 - 03:47pm PT
Hey Brian-

Thanks for posting the article.

It was clear to me when I met with Abalakov in '74 that he'd never considered the constant angle, or camming at all, for that matter, prior to our meeting. His later claim that he wished to hand the idea gratis to the climbing community at large, seems like a clever ruse to me. Anyone who knows me, knows I will give credit where credit is due, but I'll withold it in this case. Abalakov was forthcoming about his other inventions, and was particularly excited about Russian ice hooks. If there's no wrtten or physical evidence dated prior to July, 1974, then I call BS on the claim. Pretty clear, huh?
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Oct 11, 2006 - 05:45pm PT
Sounds good, Jeff. It would be nice to hear from some Ruskies to see if there was any evidence of prior art before 1974, but if not, I will stand corrected, and take you on your word. It appears the Off Belay references might be in error.

From all accounts, all tell of Abalakov as a generous and brilliant man, but who knows how things get skewed? I never met the man myself.

Any Russians out there who knew Abalakov?
(I've lost touch with Ivan Samoilenko, one of the ascensionists of the Russian route on the NW face of Trango, but he would know how to get in touch with some of the older climbers).

cheers
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