cams before friends, LURPs before ledges

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Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 19, 2006 - 04:17pm PT
The cam photo shows the original "crack jumar, 1967, then both passive and spring-loaded versions of the constant angle camming concept, produced in 1973, patent work done in '72. At the bottom is a #7 Tri-cam from the first production run in 1979.



The other photo shows the original rigid-floor hanging tent, which my brother, Greg, designated, the LURP (Limited Use of Reasonable Placements), a take-off on RURP (Chouinard's Realized Ultimate Reality Piton). The year is 1979, and I'm setting up the LURP tent on the cliffs above the old Lowe homestead in Ogden, Utah, for an overnight test. The tent had an integral fly, and the whole thing weighed less than eight pounds.

EDIT: The correct year for the LURP photo is 1969, not 1979! Sorry for the confusion.



Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Oct 19, 2006 - 04:22pm PT
kick-asssssssssss™™™™
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 19, 2006 - 04:32pm PT
So Jello,
Neet stuff.

Wasn't that first spring loaded item on the right actually marketed as a Lowe Cam? I seem to remember seeing those at Sport Chalet, La Canada CA, for a limited time.

And whutabout the, maybe Russian, Abalakov (sp) Cam, I know all that stuff somehow fits the history, just not sure how.
noshoesnoshirt

climber
hither and yon
Oct 19, 2006 - 04:37pm PT
Thanks for the application of the ol' grey matter, mang.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2006 - 04:49pm PT
Tar-

I took both spring-loaded and passive cams with me on a trip to the Pamirs, in '74. Abalokov was the host of the camp, and I showed him the cams, explaining how they work. He traded me some titanium pitons and carabiners for the cams. A couple years later, some Russian climbers came on a return exchange to the US. They had some cams that had been cut from a section of a pulley, that resembled a constant angle cam, but weren't, in fact. They also claimed that Abalokov had had the idea for decades, but there's no evidence of that. Lowe Alpine did market the spring-loaded split cams for a few years, but we didn't sell enough to keep the product alive.

Cheers!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 19, 2006 - 09:11pm PT
Yes,
Interesting sometimes, the innovation game. Thanks for the story.

Last weekend I met a gal who worked with you guys on the Cloudwalker enterprise and with wide eyed enthusiasm she reported the Lowe Bro's offices were set with a virtual tapestry of post-its: everywhere you looked, on computers, walls, coffee cups (ha!) each one with a potentially driveable and independent innovation.
goatboy smellz

climber
boulder county
Oct 19, 2006 - 09:20pm PT
Funny, that # 7 tricam looks exactly like the one I've bought in '91. Classic engineering.
Have yet to use that bad boy but it's younger siblings sure have saved my ass.
Will not leave the ground without .5 thru 3.5
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 09:21pm PT
I hope the post-it ref from Tarbuster is true. Thats just a good way keep the brain alert.

Jello, having worked these early versions, are you suprised the "Tri Cam" is the one that stuck? Were the other ones better? The independant cam device seems like it could have its moments of fame.


Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2006 - 09:26pm PT
Buster-

Ha! Good story about the post-its. Truth is, for every drivable idea, there are many that don't pan out. Success and failure in any given general or specific area, are two sides of the same coin. Sometimesa judgement of success leads to stagnation, other times failure leads to additional efforts to innovate. In climbing, as in anything else in life, I've always felt if you weren't failing often, you weren't stretching far enough to get the best out of yourself. And I've followed my own dictum - lord knows - I've failed plenty often enough!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2006 - 09:38pm PT
GJ-

I can't say that I don't wish we had continued with the spring-loaded cam concept, but when we originally introduced it, it was way ahead of the market, something I've become quite familiar with. It's often the second generation entrepreneur that picks up the ball dropped by the innovator, and runs successfully with it. We all have our roles. There is satisfaction enough in true innovation to make up for (almost!) a lack of financial achievement. In the case of the Tri-Cams, we had learned a little, and had become our own second-generation entrepreneurs. Greg had drawn the entire Tri-Cam range, back in 1972.

Best- JL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 19, 2006 - 09:42pm PT
Wow. Deja vu.

Seems like I was just talking cam design with J-lo.



In September '75 Greg let Bob Dodds and me play with tri-cam prototypes that were made from a single sheet bent around so that the "point" was at the bend, but the same basic wrapping principle.
They blew my mind with the novel placements that were possible and I wondered why it took years to get them on the market, but then again,...

....what about "fan cams"?
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 09:53pm PT
I do not recognize the piece on the top left of the photo.
Is a fixed cam using the pins at the left and right hand side (as positioned in the photo) as a camming piece?

Another question, did you guys make your proto types in house or with local contractors?

Jay
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2006 - 09:54pm PT
R-O- Shhhhhh!!!!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2006 - 10:05pm PT
Ghoul-

The T-shaped device is the original "crack jumar". Greg designed it for the stoveleg cracks on the Nose, and used it successfully on the Stoveleg part, at least, on an attempt on a one-day ascent in the late sixties. The horizontal arm is split, so it is actually two independant arms, spring-loaded to return to a horizontal position. If you weight the bottom of the U-shaped cradle, the two arms exert outward force into the walls of the crack, allowing a secure placement within a limited crack size. Hard rubber tips served to slightly extend the usable range.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 19, 2006 - 10:08pm PT
Wasamatta Jeff?

I AM a big fan of cams.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 10:25pm PT
Thanks for the explination. Are we missing a FAN CAM STORY?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 19, 2006 - 10:55pm PT
Try to conjure the holy grail of hardware. An anchor so universal that it was deliberately hidden so as not to take the sport out of climbing. Knights have been sent to the east to restore this artifact to the "righteous" but it is held in secret by the brotherhood to deny the infidel....


In time a climber will come. The deserving one will step up to the big stone with nothing but chalk and shoes, it is only then that the little known cousin, Yoda Lowe, will emerge from the shadows and hand the deserving one a single fan cam on a daisy chain,...
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 10:58pm PT
But really, will Yoda Lowe float and talk in riddles?
Perhaps 1 last life or deathe test for the covited Fan Cam.

Renders up visions of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 19, 2006 - 11:09pm PT
RUN AWAY!!!
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 19, 2006 - 11:12pm PT
Are you refering to the movie or offering advice for what to do if we see a "Floating Lowe" (or both)?
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