HOOVER dam building, AND THE possible? CLIMBERS involved

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neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 2, 2008 - 03:54pm PT
hey there all... say, i have been posting in those ol' "not climbing related" type post/threasd, lately, soooooooo, seems i best come up with something in line...

awhile back, i had sought some info on this, as it was very interesting and it got me to thinking... (ex: for example, my brother mark ~chappy~ and naturally many other climbers, have gotten work due to their climbing skills being needed = such as, way back, i think he had said they had used them for cleaning moffet fields hangers???... and now he is in the movie rigging business)... well, so:


i saw a tv (discover?) station-show about the building of hoover dam (even share a link about the folks that set in the dynamite, etc) and i was and still am (as there wasn't any that had replied at the time) about WHO some of these guys were...

so any of you know of any friends of any "old timers"... or any of your family members themselves that had been part of the group of guys that were the "climbers" on this DAM that accomplished these "very skilled feats" of unusual work?


i lost the link, sorry, but i will look for it....

are any of these "folks in the know" still around, as to this...?

i know as to the special division mountain-skier thread, many folks surfaced with all kinds of interesting information, and added very honorable accounts of these men...

perhaps we can find out who some of these men were that did this very dangerous hoover dam work---from what i heard, conditions were TERRIBLE and pay was nearabout "no good, so to speak" considering what they were doing....

please drop in, if you have anything to share....thanks, guys and gals...
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 04:10pm PT
hey there all... okay, here we go... i copied this from the link of the page i was looking for... will be back for an edit, and add the copy of the link:

the guys were called "high scalers"---this most dangerous job was given to the few Native Americans that were hired---so now we have a clue as to who at least SOME of them were (though the did? get a bit more pay) (anyone know anymore info, as to these folks?):

HERE IS A PORTION OF THE LINK (ABOUT MIDWAY ? DOWN, OR SO)
here is the copy:

In spite of an abundance of Native Americans in the region just a few were ever hired. All of them were given the most dangerous of jobs, which was “high scaling” dangling precariously on the canyon walls while clearing obstructions for the eventual joining of dam ends to those canyon cliffs. However, they were paid a higher hourly rate versus general laborers and were permitted to live in Ragtown and eventually in Boulder that became a town for dam workers.

link:
http://www.arizona-leisure.com/hoover-dam-men.html



EDIT: some folks were ex sailors are circus folks... okay, here we got a name, too, and WORKING PICTURE:
joe kine

http://www.arizona-leisure.com/hoover-dam-high-scalers.html


MORE EDIT: ... say, all... here is, from the same page, the piece that i posted here awhile back... here is another guys name.... wonder if any one ever heard note of him, or others, as i said:

There was a particularly brave Scaler named Louis Fagan who was known as the “human pendulum”. An obstructing large boulder protruded from the cliffs on the Arizona side. While hanging by rope, the transferring High Scaler would wrap his legs around Fagan’s waist, grasp the rope and together with a mighty leap, they would swing way out and around the boulder to reach scaling requirements on the other side. This acrobatic transfer took place twice daily until the job was complete.


neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 04:34pm PT
hey there ..... from pbs, hoover dam, (from enhanced transcript stuff):

NARR: Of all the jobs on the dam, none was more dramatic and dangerous than that of the high scalers--men swinging from ropes eight hundred feet up, armed with dynamite and jackhammers, to blast and clean the canyon walls, and prepare them to take the dam's concrete. Their exploits became legend-- real honest-to-goodness cliffhangers.

DAVEY: "It was like a movie of Tarzan you know. You'd hear the blast and then see those guys fling themselves down there and start ripping the rocks off and there were people above them and people below them."

RIEPEN: "I remember this big, strong-looking man fell. And, uh, he yelled as he fell and this high-scaler below him swung out and caught him as he was falling and saved his life. Oh, he got write-ups and was quite a hero after that. Others... there were two or three that fell to their death. Maybe even more."
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 04:45pm PT
hey there skipt, say thanks... you never know, someone may show up that knew a special family member that did this kind of work...


say, this link is for some kind of interview from a man that worked on the glen canyon dam (not exactly what i was looking for, but he mentions life, living in Page, Arizona, during that construcction work: here is link, just in case someone wants it, too (mentioned some high-scalers, but just s tiny bit):

http://cache.search.yahoo.net/search/cache?ei=UTF-8&p=where+have+the+high-scalers+gone%3F&fr=slv1-msgr&u=www.cityofpage.org/library/gallery/pdf/pdf_40.pdf&w=where+high+scalers+gone&d=Aa7fnC72RLgJ&icp=1&.intl=us

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Page,_Arizona
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 04:56pm PT
hey there... hmmm, sorry you all... seems i am having a party by myself here.....

(trying not to pile so many post, but this one is one with a NAME, so i am posting the whole thing, in its own space here)...

A PERSONAL NOTE, FROM ME, FIRST:
oh, my... say, folks, i did not reckon to find such a story as this---only as to the workers and who some of them might have been.... i do not intend to harm this man's family, but perhaps this sadness should be learned by us, as he was part of some very hard work, that was part of WHO he was....

THUS, here is the man's name, in this article, and sadly, as to how he died, which is included with the article of these very brave men:
Jack (Salty) Russell in September 1931.


HERE IS THE HIGH SCALER STORY, AT THIS LINK (it is about midway down):
http://www.redlandsfortnightly.org/papers/hoovrdam.htm

High Scalers

This work, probably the most hazardous and undoubtedly the most spectacular of all construction proceedings, was performed by "High-scalers", men of iron nerves and dauntless courage. Ropes were secured to steel rods, inserted in drilled holes near the crayon rims, and dangled over the sheer cliffs toward the canyon floor far below. The high-scalers climbed down the ropes and fastened their safety belts or bosun chairs to the suspended ropes by a special knot. They went over the side weighted down with wrenches, crowbars, water bags, and other paraphernalia. Once they were in position, the 44-pound jackhammers and bundles of drill steel were lowered to them; they tightened the stopper hitches, attached their safety belts, planted their feet against the wall, leaned backward out over the abyss with only the narrow plank oft he bosun's chair for support, and began drilling. Here, hour after hour amidst the dust from drilling, searing heat from black walls, or raw gravel-laden winds of winter, they drilled for blasting, loaded holes with dynamite, or pried off loose rock, while below lay an unobstructed fall of hundreds of feet. It is to the great credit of the high scaler's skill and his observance of safety precautions that only seven men lost their lives in this dangerous undertaking, although the work was in progress for more than two years and 400 were employed at one time.

Perhaps the worst such incident, judged by the terrifying impression it made on the men who witnessed it, was the death of high scaler Jack (Salty) Russell in September 1931. Russell had gone over the Arizona rim at the start of the day shift and was operating his jackhammer on a ledge far above the river. Workers on the rim began lowering a sling full of drill steel when, without warning, one of the long, glittering bars slipped loose and hurled downward. The plummeting missile struck Russell flush on the head. Without a sound he fell, bouncing like a rag doll off several promontories, four hundred feet to the river bank. The carnage was dreadful.

The aftermath of this tragic episode was as disturbing as the accident itself. By law the body of an accident victim could not be removed until the county coroner had examined it at the scene. Russell's body had landed on the Arizona side of the Colorado. On this day it took the coroner six hours to travel the sixty-five miles over a rough desert trace from Kingman, and for almost the entire shift workers had to pick their way around the blood stained sheets and swarms of buzzing flies.

There was another legal twist to the placement of bodies of men killed or injured in Black Canyon: the state of Arizona paid more compensation to accident victims or their survivors than did Nevada. The border, which had beer a 300-foot-wide river, was now just an imaginary line bisecting the canyon floor. The bodies of men killed in Nevada were often dragged by their co-workers to the Arizona side of the canyon. Likewise, men who were injured near the border made every effort to get across before medical and supervisory personnel arrived on the scene.

neebee edit: this article mentions more as to HOW they "rigged up" etc, and how they did some of the work---you all, and your climbing knowlege, may now be able to get into this and really apppreaciate what or how they did this, and the WEIGHT that they carried, etc-----as you are climbers.... i can only imagine...



man, oh, man... guys, this one you just have to read... it is a new workers impression on what he's seeing and learning on the job----go down a bit and he gets into the high-scalers...

it is from a trascript:
http://www.knpr.org/lvir/transcripts/tommynelson.txt



another edit, for a link-credit for this Mr. Holman info, below:

http://cache.search.yahoo.net/search/cache?ei=UTF-8&p=where+have+the+high-scalers+gone%3F&fr=slv1-msgr&u=www.lib.az.us/archives/pdf/Annotated%2520bibliography.pdf&w=where+high+scalers+gone&d=JIngQS72RGWi&icp=1&.intl=us


Mr. Holman was a dam worker and described to his friends about how a flood from the
Colorado caused the company to lay off half of the men on the job, and how most of
them were broke. This worker also explains how he would have to leave when the hot
weather arrived because many men died from the unbearable heat. This letter was
important because it described the daily lives of the dam workers and their struggles
during their jobs, such as the heat. It is a primary source because it was written by a dam
worker in 1932.

Holman, Linn to Marjorie, Letter, April 30, 1932, MS 16 Boulder City Museum and Historical Association, Boulder City, Nevada.

When the Great Depression hit, many Americans criticized Herbert Hoover for their loss
of jobs. Among these Americans was Linn Holman, who wrote that he hoped he would
not be laid off and that he was transferred to becoming a high scaler. His job was to climb
on the canyon wall with a harness and bat down loose rocks, which he did not enjoy. This
letter was important because it gave us an example of unstable jobs at the dam and what
high scalers were to do. It is a primary source because it was written by a dam worker in
1932, with his first hand accounts at the site.

Holman, Linn to Marjorie, Letter, December 7, 1932, MS 16 Boulder City Museum and Historical Association, Boulder City, Nevada.

p.s.
well, this link immediatly above, is about the only stuff mentioning "high scaler" on that particular particular one, so most likely you dont need the link (except for credit due)


___






*WELL NOW:
we now have some names (think these are connected, so far, with the hoover dam):

**albert parks saved an engineers live, by catching him in mid-air:
http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/History/essays/hscaler.html



NAMES:
Louis "The Human Pendulum" Fagan
joe kine
jack (salty) russel
albert parks
linn holman


*edit: here is a "quote" from joe kine, as to how the rescue story was "embellished by the press" (it also has a clear and larger picture of some of the NATIVE AMERICAN men, though they are not named:

http://www1.umn.edu/scitech/Power_high.htm
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 05:13pm PT
hey there all... this is from glen canyon dam, info:

(just an intro into the high-scaler note)
http://www.kued.org/productions/glencanyon/script/script.html


Lyman Hafen: Watched Dam Construction as a child:


"I think the most indelible image in my mind is standing there as a young boy. . .i was about six. . .standing there with my Grandfather who was near eighty, and feeling his arm around me, and he would point out the men working, and he explained to me that those little men way down there that looked like soldiers from my toy sets at home were actually workers. But I think the thing I remember the most is the pride my Grandfather felt standing there, grateful that he had lived long enough to see man accomplish such a thing."

Harvey Gardner:


"Believe it or not, I'd go home and my wife and kids would ask me to bring them back. . .and we'd come down, and I really enjoyed standing on the bridge watching the construction. It was a fascinating project all the way."

Narrator:


From their vantage point visitors could mark the progress of the first two years of work. High scalers had rappeled off the sheer cliffs to pry loose sandstone away from the walls as part of the process of carving notches in the canyon to seat the walls of the dam. It was dangerous work, with tons of loose rock tumbling down the cliffs, and only simple rope harnesses to hold the workers in place. This photo shows where a high scaler was wiped off the cliff to his death in the river. . .his drill still embedded in rock.



Dynamite and drills had gouged two diversion tunnels deep in the canyon walls. The tunnels would divert the Colorado River from its ageless bed in Glen Canyon. As the bridge dedication neared, bulldozers raced to build a temporary--or coffer--dam to force the river into the tunnels. On February eleventh 1959, the Coffer Dam held. For the first time the Colorado River stopped flowing through the canyon it had created. The water backed up to a diversion tunnel and detoured, returning to the river bed half-a-mile downstream, as it poured out of the back end of the tunnel.

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 05:53pm PT
hey there all.. say, did you KNOW that there is a monument to these folks... i never knew that.... they used joe kanes' likeness (one of the last surviving of the high-scalers, at that time)

SURE WISH there was family of these folks around to chip in---i wonder if there were any true rock, mountain or great outdoors climbers, other than the skills of what was mentioned so far

here is the write-up and link for the monument:
http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/History/essays/artwork.html

In 1995, local sculptor Steven Liguori and Hoover Dam Spillway House concessionaire Bert Hansen decided to create a bronze high scaler statue in the likeness of Joe Kine, one of the last surviving high scalers who worked on the Hoover Dam project. A clear picture of Joe Kine existed showing him in his working environment and was used as a guide to create the bronze figure. Upon completion the statue was presented to Joe on September 30, 1995, Hoover Dam's sixtieth anniversary.

In 1998, Steven Liguori and Bert Hansen discussed the construction of a High Scaler monument dedicated to the builders of Hoover Dam. The undertaking of such a project seemed impossible. However, the blind vendors who participate in the Nevada State Business Enterprise Program (BEP) felt their sponsorship of this project would be a great opportunity to pay tribute to those men, and at the same time, express their gratitude for the years of involvement at Hoover Dam through concessions at the Arizona Lookout, Hoover Dam Spillway House (formerly Snacketeria), Hoover Dam Store, and High Scaler Cafe.

Once the decision was made to proceed with the project Steven set to work making a bigger than life statue. The statue was placed near the dam's new concession facility, "The High Scaler Cafe".

___-

p.s.
there is a very NICE picture of it... all this is at the VERY BOTTOM of the "linked" page that i gave, but keep going down, to see it...


well, you all, i will let this stew a mite for now... so you all won't take to stewing at my boldness here....

hope some of you all see how speical this is, and jump in with some comments, or links... :)
Indianclimber

climber
Las Vegas
Aug 2, 2008 - 06:06pm PT
Neebee Here is a Memorial on the dam wall

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 09:52pm PT
hey there indianclimber.... wow, thanks.... oh my... folks now adays may not ever understand how much these men's lives went into this.... but this monument on the dam, sure might make some think....

thank you so very much... thanks again....



*important edit... say, i was really hoping for some kind of a picture so folks would think a mite, as to these men.... say, where did you find such a great picture...?
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2008 - 10:24pm PT
hey there ... here are some questions for you climbers,too:

(they are from the article up above that i copied out for you to see)

Ropes were secured to steel rods, inserted in drilled holes near the crayon rims, and dangled over the sheer cliffs toward the canyon floor far below. The high-scalers climbed down the ropes and fastened their safety belts or bosun chairs to the suspended ropes by a special knot.

1) what kind of a knot do you reckon this to perhaps be? would it be a well-known climbers/sailors/ or circus knot, or one that the Native American crew, or other outdoors' men would have used for some reason? would every man, or crew have their own "kind of knot" they used or trusted, etc, etc....

* * * * * * * * * *
They went over the side weighted down with wrenches, crowbars, water bags, and other paraphernalia.

2) as to the 1930's, say, how much weight would all of this amount too, say and most likely these men were of various abilities in the strenth-ability (but they were hired for their skills, and to have skill of this such, they must have been strong enough to haul all this---do you all have anything to share, concerning this stuff?

* * * * * * * * *
Once they were in position, the 44-pound jackhammers and bundles of drill steel were lowered to them; they tightened the stopper hitches, attached their safety belts, planted their feet against the wall, leaned backward out over the abyss with only the narrow plank oft he bosun's chair for support, and began drilling. Here, hour after hour amidst the dust from drilling, searing heat from black walls, or raw gravel-laden winds of winter, they drilled for blasting, loaded holes with dynamite, or pried off loose rock, while below lay an unobstructed fall of hundreds of feet.


3) say, "stopper hitches", are these perhaps the name of the knots, or of a piece of equipment? ... can you imagine how they must have juggled the drill-steel coming down, AND the jack-hammers? (hmm, i wonder where all this stuff was when they had to swing off during the dynamite phase--they must have ?secured the stuff elsewhere, or have used it all for the "immediate job on hand, first"

* * * * * * * * *

p.s.
well, just seeing if you all knew about the knots, mostly... thanks guys... still, i am wondering if anyone has any family that told of their "days upon the hoover dam" or, even the glen canyon one, too... (etc)
Indianclimber

climber
Las Vegas
Aug 3, 2008 - 01:32am PT
Neebee I took that picture last year when we were out at the dam
This is a cool old video of some highliners

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3503622519115813864
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 3, 2008 - 01:38am PT
Many of those working high steel construction, particularly in eastern North America, were and still are Mohawks. Perhaps there's some connection?

http://www.firstnationsdrum.com/Aug02/HisMohawk.htm
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3048030

Lots more if you google Mohawk + skyscraper.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 3, 2008 - 08:36am PT
hey there indianclimber thanks... i have to quickly get to work, i will be back to see the the link...

thanks, also, to mighty hiker...
grover

Social climber
Canada
Aug 3, 2008 - 10:37am PT

Cool Thread!


Always was interested in the techniques and friction knots they used back in the day on the hoover and other dams.

In the pic below, it looks like the knot used could have been a clove-hitch(?) The knot holding the air-line (on the right) looks like it could have an extra wrap on the bottom .(?)



Spent a few years scaling at a dam expansion here in BC.

The old timers used to tell us about "powering up" the ropes hand over hand!!! Get to a bench (ledge) and then tie in. This bare-bones technique lasted for years until one of their crew got tired "powering up", lost a hold of the rope and decked.

After this incident they started using a 9mm cord tied in a loop (with a double-fishermans) and then attached it to the 3/4 inch hemp rope with a double wrap prussik.

Our boss would sometimes come in to work still smashed from the
night before. One time while avoiding any contact with his bosses he showed us the old way to get down. It was just an overhand knot that they would clip into! It looked like a huge pain in the ass, compared to the 2 biner brake we were using. (pic below)



neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 3, 2008 - 02:33pm PT
hey there grover...

say, this a very well done share here... thanks so very much for the info and the great shots of the knots...

when i was a kid i always liked looking at sailor knots etc, but do not remember if i learned to do many... they just looked so interesting...

i know that you climbers sure must know what all this is...

say, as compared to the old way, it is near hard to believe that they could keep that up for so long---bet you were really glad you never had to do that the old way....

thanks for the pictures once again
and thanks ever more-so for all the job-share you mentioned, that was very kind of you... god bless, there, and happy work-trails and travel trails, to you....
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 3, 2008 - 02:39pm PT
hey there coz... say, thanks for the share....

i did not know how often high scalers were used these days---or if they were used in exactly the same ways....

i did not find too much "newer" data on it---unless they use a newer term for it... but i see from your post, they are still called the by the same name...

**say my brother, back in his rock-climbing days, did say that he and a friend cleaned the moffet field hangers.... and he now works in the movie business as a rigger, so i know there is work for climbers....

this dynamite work for the dam, though, was really something intense.....

i was only able to find mention of the high-scalers, though for the hoover and the glen canyon dam....
hoped i could find a bit more links.....

say, though, thanks for the share, coz... it is very interesting how climbing skills can be used.... :)


edit.. say, coz.... oops, i should have been using just the word "scalers" i think, for the modern work being done.... i just realized this, after re-reading grover's post...
here's his quote:

"Spent a few years scaling at a dam expansion here in BC."
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 3, 2008 - 02:49pm PT
hey there grover... say, i just had to thank you once again for that picture....

i learned a lot more, with that inclulded, than just the knots.... seeing what was used, (clove-hitch, as you are thinking), and then seeing some more examples, makes a lot more clearer....

double fishermans, and double-wrap prussik, (i may have to edit this, if i did not remember right), and then, learning of the "break" too.... great share, once again...


** say---would be really nice if someone had a relative fromt he old days to share his "on the scene stories"---these guys are to be highly respected for surviving the "old ways" of the "old days"....

the closest we've come to hear those old stories has been the folks that shared with you, grover... :)
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