Wings of Steel

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Gunkie

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - May 17, 2005 - 10:43am PT
Has Wings of Steel ever seen a repeat?

The only reason I'm asking is because I was looking at the recent valley flooding images on the internet and ran into Chris Falkenstein's web site (www.yosemitestock.com) and saw a pretty interesting shot of a team low on Wings of Steel. Are not the lower pitches of Wings of Steel the crux pitches anyway?

Just curious.
Lambone

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
May 17, 2005 - 12:39pm PT
I heard the team drilled their way up the think then chopped the bolts while cleaning.

kinda lame style IMHO...
Weenis

Trad climber
Shastafaria
May 17, 2005 - 03:15pm PT
You guys think Chongo was bad...
The Wings of Foil crew spent an interminable amount of time up there. There was a streak of feces and trash 200 meters long below their hangin' bivy camp. I wasn't able to see a line there, most others at the time were in agreement. One of the guy's Mom (Mother of Steel) was allegedly dating Warren Harding during this period. So history repeated itself, somewhat: The route gets chopped, fixed ropes dropped and other unspeakable things happen. Funny how scores of climbers were trying to take credit for the dirty deed. So they finish their route and go on to do some other routes on the right side, cool. Good Mormon kids with a lot of ambition, however terribly misguided (initially).
Ammon

Big Wall climber
Lake Arrowhead
May 17, 2005 - 04:29pm PT

"Good Mormon kids with a lot of ambition, however terribly misguided (initially)."

I heard they were Jehovah's Witnesses... same difference, right?

I also heard the route was a rivet ladder and put up in very poor style.
WBraun

climber
May 17, 2005 - 05:20pm PT
Yea Ammon, it was a terrible mess for sure.
HalHammer

Trad climber
CA
May 17, 2005 - 05:28pm PT
Wow show's what you guys know. I don't particularly agree with or endorse their style so to speak. I know about these men though. Richard Jensen and Mark Smith. I've worked 2 summers under the same employment they were orignally there for.

Basically they picked a line worse than the start of WFLT or any of Harding's other exploits and drilled as was needed to link the features. Technically the stuff is A4-A5 because of the length of the falls if you did fall. Instead of rivet ladders, they put in bat hook holes. There would be 10 holes in a row then a bolt for example through the drilled parts.

They were Seventh-Day Adventists. They were there as guides working for the Camp Wawona climbing school in southern Yosemite. The Wawona climbing school has been there in operation since 1931. They put up a ton of unknown hard face climbing routes on Wawona dome there during the early 90s as well. There is a book out detailing their 39 day El Cap ascent. Teenagers and what not in the adventist church read it and recognize these guys as heroes. I just keep my mouth shut and grin when people ask me about them. Their choice of style seems painful at best. Rumor has it they brought 7 haulbags with them choo choo train style.

You better watch out though. Mark Smith lurks these forums sometimes. If we are lucky...He has posted here before; explaining the virtues of bat hook ethics...

If you want to really be cool though, go do one of their routes. They have like 3 El Cap routes, no one has bothered to do a second time. I mean yah guys with 50 plus ascents could screw around on one sometime, I'm sure those guys would get a kick out of it that someone finally did.
WBraun

climber
May 17, 2005 - 05:46pm PT
Well HalHammer

If you wouldíve been here during the time when they were starting their project and saw all the bickering and folks flipping out you wouldíve said it was a mess too.

I personally during that time didnít care one way or the other. It was their thing, not mine.

I donít own any rock so they can do whatever they want.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
May 17, 2005 - 06:25pm PT
These guys did Ring of Fire too, I think the Nightmare crew filled the holes when they hit those pitches.
akclimber

Trad climber
Eagle River, AK
May 17, 2005 - 07:09pm PT
"I donít own any rock so they can do whatever they want."

Truer, wiser, words were never spoken!
Spinmaster K-Rove

Trad climber
Stuck Under the Kor Roof
May 17, 2005 - 07:24pm PT
Um...yeah....and I don't own any land either so i can guess I can do whatever I want :P Look for me setting fires near your house soon...

I got nothing against bat hooks but as I understand it these guys drilled a SH#T ton of holes to force an otherwise absurd line. Drilling 150' of bat hooks up a blank face has all the aesthetic of stock car racing with no tires. Its dangerous and makes lots of pretty sparks but it is contrived beyond the point of reason. Spending 37 days on a wall is commendable were it worth repeating and were it that you actually didn't go out of your way to make it unrepeatable without drilling more holes!!!

If they only still sold tar in reasonable amounts enough to dunk people in it and feather them....
WBraun

climber
May 17, 2005 - 07:36pm PT
Well Spinmaster

Everyone can do what they want. Thatís the independent free will that every living entity has.

No one can take that away.

But; ..... they are accountable for their actions according to the standard of truth.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 17, 2005 - 08:14pm PT
Wasn't one of those guys a dude that later wrote various SFBay Area climbing guides?
-which act shoulders the larger accountability burden? :-)
WBraun

climber
May 17, 2005 - 08:18pm PT
-which act shoulders the larger accountability burden?

Ask the judge.
macgyver

Social climber
Oregon, but now in Europe
May 18, 2005 - 03:18am PT
Shocking shocking shocking.

So any second ascents of their routes?

Whats the name of the book?

EDIT: QUO VADIS SOUNDS WAY PROUDER THAN THE PUNKS ABOVE.
Anyone know anything about Que Vadis? Supposedly similar style of ascent.

Maybe we should start a topic of the most obscure routes on El Cap. how about Heavy Metal and Tinker Toys?

Gunkie

climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2005 - 04:49am PT

Wings of Steel
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 18, 2005 - 05:48am PT
"Technically the stuff is A4-A5 because of the length of the falls if you did fall. Instead of rivet ladders, they put in bat hook holes. There would be 10 holes in a row then a bolt for example through the drilled parts."

Sounds like the first pitch or two of Highway to Hell, which follows drilled bat hook holes up to rappel anchors below Native Son.

A4-A5? Give me a bunch of talon hooks, a roll of duct tape, and a bunch of screamers, and I'll show you A0. Actually, I'd solo it and prusik down the hooks instead. Bat hook holes are bogus. If you drill, you might as well fill it with a rivet.

I'm sitting here looking at the Quo Vadis topo. It was put up solo by Jacek Czyz of Poland who rates it A4/A4+. "I spend 30 days on the wall, 26 climbing" The route starts on Little John, crosses MW and MM, then across the Half Dollar and on up.

"33 new belay bolts + 20 exist
14 lead bolts 3/8" + 6 exist
51 rivets (most ss 5/16" + 6 Al) 24 exist
I drill 48 hole, no bathooks"

Sounds pretty proud to me! Lots of A3, a few A3x, a couple A4 bits.

Hmmmmmmmmm.......... thinking.......



deuce4

Big Wall climber
Pagosa Springs CO
May 18, 2005 - 07:00am PT
I agree with Pete. I remember back in 1980 while visiting Austraila and hearing about a testpiece on Buffalo that was rated M8, the highest aid rating (Mechanical). Then I found out it was 20 bathooks across a blank face. Bogus. Plus, when you drill your own bathooks they feel much more bomber than following someone else's (they do chip out with time, especially if you use leepers which you can tap in for more security).

Holes are holes and might as well be filled with a rivet on the FA. Making it artificially harder is a sign of ego getting in the way.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 18, 2005 - 07:15am PT
Amen to Johnny.

You can tap the BD Talon hooks in, too. The trick is to give them only one gentle tap as anything more will cause them to lose their "bite" by crumbling the rock around the hole. I have never drilled a bathook hole, but it makes sense that the first person drilling them would get the sharpest edge with the best bite.

Note: If you are a "hammerless" weenie, then you will have to tap your bathook in place with your helmet or something. Claiming a hammerless ascent of an aid route makes as much sense as drilling bathook holes. "Oh yeah, we climbed it hammerless, we just used 136 points of aid on existing hammered pro, like fixed pins and heads, that fortuitously happened to be in situ so we didn't have to use a cheat stick to bypass missing stuff. Oh yeah, and it was C4. Ain't we bitchin'?" Incidentally, where are the tall claims of clean/hammerless ascents of Zodiac these days?

I was in the Mountain Equipment Co-op last year [betcha wish you Merricans had one of them south of the border, eh? 'Specially with your Mighty Yanqui Dollah, which has become mightier up here the last few weeks] when I came upon this little hook with a split tip - obviously just the ticket for tapping into bathook holes, right? The springiness of the steel would give it some expanding grip.

Once I tried it on the rock, however, it didn't work at all! But in the store, it really looked good, at least in theory.....

It's one thing to buy fishing lures because they look nice in the store, but climbing gear?! Sheesh.
John F. Kerry

Social climber
Boston, MA
May 18, 2005 - 07:15am PT
"...Plus, when you drill your own bathooks they feel much more bomber than following someone else's..."

Agreed. I think a somewhat similar argument can be made about low quality bolts & rivets. The FA team can feel reasonably good about the 1/4" bolts they place, since said bolts are brand new. Years later those little anchors become timebombs and running it out 20' from them is a different story.

I realize the FA team is taking on the extra challenge of exploring new terrain, but IMO they accept the responsibility to put in decent hardware. If not, they have no right to complain if the hardware is replaced years later with higher quality items. I am not advocating adding anchors, just upgrading existing placement, preferably using the same hole.
macgyver

Social climber
Oregon, but now in Europe
May 18, 2005 - 07:21am PT
Quo Vadis.... I stand corrected. It sounds pretty solid. And done by a Polish guy (I am a Polish dude as well) so i am glad he isnt letting down the red and white.

PTPP
Could you scan me a topo? Would love to take a look. How many independent pitches does it seem to have?

Rock on
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