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Messages - KevinW

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6
1
Big Wall Forum / Re: hammer design
« on: February 19, 2010, 07:49:53 am »
Old thread resurrection.. sorry, I've been climbing ice (it's what we do up here in the frozen north, during the winter)

I was in construction most of my life and started out as a framer, this was back when we hand-nailed houses together. I learned real quick when it comes to hammers that *wood* is the answer when it comes to handles. Fiberglass handles were for the rookies that missed every second swing as the fiberglass would take more of a beating then wood. As has been mentioned, wood transmits less vibration back to your hand and is much easier on your hand then rubber coated handles which tend to rub your hand raw if it's sweating at all.
I've had the same hammer for 34 years, which still has the original wood handle on it. I'm just now ready to replace it with another wood (Oak) handle, partly because of wear/weathering, and partly because I would like it a couple inches longer. Only in Aid Climbing and Sex do we worry about inches!

As far as tying or clipping my hammer in.. I've tried a bunch of different methods over the years, but finally settled on the simple hole through the base of the handle to tie a length of cordage onto. I make the loop on the handle end large enough that I can clip it on a biner if I want to hang it short rather then holster it. On the other end I have a small heavy-duty pear shaped stainless steel biner to attach it to my harness.  A few years back I swapped the cord out for  a length of shock cord which I passed through the center of a length of 1/2" tubular webbing. I cut the shock cord slightly shorter then the webbing, crinkle the webbing up over the shock cord to make a spring-leash of sorts. It works great, having a long enough cord to be able to reach really high with, yet it retracts when enough when I holster my hammer that it's not getting caught on things.

2
Big Wall Forum / Re: Tomahawks avaible at Mountain Gear now
« on: December 18, 2009, 03:50:13 pm »
Mine finally got used, fvck I love those things! They are the answer, (no matter what the question is)

3
Big Wall Forum / Re: "bolt" starter kit???
« on: December 18, 2009, 03:45:07 pm »
I've come across rivet ladders where someone has used the Hiti HIT, nail-drive type anchors. I was impressed how well they worked,, and that they used stainless ones to boot.



I assume that they just drilled the holes short enough that it allowed the head to stick out just enough to get a wire behind it. I've never used these myself though.
I've honestly done very little riveting, and the few times I needed to, I just just took some stainless bolts to the grinder and pointed the end, then tapped them into existing holes.
I added a washer, just to make me feel better about the wire not sliding off when I moved up on the piece. Seemed to work well enough.

On another note, maybe something to keep in mind.. I don't know if you have a problem with hanger thefts like we have been experiencing here on a lot of routes, which really sucks for people who were totally expecting and relying on them being there, but I have tried a few things to keep them  from disappearing. I tried locktite, which was useless, Gorilla glue seems to work fairly well, still not bomb proof and a potential disaster is the bottle leaks on your gear.
One day I was changing a outdoor light fixture on a building downtown in one  of the seedier areas and discovered that just to open the fixture required a special tool I had to order in. It had "Tamper Proof" bolts on it, and I instantly realized how valuable these could be in areas where we're having problems with hangers disappearing. They come in totally unique socket patterns, available in stainless, but are about double the price, mind you.. it is only the bolt you have to buy if you're using drop-in anchors.


4
Big Wall Forum / Re: BallNutz or Brass Nutz?
« on: December 18, 2009, 03:12:29 pm »
Ya, I know.. replying to month old threads, but I haven't been around for a bit so I'm trying to catch up  ;^)

I agree with everyone here, and have both a full set of trango ballnutz and at least 3-sets of brass, which get constant use.
One thing I found with the ballnuts, they are totally bomber and sometimes the only thing you can get in, short of pounding some
iron, *but*, the few times I have heavily weighted one, ie: Falling.. it was basically welded in place and all the pounding it took
with a harmer and nut tool to get it out, left it a little fvck'd up to say the least.

5
Big Wall Forum / Re: "bolt" starter kit???
« on: December 18, 2009, 09:25:57 am »
Since most of the stuff we do is new routing, I use a ton of Hilti bolts.
I go right to Hilti and buy boxes of 100 which really cuts the per bolt cost down.

 I use both..

the "Kiwk Bolt 3"


and the "Drop-in"


The quick bolts are a lot lighter, not only the bolts themselves, but the Drop-in's take a 1/2" hole and requires a special tool to
set the internal wedge so that the sleeve will not spin in the rock as you tighten the bolt
 
However, I like the fact that the Drop-in's use a cap-screw type bolt, which makes for a nice clean bolt placement with no stud protruding, which
is nice at belays/bivi's where people tend to clip multiple biners on each hanger.

Oddly enough.. if you read the Hilti technical documentation, the Drop-in anchors are the only *non-glue-in* type anchor recommended for rock.

I've never really had any problem with the Hilti bolts, but I have have a problem with a batch of Fixe Kwik bolts in the past. For some reason the
stainless seemed unusually soft, and I had 3 or 4 bolts where the threads became deformed from tapping them in.

6
Big Wall Forum / Re: Possible Z pin
« on: December 18, 2009, 06:42:36 am »
I had a couple of those Onda Z with the reinforced eye, they didn't stack anything like leepers, and i found they had a weird sort of non-taper to them. They ended up getting left behind when we bailed off of a route. That.. the were good for!

7
Hey Maaaaaan. An 'X' and a + are kinda the same thing. Turn it a quarter turn, eh?

Nut uh.. if you give a + a quarter turn, granted... it's the same, but not so with an X, no idea why this subtle difference works so well, but the carbide X patterned tips, work that much better it's actually worth the $38-Canuckle-Bucks a pop, that they cost me.


Yes Kevin, I've only pulled out 1/4-inchers.  It's truly scary how easily some of that stuff comes out!

Yep - those shorty 1/4-inch drill bits are the way to go, for sure.

Kirk - thanks for your fine work on Tribal Rite, I really enjoyed that route.  One wonders what the status of the pitch is now where Kate took her 120-footer, which included the failure of several rivets. 

Thanks Pete.. I doubt Kate knows this, or cares.. but it was her photos of all those deployed screamers, (some with the messed up rivets still attached) and accompanying details, that prompted a group of us to get together and have Yates ship us up a big box full of every type of screamer they make. We cracked the box open in the pub, and passed them out like condoms.
Yates couldn't have had a better marketing campaign if they tried, I always used a few screamers, but now tag screamers on everything the least bit questionable!

Also.. I saw where you asked hoipolloi in the Lunar Eclipse thread..

3.  Do you have proper tuning forks?  If knott, why knott?  This problem is easily remedied - just send Theron Moses a #1 and #3 LA, and he'll cut you a nice slot in each of them, and you'll be good to go.

I never did see an answer to that, and am not sure that everyone knows exactly what you are referring to.
My *tuning fork* was machined into the end of a flat pry-bar. The end with the 90? bend, so I can hold it perpendicular to the rock and drive the fork down behind the bolt easily.
Do you think you could post a photo of one of these LA tuning forks here?
.

8
I agree hoipolloi, repairs and replacements of hardware which are more often then not, out of pocket by those who do so are greatly appreciated.
I wish more people would carry a minimum of bolt gear to replace the odd peice of hardware if needed. Even spare hangers would helpful sometimes.
But usually they write in a log or post on the internet with something like;  "The 3rd bolt on P4 is missing and the anchors on P6 need to be replaced"... and assume by doing so that the bolt fairy will magically appear and fix this up for everyone.
Anyone who's ever established and equipped a new route, appreciates how much work it is, and all that nice shiny stainless is not cheap!

Pete... tell me that it's just 1/4" old mank that you're popping out of the rock with your tuning fork?
Because gawd knows I've tried pulling out botched up 3/8" SS Hilti bolts with a tuning fork, and now have a whole new appreciation for their holding power.

Plan A:I went and bought a big bad-assed crow-bar-tuning-fork, drilled a hole through the other end and bar-tacked a sling on it, just to make sure we didn't kill anyone with it.  I got myself in place with the bar and pulled for everything I was worth..
Apparently I'm not worth much, because nothing happened. 
Plan B: Hanging at chest level, off to the side, I'm holding my giant fork in place. My favorite Scotsman raps down until he's standing on the end of the bar. He locks himself off and begins bouncing, then jumping up and down on the bar. I now own an expensive bar with a custom bent handle, and the bolt remains.
Please tell me that you are not popping out 3/8" bolts without a problem? Are we really that weak?

And as far as drilling holes goes (yes own a drill) regardless of whether it's by hand or power, I always drill a 1/4" pilot-hole first. It cuts the total drilling time down substantially, and with a power drill I get at least another 1/3  battery life by doing it this way.

Have you used the shorty bits? The ones with the "X" pattern tip, rather then the "+" ?

These things are the answer.. no matter what the question.
Not only does that tip pattern drill better, but working in closer like that,it's not so awkward and your arm doesn't get as tired.

9
Big Wall Forum / Re: Crazy Yates sizes...
« on: October 29, 2009, 01:38:41 am »
I don't know... they look quite a bit different to me, but never having seen or used a Shield I couldn't honestly say.
I guess you would know though, if there was any subtantially noticable differences?
I went for the Big Wall because of the swami, the way it's padded. After breaking my back,
I wanted the most comfortable harness I could buy. I honestly think I got just that.

$100? I wish, I think my Big Wall was closer to $250 canuck-bucks by the time it arrived.
.......Yates Big Wall ........................................ Yates Shield




10
Big Wall Forum / Re: Skid Lids
« on: October 28, 2009, 12:12:56 pm »


I was disappointed when a friend told me just recently that most climbing helmets are not rated for side impact.  I didn't realize this, anyone know if its true?  Half the reason I wear my helmet is incase I flip upside down or swing to the side and whack my dome.  That scares me more than rockfall generally... although after this weekend...



Right on, thanks for the responses guys! The helmet topic has always stirred my interest. The more it gets discussed, the more I realize that most people are unaware of the fact that the helmet they wear, is not even rated for the protection they thought they were getting when they purchased it. I am absolutely *NOT* an expert in the area, but have discovered some interesting and concerning tidbits of information over the years that you may be interested in.

There are very few helmets I know of that carry any side or rear impact rating of value. ISO defines these areas into separate planes, tests and certifies accordingly. You'll be hard pressed to find a climbing helmet with enough coverage in these areas to even be considered for such a rating.




I doubt the helmet debate in the sport of climbing will ever reach a useful conclusion, but I'm glad to see you guys are at least using them. What really surprises me is that the majority of helmeted climbers, have no idea that the one they use is not even rated for impact protection. You can only make a helmet so small, light and sexy looking before there is very little left to actually protect the wearer.
Many of the top selling popular helmets are in fact only rated for "deflection" and carry no "impact" rating whatsoever. Even more surprising, is that many of the ones that are labeled as "impact", are only design to receive a single blow.  Most of the foam constructed helmets have a single impact rating, as the impact is absorbed through through the helmets partial destruction, even though the damage may not be visible and appear superficial, if one of these helmets suffers an impact, the product notes state that the helmet should no longer be considered safe, and must either be returned to the manufacturer for inspection to be destroyed and/or replaced.

I see new climbers asking for advice on which helmet to purchase and whether on a climbing forum or in a retail gear store, the advice usually comes in the form of, "I own this one and love it". I have yet to hear anyone asked what they plan on using it for first. I asked one sales clerk why he was recommending a certain helmet, his answer was, "well.. this is what everyone seems to be buying". When the truth in fact is, that it was light, cheap, and readily available, yet IMO is probably the poorest excuse for a climbing helmet available on the market. Even this sales clerk who claimed that the manufacturer gave them "extensive product knowledge and training".. while pointing out the nifty air vents and headlamp attachment points, had absolutely no idea that the helmet was not even rated for a single impact, and had just barely squeaked under the certification radar with a "deflection" rating.

As far as I'm concerned, helmets have gone in the opposite direction of their intended function, offering the wearer, less and less protection as they de-volved over the years through the use of newer "high-tech* materials. While the old helmets may have have their drawbacks, usually in terms of weight, they were designed and intended for multiple *impacts* and offered ample front, rear, and side coverage to protect a user from more then *falling objects* alone. If you look at the style of old helmets like the Joe Brown, you well see how much more protection there was on the sides and back then generally found in what is available today.


I discussed the helmet issue at a trade show one year with an engineering subcontractor who was doing destructive testing for a government funded workplace safety initiative. Although the majority of testing pertained to construction-type hard hats, he had tested a limited number of climbing helmets intended for use in confined spaces, etc. He told me the biggest problem was the standards used to define the rating system was too broad, giving manufactures too much latitude to qualify their product into a given category, and often just barely.

I asked what his recommendation would be. He artfully avoided any brand names but did say that
he personally would not wear a helmet to protect himself from falling objects, that did not have a full internal suspension system with adequate space between the top of your head and the top of the helmet to absorb a sizable impact without the shell every making contact with your head. He added that, a strip of foam glued inside of a helmet, that in turn sits directly your head, should be avoided, as the energy absorbing properties are so minimal, that you chance suffering serious injury from even a small falling object.

Just some things you may want to consider when looking at lids.

11
Big Wall Forum / Skid Lids
« on: October 19, 2009, 03:03:45 pm »
I thought I would pose a few question here and hopefully get some good responses.

I rarely see climbers in the valley wearing helmets, and of those who do, it seems Aid Climbers are in the highest percentile.
This is of course according to my 100%, non-scientific study (looking at photos).

I decided against just creating a poll, because they're a tad simplistic, and there never seems to be enough options
with the right answer(s).  None of us really learn much from answers like: "Other"

Around here, to go without one, even while approaching or descending to or from the objective, is in many instances, not conducive to a long and fruitful career as a climber. Even on established and well traveled trade routes, the constant freeze/thaw cycle from fall-to-spring, always manages to resupply the ledges with a fresh layer of projectiles waiting to be dislodged by your partner, your rope, or even a sudden blast of wind or rain. While the reasons here for keeping your lid tightly fastened down are obvious, it still only takes that 1 single rock, or piece of gear from another party no matter where you climb. The same as your melon contacting the rock as the result of a fall, it only needs to happen once.

5 questions:

1) Do you wear a helmet while climbing, always, sometimes, or never?

2) If not always, why not?

3) If you use one, what brand/style do you prefer and why?

4) What's your biggest bitch (if any) about currently available helmets ?

5) Has a helmet ever saved you from possible significant injuries? Tell us your story!


12
Man I've  been out of the loop, this  is the first I heard of this. My condolences to his family and friends.

Do you still have these aliens for sale now?
(they are the ones without the *Dreaded-Dimple-of-Death* right?)

13
Big Wall Forum / Re: Weekly Favorite Big Wall Pics Thread
« on: October 19, 2009, 09:58:42 am »


Happiness at the end of the day...

(*Hint* to Metolius catalog editor.)
This shot should definitely be in the next issue !

Edit: I just realized while looking through this thread again, where this is, Duh!
         Due to zero camping availability a few years ago, my son and I hung our Metolius ledge under an overhang
         on the water-side of Malamute where we lived for a little over a week. Throw in a little BC forest fire smoke,
         and the evening sunsets over the ocean, had us convinced that we had the best seats in the house!

14
Big Wall Forum / Re: Zenyatta First Winter Ascent 1984
« on: October 17, 2009, 03:52:34 pm »
Old pics, are priceless.. as in "valuable snippets of history". It's great to see them digitized as I wish I had done to so many of mine that are now faded to the point of being unrecognizable. Unfortunately, most of my negatives and positives were destroyed in a basement flood.

Thanks for posting these awesome photos!

15
Big Wall Forum / Re: Crazy Yates sizes...
« on: October 17, 2009, 03:51:11 am »
I'm just curious....  what's with all these *Big Waller's* using Shields? I went for the Yates "Big Wall", seemed to makes sense since that's what I wanted it for. The sizing does seem a little big, even after I measured and went by their sizing chart, but I'm glad now that I have the extra room as I find is so comfortable that I can't bring myself to wear anything else. I'm probably one of the only people you'll ever see ice climbing in a Yates Big Wall, but thanks to the large sizing I can get it over all my bulky layers during ice season. It's the most comfortable thing I own when it comes to gear. It's like sitting in a Lazy-Boy recliner compared to the BD or Pretzls I own. The only thing I've done was a little hot-knifing modification to the end of the swami webbing so it would be easier to feed through the buckle. All black buckles btw, and nothing slips.. ever.

16
Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Elephant's Perch-Slipstream
« on: August 06, 2009, 12:57:04 am »
Wow, sounds like a lot of work for one guy. Too bad on the pics, would have loved to see some of those.
I saw "Slipstream" and thought WTF? Who'd be crazy enough to climb that this time of year?

You see.. we have our own Super Classic (Death Route) here of the same name, mind you it doesn't look
like much of an aid route.. or rock for that matter.

.........................

"Slipstream"  is that evil looking tongue of ice stretching down the north face of the 11,322-foot "Snow Dome".


17
Big Wall Forum / Re: Weekly Favorite Big Wall Pics Thread
« on: August 05, 2009, 11:17:56 pm »
...........................................Ole Tabernac !!!
 ...........................................Why have I never heard of this place before? 

18
Here's an idea for visually acceptable bolt hangers.. now if I could just find them!

Transparent aluminium is 'new state of matter


19
Big Wall Forum / Re: autoconstructed for bigwall
« on: July 29, 2009, 12:46:12 pm »
Ok hoipolloi.. now you can translate it back for us
(and now we know how miravete must feel) 

Totally admire anyone who makes all their own pro and heads up the rock on it.
I think we forget how easy to just go buy what you need and head out with your shiny new tested & certified gear.
I wonder how many wall climbers there'd actually be if there was no other option but to make and trust your own gear?

20
Big Wall Forum / Re: New Wall Gear for 2010
« on: July 29, 2009, 12:24:50 pm »




23 grams, hrmm.. sure that's not *35 grams*? 23 gram sounds a lot like my key chain biner!

Personally I don't want my biners getting any smaller, I find the few small lightweight ones that I own to be a pain in the a$$.
Even if I was one of those super-human 5.14 free climbing freaks, I'd prefer my big old ovals. I tend to extend my placements..
a lot, (gravity suck enough without adding rope drag into the mix), and I've found when climbing with a mixed rack of my
partners and my gear, that when I get down to his selection of light-weight wire gates, I end up having to double them up on
the rope end of the extending sling. They are so light, that a single biner (especially with a skinny dyneema sling), that the
biner will often ride up the rope instead of laying where you placed it and swing into the direction of the fall when the rope is
unweighted, like it should. It's definitely a worse combination with the light-weight dyneema, not only does the sling ride up with
the biner, but it tends to get hung up on small features and remains there until cleaned, often totally compromising the integrity
of the placement. It could just be my personal little quirk, but something to take into consideration when thinking about buying
 ultra-light biners.

Using them for racking may be a great idea, I like the BD notchless positrons  myself, especially for racking wires I prefer the keylock
nose on them. My criteria for a dedicated racking biner is.. a wide gate opening, a shape that allow lots of pieces to be racked w/o
having a CF, and solid not wire gates, especially for racking wires which somehow always seem to end up jammed through the wire
gate after less then gracefully clawing my way up a desperate stretch of rock. Preferably notchless, the absence of a notch makes
racking and un-racking gear (especially anything wired)  a lot smoother. If you rack on/off the gate instead of the nose of the biner,
this isn't as much of an issue, but with a full aid rack I find gate racking awkward. I works great for ice screws though!

For me... new gear this year will mostly  consist of replacing old gear that was lost and/or left behind, with it's closest equivalent.
Probably Ebay'ing it to restock the old *evil* iron collection, a lot of the pitons that work really well here, haven't been produced in years.
 

21
Big Wall Forum / Re: DMM peanuts!!!
« on: July 28, 2009, 12:28:05 am »
I have a set of these, I love them when I need them, but they honestly don't get that much use here.
What I didn't like about them (especially when they're brand new)  is how hard and smooth the finish
is, making them hard to place and easy to fall out sometimes. Using a jewelers saw, I scored them like
I do with my brassies and it made all the difference in the world.

-Sorry I couldn't find a shot of my scored peanuts, but here's what my brassies look like.. you get the idea.




22
Big Wall Forum / Re: New Wall Gear for 2010
« on: July 27, 2009, 11:42:47 pm »
new metolius single stem offsets! think these will compare to the alien offsets?


Better then most in the medium-to-small single stemmed cams currently available, but still not totally there yet,
(I hear there's already a re-design in the works, something about twisting and self retraction).
I still think Alien has the better stem design, but I have trouble climbing on gear I no longer trust.

once metolius fixs that fabric retraction piece, I'll check again. Great company tho.

Ya.. those strings were another thing I noticed yesterday and winced, they do look *weak*,
not to mention a pain in the ass to fix on a climb. I like the one little roll of spare wire and
a small pair of pliers fixes everything standard myself.

23
Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: link to Dave T's Baffin trip report
« on: July 08, 2009, 06:40:48 pm »
That is totally awesome!
I'd love to go to Baffin Island.
The shot of him holding the seal... all I could think of was;
"soon he'll be sleeping his nylon shelter and now smells like a seal, which polars bear can detect as far as nine miles away!"
Polar Bears are frikken scary, not like your normal Yose boo-boo bear, they have no fear whatsoever and people are just another
meal where meals can be very hard to come by.

Awesome TR, definitely worth checking out!

24
Big Wall Forum / Re: Free A5 Big Wall Hammer contest
« on: July 08, 2009, 04:14:29 pm »
C'mon out to the Black and I'll let you use the hammer any time Kevin...I'm too big for anything over A3 anyhoo, you like decomposing pegmatite right?

Hey that sounds great goatboy!
Now this peg-ma-tite stuff, that is sort of granite.. right?
I'm used to chossy limestone, so it can't be that bad.. can it?
But with regards to anything above A3..
I'm not too big, rather too small, (in the testicle region) for any sustained A4'ish kind of stuff.

25
Big Wall Forum / Re: Free A5 Big Wall Hammer contest
« on: July 07, 2009, 11:30:05 am »
CONGRATS goatboy!

I've had connection issues for a month now, so I haven't been able to play along, as much as I wanted to.
I was in the right area, wrong valley, but would have not guessed that peak from the GoogleEarth images
I looked at. The area just seemed way to flat looking, even when I was doing low altitude fly-bys up and down
the valleys.

Thanks Deuce, it was a great contest!
(You wouldn't happen to have any more spare hardware laying around would you?)

26
Big Wall Forum / Re: Tomahawks avaible at Mountain Gear now
« on: July 07, 2009, 11:11:53 am »
Well.. my girlfriend has them, she likes them so much that she doesn't seem to want to give them up now!

27
Big Wall Forum / Re: Salute to John Bachar
« on: July 06, 2009, 07:06:37 pm »
Really sad man, John and I spent about an hour before the show when he was here in December,
talking about climbing after breaking your back (something we had in common).
Both of us wondering if it was possible to climb at our pre-injury  levels ever again.
John wasn't sure, but assured me that he was definitely going to find out.
Talking with John, you found out quickly that he was truly a down to earth, stand-up guy.
John was into his own thing, above and beyond, he wasn't out to prove anything to anyone
other then himself, which was evident watching him sign posters, helmets, and stuff for people.
He always added, "Use a Rope" under his signature. I know John would have never wanted
anyone to get hurt or worse, attempting to follow in his style.

My Sincere Condolences to Johns Friends and Family, especially his son Tyrus,
He'll be missed by many, but remembered by all.

28
Big Wall Forum / Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« on: June 26, 2009, 06:00:19 pm »
I usually only back clean the odd piece here and there when I've got some serious zig-zags going on, to try and keep the rope drag to a minimum as I get higher up.
On a rare occasion, it's when "I need that piece".

29
Big Wall Forum / Re: New way to do a adjustable daisy...
« on: June 26, 2009, 06:10:57 am »
I'm with you on this one skully, keep'n it simple.

30
Big Wall Forum / Re: Batting a 100
« on: June 24, 2009, 03:09:56 am »
Both of you guys , success on your first wall with novices.. that's awesome, great way to start things off.
I'd be curious to know what the statistics are on first wall success/failure ratios.

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