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Topics - KevinW

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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!

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

Transparent aluminium is 'new state of matter

Big Wall Forum / Natural Pro
« on: May 22, 2009, 10:56:07 pm »

...Found in a creek, as is... 
(minus the sling)
 So.. does anyone have any photo's of weird, cool, bizarre, gear, anchors, funky/scary fixed pro, things like that?  Natural or Un-Natural


Big Wall Forum / Camp 4 climbers that went on to be..
« on: May 19, 2009, 07:42:52 am »
Someone was asking about a photograph,..

Think maybe it was  "Yosemite bums.."  and what they went on to be?

As I obviously can't remember exactly what it was, finding the post turned out to be pretty hopeless.
I do remember now where I had seen this before. It was a video of the camp four celebration at the
Climbers Reunion 9/25/99  where Galen Rowell referring to the now defunct "Saturday Review
of Literature
" in 1972 with a feature entitled "What's Happening to our National Parks",
an investigative journalism piece that showed a photo on the left page of an open touring car in
Yellowstone, (1922)  of a family looking happy in front of a geyser (the good guys). On the right
was a photo taken by the very famous black & white photographer of the time, Bruce Davidson who
had done a book on Harlem. He happened into Camp 4 with his view camera, and.. caught a *moment*.
The caption read, "Yosemite Campers 1967, How Do We Get the Schlocks Out?".
Galen wrote a letter that was never printed, that just five years later the magazine might be interested
to know that in 1972, what a few of those schlocks were doing. One of them was a nucler physicist
working in Geneva for a UN supported organization, one of them was an expert wildlife cinematographer
who'd done specials for the BBC. One of them was a seismologist for the USGS, and since then many of
the others have had distinguished careers. He summed it up by saying that he had been to all all seven
continents and both poles, but it took doing that to realize that the most beautiful place in the world for
him, and the place that is his spiritual home, was right there in Yosemite Valley.

I think this is the photo you're looking for.

Here's a link to photo's and discussion on the topic at ST.



Big Wall Forum / Head Mod
« on: May 12, 2009, 03:43:54 pm »
Thought I'd share an idea which you can dismiss as a waste of time, or that I have too much time, but for what it's worth, here it is.

I've always made my own heads, and one thing that's constantly bothered me about all heads, bought or home brewed, is all the
edges that seem to get snagged on everything. I realize that they are rough, crude, gear by the very nature of their construction, but
thought I'd try to improve on my method(s) at least and eliminate the snag points on the clip loop. Maybe it's how/where I hold them
while I'm going through deciding which one I'll use, but the swage that forms the clip loop ends, up hooked on something more so then
the other swages. You'll also notice that a lot of the knobs and ends have been rounded off. Place it once and most of that goes to shit,
but I've never placed a head twice.. so it works for me.

I figured that all the uncompressed metal on the swage is of little value. I doubt that it contributes much, if anything to it's strength.
Using a hand file and a 2" vertical belt sander, I get rid of all the extra swage, taking it down to the level of the compressed parts. I
finish it off with the belt sander until I am left with a nice smooth, cylindrical-shaped swage, which I cover with a length of heat-shrink
tubing, doubling a small piece on the top end, partly for better wear resistance, but mostly because after trimming all the tubing for
various projects, I had a bag full of little pieces that "Captain Frugal" aka "El Cheapo"  , just couldn't throw out.

Finished clip loop.

Big Wall Forum / May - June Big Wall plans ?
« on: May 06, 2009, 09:09:09 am »
Just wondering if anyone has plans in the next in the next month or two?
Always interested in hearing what other are gearing up for.

Non Climbing (if you must) / Yosemite Firefall ?
« on: May 04, 2009, 01:19:14 pm »
..........Locals probably know all about this, but it's the first I ever heard of it.
..........I thought some may find it interesting


Big Wall Forum / What other walls have you climbed?
« on: May 02, 2009, 10:30:04 am »
With North America leaving the rest of the world in the dust, in the "Where is the very best rock for Big Walls?"  poll, I'm curious what other walls people have climbed.

So I have 2 questions for everyone.. (guests encouraged to participate)

(1) With the exception of Yose and Zion, what other walls in North America have you climbed?

(2) Is there another wall in North America that you'd like to climb?

Big Wall Forum / To Daisy or not to Daisy
« on: May 01, 2009, 09:19:49 am »
Consider this post as informative/food-for-thought, rather then me trying to make a point or start a debate, because..

My eyes are crossed from from reading 7 pages of debate on the use of daisies over at, where in typical fashion the banter degenerates into personal attacks etc.
When daisies first came out I thought they were a great idea, but a particular case file in the ACC accident database (which has been inaccessible for months now, for some reason) made me think twice about how and where I use daisies.

The scenario involved two climbers at an anchor, one clipped in using his rope and a clove-hitch, the other via a daisy. The ledge they were on unexpectedly gave way, both climbers dropped- ripping out the anchor and plunged to their deaths. The analysis concluded that the climber attached via a daisy, (who also had two loaded packs resting on the ledge, attached with a sling to the anchor) had shock loaded the anchor to the point of failure. The recommendation was to always clip the anchor using your rope or other anchoring system that possesses dynamic properties.

I came across various articles where specific testing had been done on attaching oneself to the anchor with slings, cow-tails, lanyards, etc. and was suprised to learn how much force could be generated in what one would consider more of a *slip* then a fall. The more I read, the less I clipped my daisies. Considering that aid climbers spend more time hanging from (and depending on) marginal pro then most, I re-thought my technique and went back to using dynamic cow-tails as I had in the pre-daisy era, rationalizing that the more shock absorbing components in my system the better.

It's to each his own, but here's something to consider:

-A fall of less than one meter on static sling can create a shock load above 15 kN.

As it turns out, cow-tails had a bit of bum rap in they past due to improper/inconsistent methods of testing. It turns out that the "knot" was crucial to the shock absorbing properties of the system.
-with knotted cow-tails, "the knots" introduce a greater amount of shock absorption into the system then the dynamic properties of the rope used to make them

There are a few methods of constructing cow-tails, the most common being to tie one end into your harness as you would your rope and the other to a biner using a "half a double fisherman's" sometimes called a barrel knot.
Not only does this knot have exceptional shock absorbing properties, but properly choked, it can prevent cross-loading of the biner.
Some construct cow-tails using a barrel knot & biner at both ends.

Here's a couple article with test results you may find interesting:

There's many test results of all sorts in this document, but the part pertaining to, "ATTACHMENT LANYARDS (Cow?s tails)" starts on pg. 79 Section 7.1

This IRATA document is specific to lanyards

Big Wall Forum / Vintage Gear
« on: April 22, 2009, 08:14:54 am »
Does anyone know who made these?

*click for larger image*

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