Author Topic: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads  (Read 2776 times)

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Offline zippyslug

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hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« on: May 08, 2007, 11:41:02 am »
We all know the ethics debates on whether or not to bolt.  But I don't ever recall seeing a debate on if it's cool to place heads or pins.
You can be careful with placing a pin or a head and depending on the rock you may or may not cause any damage.  Of course there are plenty of places that have pin scars so that clearly indicates damage.  How about scars from placing heads?  Or for that matter, fixed heads being left behind as "litter".  How about hammering in a beak or two?

Here's where I'm going with this.....

If I am practicing my hammering skills on a local crag, how likely will I piss off the sport-Os who just assume if I have my hammer out that I doing damage?  If they hear me banging away on a head do they have the right to bang away on MY head?

Offline deuce4

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 04:22:35 pm »
Zipster-

Hammering heads or anything at a local crag is not likely to make any friends.  Better to find some old quarry or roadcut where nobody climbs or boulders if you want to do that.  Heading scars the rocks too.  In fact, it was always considered bad ethics BITD to place a head where a tied-off pin or something else could be used, mostly because heads generally have a tendency to get fixed and leave a blob of metal in the rock eventually.

A lot of the rock damage comes when you rip the head back out of the rock.

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Offline zippyslug

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 09:16:58 am »
Excellent!  Just the type of input I was looking for.

Thanks Deuce!

Offline lambone

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2007, 01:03:41 am »
First off, with regards to your local crag...you need to be warry if you should be hammering at all. Understand the history of your crag and be considerate of your local climbing community. You don't want to be nailing on somebodys free climbing project.

I guess you could really say the same thing with El Cap these days since just about every Trade route is somebody or anothers free climbing project. However, it's obviously different then a small local crag.

Here is m personal ethic. I will always try all clean options before nailing. That is my golden rule. I'll get on any clean piece until it blows. Once I have extended my options or my skill as a clean climber then I'll reuctantly resort to the hammer. There is one exception to this rule. If I have the potential to deck a ledge or take a bad fall that would definately result in injury, then I will be more willing to sink a good pin. Yes I may do this because I am a chicken shit and don't want to get hurt, but also for my partners sake who doesn't want to rescue my broken ass, or god forbid other rescuers who'd need to risk their lives to come save me. Clean climbing is noble and all, but in the end my life takes precedence over some chunk of granite.

So if fcaed with the only option but pins....even after the cam hooks didn't work...I'll try to hand place a sawed off. In my experience Lost Arrows and Blades don't work so well hand placed. Beaks often work perfect and I think cause the least amount of damage to the rock, you can often get a bomber beak with just a slight tap or two with the hammer. If an arrow or angle is the only way to go, I pick the right size and restrain myself from nailing that sucker to the hilt, which is very tempting but usually unescesary and a pain in the ass for the cleaner, and causes more damage to the stone.

As a very last resort a head will be the only remaining option, unless we have a cheat stick. I allways have veiwed a head as the easy way out. You can pretty much bash a head into anything, even a bomber nut placement. Gumbies smash heads into perfect alien or pin placements. Heads are easy unless you are climbing a true head seam.

Bolts, if you need to place a bolt on a established route then you should probably bail.

Offline lunchbox

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2007, 09:41:15 am »
Good post Lambone.......

the biggest mistakes I have made and seen my partners make is to over drive pins.  A hammer can do some pretty mean damage and that doesn't need to be the case.  A good nailer uses a hammer to place pins with a few tappy tap taps and is nothing like driving a 16 penny nail into 2x12 with framing hammer. 

BD's new mid and large size beaks may very well be some of the coolest clean tools on the rack.  In the scared out cracks you find in the valley they sit in the bottom of the funkiest of scares.  But be careful cleaning these things and don't funk them out or you'll blow it for the next guy.         

Offline zippyslug

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2007, 09:51:09 am »
Lambone, couldn't agree more!

Not looking to paint the world in steel (or copper or aluminum...) just wanted to know where people learned the skills of hammering if it wasn't at the crags?  Simply finding a bolder and smashing a head on it 5 feet off the ground will only gain you so much experience.

As my original post alluded to, this was more for training sake and not simply to try and scar up the local crags.  Since clean aiding is the trend, are we insinuating that all future aid climbers will be replacing their hammers with a feather duster to delicately find placements???  I don't think so, but one might jump to that conclussion.

I don't claim to have an answer here, but I see a paradox.  So spill it, where did some of you learn what you know if it wasn't at a crag?  Was the first head you placed 1000' off the deck on in the valley?  If so, you are braver than I!

Offline YetAnotherDave

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2007, 10:05:58 am »
Not looking to paint the world in steel (or copper or aluminum...) just wanted to know where people learned the skills of hammering if it wasn't at the crags?  Simply finding a bolder and smashing a head on it 5 feet off the ground will only gain you so much experience.

You should be able to get a pretty good idea what'll hold by testing on roadcuts or boulders.  Place a few heads or pins as high as you can reach from the ground, and then bounce the crap out of them with a spotter and/or a bouldering pad.  Don't have a full wall rack on when you test them  :)

There's a bunch of granite near my home crag that's slated to become gravel, so one afternoon my partner and I took a bunch of heads and had a competition to make the crappiest-looking thing stick.  Surprising what you can get away with.  Also good for beaking - we were both amazed what a hand-placed beak would stick in.

Also saw just how much damage is done by funking a head out of a solid placement.  Rock chips go a-flyin!

Offline lambone

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2007, 10:24:47 am »
zippy,
I placed my first pitons and heads on El Cap. Never have placed a bolt.

Offline ice ravines

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2007, 02:22:24 pm »
  Learned in Germany with friends that went to University of Munich. Bavarian Alps. 
Over the years I have learned - climb clean & in good form ,as much as you can. I also learned that this is the order it should be done in:
1: Natural placements...nobs,horns,natural chockstones.......
2: Artificial placements....Chocks,cams,hooks,anything that can be jamed in a crack...
3: Small Pins...Beaks,peckers,crack-n-ups...
4: Pitons... Does less damage then bolts as you are using cracks & seams...
5: Heads...Gently bashing a blob of copper or aluminum into a tiny crack or hole...never looks pretty, but does work & really hard to remove.
6: Bolts... The most destructive...usually used for belay or repell options, you drill a hole and place a bolt...hopefully you know what you are doing and use the best type of bolt for that area & it is stainless steel with a hanger to match.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2007, 02:24:02 pm by ice ravines »

Offline needlz

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2007, 06:30:10 pm »
A friend and I were heading out for our first valley trip last year.  We had several routes we planned on doing that would go clean but it was recommended to throw a few heads in the bag just in case some of the fixed heads were missing.  So to figure out how to place a head, since we lived in the city, we practiced on my friends concrete slab garage which had a screwed up (cracks) floor.  I then yanked the crap out of them.  It was amazing how well they hold.  Imagine late night beers and yarding on different heads we'd placed.  It was great fun.  We also hooked up a hand wench to see what some of them would hold before blowing out.  The concrete was usually what blew out first.

I've never had to place one on an actuall climb, but I'm glad I know how they work, sorta  :)

Offline passthepitonspete

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2007, 10:17:22 pm »
Heads are bomber, man!  I've placed hundreds, and I don't believe that any head that I have actually placed myself has blown, though I have blown plenty of other people's heads.  I might get nervous hooking or nailing, but when it comes to heading, I'm solid. 

Generally speaking, it's better to place a beak than a head - more sporting and more difficult, too.  Pasting heads is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  On the Ranch, Kate put me onto some of those big-ass BD Peckers which come in three sizes - medium, big and huge.  I am totally sold on the things - those big and huge beaks will often times replace a knifeblade, and are much more bomber because of the hooking action they get with the head, and the camming action you get on the shaft.  Truly bomber pieces of pro!  Watch for our Ranch TR on McTopo.  Beaks hurt the rock a lot less than heads, so try those first before pasting.

But yeah - go to some quarry or roadcut or somewhere that nobody cares, and start pasting heads.  Then get on them in your aiders and bounce test 'em.  You'll find that with a properly placed #1 copperhead, the cable will rip before the head pulls, strange but true.  Use aluminum for #2 and up, but only copper for the #1 and #0.

 
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Offline mungeclimber

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Re: hammering ethics. bolts vs. pins vs. heads
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2007, 11:43:50 pm »
Pete I'm dying to see some trip reports.
Even if they go by slowly.
:)