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Levels of modification (in the context of WOS)
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teth


Aug 1, 2006, 5:01 AM
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Levels of modification (in the context of WOS)
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I have been reading through the 500+ posts on SupperTopo regarding Wings Of Steel, and one detail of the debate caught my attention. About two thirds of the way down this thread ( http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=72849 ) Mark Smith mentions that in about 10% to 15% of the micro ledges they used had to have one or two exposed crystals removed in order to make enough room to place their vary small hooks. In response jeff benowitz vehemently stated that any modification done with a drill was a hole and should be included in the hole count. Now this point may well have already been addressed in a later post which I have not read yet, but I feel impelled to weigh in on this point with my unique perspective as a Geomorphologist (meaning that I have a science degree in the study of how big mountains break down into progressively smaller rocks which eventually roll to the sea).

Breaking off an exposed crystal is an artificial means of accelerating the natural weathering process. Drilling a hole is an artificial means of creating a cylindrical feature which would not occur naturally. Thus, breaking off an exposed crystal is more natural, and thus more “clean” than drilling a hole. While breaking off a crystal and drilling a hole might both be counted as modification, they are not the same thing, and minor modifications such as removing an exposed crystal should not be part of a “hole count”.

Of course this it is a mater of scale. If you remove the exposed crystals, and then start chiselling into the feldspar which holds the crystals in place you are trenching. This goes beyond the next natural step in the weathering process and becomes increasingly contrived as you are weathering the rock at one point far beyond the weathering stage of the surrounding rock to produce a feature which would not likely have formed there in that way on its own. At some point, which I will not try to define here, trenching quickly becomes just as contrived as drilling a hole.

I should state that I am not against drilling. I think the decision to drill should be a function of both the situation and the local ethic. I just wanted to make the argument that removing exposed crystals, rock crust, or loose flakes is not the same thing as drilling a hole. Removing an exposed crystal to place a hook is, I believe, a higher standard of ethic (less impact) than drilling a hole to place a hook.

Teth Cleveland


Partner heiko


Aug 1, 2006, 5:16 AM
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Ehm....... if the thread is on Supertopo, why are you replying here?

I mean, it's not that I don't appreciate your statement, but are you trying to start a discussion here and I just didn't find the passage where you're saying so?


teth


Aug 1, 2006, 6:24 AM
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Heiko, if I was responding to a point made in a recent thread, I would have made the response in the same thread, on the same forum. However, to examen a point buried deep in an old thread necessitates a new thread to examen that specific issue. If I am going to create a new thread, I would rather create it here rather than have it buried in a matter of minutes beneath all that choss on SuperTopo. I guess I just wanted to make a point and gave the origin of the issue for context. I am interested in whether other climbers agree with my point of view on this.

Teth

(Edit: Maybe you have a point. I suppose I should post it on SuperTopo where the issue originated. Just give me a minute to put on my flame retardant suite.)


Partner heiko


Aug 1, 2006, 6:26 AM
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Ok, thanks for clarification.

H.


madbolter1


Aug 2, 2006, 12:34 PM
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ROFDL (that's: roll on floor DYING laughing) teth. Your "flame retardant suit" line really struck my funny bone. So true, so true!


yetanotherdave


Aug 2, 2006, 3:57 PM
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In reply to:
I suppose I should post it on SuperTopo where the issue originated...
might be worth posting it here:
http://www.bigwalls.net/forum/ - lots of the knowledgable folks from ST hang out there, and the signal/noise ratio is better (so far)


teth


Aug 3, 2006, 4:10 AM
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Yeah Yet, I thought about it, but then I might be accused of blitzing now that I have the same post on two forums already.

Teth


Partner heiko


Aug 3, 2006, 9:05 AM
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Interesting strategy trying to make a point at a place where you get flamed least. Will have to remember that.


chollapete


Aug 3, 2006, 10:09 AM
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Teth--

Thanks for posting here. I, too, recently happened across the Wings of Steel story at STopo. Actually, I just read the story and gawked at the pictures on Mark's site. (There's a link to it from a recent WoS thread on STopo.) Awesome story. Is it still true that the route has not been Second Ascended?

Will be lurking in this thread, enjoying the discussion of an awesome story.)


dingus


Aug 3, 2006, 10:14 AM
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Its a religious question, like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Only a few individuals, a small cult if you will, cares in the least as to the definition.

Trying to decipher cult rules from the outside is a waste of time.

.Cheers
DMT


teth


Aug 8, 2006, 7:56 AM
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Chollapete, the current record for a second assent attempt of WoS seems to be held by a party that made it to pitch nine, before running out of supplies because they had under estimated how long it would take. (I believe they used the bogus [second] start as well.)

Dingus, you may be right. In many ways defining degrees of impact where it comes to climbing ethics is somewhat of a religious (or at least spiritual) question for a lot of climbers. I might be pushing my luck taking a science based approach.


Teth


ptpp


Nov 2, 2007, 1:42 PM
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Re: [teth] Levels of modification (in the context of WOS) [In reply to]
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Wow, that is the shortest reply Richard has ever made!

I've thought about this a lot, and there are several reasons that Richard and Mark caught so much flak [and continue to!] over Wings of Steel.

There are the usual competitive-jealousy things happening, which I'm sure you can figure out. Richard and Mark used these negative forces in a positive way, and somehow pulled off something so far ahead of its time it's still not fully understood. The hooking they did was totally SICK, and those motherfuckers were [at the time] two of the most demented individuals to ever set hooks on the rock.

I've been there, I've seen what they did, they were sick. They're also really great guys and great friends now!

Their problem here - with specific reference to this post - is that they were TOO HONEST! This is a refreshing change where plenty of climbers - past, present or future - are more than happy to exaggerate or outwardly lie about their accomplishments.

Mark and Richard took the other approach. When faced with the continuing criticism that such a route [WoS] up so blank a face was "impossible" without enhancing hook placements and therefore they "had" to have cheated, they said exactly what they did, in precise and unambiguous detail.

They did it maybe six to ten times in 150+ hook moves I believe is the number they quoted.

I'm replying to tell you that their enhancements were truly of a microscopic nature. I've inspected [not climbed, it's too bloody hard!] the first two pitches of WoS, which spanked my lazy lard-ass into complete submission, and did so through a veritable magnifying glass.

I saw no enhancements. If they enhanced stuff, it truly was on a microscopic level, precisely as they have described. And I think that is better than drilling a rivet or bolt.

Those guys pushed it to the max, and said how they did it. Good for them.

Even if they're crazy insane buggers.

Teth writes,

"If I am going to create a new thread, I would rather create it here rather than have it buried in a matter of minutes beneath all that choss on SuperTopo."

I'm tired of the choss over there, too. For whatever reason, the Big Walls and Aid Climbing Forum at RC.com seems to be the primo place on the whole damn www to learn stuff about aid climbing and big walls. Or at least it used to be. Let's work together to bring it back to its former glory.

Bring on your questions - my pencil is sharp.


tradmanclimbs


Nov 2, 2007, 5:17 PM
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Re: [ptpp] Levels of modification (in the context of WOS) [In reply to]
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Pete, Did you ever get an article published on WOS? I don't get any of the mags these days so i would have missed it.


yosemite


Nov 2, 2007, 7:43 PM
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No question the route is hard. No question that there was BS going on while the FA team was up there for how ever many weeks. No question there were bold moves. No question about me ever doing the route.

But this idea of "a crystal or two" is bunk. Crystals range in size from "can't see 'um" to "I'd rap off that in a heartbeat." From Morton salt crystals to ladder steps. On that side of EC they tend to be of the smaller variety, but come on... Maybe the question is "how many angels can dance on the tip of a drill."


ptpp


Nov 3, 2007, 8:45 AM
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Trad, I did knott write nor publish much about WoS because my own attempt - like most everyone else's - failed so close to the ground. It was kinda embarrassing to say the least!

yosemite wrote:
But this idea of "a crystal or two" is bunk. Crystals range in size from "can't see 'um" to "I'd rap off that in a heartbeat." From Morton salt crystals to ladder steps. On that side of EC they tend to be of the smaller variety, but come on...

You may recall that when Mark and Richard first proposed this notion, I told them pretty much the same thing as what you say above. My own words were likely something like, "What a load of shit! If you touch drill to rock, it's an enhancement, and I don't care how you did it, you should count it in the hole count!"

And that is how I felt initially. But then I had a look at what Richard and Mark had to say on McTopo [and say, and say, and ...] and I realized that while their detractors were assaulting them with all sorts of inferences and assumptions, their responses were consistent and had the ring of truth. In fact, their 'fessing up about the enhancements, and the precision in which they described them, suggested to me along with everything else that they were telling the whole truth, as much as such a thing is possible. And when I met them in person, they were obviously the straightest of the straight shooters, and I respected that very much. They are also friendly and approachable, and I am thankful that Richard is far less rant-likely in person than in forums ;) although certainly as passionate.

So I wanted to go have a look for myself. When I got up there and saw the first two pitches, I figured you would need a degree in geology and a magnifying glass to figure out where the eight or ten enhancements are, because I could knott see any, and I was specifically looking for them.

You are right - the rock in this section of the wall is completely different from anywhere else on El Cap. The rock is low-angle, and hence extremely weathered, smooth, and very very hard. What this means is that unimaginably SICK hook placements are possible on the tiniest of nubbins. You just need to have bigger balls [or smaller brains] than me in order to be willing to climb the things for move after move until a fifty-footer [or longer!] is not a possibility, but a virtual certainty.

Definitely Morton.


phile


Nov 3, 2007, 3:48 PM
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Re: [teth] Levels of modification (in the context of WOS) [In reply to]
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sorry, dumb question: what's a bat hook? a pointy hook of some kind--is it based on a BD hook of some kind?


skiclimb


Nov 3, 2007, 4:40 PM
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A bat-hook is any hook modified or manufactured to fit into a partially drilled 1/4'' hole. A hole drilled for the single purpose of hooking.

I beleive but am not sure that the term was coined by Warren"batso" Harding


phile


Nov 3, 2007, 6:01 PM
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cool, thank you. do people make them or buy them? i can't find a "bat hook" for sale online. does a BD talon have a suitable hook? apologies for drifting the thread--just trying to get up to speed on the discussion.


stymingersfink


Nov 3, 2007, 8:00 PM
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Leeper makes a "Logan" hook, the narrowest of which makes for some nice bat hooking.



As with all hooks (IME), you'll want to tie a small loop of webbing and thread the loop through the hole, positioning the knot on the outside of the hook.


stymingersfink


Nov 3, 2007, 8:03 PM
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phile wrote:
does a BD talon have a suitable hook?
Yes, it does. It works well in most BAT holes, though maybe not all of them. Having a dedicated BAT hook can prove handy at times.

BTW, B.A.T. hooks, I believe, stands for

Basically
Absurd
Technology

but they do work pretty well.


Partner pbcowboy77


Nov 3, 2007, 8:33 PM
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First of all, Pete it's great to have your knowledge back on RC.com. Maybe I'll start reading this forum again.

As far as WoS and holes go, let's remember that this is a bad ass route that nobody has repeated. Another thing is that there are routes on El Cap with that have entire pitches of bolts. So IMHO WoS was a low impact FA. Oh and how many RUPS do you need on the Shield now? Lets get heated about that, not about impact that is less than hauling a pig up a slab.



Richard and Mark, I never said this on Super Taco, but I think you two are super bad asses!


Let me finish by saying, I do not have that many walls under my belt and I've never put a Big Wall FA up, so take what I say with a grain of salt.


phile


Nov 4, 2007, 7:53 PM
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I agree with the OP that there are degrees of rock modification. I'd say modifications that are totally undetectable are very different from bat hook holes and bolts.

I got through post 225 of the WOS discussion. I'm surprised by JL's attitude. What would El Cap say/think? I'm pretty sure it wouldn't and doesn't care.


madbolter1


Nov 12, 2007, 4:17 PM
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Wow, the tone and intelligence on RC seem to be much better than on the Taco. "Lower signal to noise ratio" seems about right. Maybe I'll have to start spending my few moments of free time here instead of there.

I personally really appreciate the discussion in this thread. I think PTPP is right that we were "too honest" about our "modifications." In retrospect, I would have said and ranted less. I've come to realize the futility of the Taco, as no matter what you say there, or how you cast it, it is guaranteed to be intentionally misunderstood. It's refreshing to see the difference here. Thank you.


shimanilami


Nov 12, 2007, 5:03 PM
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madbolter1 wrote:
Wow, the tone and intelligence on RC seem to be much better than on the Taco. "Lower signal to noise ratio" seems about right. Maybe I'll have to start spending my few moments of free time here instead of there.

I personally really appreciate the discussion in this thread. I think PTPP is right that we were "too honest" about our "modifications." In retrospect, I would have said and ranted less. I've come to realize the futility of the Taco, as no matter what you say there, or how you cast it, it is guaranteed to be intentionally misunderstood. It's refreshing to see the difference here. Thank you.

Your post brims with sincerity and optimism. Clearly, you are a RC.com noob.

I'm sad to say, the utter lack of decorum and intelligence at RC.com will become blaringly apparent if you stick around for long. My advice to you is to run. Run far. Run fast. Preserve your innocence, Madbolter. It cannot survive here.


billcoe_


Dec 4, 2007, 12:58 PM
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shimanilami wrote:
Your post brims with sincerity and optimism. Clearly, you are a RC.com noob.

Ha ha! Yup, just wait, I suspect this thread will head to hell in 3 more posts if history is any guide. Dingus already answered the OP's question well for me (Angels on the head of a pin), Teth's position really can't be argued against well by me for sure.

Both sites have their place, like Pete says, this is better organized for information. Especially Petes old posts, which were AMAZINGLY deep, inciteful and through. with all kinds of bold text and links, and layer after layer of information. (Pete, side note and a little heads up: don't be offended, as no one before or since has layed down a better post than some of your old technical diatribes: but occasionally back then I saw that your bold claims of "MY WAY IS THE BETTER WAY" so to speak would yank peoples chains, because you were defacto saying that their way sucked and they are wankers, when the reality is that some of them were not, and they would take offense.) You might keep an eye out for overstating your position occasionally. Speaking only for myself now, I, for one, was in awe that you could lay all that stuff down so well. I merely bring it to your attention now so you can keep an eye out on your posts and avoid some possible conflict with others. Real glad you are back!

-anyway-

I too, read the WOS posts on ST, I'm still waiting for one of the bigmouth detractor/rope shitter/pussies to just STFU and do the route. Too chickenshit I suppose.

I'm glad Pete took a shot at it and relayed his experiences of extreme Bollack shrinkage, given his extreme amount of experience, no need now for a wank like myself to even go look now!

Thanks for stepping on it and sharing it Pete!

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