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Bird Beaks
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Mar 15, 2007, 7:43 PM
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Bird Beaks
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Just wondering how many bird beaks people carry as a rule of thumb? Do you back clean them or just clip your rope to them and what are the chance that they would hold a fall


Mar 15, 2007, 7:54 PM
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Re: [pinnbasher] Bird Beaks [In reply to]
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Well I guess it kind of depends on what you’re climbing.
If it is sustained thin and hard route you might bring up to 30 and maybe more of them, it is route specific. You wouldn’t bring a fat rack of them if you were going out to climb off-widths now would you?
I don’t usually back clean them, however I have… but usually most of the time I start tapping in beaks and peckers its pretty desperate stuff and I don’t want to back clean.


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Mar 15, 2007, 11:39 PM
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Re: [kristoffer] Bird Beaks [In reply to]
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I usually bring twice the recommended number on the topo because I use these in the place of knifeblades.

They work not only by being pinched by the rock, but also by hooking. Kinda like two levels of security.

Most times when I can't get a blade to "stick" because it is rotating out, I consider placing a medium or large BD pecker. Sometimes I'll pin this in by stacking a blade. This is a FANTASTIC way to make a shoddy placement totally bomber. Well...almost bomber.

The KN ratings aren't super high on these pieces. Who knows whether the weak link will be friable rock, expanding flakes, or the strength of the metal? When I leave them for pro (which is often) I always use a screamer.

I also have some modified beaks with shorter "beak" sections for super-shallow placements, more like RURP depth, but where I want some hooking action. I've also made a hook/notch in the bottom of one of my RURPs.

It is a horrible sin to fill a great beak pod (hand placements will often work!) with a head. Heads wear out and fail over time. Don't end up having to resort to heading up beak seams becasue you didn't bring enough beaks. :)

Hope this helps! I love beaks,The medium and large ones are my favorite piece of pro besides my VERM hooks.



Mar 17, 2007, 9:22 AM
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Re: [holdplease2] Bird Beaks [In reply to]
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When you have had a beak catch a fall or two where nothing else would have fit you will be a faithful disciple. I only back-clean them if I have made the mistake of not bringing enough of them.

When it comes to thin seams I'm with Kate ~ prefer them over KB's. They work well in dead-heads a good percentage of the time too, doing away with the need to clean and replace them. When it comes down to it, I actually feel pretty good about beaks, cause that means I'm not on hooks.

don't overdrive them in shallow seams though


Nov 1, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Re: [holdplease2] Bird Beaks [In reply to]
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Kate [Batgirl] totally sold me on the new BIG Black Diamond Peckers on the Ranch this spring. You can use them almost anywhere you could use a knifeblade, at least in vertical cracks. They are often far more secure than a KB because you get the hooking action of the tip. The shaft has a bit of a bend that also gives you a big of camming action.

I now take more big Peckers and fewer blades. Man, one of Batgirl's big Pecker's really gave me some confidence on the Ranch, when I was going up a thin nailing corner right above an ankle-crunching ledge. Place the thing, bounce test the livin' bejeepers out of it to give yourself confidence, whip on a Screamer, and you're good to go, eh?

A5 Bird Beaks are superb, but hard to find. Tom [apollodorus] bought a hundred leftovers from John Middendorf, but they need to be heat treated before he sells 'em.

Vermin makes some neat little beak-like devices, not sure what they call them, in two different sizes. Get yourself some Vermins in each size, some A5's, some BD Peckers in all three sizes, and fewer KB's, and you're good to go. It's not like these things weigh anything, right? So might as well tool yourself up if you're climbing a harder route. Double the number sounds good to me, with a few KB substitutions. I would only substitute for short blades, not long blades, as long KB's most assuredly have their place.

For what it's worth, I like the Vermin "RURPs" as they have a nice cable attachment, and also come in two sizes. If I recall correctly, they also come in "left" and "right" orientations which is super-handy.


- be very careful when cleaning these things! Take your time, work the wobble

- bounce test aggressively if you're scared

You can hand place them if you are trying to climb clean, however I would never do this. They don't call me "Pass the Pitons" Pete for nothin'.

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