Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Big Wall and Aid Climbing:
Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads?
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Big Wall and Aid Climbing

Premier Sponsor:

 


bigwalling


Oct 13, 2002, 3:29 PM
Post #1 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 28, 2001
Posts: 728

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads?
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

So Pete how do you do it? Give me/us all the details so we can paste heads like the Dr.


dsafanda


Oct 13, 2002, 3:36 PM
Post #2 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 5, 2002
Posts: 1025

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I was just going to post a related question but I guess I might as well post it here. I was just at the hardware store and was going to buy a chisel for X'ing and pasting heads. What size would be ideal? I was thinking 3/8". Would I be better off just using the end of a Lost Arrow piton?


apollodorus


Oct 13, 2002, 4:32 PM
Post #3 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 18, 2002
Posts: 2157

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

A Lost Arrow is too big. The 3/8" chisel and an 1/8" punch are best. And so is a small wire brush. Round off the sharp edge of the chisel, or you'll just split the heads.

There's some advice here:

http://www.fishproducts.com/howto/howto.html

Click on COPPERHEADING in the left menu.


passthepitonspete


Oct 14, 2002, 11:38 PM
Post #4 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 9, 2001
Posts: 2183

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Holy moly! Thanks for the link, Tom. What a superb resource is Russ Walling's site.

I couldn't begin to improve on what Russ has written, so I won't even try. His failure strengths of each size of head is particularly interesting.

I'll just share a few key ideas.


Have the Right Gear

I rarely use my chisel. If you use a chisel, be sure to dull the tip with a file, and put a wristloop on it. Make sure you have a toothbrush-sized wire brush with wristloop, as well. It's important to clean your placement well. The head won't stick as well if the rock is gritty or dusty.

I place the larger heads directly with the end of my hammer. I place the smaller heads with this really beefy punch that Bryan Law gave me for all the referrals I sent his way, including Tomaz Humar before he soloed Reticent Wall.

A big solid punch is invaluable for cleaning deadheads. Don't leave the ground without it. Your only possible placement may have a deadhead stuck in it, and you're buggered if you can't clean it.

Which reminds me - my punch tip has become rounded from so much use - I should file it flat. Better add that to the LIST.


Understand Your Heads

They work like nuts, only they fit in crappier places. Look for a constriction that is nut-like and place it there. Yes, it may hold in a parallel-sided placement or even a flared one, but it'll hold better in a tapered placement with the narrowing towards the bottom.

When you place the head, you need to place it so the cable is on the inside.

This is not intuitive.

You have to look at the head carefully. You will see that the cable passes from the clip-in loop through the head, then doubles over on itself and turns back towards the clip-in loop. When you place the head, you want the part that doubles back on the outside, so that the part of the head that has the cable that supports your weight is on the inside, and hence it is more protected from your hammering.


Pre-shape Your Head

Take a look at the placement, and imagine how the head will fill it. Then take the head and look at it - hold it so you can see and understand the orientation of cable within the head.

Hold the head sideways so you can see the cable bend. It should look like this when you hold it. The clip-in loop is to the left and is not shown. What I'm drawing is just the cable inside of the head. ...............................__________
..............................| ________ ..|
__________________|_________| |
..............................|__________|


So on my little diagram above, the part you are going to bash, which will end up on the outside of the placement, is on top. This protects the cable, which is on the bottom, and which will be on the inside of the placement.

"Get it?"

Look, I hope you really love my little diagram above, cuz it took me twenty-three frickin' edits to draw the damn thing! Sheesh.

Hold the head against the rock in the orientation you see above. You will be pounding on the side of the head to pre-shape it. Look for a smooth section of rock.

Carefully pound the end around the cable entry to flatten it a bit [the left side on my diagram], and to help the head assume the shape of a stopper.

Do not hit the cable! Be careful when you pound!

Rotate it between pounds, alternately hitting the sides of the head til it assumes a shape that approximates the placement. This will take about eight or ten hits, I should think.


Paste That Little Bastard!

Put the head into the placement in the correct orientation, and then paste the livin' bejeepers out of it!

After you have cleaned a few heads, you will see how little of the head actually sticks to the rock! Take a look on the inside of a cleaned head - you will be amazed how smooth and flat it is. You may wonder precisely what had been holding you!

Remember this when you place your heads. Make sure your placement is "welder", dude!


Test With Care

You need to know exactly how hard to bounce test a head. Too hard on the small ones, and they rip, or worse, leave a deadhead. Too softly on the bigger ones, and you haven't done it right.

A very gentle bounce on the little guys, a bit harder on the bigger ones.

Heads aren't like pitons or stoppers, which you can aggressively bounce test until you are blue in the face. [The]scared you are, the bluer should be your face]


Be Creative With Your Heads

Heads are an amazingly versatile tool, and will get you up pieces of rock that are otherwise unclimbable, and provided you know what you're doing, will get you up safely.

Heads can be the ticket in tricky places like expanding flakes. Where a pin would open up the flake, a head will allow you to attack with more finesse.


Practise Your Heading!

Go out to a piece of rock that nobody climbs on, and nobody ever will climb on, and start pasting. Try to find some rock that is a long long way from any climbing area.

Get on the things and test them. Test them in different orientations and sizes.

Practise cleaning them, and practise cleaning deadheads.

NEVER leave a deadhead! If you bust it, clean it out.



It's really quite amazing how many hard routes on El Cap you can climb without ever having to place your own heads, simply because all of the heads are fixed.

To find a climb that does not have fixed heads, and where you can actually learn how to place heads, you may have to get off the beaten path.

Heading is actually lots of fun! I got pretty good at it after climbing Jolly Roger, which has a real live heading death pitch.

Either that, or I guess I'd be like dead, eh?


apollodorus


Oct 14, 2002, 11:57 PM
Post #5 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 18, 2002
Posts: 2157

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

"And if all else fails, keep the rope OUTSIDE your leg." - Dr. Piton, P? of Scorched Earth


kindredlion


Oct 15, 2002, 4:31 PM
Post #6 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 6, 2002
Posts: 146

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Tom chimin' in with the digs..

I could not expect any less..

Adam


jbeta


Oct 16, 2002, 11:23 AM
Post #7 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 20, 2002
Posts: 16

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Rumor has it that Dr. P trundled his haulbag off Lunar Eclipse.


taxexile


Oct 17, 2002, 12:59 AM
Post #8 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 21, 2002
Posts: 97

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Ever thought of a career in journalism, scoop?


climbsomething


Oct 17, 2002, 1:23 AM
Post #9 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 29, 2002
Posts: 8588

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Heavens no, Dr. Piton most emphatically did NOT trundle his haul bag off of Lunar Eclipse.

How could you even *consider* making such a statement? This is DR. PITON, PTPP, Doc, Dr. Pee'd on. Seriously. Would a man of his caliber pitch his pig off of Lunar Eclipse?!

Criminy!


























It was Scorched Earth.


fishypete


Oct 17, 2002, 1:54 AM
Post #10 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 5, 2002
Posts: 200

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Wow!

Those are impressive "feelers" you have there Mr Jbeta, or should we call you Sherlock?

We are duly impressed with your capacity for incisive, up-to-the-minute reporting of the hard to find facts!


Partner philbox
Moderator

Oct 17, 2002, 3:08 PM
Post #11 of 11 (6390 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 26, 2002
Posts: 13105

Ask Dr. Piton How to Place Heads? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

   Will Dr. P ever live this down?

Obviously Dr. P is well able to handle himself and doesn`t need me to defend him but I do need to say "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I speak from bitter experience here. Dr.P made a mistake that anyone could have made and he fessed up too which took him up a peg in my view.

Hey P keep posting advice here and it`s good to see you taking it on the chin eh.

...Phil...


Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Big Wall and Aid Climbing

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook