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Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie
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austin.timm


Jan 8, 2008, 9:26 AM
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Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie
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   Last Sunday my partner and I made an attempt on the Glass Menagerie at Looking Glass Rock near Brevard, NC. I led P1 on aid only to discover a few very questionable but also crucial pieces of fixed gear.
I just noticed that on January third there was a new thread posted about climbing the GM and wondered if the anchors had been that bad then. The first KB you clip on P1 now has some fracturing in the eye and shifted wildly as I weighted it above a slab landing 20 feet from the deck.... (aside from the fact it is an upside down placement to start with) I thought of replacing the pin but then decided to wait since it isn't really my place to do the work of the coalition and I didn't want to piss anyone off. In addition there are a number of other pins onthe climb that I feel are overly marginal placements and contribute to a false aid rating by Shull and Lambert's 'Select Climbs of North Carolina' which is already seven years old now.
I feel it is a crying shame that what is generally considered to be the most traveled aid route on the east coast should have such questionable placements especially when people such as my partner are trying to free the route. Someone is going to die up there someday if nothing is done.
If anyone could give some insight as to whether this problem has been cited before and if there are any moves being made through the coalition to correct it that would greatly be appreciated.


stymingersfink


Jan 8, 2008, 1:57 PM
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Re: [austin.timm] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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austin.timm wrote:
The first KB you clip on P1 now has some fracturing in the eye and shifted wildly as I weighted it above a slab landing 20 feet from the deck.... (aside from the fact it is an upside down placement to start with) I thought of replacing the pin but then decided to wait since it isn't really my place to do the work of the coalition and I didn't want to piss anyone off.

Fuck that! If a pin's eye is starting to crack, and it's even possible to remove, do so before it becomes non-removable. Place some clean gear, or return later and replace with a suitable replacement (short of drilling).

It is your place to do the work of the coalition where and when you come upon mank that has outlived its usable lifetime, be it fixed copperheads or a time-bomb rivit, provided like replaces like and the job is done cleanly to the best of your ability. If the replacement is beyond your ability, BTFO and get someone qualified to replace it to do so.

It sounds to me like funk'n that old fixed pin wouldn't be all that difficult anyway, especially if it already shifts when weighted. I would recommend carrying an assortment of pins up with you when you go to replace, as to select for the best possible replacement.


healyje


Jan 8, 2008, 2:39 PM
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Re: [austin.timm] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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austin.timm wrote:
The first KB you clip on P1 now has some fracturing in the eye and shifted wildly as I weighted it

Fixed pins are no different than bolts in that they both require maintenance after some number of years.

austin.timm wrote:
I thought of replacing the pin but then decided to wait since it isn't really my place to do the work of the coalition and I didn't want to piss anyone off.

Things are pretty established down that way - probably not a bad idea to talk to a few folks if the line is that popular. How about posting up on a local forum?

austin.timm wrote:
In addition there are a number of other pins onthe climb that I feel are overly marginal placements and contribute to a false aid rating by Shull and Lambert's 'Select Climbs of North Carolina' which is already seven years old now.

It's an aid climb, one should expect 'overly marginal placements', though that is a bit of an odd phrase as they go. 'False aid rating' is also quite a mouthful and starting to stray into some equally murky ground.

austin.timm wrote:
I feel it is a crying shame that what is generally considered to be the most traveled aid route on the east coast should have such questionable placements

'Questionable placements' sounds like it may be the reason it's one of the most traveled aid routes.

austin.timm wrote:
especially when people such as my partner are trying to free the route.

That's a different deal altogether and can be at complete cross purposes with aid climbers and their lines. It brings up the question of whether you are sincerely concerned about an aid line or a free attempt - they are different entirely different things and more often than not don't share the same requirements. Dig around on SuperTopo and you find some epic clashes between free and aid climbers over protection added to WFLT to free the line.

austin.timm wrote:
If anyone could give some insight as to whether this problem has been cited before and if there are any moves being made through the coalition to correct it that would greatly be appreciated.


Checking with the coalition directly sounds like a smart thing to do. Looks like you have a few local message boards / forums down that way and more than one 'coalition' - think globally / coordinate locally.


jlillest


Jan 8, 2008, 2:49 PM
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Re: [austin.timm] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I feel it is a crying shame that what is generally considered to be the most traveled aid route on the east coast should have such questionable placements especially when people such as my partner are trying to free the route. Someone is going to die up there someday if nothing is done.

The Glass Menagerie is a fantastic route and replacing like equipment for like is fine as long as you have a good idea of what you're doing. Otherwise leave it to the CCC (probably best anyhow).

Secondly, NC climbing is known for is hard and bold style of climbing. This usually excludes total "safety". If you can't handle this small amount of exposure (you're looking at most a 20' whip if the KB goes) then please use one of the many fantastic sport climbing areas around Looking Glass. This route was established as a bold aid route in it's day and has become progressively overprotected in the last twenty years in the name of "safety".

In saying this I'm not trying to insult your climbing style or leading ability, I'm just merely trying to point out the longstanding North Carolina climbing ethics that have led to some of the best (and scariest) aid routes in the east.

More can be found on NC ethics in the front of either of the Kelly or Shull climbing guidebooks for North Carolina.


iceworm


Jan 8, 2008, 8:42 PM
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Re: [austin.timm] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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austin.timm wrote:

I feel it is a crying shame that what is generally considered to be the most traveled aid route on the east coast should have such questionable placements especially when people such as my partner are trying to free the route.

as the partner who was trying to free the route....i think it's worth noting that we were more than prepared for this climb and had replacement pins with us. we just thought it wasn't our place to replace gear on such a classic climb. seeing as neither of us are true locals to this area. moreover, this post was meant to inform any future climbers to the condition of the route seeing as the beta we had lead us to believe the gear was solid. climb safe and watch out for VW size pieces of water ice and the occasional tree which rained down upon us while we we're climbing. thank god the north face is an amphitheater so most of this junk lands a good 20 yards from the base of the wall. nonetheless, the sound of the ice as it nears completing of a 500 foot fall does not "inspire confidence hal" --- Cliffhanger


austin.timm


Jan 8, 2008, 11:12 PM
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Re: [jlillest] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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In reply to:
The Glass Menagerie is a fantastic route and replacing like equipment for like is fine as long as you have a good idea of what you're doing. Otherwise leave it to the CCC (probably best anyhow).
I'm glad you kinda sorta agree to leaving the replacement to the CCC, I have the skills and gear to make an effective and safe replacement but as I mentioned earlier I really didn't know if these pins were honestly left there as a sort of added 'spice' to the route or if it was mere neglect. Therefore I elected to leave them be.

In reply to:
This usually excludes total "safety". If you can't handle this small amount of exposure (you're looking at most a 20' whip if the KB goes) then please use one of the many fantastic sport climbing areas around Looking Glass.

I have have taken 25 footers before and have not been seriously harmed nor does the thought scare me a lot, however if you are familiar with P1 of the GM then you will probably remember the 20 feet of slab'ish at the base; this is what would be whipped onto in the event of the KB blowing, thus creating a really dangerous fall.

In reply to:
In saying this I'm not trying to insult your climbing style or leading ability, I'm just merely trying to point out the longstanding North Carolina climbing ethics that have led to some of the best (and scariest) aid routes in the east.
I appreciate this a lot, a lot of people on here are quick to talk trash. In addition I say we are not true locals because we live in Bozeman, MT. However I grew up climbing in NC and am pretty well versed in the local ethic hence not replacing the gear at the drop of a hat.


Partner mr8615


Jan 9, 2008, 2:06 PM
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Re: [austin.timm] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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I'll check it out this weekend, but last time I checked that fixed pin is pretty bomber, if a bit rusty. Describe your partial fracturing? I'm of the opinion that all of the fixed gear on the GM should be removed entirely, a select few bolts should be replaced/relocated (in compromise for aid and free attempts), and the climb should be restored as much as possible. But then it wouldn't be the popular ladder it is today. There are downsides to repeated nailing of course, but it would go clean without a decent amount of the present fixed gear. Oh well.


euphoriagtrst


Jan 10, 2008, 8:43 AM
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Re: [mr8615] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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Isn't there a pretty decent stopper placement right below that pin? How far up did y'all go and was there questionable fixed gear above the first pitch? Both pins on the initial crack seemed like they wouldn't hold much more than bodyweight to me or might hold a fall onto a screamer. I seem to remember a pretty solid cam placement above that KB also. The pins above the bolt were all pretty solid last summer although there were three extremely old bolts at the end of the first pitch.


austin.timm


Jan 10, 2008, 11:53 AM
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Re: [euphoriagtrst] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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While there are decent placements for clean gear such as the stopper and cam placements you mention they are crucial to the free ascent remaining 5.11 on P1. unfortunately we did not proceed above P1 due to time constraints and the status of gear beyond that point would only be speculation on my part. And you are right the pins above the good bolt are solid'esque but the really concerning portions of the climb are the pins down low above the slab and the old bolts on top. As you mentioned they might hold a free climbing fall with a screamer.and since most free climbers probably won't try to place gear in holds they are utilizing then they are left with the scary reality of treating old manky KB's as bolts in a sport climb.


austin.timm


Jan 10, 2008, 12:03 PM
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Re: [mr8615] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Describe your partial fracturing?
As you know KB's and Bugaboo's come in Left and right models so that the eye hangs down and in the event a fall occurs straightens the metal instead of bending it further. This pin is a 'right' when a 'left' should have been used. I am guilty of having nailed an 'upside down' pin before out of lack of a better piece; then again I cleaned the gear and didn't leave it for 15 or 20 years of corrosion and climbers. The crack is very small and located in the corner where the eye meets the main pin body.


healyje


Jan 10, 2008, 12:09 PM
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austin.timm wrote:
...and since most free climbers probably won't try to place gear in holds they are utilizing then they are left with the scary reality of treating old manky KB's as bolts in a sport climb.

Lots of folks would say that's still a better option than turning the line, or portions of it, into a sport climb for the sake of freeing it. That is the inherent dilemma of such endeavors. Also keep in mind that you can pre-slice screamers at a steep angle with a razor blade to flatten their loading curve or use aid-screamers for sketch placements whether fixed or placed. I do this free climbing above small stoppers, Crack 'N Ups, and #1-3 ball nuts (both of which I highly recommend for efforts such as this.)


healyje


Jan 10, 2008, 12:42 PM
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Re: [austin.timm] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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austin.timm wrote:
In reply to:
Describe your partial fracturing?
As you know KB's and Bugaboo's come in Left and right models so that the eye hangs down and in the event a fall occurs straightens the metal instead of bending it further. This pin is a 'right' when a 'left' should have been used. I am guilty of having nailed an 'upside down' pin before out of lack of a better piece; then again I cleaned the gear and didn't leave it for 15 or 20 years of corrosion and climbers. The crack is very small and located in the corner where the eye meets the main pin body.

If it's loose, corroded, or damaged then someone should replace it with whatever pin would be best for that spot. until then if it's loose then give it a tap or two; if the eye is cracked or oriented badly then you also might consider slinging it with a short loop of super tape rather than clipping it directly.


Partner mr8615


Jan 10, 2008, 2:16 PM
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Re: [healyje] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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There are clean placements on the first pitch that can bypass some of the mank. The fear is warranted however, because the GM is a classic noob aid climb, riddled with unnecessary fixed gear. Reliance on this gear (aid or free) can be a gamble. The climb has more than its share of rusty quarter inchers. I took a whip onto the first rusty bolt on the ladder on a free attempt a little while back and I was pretty sure it wouldn't hold. It did, luckily.

I'm hopeful that removing the mentioned pin will result in a clean placement, but it's pretty thin right there. Either way, I'm hopefully gonna go check it out tomorrow and see what needs to happen.


healyje


Jan 10, 2008, 2:51 PM
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Re: [mr8615] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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Like I said, I'd be taking a few some Aid Screamers or pre-sliced ones up if I were - no sense stressing old bolts and weak pro anymore than is necessary.

Here's a link to an old gear mod thread that shows how to rig Crack 'N Ups for free climbing and melting the sheaths on small ball nuts to make them more useful. You'll see Crack 'N Ups go by on ebay if you keep your eyes open; same for the old Lowe-Byrne ball nuts which are better than the ones available today (but the ones available today are still better than no ball nuts).

http://cascadeclimbers.com/...arch=true#Post424914


(This post was edited by healyje on Jan 10, 2008, 2:52 PM)


euphoriagtrst


Jan 10, 2008, 3:33 PM
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Re: [austin.timm] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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Yeah, I didnt think about the fact that the gear placements might be in key free climbing holds.

A lot of fixed gear on the NF of LG seems to be getting marginal- on two different routes I've come across bat hook holes where the bottom was all flared out (I stick clipped past one and backed off after taking a 30 footer trying to use the other). I'm not sure what the ethics are about enhancing a worn out hole or drilling a new one next to it and filling the old one in. The last few feet below the second bolt of the second pitch of Invisible Airwaves is full of the snapped off RURPs and it's getting harder to find head placements that will hold. The beginning of the next pitch has some bolts that look like you could pull them out with your fingers directly above the belayer.

I guess it's more controversial when the aid climbing is fairly well protected but the same spot climbed free is potentially dangerous. It's my understanding that all the new bolts put in for the FFA were placed after getting permission from the FA. Most of these routes were done in the 80s and I'd have no idea on how to get in touch with the FAs other than posting on local message boards. Although it seems like common sense to me that if the pin above the low angle area is loose with bodyweight and the eye is cracked, it should be replaced by somebody who can do it right unless it's scar leaves a good gear placement. If the eye tears open it'll be worthless for aid and free climbers and possibly be harder to clean.


stymingersfink


Jan 10, 2008, 6:54 PM
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Re: [euphoriagtrst] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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euphoriagtrst wrote:
on two different routes I've come across bat hook holes where the bottom was all flared out (I stick clipped past one and backed off after taking a 30 footer trying to use the other). I'm not sure what the ethics are about enhancing a worn out hole or drilling a new one next to it and filling the old one in.
I have actually sleeved bat-hook holes before in some soft stone. It involved over-drilling (for depth) the hole with a 3/8 bit, then hammering home a pre-cut 1" section of 1/4"I.D. (3/8's O.D.) steel pipe to provide strength at the edge of the drilled hole. IMO, it didn't change the flavor of the route, as the original hook placement would have rapidly deteriorated with traffic (it was my own route to begin with).

Curious how long the sleeve will last, but with the gap at the back of the hole it shouldn't be too difficult to remove/replace when/if the time comes. I tried to give it a slight up-tilt when drilling, to help prevent it from collecting water, but not so much that it would spit out a hook... maybe ShockedSly


the_alpine


Jan 10, 2008, 7:33 PM
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Re: [stymingersfink] Replacing gear on Glass Menagerie [In reply to]
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I'm having trouble understanding your quandry. That pitch is PLENTY safe even without the fixed gear. Shit, even if the bolts above the roof weren't there you've got a bomber #2 cam at your feet. That pin is only there for upward aid movement. Of course, having a broken pin there would be retarded.

How cool is it climbing over there having all those huge ice sheets sloughing off the top!? You guys should've toughed it out and gone up to the roof. The 3rd pitch is classic!


iceworm


Jan 11, 2008, 3:37 PM
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i have to agree, the ice sheets really did increase the epicness of our climb Smile , especially the big ones which sound like a 747 is flying 100 feet off the deck. looking back i think we both wish we would've continued the climb but between the excitement of the gear and p1, a fall on the bolt ladder which caused the bolts to visually flex, and the added fun of the ice sheets, it's one of the times when you bail you know it's right, but then you kick yourself later. it was still a great climb and really nice to get out of the cold in MT and onto some real rock!


ncclimber


Jan 24, 2008, 6:27 PM
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A BOLT ON P2 visably flexed? come on now!!


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