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Copperheading
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copperhead


Apr 25, 2003, 1:38 PM
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Copperheading
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I posted this on ST this morning in responce to a question and thought I'd start a new thread with it here.

Chisels and Punches:
http://www.shorelinemtn.com/store/images/PUNCHL.GIF
Photo courtesy of Shoreline Mountain Products.
http://www.shorelinemtn.com/store/departments.asp?dept=3


These chisels are made by Eric Kohl. I also make similar chisels and have a set here, ready to go for Up2top, and a bunch of cleaning/chopping chisels for Greg (ASCA). The 5/8Ē chisel is your primary heading tool and can be used on all sizes of heads, from #1 to #5. I find that the punch pictured is better if sharpened to a chisel point and used to clean dead-heads, chisel out aluminum from holes before patching (chopped aluminum dowels), and levering bolt sleeves out of holes. As is, the punch is too thin to really place heads and will cut through the head instead of paste it. I recommend the same punch, but chop off enough of the length so that the punch diameter is about 1/4". It is also nice to have a larger punch for #3 and #4 heads (who places #5s???). A dead-head cleaning tool can also be fashioned out of a 1/2" chisel with proper grinding. I add another piece of tubing between the two swages. Wrap with a liberal amount of cloth-tape to make the chisel more comfortable and reduce vibration; the hex shaft isnít too comfortable to hold onto after a few hours of heading. The advantage to the wrist loop (as opposed to the clip-in loop like on the Fish ones) is that you can leave one or two chisels on your wrist as you climb (provided you are climbing a section with a bunch of heading) and donít have to worry about leashes getting in your way or getting tangled. Using an Arrow to place a head works but itís pretty primitive Ė ok for light duty jobs.

If you donít know how to clean dead-heads and place new heads then donít try to. Do whatever else to get by. It is best to be confident in your head-placing abilities before you venture onto the stone, even on a route like the Prow. Itís been a while since Iíve been up there (done it 3.5 times (Ten Days After)) but I do remember fixed heads at the end of pitch 4 and the beginning of pitch 5, before the bolt ladder. Some of the fixed heads were small. Practice on a choss boulder and bounce-test them to failure (if possible - good ones shouldn't rip). Youíll be surprised what will hold!

Beware of fixed heads!!! I donít trust Ďem and sure as hell will bounce test them (unlike Conradís tips in the latest R&I). The majority of the aid whippers Iíve taken have been from heads ripping, whether fixed or fresh. Heads loosen over time by freeze and thaw - expansion and contraction. Iíve pulled out a #4 alumihead with my fingers on lead on a seldom-traveled route. Donít hesitate to give fixed heads a few whacks with your hammer and chisel, especially if it looks like it wasnít placed too well to begin with (often the case). Beware rusty, cut, or frayed cables Ė theyíll send you for a ride quick! So many of the whipper stories Iíve read here on the web entail fixed heads ripping. Be smart and don't back-clean heads. They do hold falls!


To be continued...


passthepitonspete


Apr 25, 2003, 2:34 PM
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Re: Copperheading [In reply to]
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Bryan gave me one of those sweet sweet punches [along with a bunch of other stuff] a few years ago for referring him some business [do you remember who?!] That big beefy punch is ETS! It's burly enough to pry out deadheads. It's very sweetly swaged, and the wrist loop is precisely the right size.

If you're still selling heads, I need some on May 15. Make 'em with shorter cables, as you know I like.


brutusofwyde


Apr 25, 2003, 2:53 PM
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My favorite setup is to use shock cord rather than the cable for the wrist loops. I feel a bit more secure having the loop a bit tighter yet still able to put it on & off over gloves when I need to, and the shock cord must be stiff enough to hold the chised above the fingertips for those reachy placements.

Brutus


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Apr 25, 2003, 6:44 PM
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I've been wondering something that perhaps you big wall veterans could help me to clear up:

Say, for instance, I was on a climb which was a "clean" aid climb but relied on fixed gear, and came to a section where I needed to place a head. Please also assume that I've learned the proper way ro place heads in advance, and that I have all the necessary gear.

Here's my question: Should I place the head and leave it as fixed gear, or should my partner attempt to clean it? I'm guessing that I'll want to leave it fixed?

Second question (related to the first): Would I place the head any differently if I intended to leave it, than if I planned for my partner to funk it out?

Thx, Justin


climbingcowboy


Apr 25, 2003, 8:09 PM
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Re: Copperheading [In reply to]
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first I'm still learning and since you said Big Wall veterans I probalby shouldnt answer but I'm curious if I'm right.

From what i've heard and read it seems that if like you said
In reply to:
I was on a climb which was a "clean" aid climb but relied on fixed gear, and came to a section where I needed to place a head.

that you would always leave the head if it was considered to be a fixed part of a route, espically if you placed it bomber.

And your partner probaly wouldnt bother cleaning it unless it was just a marignal piece that you cant belive held and is easy to remove without damaging the placement.

OK guys tell me where I'm wrong


cantwinifyoudontplay2003


Apr 26, 2003, 3:16 AM
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I give them one good pull with a "funkness" tool or cleaning wire. If they don't come out with one clean jerk then they are fixxed. If you mess with them too much you will just end up pulling the cable out of the head making it no good for the next guy.


punk


Apr 26, 2003, 6:53 AM
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When placing heads you intentionally fixing it
Therefore make all effort to pick a good placement and reasonable placement so it wont look like a copper/aluminum vain (like in copper mine) try to clean the bad one (Russ have a full article about how) and replace them
So in short u clean the bad one because copperheading is fixed gear by nature

Did that to substitute for copperhead missing picture link

http://fishproducts.com/pics/hmk.jpeg


passthepitonspete


Apr 26, 2003, 8:09 AM
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It's rare to clean heads that you come upon. Generally speaking, you get on 'em, bounce gently, and if they hold, get on 'em and go. Depending on what's below you to stop your fall determines how scared you need to feel. The other time you might want to clean is when you're the first dude on 'em after the winter, and the cable is obviously rusted all to hell, and doesn't look like it'll hold. Then again, you might just want to test it, see if it'll hold, then get on it and try to make the next clip as quickly and as gently as possible, thus saving time [and].

I end up cleaning a little more than half the heads I place. How well I place them depends on how scared I get. When I'm really scared, I place them with the skill of Michaelangelo and his chiselling of Moses.

But how easily a head can be removed is determined more by the shape of the placement than by how well you paste it. A perfect tapering-down and tapering-outward head placement might be very difficult to clean. Generally what I do to determine if I will clean it or not is to give it a gentle funk outwards and upwards - if she doesn't pop, I leave it. It takes practising to learn, and you can usually only get that sort of practice when you are placing and removing lots of heads. And the only way you do that is to get off the beaten path, which these days seems to take lots of doing.

I love heading! I think it's fun. I'm pretty good at it now, but it used to scare the hell out of me. Funny how when you're a novice, you are willing to trust someone else's existing placement better than your own. My how times have changed. When you start clipping your way up a bunch of fixed heads on a pitch marked A4, you have to ask yourself, "is this really A4, or is it really A0?" Heh heh...... only one way to find out, which is generally not fun.

Be sure to carefully sniff your head placements after welding it in, and if it stinks, get off it.

A few carefully-chosen Screamers or [my preference - two Scream Aids rigged in series, one short and one long - so that first one deploys than the other] can make a series of heads a lot less dire.

Heads can and do hold falls, and if you're the first person on them after the winter, expect to bust some cables, and have to clean deadheads. Cleaning deadheads is a whole other post. I'm not that skilled at it, but that big frickin' punch you see above sure as heck makes the job easier.

When you make a great head placement, you shout,

"it's welder, dude!"


epic_ed


Apr 28, 2003, 12:32 PM
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Ah, the fun stuff. Can't wait to get my set and start practicing. I just picked up a bunch of heads from Russ at the PBC this weekend and I'll paste away as soon as I get the tools. Funny...the more I aid the more gear I need. Yet another skill to add to the repetoire.

Good info, Bryan!

Ed


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