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#38778 - 08/01/08 03:13 PM A Dead Piton's Final Words
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
"When the load came, I snapped. Most of me, invisible inside the crack, had already rusted away, and what little remained broke immediately upon impact. I saw the leader who clipped me vanish below---don't know what happened to him. I was old and weak; I tried, but could not perform my duty."

CSI Investigator Williams found the following forensic evidence:

.

The second shot provides a closer view of the extensive rusted-away section.

Photos by Richard Goldstone and Dick Williams. Hand curtesy of Gregory Rukavina.

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The real story: The pin was on Pas de Deux. Dick gave it a testing tap with the hammer and it snapped. He didn't beat on it. This piton would not have held even a very short fall.

Some history: This is one of the fixed pins installed by John Stannard more than 30 years ago. Stannard made these specially of extra-thick stock and coated them to resist corrosion. They were arguably the most reliable fixed protection in the world at the time, and have have proven their worth and durability over the years. However, thirty years in a crack that channels running water is a long time, and even the best fixed gear can eventually provide an illusion of security where none exists.

Be careful out there, folks.

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#38779 - 08/01/08 03:44 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: rg@ofmc]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Along those lines, the scariest I ever saw was some 25 years ago when Dick showed me the 3 belay pins on Co-Ex that he had removed. The best of the 3 looked like the one in the photos above.
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#38781 - 08/01/08 05:13 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: MarcC]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Nice reminder. I almost miss some of the old pins that used to populate the trapps. We didn't know any better and carried way less gear as they were right where you wanted them most of the time. Good thing we didn't fall much.
Good on Dick to still carry a hammer. I suspect that there only a few respected folk who could carry them without getting stared down.

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#38782 - 08/01/08 05:31 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: chip]
Coppertone Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
Please have him check the pin on Fat City \:\)

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#38783 - 08/01/08 05:37 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: chip]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
...looks better than a lot of failed metal I've seen over the years. mebbe it could still be used as a stubby ;-)

beach lines and river lines will tell where the steel cracked open slowly vs where it fractured quickly

there's this hammer I have that is the perfect size... small enough to be inconspicuous but big enough to do the job (at one point there was a nut tool on the market that incorporated a small hammer - I thought that was a great idea - are they still available?)
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#38784 - 08/01/08 06:57 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: rg@ofmc]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Nice, RG \:\)

Was that on the first pitch? Is there a gear placement now?

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#38787 - 08/01/08 09:42 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: Julie]
dw@vmc Offline
stranger

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 10
The piton on Pas de Deux was on P1 about 2/3rds the way up in a hole next to a thin horizontal crack which I cleaned out with a nut tool. I was following the pitch so didn't have enough gear to see if there something else that would work. I suspect a small Black Alien size cam or smaller or maybe a Trango Ball Nutz might work. Many climbers used to use this pin when climbing City Lights for that runout section.
FAT CITY Pin, I wanted to replace that pin about 5-7 years ago. When I tested it I realized that the soft iron pin would break if I tried to remove it. It seemed solid but who knows how rusted it is inside the crack.

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#38788 - 08/01/08 10:02 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: dw@vmc]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I was afraid that the pin in question was that one. I liked thinking it was actually worth clipping.

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#38789 - 08/01/08 11:45 PM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: chip]
dw@vmc Offline
stranger

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 10
Sorry about LePlie, I meant PasDeDeux, that's embarrassing.

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#38791 - 08/02/08 12:38 AM Re: A Dead Piton's Final Words [Re: dw@vmc]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
We knew what you meant when you cross referenced to City Lights.

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