American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Equipment, Modified Wide-Angle Pitons

  • Notes
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1952

Equipment

Modified Wide-Angle Pitons. Wide-angle pitons have been used to some extent in cracks up to two inches wide1—chiefly, owing to defects in design, in places where only minimum strength has been required. These wide-angle pitons were pointed at the end and then tapered out at the butt to a width of one to two inches. Since most wide cracks have approximately parallel surfaces, these pitons, being of very high pitch or slope, would make contact with the rock, on being driven in, only at three points and not on three edges. Obviously, it would take very little force to pivot the driven piton on these points and make it wiggle loose.

Edge-to-rock contact can be obtained if the taper or slope of the wide-angle piton is decreased. The modification results in a bluntnosed piton. The best slope was found to be about ¼ of an inch per five inches in length. Other dimensions: length, five to seven inches; width at the blunt point, ¾—1½ inches. The butt end should be welded, to increase strength and prevent spreading. Other features are similar to those of the regular angle piton. Limitation of maximum size is dependent upon metal strength (proportional to metal thickness) and thus on the weight that one is willing to carry.

P. K. Schoening

1 Cf. Fred Beckey, “New Ascents in the Cashmere Crags,” A.A.J., VIII (1951), 173-4.

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