Royal Robbins: “This importing business is a real can of ---

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 18, 2016 - 04:35pm PT
Can anyone pinpoint the date when Mountain Paraphenalia started carrying the French Wonder headlamp and possibly post a picture of one? I am helping some folks with an article about the history of headlamps at the moment and I never bought one of them. I did buy a Justrite lamp BITD but can't lay my hands on it at the moment either if anyone has one for show and tell with its monster green quadruple D cell battery pack.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 18, 2016 - 05:31pm PT
Steve: I have memories of selling the Wonder Light from about 1973 on, but the earliest Ad I found for the article, is this one from Mountain Magazine Nov. 1972
Credit: Fritz

There were a lot of problems with the Wonder Light. Throughout the 1970's, my big climbs headlamp was the one I used in my summer job, as a Forest Service fire-fighter, during college, the heavy, but fairly dependable 4-D cell battery Justrite. I did not hang onto one.
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Oct 18, 2016 - 07:26pm PT
with its monster green quadruple D cell battery pack.

my Justrite bustrite had a red battery pack
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2017 - 12:33pm PT
It seems appropriate to bump this thread, which contains a lot of RR love.

Some Sheridan Anderson cartoon love for Royal.

Credit: Fritz

Credit: Fritz

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Mar 17, 2017 - 01:06pm PT
thx Fritz

<3 Sheridan toons
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2017 - 07:40pm PT
Liz Robbins at their Mountain Paraphernalia Outdoor Retailer Show booth.

Credit: Fritz



Royal Robbins, activist, trying to save routes from being destroyed by piton pounding. Summit Magazine, Oct, 1972.

Credit: Fritz

Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 20, 2017 - 03:43pm PT
Just a small historical bump.

With all the discussion of climbing shoes here, I failed to find any mention of Kronhoffers.

The Kronhoffer was made by the Kronhoffer family in Austria . My retail store in West LA was the exclusive US distributor for these klettershoes beginning about 1966 or so. They were the most popular climbing shoe in California back in the early 60s and remained so until the advent of stickier rubber. The nice thing about Kronhoffers was that, even when purchased two sizes too small, they had beautiful suede uppers that eventually stretched to the shape of your foot. They were comfortable compared to today’s rock climbing shoes.

I read somewhere back in this thread that implied that Doug and Susie Tompkins were responsible for getting Royal and Liz out of the hardware business and into the clothing business. As mentioned by someone, it was Chouinard that Tompkins urged to get out of the hardware business. This was definitely the case. Tompkins was instrumental in getting me into the climbing retail business back in 1964 when he opened The North Face – his small retail shop in San Francisco. He not only advised me on what finances were necessary, but encouraged me to talk to George Marks and Bob Swanson who had just started a new company called Sierra Designs. This eventually led to my store, West Ridge in 1964, becoming the exclusive purveyor of Sierra Designs stuff in the Los Angeles area. But I digress.

This thread has covered a lot of the early climbing equipment – just thought I’d remind people of Kronhoffers.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 20, 2017 - 05:47pm PT
Hey Don,

I have a pair of Kronhoffers that are stamped Holubar on the inside which I assume they imported directly since that was Roy Holubar's business style. Did you ever supply them or is my assumption likely correct?
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:20pm PT
Actually I do believe Holubar imported them earlier than me. But later in the 60s old man Kronhoffer made his distributor. I think I even sold them to Holubar later.

Hey, I'm old and tend to get dates and most everything else a little confused. I would appreciate anyone (that's still alive) to add any significant information to this thread (I almost typed "tweet"). Those of you that are not still alive, please remain silent.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:25pm PT
I remember it being closer to a Kronhofer.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:37pm PT
Excuse my senility. I do believe it's "Kronhofer", not "Kronhoffer". Thanks for the sharp heel of the hand to my head.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2017 - 08:56am PT
I noted one of these t-shirts that popped up on my EBay Mountain Paraphernalia search this morning. Then I went to the Royal Robbins clothing company website & got the rest of the story. Looks like 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Mountain Paraphernalia.

Credit: Fritz


This moisture wicking heritage graphic tee celebrates our company's founding. In 1968, Royal and Liz Robbins started selling climbing gear under the name Mountain Paraphernalia. A few years later, they added clothing, which they called Mountain Threads. By the 1980's, the company was known as Royal Robbins, as it still is today. The Royal Landmark graphic tees feature designs and printing by The Landmark Project. Portions of the sales will help under-privileged youth discover the natural world, as well as support our ancestral home, the Yosemite Conservancy

Our graphic tees feature designs and printing by The Landmark Project, whose illustrations are inspired by iconic outdoor destinations. Founded in 2007, their aesthetic is a modern twist on the golden age of travel, with rich color layers to bring the wilderness and open air of their favorite outdoor destinations into everyday clothing.

Additionally, The Landmark Project helps sponsor under-resourced youth to discover life in the natural world through rafting, climbing and camping trips. A portion of the proceeds from the Royal Landmark collaboration, which features illustrations celebrating the iconic story of our founder, will support our spiritual home through the Yosemite Conservancy.

https://www.royalrobbins.com/mountain-paraphernalia-tee
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 8, 2017 - 09:41am PT
Don, in reference to Kronhofers--

The North Face Factory Outlet was given the remaining stash of "Kronies" in 1976 to sell at a large discount. The boots came to us from the other TNF retail stores in SF (STonestown) and in Palo Alto. The Berkeley shop never carried them, however. There were several pairs in popular European sizes left still, after however long they had languished on the shelves of these stores.

I nabbed a pair and wore them daily in the shop, "modeling" them, as it were, hoping to get others to take advantage of the discount. They were gone in short order at the prices we were asking. I do not recall trying to climb in them, since better boots were available by then.

The EB was the boot of choice for most climbers at that time, of course.

MFM
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 8, 2017 - 12:29pm PT
Ad appeared in Climbing #49/July-August 1978.
Ad appeared in Climbing #49/July-August 1978.
Credit: mouse from merced
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 8, 2017 - 01:20pm PT
Hey, Mouse,

Know who else wore Kronhofers around in a spaceship for months? Bruce Dern, in the movie Silent Running (1972), wore Kronhofers throughout the film.
He, Dern, actually came into West Ridge and picked out the shoes with the film's director Douglas Trumbull. Small world, ain't it - particularly aboard the spaceship. Check it out.

Bruce Dern in Silent Running
Bruce Dern in Silent Running
Credit: Don Lauria
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 8, 2017 - 03:25pm PT
Stealth Kronies for silent running. Cool.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Dec 11, 2017 - 10:45am PT
Don -Is it possible George Rudolph at the Donner Mnt Corp, aka the wholesale division of the Ski Hut in Berserkeley was the original importer of the Kronies?
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 11, 2017 - 04:27pm PT
Not sure, Joe. Never saw them advertised by Ski Hut. Holubar for sure was my original personal supply source, but when West Ridge got into the business I was able to buy direct from old man Kronhofer himself and eventually I believe we became the sole importer (circa 1972).

Certainly Ski Hut (Donner) was the sole (no pun intended) source for Pivettas
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 9, 2018 - 12:25pm PT
I copied this thread onto a word.doc a couple weeks ago & it amounts to 20,638 words & 141 pages, with the photos included. What a bunch of posting we did! My congrats to all involved.

I also burned that word.doc & all my collection of old Mountain Paraphernalia ad scans, from Mountain, Summit, Off Belay & Climbing magazines, along with Royal's Save South Crack article, onto DVD's.

I'll have 6 of those DVD's available for interested thread participants & historians at the Robbins Memorial, but at least one goes to Tamera, for the Robbins history archive. Just bring me a glass of wine & a DVD is yours. Fritz aka Ray Brooks
Credit: Fritz

Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
Mar 10, 2018 - 10:20pm PT
I'm on it! Thank you.... ;)
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