Help with vintage pitons???


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Sport climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 1, 2010 - 09:03pm PT
I'm doing some spring cleaning (it's not too early for that, is it?), and found a bunch of old pitons and stuff.

Lots of different shapes and sizes.....stamps like Fritsch &C?? Zurich, Hob???? made in Austria, R. Cassini, Stubai...

I can't post pictures from my home computer...but will post pictures later if anyone is interested.

Anyway, I don't have any use for these and am looking to sell them if it is worth my time.

If anyone could point me in the right direction for valuation I'd really appreciate it!

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Mar 1, 2010 - 09:08pm PT
I may be interested in some of these... looking forward to pics.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 1, 2010 - 10:31pm PT

Yes, Photos are a must!

Social climber
Paradise Island
Mar 2, 2010 - 06:56am PT
Michael Chessler of Chessler books expressed some interest in my collection. That was several years ago. Roger Breedlove suggested that I donate mine to the Yosemite Museum collection, but I hesitate...

Ebay is another possible outlet. But as Jan and IHP suggest, photos are most helpful...
Here is the labeling for the pic below:
Upper left: 3 Leeper pins, mid-late 60's; Lower left: 3 Leeper bolt hangers, mid-late 60's; Next: 3 Dolt bolt hangers, late 60's; next: 3/16" hangers, rawl bolts, & drill bits; next: 2 1/4" rawl bolts w/Leeper hangers, mid-late 60's; next: Drill bit holder & extractor; Upper right: new RURP, old RURP; Center right: Dolt Mashie, late 60's.
For the next one below: Upper row: L -> R: 2 U.S. Army aluminum biners, circa late 50’s-early 60’s; Cassin steel biners, circa 50’s, early 60’s. Lower row L -> R: Chouinard biners: 1-early model: the small radius of the smaller of the two radii (nearest the gate hinge) used to scare the sh*t out of aid climbers when they’d shift their weight from one aid sling to another, so in later models, Yvon widened the radius as shown in Models 2 & 3. Models 4 & 5 were essentially ovals but designed so that their gates would open when a climber’s weight was on them, unlike the Army and Bedayan (not shown) biners that were in common usage at the time.
The next one down: Left row: European soft iron pins that were designed for European ethics of the FA party leaving them in the route; however, with the Sierra Club tradition in Yosemite of removing all the pins each time the route was done (“…leave nothing but footprints…”), the soft iron pins wouldn’t last for duration of a Yosemite climb. Also, the “vertical” pin design was useless in Yosemite’s dihedrals.

Center Row: Top, #1: To forge pins that would last on a Yosemite climb, John Salathé & Jerry Gallwas forged very hard steel pitons. #2: CMI or SMC copy of Chouinard’s “Bugaboo” 4130 chrome-moly pitons; #3: unmarked, “right-handed,” “Bugaboo;” #4-7: Chouinard’s early, flame-cut, “left-handed,” “Bugaboo” pitons, circa late 60’s; #8-11: Dolt 4340 chrome-moly steel pitons, circa 1967. Note the “D” shaped eye which was designed to allow the biner to lie close to the rock, eliminating the need for tie-off loops. However, the predominantly vertical cracks of Yosemite meant that usually that design innovation didn’t really help a climber.

Right Row: Top #1-3: Late model Chouinard knifeblade “Bugaboos,” circa early 70’s; #4-6 Chouinard “Lost Arrow” horizontal pitons, circa late 60’s-early 70’s; #7-9 Dolt 4340 horizontals; #10: second generation Dolt horizontal, forged with extra long blade that was carried in adjacent leather holster for placement & removal of climbing chocks as “clean” climbing phase out pitons in the late 60’s. Note beefed-up piton head that increased second generation pitons’ durability.
And for the last one below: 3 Dolt horizontal pitons and one extra thin-long piton designed for clean climbing chock placement & removal.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Mar 3, 2010 - 04:13pm PT
Boo Man

You do not want to sell any of your old hardware to Chissler. He pays dog sh#t, buffs up some of the the classics, has Royal or Yvon and others autograph them in white ink and sells them for a million. He was baffled why Kor, the most impoverished of all the "old boys" would not participate in this endeavor. Kor's soul is not on the market!

Get in touch with Ken, aka Chicken Skinner on ST for possible donation to the Yosemite Climbing Museum.


yer buddy Guido

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Mar 3, 2010 - 04:23pm PT
Mighty fine collection there BOO!

I agree, keep em in the family, yet the almighty dollar tends to steer one away from historical donation.

let us know what you end up doing with your gear.

Thanks for the description lists, very informative.


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 3, 2010 - 04:45pm PT
Gee, Ken, your collection worries me. Some of my gear of similar vintage is still in my active collection, though it's been several decades since I placed a pin. No wonder so many of my partners think my gear belongs in a museum!


Mar 3, 2010 - 11:27pm PT

I am Michael Chessler of Chessler books, and I see that somebody has just posted some mis-information about me. I do not actually rip off people from whom I buy things, or people who sign books for me. I realize it is better to be modest about what I do, but I want to correct some negative image some people may have of me. Some people do not like to see me making a living off climbing (what about Chouinard and Robbins, or Conrad Anker and Lynn Hill, or even the owners of your local gym?), but this is what I have given back to the community;

1. Layton Kor refused to sign books for me for ten years because he is modest. But when ill health caused him to seek additional income, Kor signed books for me last year. I promised to pay him $1000. But I changed my mind as he did so well, and I paid him $3000. The same month I paid a lot to Fred Beckey, even though he tried to refuse my check. I also gave Apa Sherpa $1000 to sign a few books and Ice Axes. All in a one month period.

2. Every time Royal Robbins signs books or pitons for me, I donate $500 to his Boy Scout troop. So far I have donated $3000. I am also the only person to have donated money to Tom Frost for his lawsuit against the NPS to save Camp 4.

3. Over 20 years I donated $50,000 to the Sir Edmund Hillary Himalayan Trust, for Ed Hillary signing books for me. I also donated thousands to the American Himalayan Foundation for access to Messner, Whittaker, Herzog, etc.

4. I donated to the personal charities of Doug Scott, Goran Kropp, Jim Whittaker, and many others. If I do not donate cash, I always offer free books to climbers who help me out.

5. I am actually the only bookseller in the USA or world that I ever heard of who pays authors to sign books! Not just mountaineering books, any books. Its just not done, yet I do it with enthusiasm. My customers love it, as I offer something that they cannot get anywhere else.

6. I generously pay people who are on speaking tours to make a living, such as Chris Bonington, Stephen Venables, and many others.

7. I paid Barbara Washburn $4000 for Bradford Washburn's signing books in the last year of his life, while nursing home fees were eating up their savings. Brad enjoyed doing it, even though he was senile.

8. In the last week I saw the email posting by Todd Gordon that money is needed by Jim Bridwell, as he is having financial problems. I emailed Todd, he gave my phone number to Bridwell, and the bottom line is that I will meet with Jim soon and pay him $2000 to sign some books and pitons for me. Plus I will fly him to Denver to do it.

9. When I buy hardware or books from individuals I pay top dollar, which is why I have such good books for sale. I think my critics are people are not book buyers, or readers, or collectors. I sometimes make low offers for books or magazines that are common or in poor condition and not worth much. The Internet destroyed the used (and new) book business, and the things I do such as getting books signed are a way to create a new niche where I can survive in a very bad environment for booksellers. How many of you go on-line to buy your books because Amazon is cheaper than me or Neptune? That is why I get books signed, to offer something Amazon cannot offer.

10. I do not pay authors to sign their new books when they are on tour promoting their books, as signing books for free in bookshops and climbing shops is part of their job. Some climbers such as Ed Viesturs and David Breashears and Joe Simpson resent not being paid by me, even though they accept $10,000-$20,000 speaking fees, as I don't pay rich people to do what rich people are supposed to do, help me promote their products.

11. I made an exception to my no pay for new books rule with Steve House, I paid him to sign his new books (350 of them), and did not charge a penny extra for his signature, because I read his book and realized he was not a wealthy person.

12. Some of the collectible gear I get is not sold. I have donated rare pitons to Reinhold Messner's climbing museum in Italy. The Yosemite museum is not the only museum in the world, nor the most visible.

So please, when you speak ill of somebody, don't make an ass of yourself by not only mis-speaking, but actually stating the obverse of the truth.

Michael Chessler

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
Mar 3, 2010 - 11:36pm PT
Nice response Michael!
john hansen

Mar 3, 2010 - 11:52pm PT

I have bought many books from Mr Chessler and have never been disapointed.

John Hansen

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Mar 4, 2010 - 12:04am PT
OK Chessler

Had to look up obverse-good word, I will have to put that in my repertoire

What I stated on ST was from a telephone call between you and moi in 2006. At that time I was quite perturbed at you slamming Kor for not wanting to prostitute himself by signing your damn pitons. I could state exactly what you said but it would not do anybody any good (he said /she said and all that).

If you have indeed accomplished all those wonderful things you stated in items #1-#11 then good on you and we can let it rest.

Meanwhile, I will have my attorney, just for the record, try to verify all those quite generous donations. If he is too busy I will have my personnal private investigator, Lisbeth Salander suss things out.


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 4, 2010 - 12:20am PT
Having just moved, I, too, encountered my "junk box" of climbing gear. A few samples (of a very great many items:
Note the Longware 2" bong (lower right) and the home-made knife blade to Chuck Wilts' SCB specs (with the sling). Also check out the 1-1/4" split-shaft Rawl bolt. I dare say there are still too many of those in place.

I rather suspect that I'll throw none of this stuff away -- but that I'll also never use any of it again.


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 4, 2010 - 12:40am PT
I've had a lot of dealings with Michael C. over the years and they have all been very positive. You have to have a serious collector/archivist to give an activity some creedence. That's Mike.

John Long
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 4, 2010 - 12:48am PT
Ken (and others): If you donate vintage equipment to the Yosemite Climbing Association (or probably for that matter the American Alpine Club), they may issue you a tax credit receipt for the fair market value of the donation. Both are 501 (c)(3) organizations under the Internal Revenue Code. It may in some cases be a challenge figuring out what the fair market value of the stuff is, but it can usually be done.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 4, 2010 - 01:30am PT
Boodawg - I'm no expert on the pins, but I've had an ebay emailed search on pitons set up for years now and know what goes by on a regular basis. Old hand-made Chouinards are always in demand, the early Leepers you don't really ever see, but the real standouts here are the Dolts.

BillCoe here donated one of the long Dolts to the Ken and the Yosemite Climbing Museum. It was one that he had given me in a group for pin replacements at our crag and I came about a millisecond from sinking it before recognizing something was different about it.

I gave it back to Bill who then donated it, but I sure would love to have one of those long Dolt pins so if you do want to sell it just let me know.

Good luck with it all.

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Mar 4, 2010 - 02:30am PT
I'm on a similar level with healyje. I rummage through Ebay on a daily basis for all sorts of things.

But the one thing that's on the semi rare watch list that just seems to elude me is a Dolt piton.

If anyone has one that they might be willing to sell or trade for something comparable like a MOAC nut or something, I'd be very willing to negotiate.

I've seen a few come up for auction but their hard to verify as Dolt because several different companies made similar looking pins.


Social climber
Paradise Island
Mar 4, 2010 - 03:04am PT
I can guarantee that these Dolt pins were hand made by Dolt himself. He gave a bunch to Lauria and me to test on our 8th ascent of the Nose. He also gold-plated 4 of those that we carried on the climb and gave one each to Don and me. I wonder if Don still has his... If I could only find mine now... Gotta keep diggin' in boxes here... The gold plating was flaking off last time I saw it, due, I think, to rust beneath it. Anyway those in the pix are genuine.

I heard that all of Dolt's estate was hijacked by some low-lifer, so where the rest of his stuff is I have no idea. Don, please chime in here...

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 4, 2010 - 03:18am PT
I can't vouch for how Michael Chessler treats the "legends" of the climbing world, but I have had numerous dealings with him as both a buyer and a seller and felt that he treated me fairly in both my roles.


Social climber
Paradise Island
Mar 4, 2010 - 05:31am PT
For skeptics or for those who want to verify that a Dolt peg is genuine, try checking for "Dolt" name on the head of the pin. Of course, this is just where it might have been obliterated by even one removal from a crack, but they were put there on Dolt's originals.


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 4, 2010 - 05:36am PT
Boodawg, sorry, I realized I should have addressed the post to you above. Again, if you do want to part with the long Dolt please let me know.
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