Assistance Needed Identifying Old Chouinard-Frost Piolet

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troutbreath

climber
Kanada
Mar 30, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
1978 REI catalog
1978 REI catalog
Credit: troutbreath

Here's a shotfrom the 1978 REI catalog of what was being sold that year.

I also am trying to track down the year for this Stubai rock hammer that I found at the bottom of the Grand Wall in Squamish in 1975. Stubai is in small print on the side.Could possibly be from the earliest of accents as there was no trace of any wood from the handle. Can't find this hammer type by Stubai on the net so far. Maybe someone on here would know.

Credit: troutbreath

Also in photo is an old Stubai bolt. I had about 5 of them and it never made it into the rock before it bent. Got them from a store in Vancouver called Teepee sports or something like that that sold mostly european stuff. Got lots of pitons from them too and these scary things.

Credit: troutbreath
dustyrat

Trad climber
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Dec 5, 2014 - 01:38pm PT
Can anyone help me to identify the age / year of manufacture of this particular Chouinard Frost Piolet?

I sense pre '72 due to the older triangular Camp Logo but would love to know more specifically when manufactured.

A few things to share which may help with identification:
(a) The teeth on the pick are positive rather than negative
(b) There are five distinct notches below the C and Made in Italy stamping.
(c) The handle looks to be wood rather than bamboo and has the number 2 stamped just above the ferrule

Help would be appreciated,
D

Credit: dustyrat
Credit: dustyrat
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 5, 2014 - 05:06pm PT
The notches were likely added after the fact to make hooking the edge of cavities a little more secure. I added teeth to my first piolet for that reason. Otherwise, you will get a good answer pretty soon from the knowledgeable folks here. Precise dating can be a bit tricky because different shafted axes were sold in the US and in Europe where they were made.
dustyrat

Trad climber
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Dec 7, 2014 - 01:11am PT
Hi Steve,
The notches are too precise to be ground post manufacture.
C
Lorenzo

Trad climber
Oregon
Dec 7, 2014 - 02:59am PT
Just offhand the teeth look added to me. The gullets on the real ones were much more rounded like your front teeth.If they are it is pre 1974

Two rivets will make it early. My 1974 has three. I'm not sure exactly what year they changed.

Since it has Frost on it it isn't the earliest 69? or after 1975.

Other folks have done the dating game. You can go down that rabbit hole for quite a while.

Read this site, especially the Robinson quotes.

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-classic-piolet.html

Also

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=762638
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1237485&tn=20

My guess is 1970-73
RDB

Social climber
wa
Dec 7, 2014 - 10:21am PT
2 rivet is generally a '73 or earlier axe. Three rivet is '74 to '77 production. Wooden shafted axe production that was Chouinard marked ended by late '77 or early '78 in the US. Unmarked Interalp axes (Chouinard Piolets with no Chouinard stamp) were in the sale bin/gone by fall of '78 in Europe. My guess is any axe pre '72 will be very rare out side the US.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 7, 2014 - 11:15am PT
Tom Frost left Chouinard in 1975 and his name on the ice tools was the first to go so this axe in not more recent than that date.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 7, 2014 - 11:41am PT
Yep, Yep, & Yep! Total agreement with these very capable experts on the subject.

I know I purchased this 60 Cm, bamboo shaft piolet in early 1974. Dustyrat: Note how different the inside teeth are from the ones added later to your piolet. Also, per RDB's mention, mine has 3 rivets holding the head to the shaft.

Of course, he & I have known each other since meeting while climbing Cascade Couloir near Banff Feb. 1974, which is also where I first used this well used tool.
Credit: Fritz


Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 7, 2014 - 01:41pm PT
Perhaps the shaft side teeth were damaging the owners hands or gloves and that person chose to grind down the underside of the pick to take care of the problem leaving only a trace of the original teeth. A quick measurement
would nail that detail down.

Sure looks like a good match with Fritz's axe as far as the head details leaving the shaft material question aside.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Dec 7, 2014 - 05:11pm PT
Was gonna ask Fritz when he first saw the Piolets selling @ retail here?

Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 8, 2014 - 07:17am PT
RDB: The first time I saw a Chouinard Piolet was Sept. 1971, when Harry & I ponied up some of our summer earnings and took the Rainier Mountain Guides snow & ice climbing school. An attendee from California had a brand new Piolet. I remember using it for a short top-roped vertical glacier climb. Its pick sunk into the hard snow & stayed in, whereas the straight-pick on my Stubai Nanga Parbat axe would slide right back out.

My old store in Moscow was selling the Chouinard Piolet when I bought into it in June 1973. The Chouinard NW rep., Dale Day, showed me a sample of the new 1974 Piolet early fall 1973, and I held off on buying one until the version I own showed up in early 1974.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Dec 8, 2014 - 09:54am PT
Wonderful post for the timing on sales Fritz.

'69 and '72 on seem pretty sorted out in my mind. 1970 and '71 availability are what really interest me.

It is the early production years I wish we had more info on.

Doug Robinson sez:
" the catalog date of introduction of the Piolet is listed as 1969. And by October of that year Yvon delivered to me on the edge of the Palisade Glacier the hickory-handled 70 cm one (and that hand-forged Alpine Hammer) that we put to good use on the V-Notch the next day.......He was very intent on letting me know in no uncertain terms about Scottish primogeniture of the droop. Others listening agreed. May have even said that YC had come through Scotland to take in their development. "

Your comment on using a Piolet in 1971 helps that search along. Any recollection of that axe's shaft material?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 8, 2014 - 10:04am PT
I could swear that I had a bamboozle by '71. I can't recall having any other sort
although I might have had a 70cm hickory before I got a 55 baboon.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Dec 8, 2014 - 10:15am PT
A lot of nonsense here about rivets, teeth, and logos. My 70cm Chouinard-Frost with rexilon has 3 rivets, the newer square CAMP logo, and no secondary set of teeth until I added them with a file. Bought it in fall of '76 in at Hudson Bay Outfitters in DC.
Lorenzo

Trad climber
Oregon
Dec 8, 2014 - 10:34am PT
^^^Lol

Which is pretty good evidence their prices were too high. It took them three years to turn that piece of inventory. And they used to buy up old gear from other shops around the NE.

If you bought a toothed Piolet in 1973 you would have a story.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Dec 8, 2014 - 11:25am PT
Reilly do you remember where you bought yours? Swallow's Nest was such a cool place. And the early REI on Capital Hill of course.

But I came late to the party in 1969. Never been in a "real" climbing store till then.

First Piolets I remember seeing were @ Selkirk Bergsport in Spokane. May be '71 but more likely Fall of '72 now that I think about it. Bought a Stubia from REI first. Spring of '73. I remember the bamboo Piolet being $35? That seem right? Do remember they were a lot more than the Stubia! Had to sell the Stubia to buy the Piolet ;-)

Met Fritz winter of '73/74 climbing ice in Canada.

Fritz's photo off Cascade...a good climb for us in '73.
Fritz's photo off Cascade...a good climb for us in '73.
Credit: RDB
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 8, 2014 - 11:31am PT
Swallow's Nest, of course. Even when I worked for The Evil Empire I had
to go to The Nest for The Business.

Funny side story:
I spent two days outfitting a Mexican expedition to go to Aconcagua in '74 IIRC.
They had really deep pockets so the second day I suggested I take them to
lunch in the U District. Yes, I do enjoy being devious.

"Oh, since we're close to the Swallow's Nest let's drop by and see what they have!"

I'm pretty sure they made Bill's month, if not quarter!
RDB

Social climber
wa
Dec 8, 2014 - 11:44am PT
Reilly good story! When were you climbing in Scotland?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 8, 2014 - 12:03pm PT
'78 on the way 'back' from the Pamirs. I traded my bamboo 55 Coonyard
to a Rooskie for some titanium screws IIRC as I was swinging a Terro and a
Forrest 55 on the Ben. My knuckles still hurt.
dustyrat

Trad climber
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Dec 8, 2014 - 01:34pm PT
Credit: dustyrat

Thanks for the interest and suggestions however thought I might provide some more detail to help with the identification.

Here is a three rivet, classic bamboo handled piolet with the older camp logo / manufacturer's stamp for comparison.

Whilst the Ash/Hickory handled piolet has a shallower radius, both picks are the same width and depth, even at the shallow groves located where the bamboo has secondary teeth.

On the Chouinard Frost stamped side of the Ash/Hickory, there is also a number 2 stamped adjacent to the C stamp.

Both axes have the same 6mm point to point teeth shape, highlighted on the engineering drawing. Note: the engineering drawing show a different number of teeth, dated Dec '69, revised Sept '74.

Interestingly, the notches on the Ash/Hickory piolet are also 6mm apart, and there seems to be a number 1 stamped between the second and third notch.

On that basis, I'm not sure I subscribe to the theory that the previous owner ground the pick down. Was this a Codega produced sample?

C

Credit: dustyrat

Credit: dustyrat
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