Berkeley Ski Hut

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Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 1, 2006 - 03:41pm PT
Roland Jacopetti works in the shop next to mine, and was reminiscing about working at Ski Hut with Allen Steck, Chuck Pratt, Steve Roper, and others. Anybody have stories about this place? Seems like it was a Berkeley institution from which interesting things evolved...
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 1, 2006 - 04:21pm PT
Sierra Designs, North Face, Class Five, Snow Lion all started by
Ski Hut people.
They had the best matchbooks. 843-6505?
Blinny

Trad climber
NorthWestMontana
May 1, 2006 - 04:33pm PT
Got to hang out there one time when I did a BayArea road trip (from the Valley) with Dean Caldwell, back in the day. We took "SquatieQuatie" his yellow (the color of a kumquat) 914 Porsche. He even let me drive the thing! It was a TRIP! So was the trip! The trip was a TRIP! He is a total character - so were all the dads we hung with at the shop. MAN. . . those were the days, alright!

Kath - OldDadBrockmanForSure!
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
May 1, 2006 - 05:13pm PT
What ever happened to Snow Lion equipment? They had some of the coolest graphics on their catologs.
Gene

climber
May 1, 2006 - 05:36pm PT
About 1977, while strolling around Taipei, Taiwan, I saw a small shop with a Snow Lion logo almost buried under the Chinese language signs. I cruised in and talked to the White Guy there. He was the factory rep/liaison/designer and let me buy a bunch of gear for next to nothing. I still have a jacket they made. Good stuff. Better people.
Blinny

Trad climber
NorthWestMontana
May 1, 2006 - 08:32pm PT
DearT*R. . . thanks! You're sweet! Man. . . I was just sitting here thinkin' of the day and there are some GREAT stories about Caldwell! MAN! He was HILARIOUS!

:-)

Kath
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 1, 2006 - 09:49pm PT
Seems like fifty years ago... I bought a Sticht Plate and a Stubai hammer from them. Yeah cool I even used 'em in the Valley way back in...
woodcraft

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
May 2, 2006 - 02:44am PT
I went there a lot from when I was 14. Drooled over the calalogue- great photos of the products. I saved my quarters and bought a backpack- hitchhiked back to Oakland with it. Got picked up by someone wanting to hear stories of my road trip. That was in 1970. I still have the pack, & it covered a lot of miles. I also have the goldline rope that we used at Indian rock. Used it just last week. (joke) A sleeping bag (Trailwise) is barely hanging on- have to shake the down back from the sides. I've been looking for a bag like it. I miss that place.
Was it called Mountain Traders that sold used gear?

When I started climbing at Indian rock, we would walk down to Solano Ave., and get sodas from the vending machine. We had filed pennies down to the size of the dime that it cost! We also all had fat collections of bus transfers. You would look at a bus to see what the color was that day, and get one out to save the fare (.25?). I also carried a piece of metal tape measure, which you would slide down the dime slot of the pay phone, then put a penny in the penny slot (!) to make the "ding ding"
sound, and make the call.
Now you may think that this is obsolete technology, but I currently carry
a booty tool on my harness made from 5 or 6 feet of tape measure with a wire hook taped to the end. I pulled a nut out of a deep crack on Nutcracker just recently.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 2, 2006 - 03:30pm PT
The Ski Hut, wow, that's a name I haven't heard in a while.

Woodcraft, would that have been 1970 when you were hanging out at Indian Rock. that's when I started going there, also when I was 14 (1956 baby - Del Valle High School Walnut Creek)
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 2, 2006 - 03:44pm PT
I have a snow lion expedition down jacket that is still too warm. I've got an SL limited editon down bag, that I still use as a blanket,the baffels only wore out a couple of years ago. Both of those must have been from the mid seventies.
TYeary

Mountain climber
Baldwin Park, Calif.
May 3, 2006 - 12:48pm PT
Back in the dark ages I saw Galen Rowell do a show at the Ski Hut about the first clean ascent of the regular route on Half Dome with Robinson and Denny. Must have been around '74. Last time I was there was in '79. I was on the way to Mt. Hood, and my pack was either stolen or it bounced out the back of my truck. I bought a pack ( Wilderness Experiance Kletter Sac, which I still use ) an ensolite pad and gaiters to replace the lost items. I remember the shop fondly, like Neptunes in Boulder.
Tony
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 3, 2006 - 05:07pm PT
When did it close? Roland said the owner, now deceased, had a big reunion party at one point for everyone who had worked there and a HUGE event of big names ensued up at Tilden. I always thought it was wierd that so much climbing history and manufacturors came out of Berkeley and suspect this is because of the UC, Sierra Club outings, Indian Rock, and now I think Ski Hut had a part to play (edit:) and of course the plethora of employment options. Has anyone written about what transpired in the E. Bay that contributed so heavily to climbing, and the climbing industry? Seems like a rich history.
woodcraft

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
May 3, 2006 - 09:32pm PT
Patrick-
Yeah '70, actually '68 -'72. I was born in '54- Skyline HS, Oakland. Probably saw each other. I wasn't quite able to ever do watercourse. Still frustrated about that. Before sticky rubber...

Jerry-
Great self- portrait-- you looked more relaxed last night.
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 3, 2006 - 09:40pm PT
Hey. Nice seeing you last night. (Rock Ice Mountain club, Santa Rosa). Yeah, yesterday was more relaxing.
nordicnerd

climber
May 4, 2006 - 10:51pm PT
Wasn't there some connection between Royal Gorge and the Ski Hut?
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 5, 2006 - 11:11am PT
Royal Gorge was started up by a long-term Ski Hut employee.
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
May 5, 2006 - 07:22pm PT
Allen Steck's birthday tomorrow. See any of you there?

Brutus
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2006 - 07:36pm PT
Where is "there"? Ski Hut is, uh, gone.
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
May 5, 2006 - 07:42pm PT
Les & Bev Wilson's.
nordicnerd

climber
May 5, 2006 - 10:08pm PT
Please tell me that John Slouber never worked at a place as cool as the Ski Hut! I have worked there (RG) and have always wondered about the vague stories of the Ski Hut connection. Can you fill me in?
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 15, 2007 - 04:38pm PT
B-ump.

From Peter Haan on another thread:

Jerry D et al,

The Ski Hut was an amazing store, and would be thought so even today were it open. The owner was George Rudolph, who died, sometime in the 80’s perhaps. He was highly respected, very much appreciated by his people, and privately, a dignified, kind gay man. As part of the operation there was a wholesale and manufacturing facility in west Berkeley, called Trailwise. There, they made softgoods, down products. Vandiver and I spent the night there making haul bags for ourselves back in 1970. My golden retriever went crazy in there with the powerful smells of birds emanating from the down everywhere. Very funny, kind of a catnip response, really.

The Ski Hut was on University Ave, in Berkeley, about half way down towards San Pablo Avenue from Shattuck, on the north side of the ave. The store even had Klepper foldboats in there, along with everything else, plus all the climbing hardware available at the time. Basically their competitor back in the early 1960’s was a soon-to-be giant REI when I started hanging around the place. The staff included at one point or another just about everybody in the early cadre of Nor Cal. climbers. You never knew who you would see working in there, or just shopping. I think golden-era guys relied on occasional work there to keep afloat. It was a pretty intelligent place. I bought my first goldline and then my first perlon rope there, and of course the chrome moly hardware that Long was making, then Yvon. But my carabiners were from REI, the old cheapy Army surplus oval aluminum ones, covered with casting porosities and defects! For awhile, the Ski Hut even carried the Crack Jacks that Les Wilson and I made (covered in earlier thread).

Al was the manager for quite awhile I think. He had an education in accounting and was perfect for the position as he was also a major climber and great with people. Around this time, he acquired the nickname with some of us, Old World Allen, though this was behind his back. Nowadays, Inez and I, call him The Alien, and this to his face with tons of affection since he still climbs, still flourishes and still is a good friend to so many.

The location and perhaps the store, became a Copeland’s Sport, and then disappeared altogether, and then George was gone eventually too. Fortunately climbing kept going and became the huge freakout it is now.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 15, 2007 - 04:53pm PT
RE:
" What ever happened to Snow Lion equipment? They had some of the coolest graphics on their catologs"

find out here:
http://www.oregonphotos.com/Backpacking-Revolution1.html

The guy who ownes the Wilderness Exchange store in Berkeley has a really good archive/museum in the store - better than you might expect. The big mystery brand is Class 5, Justice Baushingers brilliant concept - no one know what happened to him.

scuffy - his name might be misspelled, any input?

anyone else remember the exotic Class 5 poster with the nude female back?

way, way ahead of it's time.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 15, 2007 - 07:48pm PT
I have a Ski Hut story...
the summer of '73 I was going to hike the John Muir trail, solo... I had made a bunch of cash taking care of 3 children of a family whose house I lived at my freshman year at Cal, room and board exchange for working around the house, handyman, landscape/gardening, child care, etc.

Anyway, I went to get my first down bag, which I still have around here, a Sierra Design mummy. Debbie was my new girl friend then, and we went down to Ski Hut together. One of the guys there was going through all the bags, showing us the various features...

"These bags zip together...you should think about getting one that zips on the left, in case you run into someone on the trail, they would probably have a right zipping bag.." then both he and I look at Debbie... hmmm... maybe not the best sales pitch.

I think I might have some other gear I bought there in the garage museum too. I do know I have a set of 15 minute quads for the entire John Muir trail, many of them stamped "Ski Hut"
rmuir

Social climber
the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Apr 15, 2007 - 07:54pm PT
Bought my first Mountain mag (Mountain 5) at Ski Hut... Leaning Tower on the cover. Still have a mint-condition Trailwise down bag. The upstairs loft was the coolest place as a teenaged wannabe!
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Apr 15, 2007 - 08:29pm PT
Here is a related Ski Hut story. My father grew up in the Bay Area and years ago he gave me a bunch of maps of the Sierras. I did not think much about the maps until I did a ski trip and stayed in the Benson hut which is between Sugar Loaf and Squaw Valley. My father commented that some 30 years before he too had visited the hut and one of the maps was of that area. I thought that was pretty cool. Anyways as time goes by I pulled out the maps here and there. Then in 2000 I got the chance to climb with the Silver Fox (did Castleton Tower - something that he did not climb when putting together 50 Classic Climbs). During the outing we were talking about the Ski Hut and I remember all of these maps which came from guess where? The Ski Hut. As mentioned above each is stamped as well. I figured my father was visitng the Ski Hut during the mid to late 50s.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 15, 2007 - 08:37pm PT
prunes

climber
Apr 15, 2007 - 09:21pm PT
I had a Snow lion parka and sleeping bag which where stolen from my 78 Nova. Also had a tent which sucked. also climbed many routes with a old friend of yours. The great Billy Russell. We did the prow,half dome,n.f. Edith Cavell,Athabasaca,Andromeda,Middle Teton,and atempts on on N.F. Grand,Alberta,Temple and others.Is keith Guy stll trying to kill Billy? Fish you suck,when are you going to order some t-shirts and decals?Chez is a homo! Prez for Life Rich Bechler DLFA


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 15, 2007 - 09:33pm PT
Swilliam climbed all that stuff with you Prunes?

I've climbed quite a bit with Bill Russel, of course not to underestimate him, yet I didn't know he did so much stuff in the Canadian Rockies. That's fun to hear.
prunes

climber
Apr 15, 2007 - 10:53pm PT
Swilly was quite the Alpnist.Of course I had to lead all the hard pitches.Some of the best memories of my life was traveling with Bill.He used to hike real fast. His girlfriend Jungle Judy once peirced my ear on the athabasca glacier and gave me a diamond earring.Last time I was in the valley with my soon to be x wife I told her I was going to find Bill one night and she told me to bring a knife!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 15, 2007 - 11:41pm PT
I know this is getting into thread drift and this is such a cool thread,
But slam up pictures is what I do.

Here's a recent picture of Billy for ya Prunes,
With Don Lauria, which probably makes it on topic:




WBraun

climber
Apr 15, 2007 - 11:44pm PT
How come climbers always stand around holding a beer?

Is this beer their God?

Me no understand. They should be drinking wholesome milk.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 15, 2007 - 11:57pm PT
With so many people coming up lactose intolerant,
Beer is the only safe alternative, plus, in Russel's case,
It makes a wunderful truth serum.
WBraun

climber
Apr 15, 2007 - 11:59pm PT
Lactose intolerant means bad Karma.

Alcohol is not truth serum. It's an intoxicant to illusion.

Gimme a beer .....
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 16, 2007 - 12:11am PT
OK.
They drink to forget, that way they go out and climb again, & again...
WBraun

climber
Apr 16, 2007 - 12:17am PT
Only to miss the real summit.

The desert heat creates the illusionary mirage of water. That illusion is never water. Water is always somewhere else. Thus crawling on hands and knees chasing the mirage, thirst is never satiated.

I'm very thirsty now ......
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 16, 2007 - 12:39am PT
was it Swilliam who dubbed Old E "truth serum?"

I recall Bill as being a pretty fun guy to be around - we did some good routes base of El Cap one day.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 16, 2007 - 01:08am PT
Yes it was Ray.

But hey, I always loved the Class 5 ad art too, nice drawings.

There was Sierra Designs, but also Alpine Designs, which did some cool stuff.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 16, 2007 - 01:22am PT
did Alpine Designs turn into Big Dog?

that was late 80's

as I recall Alpine Designs had the tissue paper backpack thing going long before the others adopted it.



neat to see a picture of Don Lauria

Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Apr 16, 2007 - 09:44am PT
The Ski Hut was a cool place. I'd go and ogle the goods and occasionally buy something. The upstairs/loft always seem to be cool even if it was hot outside, kind of strange. It was on the same side and not far from Oak Barrel Winecraft.

A typical Saturday would be first stop The North Face (in order from coming off Highway 24 from Lafayette), then the Ski Hut, then Oak Barrel, then Class Five and then Sierra Designs, with the occasional stop at "Whole Earth" store (I think that's what it was called).



I also posted the above on the North Dome Gully rescue thread, where Jerry posted the link to this thread.
TwistedCrank

climber
Hell
Apr 16, 2007 - 10:13am PT
As a kid growing up in Chicago I had no idea what gear was. When I was maybe 10 years old we had a Ski Hut catalog mailed to us - I think my mom had a wild idea that down jackets would somehow make the Chicago winters more tolerable. I remember saving that catalog for years, reading it late into the night, wishing I has some of toys I saw in it - often times not even knowing what the toys were used for. It's now almost 40 years later and I've got a shed full of toys. Ski Hut planted a gear-mongery seed in me long ago.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 18, 2007 - 09:46pm PT
Here's an iconic era piece: the Sierra Designs Teardrop.
Felt shoulder straps 'n all.
Even cooler was the Holubar model with a thick aluminum ring where the straps connect at the top of the pack.

Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2007 - 09:50pm PT
dude,
I had a Hine Snowbridge with the felt too
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 18, 2007 - 09:56pm PT
Hey Ray,
Any more luck searching neato period ad art?
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2007 - 10:00pm PT
here's a Jensen pack by Rivendell

i had the Chouinard top loader version, the
Ultima Thule
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2007 - 10:04pm PT
I think this was right before Gary Neptune opened shop



Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 18, 2007 - 10:10pm PT
Cook it up Ray!

I found a brown Jensen pack in a yard sale here in Boulder,
It was pretty knackered so I pulled all the seams for patterning.
(One oh my other all time faves, slightly cooler than a Thule)

It is awaiting reincarnation...
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2007 - 10:49pm PT

no doubt Tarbuster,

the Rivendell had a certain style (though maybe style isn't the right word)- A certain je ne sais qua... that the Chouinard (GPIW) pack didn't.

got my Thule at an A-16 sale in like '76, I remember being quite excited - backpacked all over Sequoia and Kings Canyon with it

edit (I may have sold that pack - along with my bamboo handled Diamond C piolet and north wall hammer - to Adrian Almodovar)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 18, 2007 - 10:51pm PT
where are you gittin' dem shots???
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2007 - 11:31pm PT
since I mentioned Neptune's and this is all about the originals I thought a pic of Gary would be in order

one of the originals and one of the greatest too, here with Sir Edmond Hillary's brother

the magnificent climbing bench at Neptune's


and the wall above

I think Gary's shop qualifies as being a shrine of sorts
WBraun

climber
Apr 18, 2007 - 11:47pm PT
Neptune's, isn't that the best climbing shop in the United States?

Oh and Ray, I had a custom Jensen pack made by Bev Johnson at one time. Those were great packs just like the original Lowe packs.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2007 - 11:54pm PT
Well Werner,
that's a good question.

When I worked there I had this customer (client) from Manhattan, she'd come in every spring, and she said - straight up - Neptunes was one of the best store's - of any kind - in the world.

From folks who had shopped in Chamonix, at Snells and others, if they had an opinion it was that Neptune Mountaineering was the number one Specialty Shop anywhere, period.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2007 - 12:11am PT
Larry Horton - Rivendell Mountain Works - 1970

makers of the Jensen pack
WBraun

climber
Apr 19, 2007 - 12:15am PT
When we were up in the Stovelegs on the Nose filming IMAX "To the Limit", Gary came cruising by one day doing the Nose.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 19, 2007 - 12:18am PT
Keep on rockin' that stuff out Ray.
Most excellent.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2007 - 12:22am PT
Thanks Tar, you were the inspiration.

I'll tell ya Werner, and I don't hardly say this

Gary is truly a cool cat, one of the very few - I mean the guy has this killer shop, way solid income right? And he drives like this totally horrible rusted-out beat up VW beetle that looks like it should be towed.

When we (shop staff) were at Snowbird, does he take the bed? Nope, just throws his bag down on the floor - right by the bathroom - and sacks out.

That's Gary.




Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2007 - 12:38am PT
here's Gary in the original shop across the street from Holubar

they did cobbler work, boot repair there.

he is of course a flawless skier and is often seen on some of the worst, most klunky, beat to sh*t war surplus antique ski gear on the face of the earth, skiing perfectly.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2007 - 12:44am PT
dude,

Murray and Skip, 1967
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 19, 2007 - 10:22am PT
Hey Raydog--

Are the old posters from your personal collection? The Ski Hut 1952 is especially cool. We don't have anything like a decent history of climbing and outdoor gear in the U.S. (Although there's a good short history of REI.) Someone should write a trip report for the rest of us -- maybe someone knowledgeable about design, with good connections and maybe a personal old poster stash?
scuffy b

climber
The town that Nature forgot to hate
Apr 19, 2007 - 10:54am PT
If you're after some Rivendell gear (Jensen Pack and Bomb Shelter
tent)in really good condition (for documentation purposes) you
might want to contact Grant Petersen, the proprietor of Rivendell
Bicycle Works. I'm sure he has at least two of each.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2007 - 12:35pm PT
hi klk,

all I can tell ya is I'm (soon) gonna start a thread go after "history of" recreational life support, a branch of the tree I was involved in helping develop - you are right about the history thing - Ken Yager has a lot - how about B.A.T ?

Warren Harding's brand!

Talk about cool...
Fat Ba$tard

Social climber
St. Paul, MN
Jun 1, 2007 - 03:24pm PT
Hi, I'm new to this site, I just found the link from a google search in relation to the Ski Hut and Rivendell. I've been helping Bruce at Oregon Photos with his web site. http://www.oregonphotos.com/Backpacking-Revolution1.html

For example, the scan of the 1952 Ski Hut catalog cover is mine as are the scans from the Holubar catalogs, the Gerry catalogs and the photos of the Rivendell Bombshelter.

Here's a few tidbits to fill in some of the information from the various posts.

You can buy new Rivendell Jensen packs from Eric Hardee at http://www.rivendellmountainworks.com/ I have one of Eric's Giant Jensens as well as two original Jensens and the quality of Eric's work is every bit as good as the original. These are great packs and very comfortable when sized properly.

Grant Peterson at Rivendell Bike Works no longer has a second Bombshelter as I bought his extra tent. I know of fewer than 10 bombshelters in existence and am quite happy to finally have one.



I do not recall the Class 5 ad that you mention. Class 5 made some very nice gear, I have several packs, a couple of bags and some clothes. Class 5 was started by Justus Bauschinger who now owns this company
http://www.deutscheoptik.com/

Class 5's ads were way ahead of the curve. Anybody remember the one of the fellow with the dog climbing on the driveway?

I collect vintage gear and catalogs. If anybody wants to part with some stuff let me know.
Domingo

Mountain climber
Jun 1, 2007 - 03:26pm PT
"What ever happened to Snow Lion equipment? They had some of the coolest graphics on their catologs."

A Mountain Hardwear rep told me they went out of business because instead of filling their bags with down, they were using 20+% sawdust/lint/other sh#t swept off the floor, and got called out on it.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 1, 2007 - 07:05pm PT
RE:
"
Class 5's ads were way ahead of the curve. Anybody remember the one of the fellow with the dog climbing on the driveway?
"

thanks for the info on class 5 - the ad I saw (a poster) is at the Hermit's Hut in Redding Ca. It must be really rare because no one I've talked to knows about it or has seen one

just about all of us remember the class 5 poster you mention - a period classic

did you see the Bat tent for sale?

here's one for you - Banana Equipment - Gear With A Peel, first US company to use Gore-Tex, Estes Park Colorado - I'll try to post some label scans when I can
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 1, 2007 - 10:21pm PT
Class 5's ads were way ahead of the curve. Anybody remember the one of the fellow with the dog climbing on the driveway?

this ad?

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=352421&msg=352478#msg352478
Fat Ba$tard

Social climber
St. Paul, MN
Jun 4, 2007 - 09:39am PT
This is the Class 5 ad to which I was referring:



It looks as if they may have picked up the idea from the Chouinard ads. This ad was on the back cover of the third issue of Backpacker magazine from 1973.

Someone mentioned a Bat tent for sale. Can you point me to the link?

By the way, the Monty Python videos were great, I had not seen the climbing clips before.
Fat Ba$tard

Social climber
St. Paul, MN
Oct 11, 2007 - 02:24pm PT
Bruce, from the Oregon photos website, as mentioned above, http://www.oregonphotos.com/Frostline1.html has completed his first book on the history of Frostline kits. Others are to follow, Gerry is due out next spring. Books may be ordered here, http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/95829/?utm_source=badge&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=280x160. I am anxiously awaiting my copy as I type this.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Oct 11, 2007 - 06:48pm PT
Cool thread for us nostalgic types. I remember Alpine Designs! And those Holubar wedge packs Tar mentioned, copied from Sierra Designs with a goofy metal ring instead of a haul loop. Holubar also copied the Sierra Designs tent, improving it by making it slightly larger.

Especially I recall that first North Face catalog, and still like to tell non-climbers what the logo on their jacket actually means. And I've still got one of their mummy bags, new in 1970 and not quite so fluffy now but quite usable -- far outlasting its synthetic successors.

Gary Neptune opened his first store on 30th street when, 1971?
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Oct 11, 2007 - 07:06pm PT
Mebbe, Domingo, but I have two snow loin products purchased circa, '76; A killer expedition double jacket, and a limited edition -30 bag that vehemtely don't have sawdust in them. The baffles in the bag are shot but I could lay down on a glacier in the downj acket and get a good night sleep, 30 odd years after original purchase.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Oct 11, 2007 - 07:14pm PT
That first N Face catalog, or one of the very early editions: remember that little bit about "Ice 9" (not sure if we covered that upthread) it was a bizarre enviro-prophetic-what-if about a molecule that, if/when contacting water, would freeze it, then multiply the effect, cascading on a global rampage and in short order lock all our water into ice (or some end all scenario like that)...
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Oct 11, 2007 - 07:17pm PT
Isn't it a gauge of, something, that North Face went from doling out (admitedly self righteous) 'ice nine awards', to upholstring Fords?
-petro dollar enemas make the world go round?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 18, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
Long overdue Bump!
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Jan 18, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
good ne Steve
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 18, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
Ice Nine is pure Vonnegut ala Cat's Cradle. I wonder WTFTNF was on about?
BBA

climber
OF
Jan 20, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
OK, here is Berkeley in an early time. Where are all the students? You could ride a bike on campus.

BBA on campus - a poor student in more ways than one
BBA on campus - a poor student in more ways than one
Credit: BBA

So here is the bike...

Transportation
Transportation
Credit: BBA

And, aside from Indian Rock, here is one of the destinations...

The Ski Hut in 1960-61
The Ski Hut in 1960-61
Credit: BBA

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 21, 2013 - 12:19am PT
Those fitiy-ish fotos.

Those seventies ads prove
There is no yes in nostalgia.

Class 5 was the child of Justus Bauschinger, designing for Doug Tompkins at The North Face pre-Hap Klopp (1968/9, I think). Justus worked with and 'trained' the next designer for TNF, Mark 'Mars' Ericson. Then he moved on.

Justus' advertising was, as is apparent to the casual observer, more oriented to climbing in those years following that first TNF catalog. The North Face catalogs subsequently simply didn't mention climbing equipment for sale, just their manufactured line of goods, I suspect because they no longer sold it--TNF retail outlets in the Bay Area no longer had Chouinard Equipment to sell. TNF staffs were embarrassed to have to send customers to Ski Hut or Sierra Designs (way before REI floated up in the Bay like a dead-ass whale).

Klopp, having pissed off Doreen Frost, the accounts receivable at GPIW, moved TNF on to cater more to the backpacker. that was another good reason the climbing gear moved out of the catalogs. Later on, emphasis changed back with change of ownership
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 21, 2013 - 01:51pm PT
Classic store shot BBA!

Down the road a few years at the Oakdale Festival it would be fun to get the principals from the dozen or so founding companies to come and talk about the first ten years in business. Most of these folks are still around and would be a great resource.

We just touched on the hardware business year one.
BBA

climber
OF
Jan 21, 2013 - 11:16pm PT
Roper was a ski sharpener at the Ski Hut for a while when I was in Berkeley. I don't know what other menial tasks he performed in the back out of sight of the customers and away from the register.

Guido worked there and might have some tales to tell.

One could get steals of deals there.

martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Jan 21, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
73 I bought my first pair of eb's from the ski hut. what a break through they were! I loved that place.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Jan 21, 2013 - 11:26pm PT
i remember a ski hut near los altos somewhere,

or was it sunnyvale? cupertino?


turned into any mountain?

better than helm of sun valley,

where the motto was


'we only sell a few pair a year, but dang, are they expensive!"
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 21, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
Ah yes BBA I remember that bike, it was green and we had some wild and crazy rides. Remember, we use to haul the bikes up at night in a car and have an insane race down Grizzly Peak. Mix this with one of the old Sierra Club, RCS Sun night spaghetti and wine dinners and it was mad. You were the old guy at 18 or so and we could always blame you if busted. Sh#t we would all be in jail now days with such adventures.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Jan 21, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
MFM! Interesting comment on who we ended up calling "The Klopster."

In the mid 1990's he put together an investment group that bought the great outdoor gear company Moonstone, and the "up and coming" outdoor gear company Quest, and the US rights to the woman's clothing company Wild Roses.

His new empire was bankrupt within a year.

rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Jan 22, 2013 - 12:04am PT
I heard some stories about royal gourge and ski hut....Something about missing wall photos and kleptomania...?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 25, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
Hut Bump...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 25, 2013 - 02:23pm PT
You got my attention with that.

The thing I remember best about the Hut, but
Before I worked for their uptown competitor, TNF,
was the hitchhiker that we saw as we were heading down Uni to the freeway to go north to the Bugs.

He looked pretty much like he'd been washed up there, a ratty-looking dirtbag, if ever there was one,
with an old duffel and a backpack and the sign:

BUMFUK, EGYPT.

We were totally full. Sorry, Joaquin, keep walking.
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