Who invented modern reverse-curve pick Ice tools?

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McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 19, 2013 - 12:05am PT
They made it so much easier to remove the pick. I've spent enough time trying to find out. Was it Grivel? Charlet? Chouinard? Lowe?......... I saw an old Forrest hammer with a reverse curve pick (below) at Mtn Project but don't know if it has been modified.
Credit: McHale's Navy
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Feb 19, 2013 - 12:37am PT
A little while ago I posted up this early review of the then new banana pick tools from Mountain Magazine 1n 1988.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2064009&msg=2064009#msg2064009

While it doesn't, (I think) opine who thought of the reverse pick, it's a start point!

Regards,

Steve
duncan

climber
London, UK
Feb 19, 2013 - 12:41am PT
Simond's Chacal hammer was the first modular, reverse curve tool I saw on the east side of the pond.

The Simond website says this was developed in 1975 though I don't remember them in widespread use 'til around 1982-3.




Chacal from 1978


deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Feb 19, 2013 - 01:10am PT
Great Scot!

I reckon the Macinnes Terrodactyl predates all the other reverse curve picks. Late 60's/early 70's, I believe. Took a while to catch on, but known to be the tool of choice on thin steep ice. Back in the late 70's, I had one Terrordactyl and one Snowdon Curver (a beautiful work of art), with a Chouinard ice hammer in a holster for placing warthogs. Tubular ice screws were just coming in around then, but were quite pricey. We also had these corkscrew type screws which were known to bend and rip out in falls, but we used them anyway (but mostly for opening wine at basecamp).
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Feb 19, 2013 - 01:47am PT
Deuce4,

The Terror was a straight drop pick though, rather than a banana. I used them BITD.

I don't know the answer, but there must be a functional advantage offered by the reverse curve, or everyone would be using a pick like the terror
(macerated knuckles aside!)

You're an engineer ain'tcha you should know? ;-)

Steve
wivanoff

Trad climber
CT
Feb 19, 2013 - 05:06am PT
I saw an old Forrest hammer with a reverse curve pick (below) at Mtn Project but don't know if it has been modified.

No it was not modified. IIRC, the Forrest Mjoillner hammer had four different picks available: 1) The reverse curve and 2) the steep straight pick shown in your photo. Also available were 3) a regular curved pick and 4) a "Tube" pick which was kind of like an ice screw but had open slots in the bottom of the tube.

The hammer handle was originally straight. Later, a curved "hatchet" handle was added. Both are shown in your photo.

I still have a Mjollner hammer somewhere in my basement.

EDIT: I thought of another one. I think there was a short pick that resembled the pick on a "Yosemite Hammer" and another pick that resembled a nut tool. Going from memory here, though.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Feb 19, 2013 - 08:32am PT
In January, 1983 I bought a Forrest Lifetime ice axe with three interchangeable picks, one of which was the reverse curve. But I don't think it was a 'brand new' idea at the time.

The straight tubular pick was definitely ice climbing theory!
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Feb 19, 2013 - 08:51am PT
http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=38143
Certain aspects of ice axe development are interesting to note, one of them being the gradual increase of the pick’s curve, since although many pick blades had long used tooth-like serrations on their undersides, almost all early ice axe picks had been straight and more or less perpendicular to the shaft of the axe. This seemingly small refinement was a major improvement, since it greatly enhanced the ability of a climber to self-arrest and hold himself on a steep slope after a fall. In terms of the specialized and highly technical ice-climbing tools that developed in the 70s, Simond’s use of a reverse-curve pick in 1975 is generally recognised as being a major step forward in the development of pure steep angle ice tools. From that time onward, the trend in these highly specialised items developed to fabricate ice tools with modular components, using replaceable and selectable picks, adzes, and spikes that could be combined to suit the given conditions.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2013 - 10:40am PT
Thanks Philo. I found that page yesterday but missed that reference. 1975 takes it back aways! It probably took awhile for the tools to get over to the USA. Still would like to know the evolution, like if it started with Hammish or if it was a parallel developement. I'm thinking it could have been accidental. Did Forrest, for instance make the reverse curve to accomplish something other than pick removal, and then it got discovered inadvertently, perhaps elsewhere. I remember my first use of the reverse pic bouldering at Big Four ice caves and I was pretty amazed.
nah000

Mountain climber
canuckistan
Feb 19, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
this is an interesting question. there seems to be a fair bit of misinformation out and about on the net. the following aren't all primary sources, so there still could be more to the story than what follows. but my google-fu came up with the following:

mid 1800's: grivel? = claims modification of workman's pick axe results in first "piolet".
1969: chouinard piolet = claims to be the first with a curved pick. another source. [prototype was first created in 1966 according to p. 27 of Chouinard's Climbing Ice. there are also reports of other curved picks dating back to possibly the 1930's]
1971: macinnes terrordactyl = seems to be the first with a straight drop pick [prototype first used in 1970 on the eiger].
1975: forrest mjollnir = seems to be effectively tied with the chacal's as the first ice tool with exchangeable picks. another source.
1975: simond chacal = likely tied for first in producing ice tools with exchangeable picks. simond's site mentioned by duncan.
1978: simond chacal = first tool with a reverse curve pick as documented by supertopo history written by gordon smith
1979: i.c.e. eboc = first bent shaft tool. a patent was filed in 1979 and issued in 1982.
1986: grivel rambo = claims to be first production ice tool with curved shaft. given the existence of the eboc was more likely the first widely distributed ice tool with a curved shaft
2002: petzl ergo = claims first leashless ice axe with angled grip.

and if you're looking for more discussion of ice tool development and history here are a couple of real good threads covering some of the same ground:

Steve Grossman's Classic Ice Primer - Chouinard Catalog 1968
RDB's Chouinard Alpine hammer and Piolet questions?

the above timeline was edited to reflect some of the information that has come to light in this thread.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2013 - 10:00pm PT
Thanks. I like the Simond link. It goes to a Robbins book review that captures his writing style in the story he wrote about Tis-sa-ack - right at the end anyway. What was that title? Maybe it wa just Tis-sa-ack. That was classic. I'd like to read it agsin.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Feb 19, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
I remember making a tremendous lateral curve out of a Terrordactyl pick on a climb in the mid-1970s. The innovative/on the spot design seemed not to catch on...
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
What do you mean? How could you modify a pick on a climb?
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Feb 19, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
It freekin bent sideways and was the dickens to use for the rest of the route. Not a comforting sight, but innovative design work nonetheless.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
Oh, that kind of mod! We'll have to get you into the reverse-curve invention chronology. That would have been a dead-end on one of the evolution tree limbs, but still merit worthy.
Ken

Trad climber
Arroyo Grande
Feb 19, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_view.php?dpid=PDg6NDs5KCEr

Porter made a few of these after visiting Scotland and copying what he saw there (I got this story and axe from Russ Mclean who would be a better info. source).

Maybe early '70s, from his Utah shop? Called them the Hammerdactyl.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Feb 20, 2013 - 08:30am PT
Todd, same thing happened to my friends pick on an early Rupel. He bent it 70 degrees to starbord on a climb. We thought it was just because he was monstrously burly.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 10:45am PT
Charlies impliment looks like something I'd make. Have drill-press - will travel. I'll bet the pick is a tine off a field-plow. Nice! Would be tough as nails of course.

How about a thread where we show stuff we've drill holes into?
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Feb 20, 2013 - 10:52am PT
Don't forget the Pemberthy Ice Hooks, A-1 the whole time!
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 11:11am PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=762638&tn=40

Dane, what axe were you referring to? In any case, a discussion about ice tools would not be complete without mentioning the Pemberthy Ice Hooks. I saw some in use and was skeptical then; I remain so.

got a pic?

Anybody here that can do us an effective patent search on the reverse-curve concept? My guess is that if it's not patented it all came about by accident.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 20, 2013 - 11:21am PT
There is no doubt that Simond offered and "invented" the first reverse curved pick on the Chacal.

Not sure it was called the Chacal yet at that point though. Forrest wasn't far behind. But Simond was undoubtedly the first. Much more to all that and how the Chacal made it around the world...but it will have to wait if I am going to tell the story.

Same pick that is now copied by literally everyone on a modern ice tool.

Gordon Smith was there watching it (the very first recurved) being made in the Simond factory. I believe he has detailed that moment here on the Taco. I don't have the time this morning but the info is here.

The first, as I remember the story, was simply a curved pick that was reversed and drilled to fit a early Chacal. Brilliant on Gordon's and Simond's behalf. And ice climbing changed forever.

cheers,
Dane
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 11:24am PT
If they invented it they would have a patent as I say in my previous post - they may have been the first to intentionally build the concept, but only realized the potential after it had been made elsewhere for other reasons. That would be great if it's in the Taco......that's like that spaghetti sauce ad.....it's in there!

If a company came up with something like that totally on their own, they would realize they had something big and would have patented it - but it did not happen that way.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 20, 2013 - 11:29am PT
No reason to fook around with the idea. Simond and Gordon did it first. Saying other wise don't make it so.

Info and story is more than likely found buried here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/382806/Classic-Ice-Primer-Chouinard-Catalog-1968
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 11:31am PT
I'm mostly intereted in who realized what was going on more or less first - you've probably got it there. I'll go with the first company that marketed it as such.

First mention of easy to remove tool from your link on pages 101 - 120;

DR-

I also disagree with your early comments in this thread on Hamish McInnes’ terrordactyls. Yes, you bashed your knuckles when you used them ( I still have the scars to prove it), but when it came to vertical ice, they were superior to Chouinard tools. The key advantage was that they were easier to remove than the curved picks, and this was welcome in balancy situations. And with a practiced flick of the wrist, you learned to spare the knuckles a bit.

This is me using them on the FA of the Dru Couloir Direct in 1977, photo by Tobin.

RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 20, 2013 - 11:36am PT
"If a company came up with something like that totally on their own, they would realize they had something big and would have patented it - but it did not happen that way."

I don't think you have any idea how any of this worked in the '70s. The community was a lot smaller, stuff got made, remade and modified on a daily basis. Everyone involved (other than may be Chouinard) was a lot more interested in climbing that sitting in a patent or copy right office.

Not to be a dick. But no question it was Gordon Smith and who ever was making the Simond tools for the guys as they walked in the door at the factory in Chamonix bitd. Same kind of stuff happened at the Chamonix Charlet factory as well.

Gordon laid it out very clearly on how it all happened and who was involved in one of his posts. Real history here on the Taco.

How the Chacal spread world wide I find just as interesting. Marketing briliance at Simond in '79.

(fook! sucked into the great black hole of the Taco again......gotta go back to work! ;--)

McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 11:45am PT
I understand. Still it looks like the 'terrordactyl' was an important stepping stone - just trying to put the history together.

RDB, on page 241 you at http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/382806/Classic-Ice-Primer-Chouinard-Catalog-1968 said;
From the posts in this thread an observation one might make is that it was Hamish McInnes and his Terro that made the biggest impression on modern ice and mixed climbing.

I'm looking for the missing link between Terro and Simond - could have been Forrest without him knowing it.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 20, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
I never saw anyone using those Forest hammers in real life, and I owned one. I took one of the ice picks, set it on a grinder to made it really small, and it was a good, but kind of light, aid hammer. The skinny nub of the pick was perfect for setting heads in the pre chisel set days.

My first reverse curved pick was indeed the Chacal. When they came out everyone started using them. They were the right length and a good tool.

Chounard's tools were still curved at that time, IIRC. I never, ever, used a Chounard tool on steep ice.

I might have in New Hampshire as a youngster, but I can't remember. I do remember when I got my hands on a Chacal.

I sold it the next year in the valley at a great profit.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 20, 2013 - 12:01pm PT

this will help

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/08/second-look-at-modern-dry-tooling.html
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 20, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
I remember well when a friend loaned me a brand new pair of Lowe Footfangs. Those suckers ruled, but I was a little scared of the bindings popping off.

Footfangs vs. 12 points: No comparison.

Pic of using two Chacal's in Chamonix in 1984:

Credit: BASE104

I would take one hammer and beat the other pick in and back it up with a screw for a belay anchor. Not too smart, probably. Didn't think of picks breaking.

RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 20, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Looks like the Chere?
I retired my Chacals/Barracudas in the late 90s. I have spare picks but never broke or bent a Chacal pick in almost 2 decades climbing on them. In retrospect guess I should have climbed more :)

They are still in my gear room hanging on the wall.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 20, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Yep. We were over there and it is a shorty and lots of fun.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Feb 20, 2013 - 02:51pm PT
I first saw banana Chacels in '78. I think Carlos Buhler was using a pair in Bolivia that summer.

I used to work in a shop that sold Mjollners, We never had or saw reverse curve picks (prior to '80 anyway). Perhaps they came later.

I still don't understand the physics of why they work, but they do do the job. ha
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
The Terros worked but they were hard to place, so I think the next step in the evolution was to bring the point forward while keeping the downward droop to make ice entry easier, thereby introducing the reverse-curve and then the reverse curve ended up making it even easier to get out than the terro was.

Even tough the Terro was easier to get out than the standard curving picks, they would have suffered from the pick jamming because of handle leverage also, but not as much as standard curved pics like the Chouinard ice hammer. The reverse-curve serves to 'cam' the tip and pick out of the hole. It's an interesting counter-intuitive developement, the way the curved cam followed realignment of the tip.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 20, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
hey there say, mchale's navy...

thanks for starting this neat thread...
i love 'inventions' etc...

lots to learn here...
thanks to all you all chipping in...
:)
Bobert

Trad climber
boulder, Colorado
Feb 20, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
It was Simond and the Chacal was the first commercially available. A Chamonix climber told me they were looking at a standard drooped pick and flipped it over, cutting teeth on the opposite side just for grins. Turn out to their surprise it actually worked. Or so I was told.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 20, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
Another tidbit for the time line. I doubt that this predates the Chacal in 1975.

The Lowe elephant droop pick showed up just as the pick attachment was being changed from the original crossbolt to the end screw attachment. I don't have one but I have seen a couple. Anyone have one of these original run elephant picks to show?

The Lowe Alpine history puts their original Humming Bird and Big Bird modular ice tools out in 1974. When did Lowe change their pick attachment design commercially?

The elephant picks vary in nose detail from the common hook shape to what would qualify as a recurved shape.

I will go take a look and see if I am accurate in my recollection.

Forrest Mjollnir interchangeable pick hammer out in 1975 according to their literature.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
I have 2 Hummingbird reverse-curves. One I bought new in late 80s early 90s at Marmot or FF. It has a curved shaft. One is older w straight shaft. I'll take a pic - nice tools!
Credit: McHale's Navy
To show attacments of blades
Credit: McHale's Navy
Credit: McHale's Navy
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 20, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
Some serious history here :)

from:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=382806&tn=380

by "Wee Jock" aka Gordon Smith

"Jan 30, 2009 - 04:50am PT

Hi chaps, Mr Accamazzo in particular. I started ice-climbing with a Chouinard Frost - 60cm with a very pale wood handle(hickory or ash??) and a dinky little Salewa ice hammer (T shaped cross section for the pick!) Climbed things like the Chancer and Devil's Delight and Point Five and Zero and they worked fine. For me, though, Terrors were the bees knees ... great except for the bashed knuckles. If you got the rather odd swing correct - a downward pull with the knuckles hammering the ice - they worked great. Did the 2nd ascent of Bridalveil with your Mr Shea using terrors - that was fat, steep ice, was it not? Pick was way too soft, mind, and wore out very quickly. They had a tendency to stick, so we sharpened the top edges of the picks to 'cut' up and out. The axe was brilliant for going over the top of a bulge into powder snow but too light for hard ice. Often we carried two hammers and an axe, or at least THEY did - the folk with any money (not me). In 1978 I got hold of THE prototype Chacal from Luger Simond - He was going to make a straight drooped pick but I held the shaft of the axe while he cut holes in an ordinary curved pick blank reversed. Then he cut teeth and changed the angle of the end of the pick to make a point to penetrate the ice and lo, the first reversed banana pick. Worked brilliantly!! I still have my Dachstein mitts from the mid seventies, though I had to fight off the wife when she wanted to wear them to paint the house walls! Best mitts ever!!
Gordon Smith"

Look up the "wee jock" user name. Stuff is a lot like Jello's, Bachar's and some of the others posting here for historical importance.

How id the Chacel make it around the world in short order...and was used by the very best from every country? In the summer of 1980 at the Rassemblement International, a bi-annual event held in Chamonix, France, Simond gave every climber in attendece a Chacal and a rather traditional axe. Done deal at that point :)

cheers,
Dane



early Chacal

McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
I read through that entry earlier and stopped just short of the part about drilling the holes in the flipped blade. Good story. Am looking forward to the axe heard round the world story. :>)
duncan

climber
London, UK
Feb 21, 2013 - 01:18am PT
How id the Chacel make it around the world in short order...and was used by the very best from every country? In the summer of 1980 at the Rassemblement International, a bi-annual event held in Chamonix, France, Simond gave every climber in attendece a Chacal and a rather traditional axe. Done deal at that point :)

That chimes with my experience in the UK. In the early 80s suddenly all the cool kids swapped their Terrors and Curvers for Chacals. I acquired Andy Parkin's Zero as part of this process. I was too young and dumb to realise I was being sold obsolete technology. I feel I had the last laugh though: it's a lovely item with a bit of history, it's been a lot closer to the N. Face of the Eiger than I ever will!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 06:14am PT
I had a Forrest Mjollnir and never got a drooped pick, nor ever saw one. They were straight down angled. These pictures are the first ones I have ever seen of a Forrest reverse curved pick.

I never used it for ice climbing. It was basically a short rock hammer with an ice or weird rock pick. I did use one for nailing for a while. The chacal was longer and what I would consider a "real" ice tool.

That, and I never saw anyone ever using a Mjollnir for ice climbing. Period. The Chacal was a real ice tool and had a long enough shaft for some serious whacking. That sounds kind of obscene, but you get my drift.

A Mjollnir was lighter than a chounaird Yo hammer, but perfectly good for nailing. I know several guys who did many walls with them. I still have mine and the head is all rounded off at the corners now.

I then got a Forrest Wall hammer to replace it and I really liked it, although the west coast climbers thought they were weird.

Here is a mjollnir with the rock pick:

Credit: BASE104

wivanoff

Trad climber
CT
Feb 21, 2013 - 07:39am PT
I guess memory served me incorrectly. Here's a scan from the 1980 Forrest catalog that list 4 picks available for the Mjollnir Hammer. There is no reverse curve pick listed but the hatchet handle is clearly shown.

The steeply drooped pick was called a "Skye" pick and was described as a "Terrordactyl-style"

Credit: wivanoff

EDIT: I'm not saying there wasn't a reverse curve pick on the Mjollnir. Clearly there was. Seems it was after 1980, though.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 08:18am PT
Hmm. I guess I only bought the straight ice pick and the rock pick. I put that drooped ice pick on a bench grinder and took it down to 1/2" long and it was perfect for placing copperheads.

Lowe had the hummingbird hammer and the Big Bird axe. Back then we would use a long tool and a short tool. I never liked the tube picks, but the Big Bird had a really solid, kind of round and tapered pick. Well machined. It had a whole bunch of small teeth for the first couple of inches before they got big.

Since you don't get a deep placement very often anyway, those big teeth are kind of a non issue. It is the first inch of a pick that wore out.

Anyway, that Big Bird Lowe solid pick took almost zero energy to remove. Don't ya hate it when you spend half your energy removing your tools?

I was never much of an ice climber anyway.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 21, 2013 - 08:40am PT
One more thumbs up for the big bird straight pick. Great weight balance, swing and stick. The steel seemed pretty brittle though.
jopay

climber
so.il
Feb 21, 2013 - 09:16am PT
Chacal and Barraucda did indeed get widespread use even made it to the mid west, still have mine, those tools have been up some ice.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Feb 21, 2013 - 09:22am PT
speaking of Mjollners; I still have mine with all four picks as in photo above. I tried but didn't succeed in climbing much ice with it back in the '70s. Then it was my wall hammer for awhile. Now its my third tool at times when ice climbing. I wish it was lighter myself. It weighs at 1 lb 10 oz; more than my full size BD ice tools. But it doesn't get in the way if you're just carrying it for an emergency. The sticks in ice are surprisingly good, but the steep straight ice pick is so short it really takes a fine touch to avoid smashing your knuckles. I actually prefer using the old school dropped (regular curve, not reverse) pick because it is a bit longer. Sticks are good, removing, well removing is always a bitch no? Especially when you are scared and swinging too hard. ha
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 21, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
One of the things that pisses me off about the new ice tools - and was really nice about the older ones - is the shorter length (sub 60 cm) and the now ubiquitous " pinky hooks" and misc. other knobby gack on the shaft. All greta for the new wave sporty stuff but a pain in the ass for anything that involves steep snow where a clean smooth shaft comes in handy.

One of the nicest " all mountain " tools I've come across is this Petzel unit with the slight curve and moveable pinky hook. The only real problem was the light head weight. I fixed that with a length of pencil lead pounded flat and wrapped around the shaft under the head and finnished with duct Tape.

Add an Android wrist sling and the thing totally rocks for both general mountaineering and steep ice. I tried it out yesterday on a "scottish style" route and the thing performed for piolet everything plus shaft plants. This was particularly useful while soloing around on moderate (but fully exposed) terrain, not to mention the odd vertical mushroom or cornice.

For piolet traction
For piolet traction
Credit: Bruce Kay

slide the pinky hook up for shaft plants and daggering.
slide the pinky hook up for shaft plants and daggering.
Credit: Bruce Kay

Pair it up with a regular technical hammer and you're good to go for everything except those overhanging M 15's...... and maybe the extra length might work there too!

RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 21, 2013 - 01:08pm PT
"One of the things that pisses me off about the new ice tools - and was really nice about the older ones - is the shorter length (sub 60 cm) and the now ubiquitous " pinky hooks" and misc. other knobby gack on the shaft. All great for the new wave sporty stuff but a pain in the ass for anything that involves steep snow where a clean smooth shaft comes in handy."

Funny I find just the opposite. All that "knobby gack" stuff looks weird but works on moderate snow terrain just fine. And the advantages on anything even remotely technical worth any small disadvantage they might have.





Short of a standing snow plod, certainly my tool of choice. Nomic or treking/Whippet poles seem to a reasonable option these days. And I still have plenty of other choices at hand. There is still a place for a classic axe imo. I just hate tools that do nothing well.



Nomics or Quarks or Cobras do everything well. Including plunging in moderate snow. If you know how to use them.

But then I also climb in lycra and ski boots on occasion :)



Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 21, 2013 - 04:37pm PT
Nomics or Quarks or Cobras do everything well. Including plunging in moderate snow. If you know how to use them.


???????? I guess I missed that credit course in beginner alpinism! Well to each his own I guess but i have yet to see anyone doing anything other than splat the things against the snow surface or claw away uselessly with the picks. All I know is I'm a lot happier and quicker moving around with security. It was the same problem with the old curved shafts, like the old grivels or even with the corrugated rubber grips. I actually smoothed off the bumps on my old Stubai's and big Bird or carved the rubber off all together on some mountaineering axes.

Anyway I'm off to cham mid March and I'll not be taking a quiver of 5 through 10 irons - just one axe and one hammer. So far that Petzel with the sliding grip is the cats ass.

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Feb 21, 2013 - 05:00pm PT
Bruce, bring back pics!!!
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 21, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
nosh#t? I'll give you a shout. I've never been there. Whats the Elevation? A Bistro on top of the Midi or something?
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 21, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
Sorry, I fooked that up. That would be great! Send me a PM when you have time. The Elevation is a great place for breakfast or food any time. It is just in front of the main train station in Cham. Right hand side of the street corner looking north into town. Good place to hang for a coffee or a beer as well. Short 2 min walk to the Midi tram.

Be sure to bring your BC skiis and the climbing gear!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
The absolute worst thing that ever happened to me was soloing an ice route and then it went from vertical to flat instantly. All there was was soft snow and some frozen weeds. I had to crawl up that while below me my feet were still in vertical ice..I knew my feet were gonna pop with me bent over at the waist.

It either ended well or I died and this is hell.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 21, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
Yes, we don't want to assume too sternly where we actually are. We're on the ice tonight though.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 08:43pm PT
That's a relief, unless you are the devil.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Feb 21, 2013 - 09:17pm PT
picked up a used pair of Nomics today and am excited to get out and use them this weekend.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 22, 2013 - 03:51am PT
Quarks with the pinky hook knuckel guard thingy are the perfect alpine tool inmop. they climb everything from snow to WI5+ and harder. they have a good sharp spike for caneing and that hook on the bottom plunges just fine on softer snow. If it's too hard to plunge then it's good cramponing anyways so just boogie and git er done.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:13am PT
So did any of the old blokes ever use these.......

An add in Mountain 64, Nov 78

 <br/>
Looks like they came close to a curved shaft and pinky hook, But no...

Looks like they came close to a curved shaft and pinky hook, But no cigar! A bit like a triangular wheel....
Credit: Blakey

Steve
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Feb 22, 2013 - 08:32pm PT
Used the Nomics tonight and was very happy. They are very light, easy to remove and have a super small head that hooks like nothing I have been using.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 23, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
"Used the Nomics tonight and was very happy"

They look weird but life will just get better from now on, trust me :)

"From the posts in this thread an observation one might make is that it was Hamish McInnes and his Terro that made the biggest impression on modern ice and mixed climbing."

"I'm looking for the missing link between Terro and Simond - could have been Forrest without him knowing it."

I have no doubt the Terro did have the biggest influence on ice tools. And still does. We hook on ice now not swing. That is directly from the Terro straight through to the Nomic.

If you look at a Chacal and a Terro they are very close really. There were some bigger Terros made as well with longer handles and required less knuckle bashing. It was a really easy shift from Terro to Chacal metally, physically and technically. The Chacal was a bitch to get out until you modified the pick BTW. Much harder to remove from water ice that a Terro ever was. But the longer shaft and longer pick of the Chacal made the tool more user friendly straight away. The rest (picks) we learned to modify as time went by.

The Forrest Life Time tools were may be even a little better in some ways than the Chacal. Picks were easier to change for one. And easier to hook up umbilicals to. But they were late to the party by a full year if not more on reverse curved picks. I climbed my first WI6 on Lifetimes and a lot of WI5 with the short little reverse curved picks and used them for two seasons. They were a very good tool.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 23, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
This looks to be an early model Chacal.

Edit:RDB thinks early 80s.












The classic Simond markings. Did these picks have so little to sharpen when new or has this one been filed down?

RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 23, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
Black pick is late '80s Steve. Chrome plated ones were earlier, The one you have has been filed a lot in comparison to how hard they are and hpw long would last. The red one below is a second gen. Dbl spike was not common. I never saw one imported into the NA. Climb high in the US and MEC in Canada were th importers.


early Chacal

New picks and different Simond tools. I think the axe was called a Mustang but I'd need to look it up. When you have a spare pick in your hand it is clear what Gordon Smith was saying about flipping a standard curved pick oevr and drilling it as a reverse curve pick. Easy if you had the tools and the blanks sitting there. Some one was thinking :) Instant, giant size, Terrodactyl. Brilliant! That the new picked worked so well had to be a surprise to everyone.







Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 23, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Thanks for the clarifications.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 23, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
Barracuda (with a Chacal) soloing on the approach slopes of Polar Circus in '84. Right about the time the Barracuda was first imported to the US. But they were available by '81 or '82 in France and the UK.

Notably used on Taulliraju (Peru ), South Face, by Mick Fowler and Chris Watts in '82. Check out the 2nd ascent in in 2003 AAJ. Impressive climb!

RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 23, 2013 - 10:39pm PT
"From the posts in this thread an observation one might make is that it was Hamish McInnes and his Terro that made the biggest impression on modern ice and mixed climbing."

Here is a second answer to the same question. Hopefully the picture will be more definative.



In effect not a lot has changed from the original Terrodactyls. The handles and picks have gotten longer and more ergonomic but past that...really not much. Slight improvements on the Terro...not all that impressive when you look at the actual lineage. Biggest advantage is the additional clearence that has been with each new generation.

As a comparison Black Diamond offers 4 technical tools. All with about a 2 degree change in pick angle between each of the 4 tools. About 10 degrees over all last I heard. (Reactor, Viper, Cobra Fusion) No where near that much differeence between the originals Terros, the Chacal and the Nomic.

Anyone that originally climbed hard with a Terrordactyl could very easily switch to a current Nomic and climb much, much harder with a lot less effort. And.....more security. If you liked a Terro, a new Ergo would make you think it true bliss by comparison. At some point the newest tools just becomes cheating :) But even the Ergo is just a Terro with more clearence than a Nomic.

tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 24, 2013 - 04:51am PT
I placed 2 pins with my quarks on the upper part of this route yesterday. Isa could not clean them with her Nomics;) I had to rap the route to get my Iron back ;)...
My 1st lead of Orcs and Goblins WI4+M4
My 1st lead of Orcs and Goblins WI4+M4
Credit: tradmanclimbs
Orcs and Goblins 4+M4
Orcs and Goblins 4+M4
Credit: tradmanclimbs
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 24, 2013 - 04:55am PT
I feel that the biggest difference is Not the clearence but the grips and knuckle protectors.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 24, 2013 - 11:12am PT

Certainly some advantages to the newest grips...but that is ergonomics. Clearing buldges, good sticks and easy hooking? That is the radical clearence in the shaft of the newest tools.

:)



http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2012/08/i-have-now-actually-seen-newest-lwt.html
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2013 - 11:24am PT
Put some taper on those hammer heads and they could make some nice chocks.
RDB

Social climber
wa
Feb 24, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
Chock? There actually is .05" of taper bottom to top on the hammer face just for that reason.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 24, 2013 - 02:37pm PT
The Hexentric Anvil will have its day...
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