Classic Ice Primer- Chouinard Catalog 1968

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RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 3, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
The whole modern mixed thing went over my head for years.

My first exposure to a Terro was a set the hostel host borrowed from the Burgess twins while they were climbing around Cirrus gully in the winter of '74. (A year later it bacame Polar Circus) We had just climbed Louise and rapped off to find these guys playing with a bunch of different tools. They were nice enough to let us play too :)

We Inland NW Yanks were generally using curved gear. Although Roskelly caught on to Terros quicker than the rest of us and took advantage of the numerious "free" options available. Terros opened my eyes that day on Louise as to what might yet be possible.

As Gordon mentioned Terros and Chouinard gear for that matter didn't last long if you hit rocks. If if wasn't "FAT" ice we generally avoided it. With winter climbs like Slipstream or Takakkaw so handy why bother wit "winter mixed"? On alpine mixed like Deltaform, Temple or Edith Cavel you might end up climbing in crampons a lot depending on conditions with a tool in your holster or hanging on your wrist. No matter what you did, if you had a good alpine season (3 or 4 faces) in Canada, you'd generally wear out a set of tools. Dachsteins would climb pretty well on moderate stuff. Bare handed {in summer}seemed the norm when it got hard. Hooking a rock intentionally with an ice tool just never occured to us/me. The tools were expensive and Terros (in the NW anyway) hard to obtain let alone replace. Winter? A bit too cold to climb without a pair (or two) of mitts in those days.

Modern mixed? At least for some of us climbing in Canada early on, if it wasn't fat winter ice why bother? Heaven forbid you ever actually went looking for that kind of "shit". We'd typically got a stomach full in the summer or on the occasional winter alpine climb. I used a set of Terros and most importantly the adze to climb the last pitch of sun baked mush of Polar Cirus and Teardrop on an early ascents. I am not sure what other tools would have made them possible at the time. The long Chouinard tubes you could pull out with your hands in those conditions. The Simond Chacal and Barracuda that came later where the first tools I thought bettered than Terros. Since the sun baked vertical slop never seemed to get any easier over the years I still favored the big, dropped adzes. Something none of the newer tools seemed to think worth copying.

Salewa and Chouinard rigids came first. But the SMC rigids were the crampon of choice for most of us between '75 and the early '80s on water ice and alpine climbing. Footfangs swayed many from the SMC for hard ice. The Chouinard hinged stared to make in roads for alpine mixed.

Years later I finally bought a set of tools just for "modern"
mixed. Camming a crack or hooking a rock edge made perfect sense after rereading Jello's book for the 87th time:) And then first doing it on a top rope. Shafts come in many forms these days but funny to me that the best of them actually copy the same hooking angles of the original Terros. Just no need now to bang a knuckle.

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.

Louise in '74


Remember how the sharp edges on the hammer head would tear up your mitts?






Look familiar?



Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Feb 4, 2009 - 07:05am PT
I can't believe this thread has gone on for so long and I've just sort of ignored it.........Guess I've been too busy guiding without a laptop close by.........

For me the big eye-opener with what was possible on BIG ice climbs was when Bugs did Nemesis. The long pitches of difficult ice and exposure was greater than I had seen. The fact that he used his Terrors for aid occasionally didn't detract (for me) the fact that he went up and and did the thing. Jeff Lowe's insistence on a "free-climbing" ethic in ice climbing also pushed climbers to do their best and challenge themselves in the ice area.

When I got my first pair of Charlet Moser Gabbaru Grade Six axes the challenge of climbing mangled waterfall ice became more manageable and safer. The only problem was that the picks were hand-forged and the metal quality was inconsistent so you never knew exactly what you were going to get. Tobin and I started the Grand Central Coulouir on Kitchener with five axes and finished with only two. The picks on the other three broken and useless.

Then the Chacal came out and that made all the difference.....

Steve, do you have any pictures of the Chouinard "Ice Screw rachet" that Yvon sold in his catalog?
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 4, 2009 - 10:08am PT
Some of the Canadian terrain from the discussion.

Nemisis, 160m, Stanley headwall


N Face of Kitchener, late winter. Jack's and Tobin's direct finish still scare the tourists away.


N face of Alberta, late summer




Slipstream on Snowdome in early Jan.


Deltaform early summer


Lower and Upper Weeping Wall in fat conditions


Upper Pillars of Polar Circus in fat conditons

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 4, 2009 - 10:10am PT
Most excellent portraits!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 5, 2009 - 02:44pm PT
Nice to have some bona fide alpinists chime in on this thread.

Seems like a question for Wee Jock here…about tools.
I am currently reading Bonnington’s Annapurna South Face…
And am reminded of this picture of Nicki & Ian Clough & on the North Face of the Matterhorn:


(From Paulcke & Dumler’s hazards in mountaineering.)


I’m guessing this is mid-60s, sometime before Clough’s exit on Annapurna:



These tools look very short: maybe 45 cm & I can only guess predating curved picks as well,
Or maybe right on the cusp of that innovation.
Could these be handmade MacInnes axes?
They look like quality items.

Dane, Steve, DR, Jello, Jack et al?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 5, 2009 - 05:18pm PT
That's the first thing I've seen on this thread that looks like Don Jensen's MacInnes ice hammer. Pick is the right angle, and notice how thick it appears.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 5, 2009 - 06:01pm PT
And this little excerpt from Annapurna South Face (climb summited May 27, 1970),
Referring to an "all metal" MacInnes axe w/ steep pick and particular notes on Chouinard tools.
(Curved adze reference in the text is I think intended to mean pick?)



Then, "The Whillans Whammer"?!?
Described earlier in the appendix:

"an all-purpose modern tool combining a descendeur, ice-pick and hammerhead."

WTF?
An ice tool with integral descending/rappel device?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 5, 2009 - 06:15pm PT
Can't be too careful. You just never know when you'll suddenly need to bail...


WHAM! -- and down I go
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 5, 2009 - 06:36pm PT
... Introducing the Whammer!
Another Whillans FIRST:

 The hammer smartly fitted with multi-functioning head!!!
 Suited both to drive pitons and serve as a descendeur (though not simultaneously, lads...)
 Gripped in standard fashion, it's a hammer.
 Turned 'round 180°, it's an ice dagger.
 Whilst flipped neatly on its head, the handle functions as a motor car gear change selector.
 Low gear gets you to base camp in tidy time for the blood pudding.
 Just pull back a tad for high gear; and you're at the pub spot on schedule!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 5, 2009 - 07:24pm PT
Now there's a tough photo to find! No sign in your book, Roy! I recall a spaceage little goodie!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 5, 2009 - 07:53pm PT
heh... no sign of it in the book's pictures.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2009 - 08:03am PT
And only thirty or forty Bonnington books to peruse! LOL
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 6, 2009 - 08:14am PT
Yeah, and most of em not worth the trouble...Sir.

I'll look for my literature over on the William S. Burroughs thread, thanks.
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 6, 2009 - 01:26pm PT
How about more of this?



Eric and Luci photo.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2009 - 09:37pm PT
You always did like your Lunch Naked!!!
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 6, 2009 - 09:44pm PT
On the Dru Coulior '73.





Ian Clough or Hamish McInnes? Same lineage? McInnes axe from the late '60s. One of the very first full metal axes with a red rubber/plastic coating. Gordon, know anything more?
DR is this similar to the axe you remember Don Jensen was using?







Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 6, 2009 - 10:27pm PT
That is a really cool find Dane!
'Pushes our vintage axe conversation right on down the road...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 6, 2009 - 10:34pm PT


RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 6, 2009 - 10:37pm PT
It is the hole in the axe's head and the funky "nail" end spike that makes me think they are the same or at least a similar production McInnes axe. I don't think Nicky Clough is climbing with a matched pair of tools in the picture.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 6, 2009 - 10:49pm PT
Yes, also the oval stamp on the pick of the ax in each picture.
I'm perhaps spotting some differences with her north wall hammer as well.
Neat stuff.
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