Classic Ice Primer- Chouinard Catalog 1968

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lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Feb 21, 2009 - 01:51pm PT
DR
> You're right, there's something so archetypal about that shot. I too never tire of it, and never tire of several other of the Scottish images that have gotten onto this thread

This one below is my own version of that shot (I'll rephrase it - it probably gives me the same archetypal feel you may get from that Marshall pic)



It's Gianni Comino (one of the our "scruffy lads" - I like the definition - even he was the opposite of scruffy), taken by Giancarlo on August 20, 1978. Third pitch, second step of the Ypercouloir. The perspective of this piture is wrong, as I discovered four years ago when I managed to see this pitch with my eyes - the upper column is weirdly tilted, and overhangs. The "wall" on the left is actually a roof.

The pitch took four hours to be climbed, and Gianni could not put any protection - the ice was so rotten and crumbly (ice cream consistence, in Giancarlo's words) that had to climb it basically soloing. The pitch above took another three hours, and Gianni fell for 40 metres, luckily without consequences. The tool used was a normal 70cm axe. without curved pick.

I understand that all this hype on my part for this picture may sound quite silly (if not even a bit boring) formost of the crew posting here - after all, Jeff did the Bridalveil climb in 1974, and I suppose this kind of stuff was rather commonplace in Scotland by 1978 standards. But for us, it was NEW - nothing like that had even been remotely attempted in the Mt. Blanc range, not even by the French (Gianni had soloed the Supercouloir in 1977). I remember seeing this picture on June 1979 in the Courmayeur guides bureau, and feeling a distinctive tingle on my spine, like "uh oh". It hasn't happened much often afterwards, and almost never in the last 10 years!



lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Feb 21, 2009 - 01:57pm PT
Fritz:

thanks, until now I hadn't noticed the typo - and I was just wondering what the HECK the Battle of Hastings had to do with crampons!!

Another demonstration that trying to make thoughtful posting late at night after 10 hours work shifts is never a good idea...
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Feb 21, 2009 - 02:51pm PT
Gordon:

I've found where you've read the "350 pitons" reference to the Gousseault - it's actually the number of pitons claimed for the Directe de L'Amitie (the source is the usual Buscaini/Vallot). Probably memory just played you a trick.

Then, as promised above, here's the list - all the relevant repeats made by British climbers on the Mt. Blanc area between 1970 to 1978. It doesn't cover the Aiguilles de Chamonix area. And of course it doesn't cover ascents who weren't in some way documented (there are many - possibly the majority)



I’ve added also the second ascent of the NF of Greuvetta (which was done in 1964, so outside the range of the 79’s, for reasons I’ll explain later.

The list is ordered by date of the repeat. Remember, these are only the repeats, no the many original routes opened by Brits during that period (so, no ”Scala di Seta”)

All the climbs listed are “peculiar”, left side stuff which seems to me was chosen because they looked cool, rather than anything else.

The most significant of the bunch it’s of course #11, the almost legendary 3rd ascent of the Gervasutti line on the east face of the Jorasses. It’s the only climb listed in the route where the repeat lasted more than the original ascent (3 vs 2 days, this was valid for the 2nd ascent of the Gervasutti too – Julien and Bastien in 1951 stayed three days on the wall). This is a testament to the difficulty of a that line who, in my opinion, was the most difficult rock climb of the Alps before the American Direct on the Drus was opened (far harder than the Cassin spur on the NF Jorasses).

This repeat had also a big resonance in Italy, because the article written by Joe Tasker for Mountain was translated by Italian magazine “Rivista della Montagna”, and made a lot of local climbers aware that alpinists from the UK and the US were not just climbing hard at home (or opening new routes in the Alps), but were also busy tackling revered but hardly repeated classics like this one. For someone was a big shock, as it began to clear the huge misunderstanding (in some way fuelled by Giampiero Motti famous 1974 article on the Yosemite climbing scene – “Il Nuovo Mattino”) that young English speaking climbers were only into pure technical difficulty, and had little interest for classical mountaineering.

Another interesting repeat is #13 – the S face direct to the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey is an obscure but again fairly difficult item, one of the few “Dolomite like” climbs of the area. Quite fascinating too to see many of these repeats done by the same people: Carrington/Rouse, or the Burgess brothers.

From 1975 onward there’s a definite shift towards more recent routes, so I guess there was really a lot of competition in Chamonix to see if these new routes were as difficult as the local climbers/press would made. Another interesting trivia – NONE of the routes of the list were originally climbed by Brits, as if the Snells field crew wasn’t much interested in the stuff.

The route #1 was put as a comparison. The 800m high NF of Mt. Greuvetta is one of the most obscure (if not THE most obscure) NF of the MB area.

The climb itself is a great one, but the face has a dreadful reputation, with a nasty climb/fatalities ratio - it's very rarely climbed, even today. What moved Brown (not Joe) and Woolcock to climb it may be an interesting subject on itself!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 21, 2009 - 04:58pm PT
Shown below is a pair of Austrian made Eckenstein 12 point crampons. They were made in Fulpmes by W Benossenschaf.




That front point curvature sure has a familiar look.



I am curious whether the Eckenstein name disappeared once Grivel independently developed the Ultralight 12 point using a better alloy of steel taken from railroad track stock?

Wee Jock

climber
Feb 22, 2009 - 02:17am PT
Luca - I figured that the date for the Eckenstein crampons was a typo, I just couldn't resist the comment. Two dates known by every Brit schoolkid of my era were 55BC Julius Caesar invaded England (veni, vici, vici) and 1066AD William of Normandy landed at Hastings (this last bit of universal knowledge possibly due to a book called "1066 and all that"). Also, the allusion to Froissart as the recording journalist in lieu of our very own Signor Signorelli!

Luca, you really must stop this crap about boring anyone!!! Every word you write is lapped up by the rest of us!

I love the photo of the very elegant scruff Giani (it would be very hard, I know, for an Italian to compete with us Brits in the arena of scruffiness!!). The ice was crap ... would it have been possible for him to climb the icicle at all with the gear he had if the ice had been hard water ice? The Scot Cunningham with his English pal March climbed the icicle of the Chancer in 1969 using daggers and crampons - prefiguring the advent of front pointing with curved/angled axes. Cunningham experimented with front pointing up ever steeper angles of ice with crampons and daggers while in the Antarctic as a FIDS (Falkland Islands Dependency Survey AKA 'F*cking Idiots Down South') dog team driver. I did an early ascent of the Chancer in 1974 on good water ice using a Chouinard axe and Salewa hammer which I bet made it a LOT easier!!! I don't think I ever placed a single ice-screw in Scottish ice - didn't trust them one iota so I never bothered wasting the energy putting them in (plus I never owned one). I see that now they are very popular in Scotland ...

(By the by you forgot Terry King and my epic second ascent of Grand West Couloir in 1976 in your list!! Even Kingy fell off, but we got up it in the end!). I don't think that the original Cassin start to the Walker had many ascents before Kingy led it free in 1975??
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Feb 22, 2009 - 04:54am PT
>Luca - I figured that the date for the Eckenstein crampons was a typo, I just couldn't resist the comment. Two dates known by every Brit schoolkid of my era were 55BC Julius Caesar invaded England (veni, vici, vici) and 1066AD William of Normandy landed at Hastings (this last possibly due to a book called "1066 and all that"). Also, the allusion to Froissart as the recording journalist in lieu of our very own Signor Signorelli!

Interesting coincidence - my brother (whose name is of course Signorelli!) is an expert on the Norman Conquest (particularly on Stamford Bridge), he has even published some article in Italy about the topic - even if his rabid anti-Norman stance in my opinion does a bit to undermine his academic credentials!

>I love the photo of the very elegant scruff Giani (it would be very hard, I know, for an Italian to compete with us Brits in the arena of scruffiness!!).

Here's it (from L to R): Giancarlo Grassi, Renato Casarotto and (sitting on the wall) Gianni Comino. The date of the picture is 21 july 1978, and the place is the terrace of the Monzino hut. The glacier on the background is the Freney. They had just opened yet another route on the Brenva side.



Renato did a lot of exceptional solo in the 80's (Ridge of no Return on Denali, FitzRoy, Broad Peak etc) then died in 1986 on K2.

As you may see, neither Renato (who was the prototypical Very Nice Lad) nor Gianni look particularly scruffy. They were both coming from relatively well to do families - Gianni was a trainee MD / surgeon. So they could afford Fila sweatshirts, which weren't cheap even back then.

On the other hand, Giancarlo Grassi WAS scruffy. He came from a poor (and I mean POOR) family from the mountain of the Susa valley (W of Turin), and had struggled of his life to maintain his family (and a climbing habit). He was extremely frugal on everything, and careful not to was a single bit of his hard gained collection of gear, but his sense of dressing/appearence remained for all his life that of a broken hippie from the most run down 70's commune you may imagine. I believe that in Italy a lot of people didn't take him seriously precisely for that - too bad, as he was the best ice climber we ever had (it took to French and Canadian to recognize that!)

>The ice was crap ... would it have been possible for him to climb the icicle at all with the gear he had if the ice had been hard water ice?

I believe Giancarlo and Gianni were expecting something like the Supercouloir, or the NE couloir des Drus (which they had no problem to climb) with steeper bits. The Ypercouloir is difficult to evaluate from the valley, as the access is a climb in the climb. So you can't see what's like until you've your nose stuck there. Had the icicle been harder, I think Gianni would have climbed it without too much hassle (he was already climbing lines on seracs, where the ice is normally concrete-hard).


>(By the by you forgot Terry King and my epic second ascent of Grand West Couloir in 1976 in your list!! Even Kingy fell off, but we got up it in the end!).

Wait a sec, what's "Grand West Couloir"? I know that in 1976 you climbed with him the Croz Spur direct, you mean that?

>I don't think that the original Cassin start to the Walker had many ascents before Kingy led it free in 1975?

Three recorded instances since then, or at least, that's what I got from the Boccalatte hut book.
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 22, 2009 - 06:05am PT
The face and gully Gordon references.



"The pitch took four hours to be climbed, and Gianni could not put any protection - the ice was so rotten and crumbly (ice cream consistence, in Giancarlo's words) that had to climb it basically soloing. The pitch above took another three hours, and Gianni fell for 40 metres, luckily without consequences. The tool used was a normal 70cm axe. without curved pick."

Vertical ice high on a big Mtn with a straight pick 70cm axe in 1978? And a 100' fall on ice? That had to be a real adventure!

"But for us, it was NEW - nothing like that had even been remotely attempted in the Mt. Blanc range, not even by the French (Gianni had soloed the Supercouloir in 1977)."

Excuse me, are you saying Gianni soloed the Super Coulior on the Tacul in 1977 with a straight pick, 70 cm axe?

Wee Jock

climber
Feb 22, 2009 - 06:17am PT
Hi Luca
Grand West Couloir on the west face of the Plan...Gabarrou Picard-Deyme route - we repeated it in Sept of 1976. Incidently that had an icicle to climb quite near the top ... unfortunately it broke off when I was half way up!

What an incredible photo that is of the three Italian hot shots ... yup, Grassi would have fitted in very well camped in the Biolay! By the way Kingy was always terribly well dressed - climbed in trendy blue salopettes, matching blue sweater, classy red neckerchief around the neck, and enormous Dolomite Walker boots. Well, he is an actor after all!! And a VERY FAMOUS Fight Arranger for the RSC and the National Theatre in the UK. I have to call him 'Sire' these days!! Fortunately I don't get to actually see him (too far away) else I would have to bow and scrape as well I'm sure. Ironic that he should have climbed in those youthful days with the scruffiest climber of all!! Kingy was always right pissed off that I never owned a camera as all our shots were of scruffy me - none of him!!

Also first solo of Swiss Route on the Courtes in 1974 ... and there again probable first solo of the that longest and most dreadfully serious and dangerous of all ice climbs in the entire world, the Chere Couloir (the one on the north triangle of Mont Blanc de Tacul, not the REALLY SERIOUS one that goes up the seracs to the side of the Frendo) in 1975....I reckon that I'm the person that started using it as a 'school' route (for my ISM students in late 1975) for which purpose it now seems to be the de rigeur training ice climb. Boy I crunched and banged my way up that thing soooooo many times!!

Hey, Dane just posted a pic of the west face of the Plan. The Grand West is the left hand couloir under the summit, the Smith-Sorenson is the right hand one. The Smith-Sorenson has the more direct finish - straight up the headwall below the summit where the Grand West nips to the left up a wee icefall and then back up and right up a ramp to the top.

Quick Q, Luca - did Grassi lead the icicle?
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 22, 2009 - 08:09am PT
Dane emphasized the importance of conditions in alpine climbing and Doug contrasted the ice-cube-hard water ice of his neighborhood, the East side of the Sierra, with the frozen snow conditions that often prevail in the Alps.

Mike Graham and I arrived in Chamonix in 1976 and chose as our first ice climb the Swiss route on Les Courtes (which Gordon mentions he was first to solo two summers before). When we asked the Argentiere hut keeper to point it out to us, he obliged, but said no one had done it yet that year because it was “out of condition”. This puzzled us, because to Mike and I who had learned to climb ice on such DR first ascents as the Mendel Couloir and Lee Vining, it looked just fine, water ice from top to bottom!



Luca-I found a reference in the July 1975 Mountain Magazine to Renato Cassaroto’s first winter ascent of the Andrich/Fae route on the Punta Civetta over six days solo. He was doing early winter big walls, too.

Finally, from this morning’s NY Times about Kate Winslet’s emotional breakdown when accepting her Golden Globe award and why British critics were absolutely appalled.

“…many English people still feel repelled by all that capital-E emoting. Instead, said Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, they stick to the old standbys: self-deprecation, false modesty and humor.”

This explains a lot.
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Feb 22, 2009 - 10:59am PT
>Vertical ice high on a big Mtn with a straight pick 70cm axe in 1978? And a 100' fall on ice? That had to be a real adventure!

Again I feel that the phrasing of my posts is becoming rather poor on these days - I meant TWO 70cm ice axes, not just one.

I've been talking this afternoon with Renzo Luzi, who was a good friend with Giancarlo and Gianni (did the FA of the Freney icefall with Giancarlo and Marco Bernardi in 1980 - Europe highest altitude icefall), and he believes that in 1978 Gianni used - lo and behold - a pair of Chouinard ice axes with a 70cm shaft (the model with the head shown in the '73 Tiso ad on Mountain seen in this thread), as that's the way Giancarlo used to refer them. But I don't know if that still means he was using "straight pick-ed" axes, as the Chouinards werent' exactly straight at all - or at least, were comparatively curved in comparison with the axes used normally back then.

Gianni soloed the Supercouloir on 23rd Sept. 1978, not in 1977 (memory failed ME there), again used the same gear. In December 1978 he and Giancarlo (and Casarotto, I believe) went to Scotland for their first trip there (for Giancarlo the first of many). The climbed dozen of lines there and I believe they used there pair of Terrordactyls for the first time. This Scotland trip had long term consequences for Giancarlo, who began a "search" (he was into this type of things) to find a place in the Alps with real Scottish conditions. He did eventually find them, in the most unlikely place.

By '79 they had both moved to using Simond Chacal, which I believe Gianni used to solo the Boivin-Vallencant at the Nant Blanc face of the Aig. Sans Nom (yes, that was before Andy Parkins) and the Dufour-Frehel/Boivin-Vallencant combination on the NF of the Pilier D'Angle. However, the new tools meant that a lot of the edge of their '78 lines had been taken out, and Giancarlo confessed to his friends that with them on the NF of the Pilier D'Angle "you could climb everywhere". This lead in turn to the third phase of their partnership - the attempt to climb directly all the the giant seracs of the Brenva face of MB (which ultimately proved fatal for Gianni).




lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
Feb 22, 2009 - 11:24am PT

> By the way Kingy was always terribly well dressed - climbed in trendy blue salopettes, matching blue sweater, classy red neckerchief around the neck, and enormous Dolomite Walker boots. Well, he is an actor after all!! And a VERY FAMOUS Fight Arranger for the RSC and the National Theatre in the UK. I have to call him 'Sire' these days!! Fortunately I don't get to actually see him (too far away) else I would have to bow and scrape as well I'm sure.

I've seen on the Internet a video with him interviewed on the subject of his theatre work, and he looks like the most unlikely candidate EVER for being someone with a past as a NF climber in the 70's - I swear it's the living proof that appearence can be deceptive. He looks like the epythome of upper class Britishness!

>Ironic that he should have climbed in those youthful days with the scruffiest climber of all!! Kingy was always right pissed off that I never owned a camera as all our shots were of scruffy me - none of him!!

You're speaking of Colton here, eh? Here's a pic taken by a friend of mine during a meet in Scotland.

http://www.fuorivia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2894&start=15

Scroll down until you see him - there's an Italian behind him playing peek-a-boo!


> Also first solo of Swiss Route on the Courtes in 1974 ...

No, the first solo of the Swiss route was in 1968, by a German climber named Karl Hoffmann. My database never lies! :)

> and there again probable first solo of the that longest and most dreadfully serious and dangerous of all ice climbs in the entire world, the Chere Couloir (the one on the north triangle of Mont Blanc de Tacul, not the REALLY SERIOUS one that goes up the seracs to the side of the Frendo) in 1975....

You may be right here, worth doing some more research! I'll keep you informed of course

>I reckon that I'm the person that started using it as a 'school' route (for my ISM students in late 1975) for which purpose it now seems to be the de rigeur training ice climb. Boy I crunched and banged my way up that thing soooooo many times!!

You mean that all those poor souls that are taken there to learn the ropes and spend hours shivering at the base of the climb waiting for their turn - it's YOU they've to blame? I could blackmail you on this! :=)

>Quick Q, Luca - did Grassi lead the icicle?

On the Ypercouloir? No, that was Gianni. By 1978 Giancarlo was still "gearing up" on ultra difficult/dangerous ice (he would eventually more "take the lead" on this after Gianni's death in 1980).
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2009 - 03:43pm PT
More lovely filler material. From Climbing July-August 1977.















Wee Jock

climber
Feb 22, 2009 - 05:49pm PT
Luca, I forgot to tell you about the other extremely long, difficult and inordinately dangerous ice route I did in 1975 - on the south face of the Midi. Narrow couloir, best climbed in snowy conditions, running up to the outlet of the men's toilet in the midi station. I did the first (probable) ascent and the second (probable) ascent. Possibly the only ever ascents! Known as 'La Voie Jaune', or 'La Goulotte Jaune' or perhaps just 'Le Couloir Direct WC'. Look, I'm just trying to get my name into your DB more times than that English sod Rousie!! How many more do I have to go?

In a more serious vein I loved the Chacal. Why do silly looking bent handled jobbies make climbing ice any easier? Or is that just the power of suggestion and commercialisation - gotta sell more and more tools to those guys? And knock the price up! I really cannot see why this should be.

Thanks for posting that article on the Croz route ... wasn't it in Mountain, not Climbing?? Talk about loose! I think Keine, further to the right on the main buttress, had much better climbing on better rock than we did!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2009 - 06:12pm PT
Climbing #43 me bucko! With a dandy Michael Kennedy shot of Chris Landry on Arrowhead Peak in the Wind Rivers.

RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 22, 2009 - 07:24pm PT
Wee Jock asks: "In a more serious vein I loved the Chacal. Why do silly looking bent handled jobbies make climbing ice any easier? Or is that just the power of suggestion and commercialisation - gotta sell more and more tools to those guys? And knock the price up! I really cannot see why this should be."

No doubt they don't cost much to produce past the pick. But with my ancestory I'm a bit tight with a penny myself. Besides being a curmudgeon I am also pretty hard sell having btdt with the old ice tools. Never backed off a climb because my tools weren't up to the task.



Like many of us on the thread I graduated from curved gear and later Terros. This pair of Simonds are mine and were well used from the '80s to mid '90s, having used everything available but not finding anything drastically better. Remember I would never intentionally hook rock until just recently. Anything that resembled ice was fair game however.




Look familiar?





I can relate to your distance from ice climbing having sailed a 54' cutter rigged Columbia back to the US from Am Samoa and Hawaii years ago:) You ever make it back to this side of the world, the scotch and ice are on me..seriously.

If you compare the Chacal to Nomic...you get a lot less weight both physically and in swing weight. A pick that will easily sink in any kind of ice, can not be easily broken or bent (i've tried @ 200#) and clean even easier than you can possibly imagine. (honest) The pick is fairly high tech for tooth design and it is forged. There is no longer a need to swing, more like a scratch and hook technique is all that is required now. Any one that ever used a Terro would absolutly love these things no matter how ugly you think they are at first impression. (far as I can tell there are few us around to make the comparison)

Biggest thing is they are leashless. Sounds really weird but it takes a LOT less strength to climb leashless. Couple of reasons for that. One you work the hands more like rock climbing, you drop your hands to shake a pump. You can wear lighter gloves and still be warmer because the wrist straps don't cut off the circulation in addition of being able to drop your hands and get the blood back in them easier.

You end up using natural features more often because you
can so easily let go of your tools with either a body "holster" or unbilicals. The antler handles and radical clearence bend allow you to move your hands up and down the shaft to take full advantage of every placement. So you make fewer...and I mean a lot fewer... placements than you would with say a Chacel or a Terro. As a "dager" they are amazingly secure on moderate terrain front pointing.

Not having a spike or hammer would seem to be a major disadvantage but actually way less that you would think at first glance. Stick the head in the snow and they make a decent walking stick on steep ground. Teeth on the back top of the pick hook well in that fashion. ( I stupidly ground my off on a couple of sets of picks before finding the technique) The rear end of the pick sticks out just enough to remove many pins if you are careful just not easily place them. Although a hammer is easily enough to add on the Nomic. (working on a terro type axe for mine) But there are similar tools that eliminate all those issues with little loss of the advantages of the more extreme Nomic. I've used both the newest BD carbon Cobra and the Petzel Quark.





I remember thinking Twight was being a little "out there" with his tool choice on the Slovak route, a bent shafted Cobra axe and a Carbon fiber BP hammer that he later gave me as a gift. Obviously he wasn't just ahead of the curve. With the tools Mark told me, "open your mind." Took me another 5 years to just begin that journey!

When I started climbing again a few years ago two pictures shook me up.



"Chris Brazeau soloing Mt. Alberta's signature feature--the 500-meter, fifty-five-degree ice face, shaped like an inverted triangle, that lies below the north-face headwall."

Having been there twice, including just days after Tobin's accident, I was spellbound with the thought process behind the tool. The modern tool being used here was way outside my realm of imagination for that route. Even after making the 2nd solo ascent of Edith Cavell after Robbins and the 2nd on Slipstream along with a number of the older "hard" routes in the area.

Then these really blew me away.





Shooting Gallery on Andromedia. A moderate alpine climb with a Nomic...WTF?

Then Ueli Steck.



I had spent a season with a set or Quarks. Soloed Shooting Gallery in winter with them along with Polar Circus. Nice tool and much more useable than expected. Then I saw a photo some where of Steck on the Difficult Crack. A place I have been that impressed me. Lots of dry tool marks that weren't there in '78. Steck of course had Nomics in hand in that picture.

At that point I went looking for a pair for cheap but still not convinced. Haven't climbed with anything since no matter the terrain. They are so much of an advantage for an old fat guy like me on modern technical terrain that I can easily over look the minor disadvantages. Add to that ice screws, that go in like Friends do in a clean crack, while holding more. Ice climbing is a whole different sport.

These from last week.









All this is one of the reasons I think it was McInnes and the Terro that has made the biggest influence on ice climbing.

I'd really like to hear any other comments on the comparisons of the old tools to the newest out there.
Wee Jock

climber
Feb 22, 2009 - 07:54pm PT
Dane, thanks for your analysis - very interesting, but those tools still look really weird (but didn't the terrors when they first came out??). Curious why you call them 'terro' and not 'terror'?? I think the word 'terror' very fitting, don't you!!

I can think of one critical problem with the new 'leashless' tools on alpine routes - dropping a tool. Could leave you in much trouble!

What do you do with one of the new tools when you go over the top of a bulge of hard (or crappy) ice into deep powder snow? That was one of the main reasons I loved my terror axe and would have considered climbing with 2 axes and a peg hammer, except that the axe was too light for hard, brittle ice. I never had a 'Barracuda' to go with my Chacal...I gave up alpinism before it came out (even before the Chacal was available commercially). What was the adze on that like? Judging by your photo I think I would have really liked to climb with a chacal and a barracuda.

I refer you to the article on the Croz posted above ... Kingy (and I) considered 'hooking' and 'torquing' etc as pure cheating (near the end of the article). Clearly ethics change!
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Feb 22, 2009 - 08:29pm PT
Umbilicals, lad :)





Nothing new to me 'cuz I used them soloing all kinds of stuff after seeing the Burgess twins and Bugs all hooked up for aid in the '70s. Took a bunch of sh#t for it while guiding as the token American with the local Candian hard men but didn't really give a sh#t as I was more concerned with living. Plopped off onto them more than once which obviously saved my life. Falling off first always kept me from looking for "aid" on ice! Remember how we'd run stuff out? I recently sold my old ice rack to a (can you believe it) collector. 8 chouinard tubes, 4 snarks and a wart hog. That is all I ever owned or used...on anything,, and never once placed them all on a lead!

Now guys place 15 or 20 screws on one pitch with less effort than we did just making anchors. Foook me running things are DIFFERENT!

I used a Zero and a Chacal a lot. Then two Chacals and finally the Barracuda match. Been told lots of guys went to two Barracuda and a alpine hammer. The adze on a Terro and the Barracuda got me up more than one sun rotten pillar of Canadian ice that wouldn't tale a screw or a pick

Back to unbilicals. I learned two seasons ago...if you are going more than a rope length off the deck, both me and my partner will have umbilicals. I had expensive trips wrecked years ago from dropped tools when we used leashes. Leashless is a recipe for disaster without umbilicals. Screw the 'ethical" concerns on that one. I don't want to waste my time and energy messing around trading tools back and forth or the second climbing the rope.

BD and Grivel now offer commercial versions that are really slick. They girth hitch on to the harness (yes everyone wears an almost comfortable harness these days) with a swivel and full weight tiny biners to clip on and off the tool.

"What do you do with one of the new tools when you go over the top of a bulge of hard (or crappy) ice into deep powder snow"

I punt? The longer pics help but the combo of bigger clearence (radically bent handles) and longer picks usually make it a non issue now. I know hard to believe...

"Kingy (and I) considered 'hooking' and 'torquing' etc as pure cheating (near the end of the article). Clearly ethics change!"

Jello and others will no doubt role their eyes at this one and chuckle but I agree, it is cheating....really fun but still it is cheating....and for this old man, it feels realllyyyy gooooooood :) The ethics didn't change, for better or worse, climbing did.

Terro or Terror? Gordon, I'd like to have an answer for you but fact is I am just not that good at typing :) Strange looking......yes but hasn't form always eventually followed function in climbing?



Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 7, 2009 - 10:03am PT
A stylin' Jello shot by Tom Frost from the 79 Ama Dablam expedition.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2009 - 04:24pm PT
Great News DR!


From Mountain 41.
#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Mar 8, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
Great - I might need one for getting downtown safely. We had a little ice event last night - all melted today. But I had to wear crampons to walk downtown to dinner. I need a baby ice pick that will fit in my fancy evening out backpack. Does it come in colors?

Ah the demands of living in a social mountain town.

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