Chouinard Alpine hammer and Piolet questions?

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Ain't no flatlander

climber
Jan 15, 2009 - 11:39am PT
Here's a different version of the crag hammer.



IIRC the Rooster was a knockoff of the Teradactyl which pre-dated the Chacal but didn't have replaceable picks.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jan 15, 2009 - 11:45am PT
Flatlander - that looks like one where the end of the pick with the teeth got shaved off. has it been modified?
Just curious... I haven't seen one like that before that didn't have teeth.

Back middle unit in this shot (posted above) looks like a Terrordactyl.


Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 15, 2009 - 12:20pm PT
I'll throw a little confusion into the Piolet stamping. No longer certain that I remember accurately, but...

I think the very earliest Piolets were stamped only CHOUINARD. Then FROST was added. Rumor around the Diamond-C shop was that it was at the insistence of Tom's then-wife, Dorene. That could account for the double stamp, btw.

The modest Frost would never have suggested such a thing himself. I always thought it was particularly ironic for his name to show up only on the axes, because of all the hardware that went out of there the axe was mostly YCs design, with the least input from Frost.

No question, of course, that the later 70s Piolets, after YC bought out Tom, were stamped only CHOUINARD.

The famous "Diamond-C" mark was on everything else. That too seemed at times ironic. Like on the Stoppers, which Frost and I designed together (and I got to name), with very little input from Yvon, who was partial to Hexes.
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 15, 2009 - 02:04pm PT
Crag hammers? I always thought the first Crag hammers were simply Alpine hammers with the teeth lobed off. Makes sense when they changed the Alpine hammer design to make it better balanced by removing weight from the back end. The heavy ended hammers were better for pounding pins. Cheaper to lop off the teeth and remarket them as a "new" hammer. Next generation of Crag hammers were just unfinished alpine hammers, brilliant :)

Chacals? First one I saw in Canada was John Lauchlan's. My understanding from conversations while working together was he and Dwayne Congdon were given the tools by Simond while representatives at the Chamonix meet in '79. MEC in Calgary had them by the late winter of '79/80. Carlos and I climbed together a good bit the winter/spring of '80/'81. I used a set of Forrest Lifetimes later that season including on a early one day ascent of Polar Circus. But used a set of Clog Vultures earlier in the season on the 2nd ascent of Slipstream done in a day. I had some gear stolen and IIRC we both switched later in the year to Chacals. Its been 30 years but I do remember being a little leery of the Chacals pick atatchment over the Forrest tools. (Carlos is still kicking in Canmore and with a couple of new babies, and can correct me if I am off ;)

Early shot of a previous ascent of Polar Circus..using a Curver and a hand forged North Wall hammer.



Roosterheads? Had several. The forward spike was way ahead of its' time. Worked well as intended. Mugs used one on Moonflower and Moose's Tooth. I cut the spike off mine and always ended up tearing the hammer off pounding pins. So although cheaper and a bit lighter I always went back to a Terro. The blue Terro pictured above I was told came from the last production run. The blue is a heat cured paint, rubber grip is more substantial than the earlier production runs of silver then black terros.

Rexilon? Laminated hickory?

Chouinard never used a laminated Hickory that I know of. They did however use Rexilon which does look like it could be laminated hickory. Ash, Hickory, bamboo and Rexilon all were available at one time or another but not all were imported into the USA.

Bit of trivia for you ;)

"The Rexilon shaft on Chouinard ice axes was made of a laminate of 18-layers of beech ("faggio" in Italian). It was originally used for pole-vaulting poles in the days before fiberglass composites. CAMP used this before bamboo but both were available for a while."

Piolet stamps? Thanks Doug. I have a couple of old 55s. One in hickory that is a later production axe by the dbl set of teeth in the pick and 3 rivets in the shaft. So think you solved its' production time frame and stamping mystery. But my earlier 55cm bamboo piolet has one set of teeth and 2 rivets in the shaft and only the Chouinard logo.

Obvious the stamp on all my tools is a two part CHOUINARD...FROST stamping with close inspection. If the production started and ended with a CHOUINARD only stamp it would more easily fit what I see on the tools I have.
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 15, 2009 - 03:50pm PT
2nd gen (1980 black) and a last (?date/ blue) gen Terro.



Chacal '81 and Barracuda from 1982/83?



Clog Vulture hammer 1980



How about the other end of the equation, Crampons?

Chouinard rigids from 1974. Never broke a pair but did file the front points into non exsistance.



Chouinard Rigids from 1977



Much to my surprise I just noticed there were no Chouinard Rigids in the '78 catalog. Chouinard Hinged from 1978



Loved these crampons later on with Koflachs and made the cable toe mod for my own use.



Did something similar to my SMC rigid by cutting, bending the front post and adding rings. I think my partners and I cracked every pair of front posts on SMC rigids we used. Stopped using them by '81 though and went to the lighter and certainly more durable hinged Chouinard.



By '85 I was on these...the first binding I used. Chouinards again. Still a great crampon on steep, pure ice with a rigid soled boot.



And three different versions of the Chouinard rigid front points.



My take is Chouinard and climbers were less and less involved in the design and manufacturing as some of these changes (wood to fiberglass shafts for instance) were incorported.

No question in my mind that the first fiber glass axes didn't climb as well on steep ice as the earlier bamboo did. It took awhile.

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 15, 2009 - 04:24pm PT
"Marty Karabin gave me a chart one time that had no less than 16 different renditions of the Chouinard hammers over the years."

I wonder if he also kept a Karabiner chart?

I have a 1973/74 Chouinard/Frost piolet in almost new condition, and would not want to part with it. A lovely piece of gear, in addition to its sentimental value.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 15, 2009 - 04:59pm PT
Choinard himself was very active in making the first fiberglass shafts for the Piolet. Driven to it I assume just by breakage. The glass was laid up on an aluminum blank that gave the shape. He was very proud of the used pizza oven he had just installed in the shop to cook the resin. I could see that he liked the technical challenge of getting it all to work. I was writing for a new magazine, a startup called Outside, and did a review.
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 15, 2009 - 08:35pm PT
Doug you are such a wealth of info, thanks for sharing and clarifing what was really going on at GPIW. I've just been guessing from my own use.

Funny story about the first Premana, hand finished, heads on fiberglass shafts.

BITD I was buying what ever Chouinard came out with new for ice climbing. I Assumed each new version would offer some advantage and increase either my abilities or safety on ice.

The bamboo Zeros in the '78 catalog that were obviously painted to resemble the newest carbon-glass turned out to be not that great with the newest synthetic shaft. Axe was a similar situation at least for my own use on cold Canadian winter ice.

Less than a season into using the new carbon versions I was begging to rebuy my old set of bamboo 50cm Zeros. They had a shorter spike and came in 50s instead of the 55 Carbons that I had bought. Most importantly they placed easier imo.

Those tools were later borrowed with out permission, then lost/thrown away in ground lightening storm. Then they turned up again in another old partners garage two years later. He'd gone back the next season and collected all the gear they had abandoned. Just never mentioned it to anyone

I was admiring "his" Zeros until I realised they actually had my name engraved on them. Took them home on the spot much to his consternation:) And for fun, later did a lot of moderate water ice with them in the mid '80s. Not that I still use it but always kept a bamboo Zero around since then. My last Premana carbon shaft Piolet I traded off '88.

The scene of the crime:




RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2009 - 03:08am PT
Hard to believe no one is posting pics of their old tools?!



Anyone have a picture of one of the first carbon axes with a Premana head and the blue carbon shaft? How about the same with Zero heads, hammer and adze?

Love to see a forged Climax with the hammer end hammered out like the4 phot below. Anyone actually got one of these? I've never even seen one in person. The Camp Climax I'd see a number of times bitd.




Alpine hammers? Big difference in use and feel between 1st gen and 5 generations later.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 29, 2009 - 11:19am PT
Ken Yager and I were going throught Tom's old gear box and came across the Well worn Piolet that he took on the Annapurna South Face expedition. As I was examining the axe carefully, Tom asked me what I was looking for. I responded that I was trying to see if his name was scratched or engraved anywhere. We both carefully turned and examined the venerable piolet until Tom proclaimed with a laugh, "There it is!"

Engraved neatly on the side of the pick--Chouinard-Frost!

Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 29, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
Just a short aside:

Once when conversing with Yvon I asked what he recommended as the ideal shaft length for an ice axe. His answer of 50-60 cm seemed a little short to me so I asked, Why so short? His answer, If 55cm doesn't reach the snow then the slope doesn't warrant using an axe.
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jan 29, 2009 - 02:47pm PT
Crappy, but recent pic of my Salewa hinged and Chouinard rigids


(Previously posted pic)
My Alpine hammer that got chopped into a wall hammer.


Interalp axe
I bought the knock off
because as a teen ager I couldn't afford the GPIW gear


That Forrest hammer, fitted with the 'terradactyl' pick (shown with 'Alpine pick') was actually a reasonably descent tool.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 29, 2009 - 05:27pm PT
Burns,

Here's an early blue carbon shaft with Zero head/Premana:






Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jan 30, 2009 - 11:57pm PT
Bump for Burns
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2009 - 02:32am PT
Thanks Don. Nice looking axe!

Ain't it funny? I wanted to chop my first alpine hammer and make a rock hammer with a slightly longer "pick" for cleaning. Just never had the guts.

The one up top looks good!
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jan 31, 2009 - 12:44pm PT
A little filler material... some stuff that hasn't been shown yet, some older and some newer stuff just to fill out the range. Check out the picture at the bottom...





Old French hammer, I think...


Stubai



The "Stanley Hammer" of ice axes. Lowe Hummingbird


Regular Lowe Hummingbird axe


Terrordactyl


curved shaft Black Prophet


straight shaft Black Prophet


Mid-range (80's) Chouinard axe


Variations on the theme...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 31, 2009 - 01:01pm PT
Now THAT's a proper post...
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 2, 2009 - 01:41am PT
Kind of a harsh place to find it but I think this is the axe Todd Eastman was writing about earlier. Fitting I guess that Scared Silly went looking for this head stone and posted it in the Chamonix thread.



photo by Mikebny
climber bob

Social climber
maine
Feb 4, 2009 - 07:29am PT
heres a glimpse into the future
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 4, 2009 - 11:08am PT
Of expensive paperweights.....LOL
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