Chouinard Alpine hammer and Piolet questions?

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Messages 41 - 60 of total 97 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2009 - 12:05pm PT
What the hell is that thing Eli?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 4, 2009 - 12:28pm PT
'Looks like an over engineered beer bottle opener.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Feb 4, 2009 - 01:08pm PT
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.
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2009 - 02:37pm PT
Take your "pick" Todd :)

Forgot to ask, is the axe in teh head stone the more durable model you were using in the Alps later on?
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Feb 7, 2009 - 12:27pm PT
I was cleaning my office this morning and came across the provenance statement typed up by Rusty Baillie that I got when I bought the Terrordactyl (above and below) in an Access Fund auction at a Phoenix Bouldering Contest in the early '90's. Might be interesting to some...




Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 7, 2009 - 12:36pm PT
Very cool historical tidbit fro Mr. Baillie!
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 7, 2009 - 12:58pm PT
This has become a most excellent thread! So, Dane, unless I missed it has nobody mentioned the axe Bill Sumner (the founder of Seattle's Swallow's Nest) made which had mercury in the head to give it more impact? I'd like to see him try that these days. You'd need to file an environmental impact statement to buy the thing. I gotta say it did 'set' nicely. I think he only made a couple of prototypes.

As an aside, Dane, is Bill still living in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan? I know it is now Almaty but I still call St Petersburg Leningrad.
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2009 - 09:11pm PT
Reilly I just barely remember the mercury axe. Saw a flier early on about it iirc but never saw the real thing. Swallows Nest though was a true toy store of stuff we never got to see and seldom could afford. Big deal for me to drive over from C'dA and buy a set terros and Helly Henson pile BITD. I use to drool over their hand typed news letters though!

Although I never had the pleasure to meet Bill Sumner, he's where? Next questions would have to be why?

Steel Monkey...that is a great piece of trivia and even better story behind the Terro hammer. I had wondered what the deal was with the obviously longer shaft. A pair of them were well ahead of their time. I used a "short" set of Terros on Polar Circus a few months before Bill and Rusty's climb. Back when a day and a half was climbing fast. Even cooler though that you own the hammer! I get an email from Rusty once in awhile now that he is out this way. He spends his free time putting up new rock routes for the locals. I'll see if I can't get him on SuperTaco for a conversation.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 7, 2009 - 09:24pm PT
Dane,
I thought that you might have your ear to the ground up there as regards Bill's whereabouts. I'll bet Alex Bertulis knows. Bill met some Russkie hottie, how I forget, and followed her home to, you heard me correctly, Alma Ata, Kazakhstan way back in the mid 70's after he sold the Nest. The things we'll do for love! Having been to Alma Ata as well as Dushanbe down the street I can say in no uncertain terms that it would have taken Heidi Klum to get me to move there back then. Of course it could be said that back then you could at least count on good public safety, lol.
Michael Sharpley

Mountain climber
Eugene,OR
Feb 8, 2009 - 06:36am PT
Greetings gentlemen,

Interesting post(s)on the Chouinard Piolet.

I have a 70cm, bamboo shaft, Chouinard-Frost axe I bought in 1973 at the Kelty store in Glendale, CA..

My primary use was in the High Sierra, either going in early or late for the summer season, and the snow or ice one can still encounter on the passes.Came in very handy during a freak snow storm in the Whitney area during the Labor Day weekend in '78!

At the time, as a noobie,I let someone talk me into adding a wrist loop with sliding ring on shaft.This entailed drilling a hole into the shaft for the "stop" screw.

Now,as a treasure of my youth,I regret doing so! Of course it would be Best unmolested.
I rarely see such a set up, and as most of you know, the webbing tied thru the carabiner hole is the prefered method.
What the hell was I thinking?

Thoughts, comments, opinions, rants ? haha
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2009 - 08:13pm PT
Not a big deal Michael, just pull the screw and fill the hole with a good quality wood puddy and gently sand smooth again.

Careful that you don't sand a indent into the shaft while doing so. I have a 80cm axe that I did the same on.
Michael Sharpley

Mountain climber
Eugene,OR
Feb 8, 2009 - 09:49pm PT
Thanks, Dane.

Yeaahh...I know I could just fill it...wonder if it affects strength? ...or value? - although I would never sell it.
Who knew it would become a cool collectable?- so it still makes me want to kick myself for "molesting" it.

Wonder if I should even use it anymore?...it sat for many years mocking me: "When are you going to use me again?!"

Sooo...what was the deal with those ring-over-shaft
wrist loops -just a gimmick? Or a preference? -and why?
Did the Pros use them?
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 8, 2009 - 11:42pm PT
da pro's didn't them, but they sure helped the clients from dropping them down the hill.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 9, 2009 - 12:18am PT
On the other ice climbing thread we have goin' right now,
Dane did a great job of sleuthing some images of a handmade MacInnes ax from the 60s.

So I followed him into eBay world...
Has anybody seen these, like, anywhere before?



I'm thinking, pearl handles would really round these out nicely...
But either way, what machinist/gearhead/filigree expert/spot polishing enthusiast wouldn't want these hanging up on the wall?
(Yup, right up there, opposite the Lamborghini Miura)
SGropp

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
Feb 25, 2009 - 04:25pm PT
I have a 70cm Chouinard - Frost Piolet with a hickory shaft that I got in 73, also the heavy Alpine hammer and heavy Crag I also have an Interalp-Camp north wall hammer with an ash shaft. I had a Cimaxe for a while but it was too light to be much use.
I gleefully treaded my Aschenbrenner 85cm. axe for the Chouinard with a girl in my dorm who complained that the piolet was too short.
The wooden shafts and solid forged heads of these tool were easy on the hand, dampened vibration and stuck solid with a natural swing.
These tools were solid companions on many, many climbs with never a complaint. I still have them and would never give them up.
Just yesterday, I bought the latest incarnations; BD Raven and Raven Pro to give to my two sons to help get them started on their mountain journeys. As a full time professional blacksmith, the slender investment cast heads look so delicate to my eye, but I've learned to respect Chouinard and BD gear. I'm hoping my faith is well founded.

In 1972 , two high school friends were descending from the summit of Mt Rainier via the Kautz Glacier Route. We were below the summit cloud that had whited out the view from the top. There was a weird weather inversion that made for very mushy conditions .
I was leading the rope down and we were all having trouble with snow balling under our crampons . Suddenly one or all of us fell and shot down the slope. The second man lost his axe when we all went into self arrest. The slender pick of my Aschenbrenner axe was slicing an ineffective high speed groove down the mountain.
We were finally stopped just at the very edge of the Kautz Headwall poised precariously above the chaotic icefall far below. Reese Martin, the 3rd man on the rope had managed to stop all three of use with his MSR Thunderbird, a hideous metal day glo monster.
Nowadays the Kautz Glacier is all but gone, melted awy from climate change.
Reese Martin was killed a few years ago in a paragliding accident.I lost track of him after we did the Liberty Crack in 75, does anyone here have any info on his climbing career since then?
One more note on vintage ice gear; one of the founders of the company CMI lives on the next island . CMI made some of the first tubular steel handled piton hammers and drooped pick ice axes in the late sixties as well as a line of alloy steel angles. He led the first winter ascent of Denali [1968?] so grippingly chroniceled in the book "Minus 148"
I think CMI went under when Chouinard gear came out and changed the world.


Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
"One more note on vintage ice gear; one of the founders of the company CMI lives on the next island . CMI made some of the first tubular steel handled piton hammers and drooped pick ice axes in the late sixties as well as a line of alloy steel angles. He led the first winter ascent of Denali [1968?] so grippingly chroniceled in the book "Minus 148"
I think CMI went under when Chouinard gear came out and changed the world."

CMI is still in business but it moved to Franklin WV many years ago. Still make some of the best pulleys around. http://www.cmi-gear.com/

Both CMI and CAMP have laid claim to making the first metal-shafted ice axe. It would be interesting to figure out who was actually first, though I suspect it's a case of independent innovation.
scuffy b

climber
just below the San Andreas
Feb 25, 2009 - 05:56pm PT
That beautiful (though perhaps SUTPID) tool on post #40 comes
with built-in excuse:

"woulda sent that tottering stalactite NO PROBLEM, but I was
low on Freon"

hmm, constant-rate or variable-rate spring for today?
Decisions, decisions.

What do you mean, it's getting late???
RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2009 - 03:52am PT
This from Rusty:

From: baillie2@verizon.net
To: rdburns@cnw.com
Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2009 11:29 AM
Subject: Re: Chouinard Alpine hammer

Bergheil,

Just getting insurance to cross into Mexico Viejo and Potrero Chico........
That old Ice Axe still gives me the shivers...............
Regards
Rusty


First metal axe? My bet would go to McInnes and this from the '60s.

Late Night Greg

Ice climber
Rancho Cordova, Ca
Feb 26, 2009 - 04:54am PT
rockermike
Anybody remember the rooster heads? They didn't seem to last in the market too long. Kind of like one of the pictures above (in blue) but with a knuckle protector spike at base of a short shaft.


I like to pick up old ice tools I come across at the right price. I thought the roosters were interesting. It took me quite awhile to find out what they were. I seem to recall reading somewhere that they were designed by a guy named Russell Rainey - anyone know anything about that?

My favorites in my collection are the Hummingbirds. I'm having a hard time figuring out what a Lowe 'Big Bird' is. Who knows what a 'Big Bird' is. A picture would be great. I thought maybe the green bent handled Lowe-Camp tool might be a 'Big Bird' but it has a sticker that says Hummingbird. I'd like to find a mate for the green Hummingbird at the right price.

I'm going to see if any ice is left at the Sunny Falls (Tahoe area)this weekend. I'd like to bring the short Hummingbirds and try out the tube pick. The most modern tools I have are bent handle BD X-15s (the red ones with black rubber grip, not pictured) which are my primary tools.

As for modern tools, I've been lusting for a pair of Quarks




RDB

Trad climber
Iss WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2009 - 11:50am PT
Sure, bunch of us used Rooster heads. Basically a little lighter version of the Terro. Down side was the head was welded on and pounding pins would take the head off with some effort. I went through several before just going back to a terro.

Guys either loved or hated the knuckle protector. Way ahead of it's time. I always cut mine off. Pissed the owner/manufacturer off when I told him what I was doing. They were made in and used a lot by Colorado guys.

Mugs used his Rooster head on both the east face of Moose Tooth and Moon Flower mated to a short Curver.

Thought I had seen them all but until today never seen a Rooster head adze! Nice collection!

Big Bird? Pretty common even today, from the late '80s. It is a full size axe, Lowe design made by Camp. Easy to find on ebay these days. Same tool as your big green one but a straight shaft.
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