Chouinard Alpine hammer and Piolet questions?

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karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
Dec 1, 2009 - 09:45pm PT
CHOUINARD ALPINE HAMMER HISTORY - WOOD HANDLES
1967 - First Year of the Chouinard Alpine Hammer
1967 catalog shows a fuzzy picture of it. Looks like a Crag Hammer pick totally ground down. Handle should have a flat head screw to hold the webbing to the handle. Handle may have silver Chouinard stamp. ("May" - because I have never seen one of these hammers yet and the Yosemite hammers with the flat head screw have silver stamps. 11" handle
Chouinard 1967 Yosemite and Alpine Hammers
Chouinard 1967 Yosemite and Alpine Hammers
Credit: karabin museum
Chouinard 1967 catalog - hammer page
Chouinard 1967 catalog - hammer page
Credit: karabin museum

1968 - Alpine Hammer 2nd generation - new longer pick with 4 teeth near the tip. 11 1/2" handle, red Chouinard stamp on the handle, phillips head screw to hold the webbing to the handle. I am still trying to figure out the difference between the 1968 and 1971 Alpine Hammer (most peoples say 1972 because of the 1972 catalog).
1971 - Alpine Hammer 3rd generation - The 1971 catalog specifically introduces the new Alpine Hammer but has a fuzzy photo of it. 11 1/2" handle, red Chouinard stamp. Looks the same as the 1968 hammer. Both the 68' and 71' have 4 teeth near the tip. Below are two differences I have seen (the bottom photo top hammer), one has teeth even with the bottom edge of the head, the other the teeth are inset. The 1968 catalog and 1972 catalog both show the teeth even with the bottom edge. The 1968/69 catalog mentions a new handle shape, but not any talk about the new hammer head design.
1968 or 1971 Chouinard Alpine Hammer
1968 or 1971 Chouinard Alpine Hammer
Credit: karabin museum
Chouinard Alpine hammers
Chouinard Alpine hammers
Credit: karabin museum

From 1972 to 1974 the Chouinard catalog stayed the same but the price lists in the back of the catalogs changed. Comparing the 1971 Alpine Hammer to the Alpine Hammer shown in the 1975 catalog, it suddenly has a notch, six teeth near the tip and 5 more teeth near the handle. This is where it gets interesting! Brian-SLC has three Alpine Hammers that document the changes (below photo).
1973 - Alpine Hammer 4th generation - In the photo below the middle Alpine Hammer has 4 teeth near the tip and also has a notch. I have seen this version in old REI and EMS catalogs.
1974 - Alpine Hammer 5th generation - In the photo below the bottom Alpine Hammer has 4 teeth at the tip, space, 5 teeth near the handle. Has notch. I have not found any info on this hammer.
1975 - Alpine Hammer 6th generation - In the photo below the top Alpine Hammer has 6 teeth near the tip, space, 5 teeth near the handle. Has notch. This is the version shown in the 1975 Chouinard catalog.
Chouinard 1973-1975 Alpine Hammers
Chouinard 1973-1975 Alpine Hammers
Credit: karabin museum

To make it more fun, the 1973, 1974, 1975 hammers have two different length handles. 11 1/2 " handles have red Chouinard stamp, 13" handles have blue Chouinard stamp. I do not know if there was any rhyme or reason to this since it was not offered as an option in the catalogs. Maybe they ran out of the long handles and put the short ones on, who knows?
Also Brian and I have noticed that some of the heads are thicker and thinner than others. I am not sure if this is caused by the forging process, but the differences are quite noticeable. Differences in thickness also noticable in the 1972 Crag Hammers.
Chouinard 1975 Alpine Hammers
Chouinard 1975 Alpine Hammers
Credit: karabin museum

1977 - Alpine Hammer 7th generation. Notch, full teeth from tip to handle. This hammer looks like Chouinard dipped the teeth end in green plastic for shipping, or handling in the retail stores. 13" handle, blue Chouinard stamp.
From there the hammer handles became rubberized plastic.
Chouinard 1977 Alpine Hammer
Chouinard 1977 Alpine Hammer
Credit: karabin museum

The 1977 Chouinard catalog states that the Alpine Hammer has gone through 5 major design changes. If this is the case Marty's guess:
1967, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1977

I am not counting the 4 teeth space 5 teeth version that Brian-SLC has.
I am not counting the 6 teeth space 5 teeth version shown in the 1975 catalog. I believe that adding the notch to the head, and proof that EMS was selling the notch-4teeth only (1973) version was a big design change.

Rock on! Marty

Barold

Social climber
Christchurch New Zealand
Jan 9, 2011 - 09:52pm PT
Thanks for the last post.

I have been researching my Chouinard Frost piolet and Chouinard alpine hammer.

From the above information I think I have a 1973 Alpine hammer.
Credit: Barold
, (notch in the hammer head and 4 teeth at the tip)

I have more close up pictures on my blog http://baroldstools.blogspot.com/. The whole construction method of holding the head on with wedges and clips is quite different from an ordinay claw hammer. They only have wedges and the shape and friction of the wooden handle with the metal to hold the head. Nothing like putting your life on the line to have added security!!

The other useful item I found was a copy of the 1972 Chouinard Catalogue
at http://www.climbaz.com/chouinard72/chouinard.html.

Cheers
Barold
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Jan 9, 2011 - 10:52pm PT
Barold: Re your post:
From the above information I think I have a 1973 Alpine hammer.

I think that date is about right for your model of Alpine hammer. It may be a little bit earlier than 1973, since it doesn't have the additional teeth of the model I show. As you are aware: the hole in the shaft is not original to the hammer, but was drilled to rig a sling for hand-support.

I approached the same problem differently with my purchased in late 1973 or early 1974: Chouinard Alpine hammer. The hole in the head was drilled by me: to rig a sling for hand-support. Note extra-teeth in the pick, which was a later Chouinard modification over your model.

Drilled &#40;modified&#41; Chouinard Alpine hammer: purchased 1973 or ...
Drilled (modified) Chouinard Alpine hammer: purchased 1973 or early 1974.
Credit: Fritz
RDB

Social climber
wa
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2011 - 11:25pm PT


Actually this is my photo, not Marty's. Ink color has no rational that I can see as I have different vintage hammers and different length hammers with both red and blue ink including the last version.

I'd also be careful where I'd give the credit to some of the hammers with a full set of cut teeth.
Barold

Social climber
Christchurch New Zealand
Jan 10, 2011 - 04:34am PT
Thanks for that

I didn't know about Chouinard before I got the ice axe and hammer. Once I started researching it, the whole story of Chouinard was really interesting and inspiring. From starting out hammering pitons on an anvil to support his climbing lifestyle, to then creating the company with the lifestyle policies and ecological perspective was great.

The climbing world is certainly interesting and innovative.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Sep 3, 2011 - 04:40pm PT
ca. 1978

A Piece of Art
A Piece of Art
Credit: johntp
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Sep 3, 2011 - 11:04pm PT
how about this?
never been used...
never been used...
Credit: Stewart Johnson
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Sep 4, 2011 - 04:13am PT
Stewart- Nice piece o gear.
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
Sep 4, 2011 - 10:33am PT
Stewart,

I have seen many versions of the Climaxe, but they do not have the Chouinard ink stamp on the handle. Looks like the regular hickory Alpine hammer handle placed onto a Climaxe head.

Can you show us a photo of the other side of your Climaxe?

Can I use your photo in my research?

If you are ever selling this Climaxe, please contact me.

RDB, A late thanks for using your photo of your three Alpine Hammers. I think I got the photo from some other source not knowing who to credit.

Rock on! Marty
IV

climber
tahoe
Sep 7, 2011 - 10:21pm PT
nice gear all around
Yogisan

Trad climber
Woodinville, WA
Sep 9, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
Hey rockermike,

I picked up an old ice hammer at a garage sale for 10 bucks. I can't figure out what it is or any history behind it. It matches the one in the lower left corner of your post (from 2009!). Can you help me?

Good to know I am not the only one that loves this stuff!

..Jim
Boom Boom

Social climber
Goodyear, Arizona
Sep 9, 2013 - 11:54am PT
Check out my auction on an original generation Chouinard alpine hammer on EBay. Auction ends in three days... today is 9/9/2013. The hammer is unused and in excellent condition.

eBay item number: 111161213322

http://www.ebay.com/itm/111161213322?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Sep 9, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
This is worth looking at in the context of the discussion:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2064009&msg=2064009#msg2064009

Steve
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 9, 2013 - 02:24pm PT
So I have a 1973 Short Handle.
I probably bought it from Trailwise, Berkeley in '74 or '75.
What was the purpose of the notch? I'm guessing better balance when using the pick. A heavy head would cause the hammer to twist when the pick struck. Which it does anyway.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 9, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
Posted these in another related thread here.
Tad
Early 70's Chouinard Piolet and Alpine Hammer
Early 70's Chouinard Piolet and Alpine Hammer
Credit: T Hocking
Early 70's Chouinard Piolet and Alpine Hammer
Early 70's Chouinard Piolet and Alpine Hammer
Credit: T Hocking
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Sep 9, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
High Traverse & Tad: My thought on the "notch" on the newer Alpine-hammer end is: it lightened up the Alpine Hammer, and did not significantly change its performance.

Chouinard reduced the size & weight of the whole Alpine Hammer in his later models, but the "notch" catches our eyes.

Which is to say: folks like me could swing that newer Alpine Hammer most all day on a long climb----and I did.

The early version was heavy, clunky, and best-used by the Scotts for waterfalls,-----but then they discovered the joy of knuckle-bashing with Pterodactyls.

Here's RDB's photo of the major changes with earliest at left.
Credit: Fritz

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 9, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
Remember when those were state-of-the-art and we felt we could climb anything with them.

The smell of the linseed oil was the ice climbing equivalent to the pine tar we used on our skis, and in time, on our ice tools.
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