Vintage mountaineering gear

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
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nyker
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Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by nyker »

I picked this up recently in an old rummage shop, thought it was pretty cool thought some folks would be interested in seeing it.

It is a vintage Italian made Chouinard-Frost wood shaft axe, sort of figure this was made in the late 1960s to 1975 when Frost left their partnership. I think handle is made from hickory or bamboo, but not sure any other detail/history about it.
Anyone know more about this? I was thinking it would be pretty neat if it saw time on early Everest or K2 expeditions...but would probably never know.

Does anyone else have any vintage gear you picked up or maybe still have from back in the day? Post some pics!
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Scott P
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by Scott P »

I borrowed my dad's wooden handle ice axe to do several climbs (before I could afford my own). Here it is when I took a solo trip down to Mexico at age 18.
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There are lots of things that are now vintage in the photos, including the appearance of the mountains themselves.

1. The wooden handle ice axe.

2. The external frame pack.

3. This photo was taken on my climb of Popocatepetl, pre-eruption and back when it was still legal to climb and was the most popular climb in Mexico. A lot has changed since then!

4. That's Iztaccuhuatl in the background. The glaciers in the photo are nearly extinct.

Incidentally, my dad still uses that wooden handle ice axe, but I repaired the lower spike several years ago.

This is the same trip as above (Mexico), with me in wool army surplus pants with Popo in the background. I don't think anyone wears wool pants anymore, but 30 years ago you could pick up a pair for $10 and they were warm enough to climb some pretty high mountains. They were tough too.
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I recently gave them to the second hand store since they don't fit me anymore and my kids didn't want them.
Last edited by Scott P on Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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nyker
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by nyker »

That's pretty cool Scott. I think this wood axe will be a wall hanger, don't want to rip it up.
That's a lot of ice coverage on Izta. I've tried climbing Popo twice, but didn't even get started both times due to it being off limits. One day...
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Scott P
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by Scott P »

nyker wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:55 pm I've tried climbing Popo twice, but didn't even get started both times due to it being off limits. One day...
I climbed it in 1992 and it went off limits in 1994. It used to have big glaciers and big crevasses (though the standard route avoided the crevasses). It had been dead for quite a while before blowing up. I'm guessing that it won't be open to climbing for many years to come.

Incidentally my dad climbed St Helens pre-eruption with the same wooden handled ice axe in the photo so the ice axe has been to the top of at least two climbs/mountains that no longer exist In the state they were in since the time those climbs were done with the axe.

I wonder how many other wooden handled ice axes still in existence have been to 9677 feet on St Helens and Popo pre eruption? Probably not many.

PS, that's a nice axe you have there.
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desertdog
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by desertdog »

Scott P wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:04 pm
nyker wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:55 pm I've tried climbing Popo twice, but didn't even get started both times due to it being off limits. One day...
I climbed it in 1992 and it went off limits in 1994. It used to have big glaciers and big crevasses (though the standard route avoided the crevasses). It had been dead for quite a while before blowing up. I'm guessing that it won't be open to climbing for many years to come.

Incidentally my dad climbed St Helens pre-eruption with the same wooden handled ice axe in the photo so the ice axe has been to the top of at least two climbs/mountains that no longer exist In the state they were in since the time those climbs were done with the axe.

I wonder how many other wooden handled ice axes still in existence have been to 9677 feet on St Helens and Popo pre eruption? Probably not many.

PS, that's a nice axe you have there.
Wow, that’s great. I’ve only know one other person that’s climbed Popo and he happened to be with me on Orizaba. His story about the climb was a good one. I remember seeing Popo’s steaming crater at sunrise and it was a beautiful sight.
The summit is a source of power. The long view gives one knowledge and time to prepare. The summit, by virtue of the dizzying exposure, leaves one vulnerable. A bit of confidence and a dash of humility is all we get for our work. Yet to share these moments with friends is to be human. C. Anker
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by Jorts »

Scott P wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:43 pm
126817.jpg
Don’t look particularly slow or fat there.
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Rollie Free
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by Rollie Free »

Can't classify it as mountaineer type equipment but I used a 1970's external frame pack that was big on frame and little on pack on my first several overnight 14ers. The canvas had no stretch and wasn't very generous anyway so I ended up hanging a lot of stuff outside on the frame. Ended up looking like one of those novelty one man bands.
It made up for all that trouble by being ill fitting and the frame being like ice in colder temps.
I actually got stopped once by a guy just making fun of it.
But hey, I grew up in the 70's. The tents were to die for.
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by TomPierce »

Having started w mountaineering in the 70's (and hiking well before), I've used my share of "vintage" gear, although at the time it was considered mainstream or even a bit near the cutting edge for its day. In no particular order: A rigid frame pack (from Sears, $23), a Holubar shell parka, a Gerry canister stove (one of the first), clunky Vasque leather boots, a Joe Brown fiberglass helmet (ugh, heavy, hot). I still have a use some WC rigid stem cams; one piece I still carry on solo recon trips because it's so versatile; slung Gunks-style and lighter than an equivalent-sized Camalot w a flex stem. Most of that gear was retired or passed on. I still use a Svea 123 several times a year, coupled with a British Bulldog pot. Actually good stuff; if you like a liquid fuel stove it compares favorably in weight with other liquid fuel stoves, depending how you measure, but of course it has a few quirks.

One thing I've concluded with gear is that in some cases the new stuff is way, way better, e.g. footwear, ice screws, cams, helmets. Light years better IMO. But with other gear some of the older stuff is IMO better, e.g. some tech packs, stoves, ice tools. It also seems to me how the Latest New Thing in gear is, in some cases, just the classic "need creation" of retailers, i.e. if they made perfect, near indestructible gear, what's their sales growth model? Very prevalent in cycling as well. Gotta keep 'em buyin'...Just my opinions.

-Tom

PS: Pretty sure the shaft of your axe is hickory, that's the usual pick for hammers & axes. Tough ass wood. But that's a guess.
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by ltlFish99 »

TomPierce wrote: Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:05 pm Having started w mountaineering in the 70's (and hiking well before), I've used my share of "vintage" gear, although at the time it was considered mainstream or even a bit near the cutting edge for its day. In no particular order: A rigid frame pack (from Sears, $23), a Holubar shell parka, a Gerry canister stove (one of the first), clunky Vasque leather boots, a Joe Brown fiberglass helmet (ugh, heavy, hot). I still have a use some WC rigid stem cams; one piece I still carry on solo recon trips because it's so versatile; slung Gunks-style and lighter than an equivalent-sized Camalot w a flex stem. Most of that gear was retired or passed on. I still use a Svea 123 several times a year, coupled with a British Bulldog pot. Actually good stuff; if you like a liquid fuel stove it compares favorably in weight with other liquid fuel stoves, depending how you measure, but of course it has a few quirks.

One thing I've concluded with gear is that in some cases the new stuff is way, way better, e.g. footwear, ice screws, cams, helmets. Light years better IMO. But with other gear some of the older stuff is IMO better, e.g. some tech packs, stoves, ice tools. It also seems to me how the Latest New Thing in gear is, in some cases, just the classic "need creation" of retailers, i.e. if they made perfect, near indestructible gear, what's their sales growth model? Very prevalent in cycling as well. Gotta keep 'em buyin'...Just my opinions.

-Tom

PS: Pretty sure the shaft of your axe is hickory, that's the usual pick for hammers & axes. Tough ass wood. But that's a guess.
My first helmet was a Joe Brown fiberglass helmet. They are indeed heavy.
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by ltlFish99 »

I'm am still ignorant if the picture posting process, but the oldest item I personally have is a pair of those neon green zKolflach boots. Got mine in 1987.
They would make for a good laugh from people at the Ouray ice park.
Finally, after 33 years they have been replaced.
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rijaca
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by rijaca »

nyker wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:33 pm It is a vintage Italian made Chouinard-Frost wood shaft axe, sort of figure this was made in the late 1960s to 1975 when Frost left their partnership. I think handle is made from hickory or bamboo, but not sure any other detail/history about it.
Anyone know more about this? I was thinking it would be pretty neat if it saw time on early Everest or K2 expeditions...but would probably never know.

Does anyone else have any vintage gear you picked up or maybe still have from back in the day? Post some pics!
I have a Camp ice axe I purchased in 1980/81....
Ice axe.JPG
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I also still have my Gerry sleeping bag purchased sometime in the 1970s....
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nyker
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Re: Vintage mountaineering gear

Post by nyker »

Cool. and nice graphics on that bag!
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