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larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
recent deaths in the climbing world on 08/29/2009 21:24:26 MDT Print View

The climbing world has lost three of its most iconic people recently.
49 year old Craig Luebben died on a North Cascades test piece,the Torrent-Forbidden Traverse when a car sized block of ice calved from the glacier causing a leader fall and hitting him with ice.
Craig was prolific climber, guide, teacher, and the inventor of the BigBro expanding tube chock.
John Bachar, 52, died will soloing near Mammoth Mountain. John was the epitome of the spirit of rock climbing, oftened maligned for his free soloing he was unquestioonably the greatest climber of our generation.
Riccardo Cassin, 100, continued his climbing adventues well into his 80s.
In the late 1940s Riccardo designed them modern ice axe as we know it.
I doubt we modern day warriors can imagine leading the climbing world of the Alps and Himal of the 1930s or free soloing 5.11 in Yosemite when that grade did not exist, or teaching thousands of people to climb and having the time and energy of literally hundreds of first ascents.
Heros, gravity, and old age.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Ice Axe history on 09/06/2009 17:01:54 MDT Print View

I'm no expert, but www.grivel.com says: "In The years between the two world wars saw an advance in the technical use of crampons, reducing the length and weight of the ice-axes without making great changes in their design.
The end of the 2nd. world war witnessed an increased interest in alpinism. Tools became shorter, lighter, and offered a better performance whilst maintaining traditional design, up until the middle of the 1960's. Questions of safety and technical ability became partially separated.
Discussions on norms of safety were initiated by OAV -Kosmath in the 1960's and continued by DAV - Schubert in the 60's and 70's. Agreement on the norms was only achieved in 1978 by the Safety Commission UIAA. These discussions prompted the adoption of metal alloy for shafts instead of the traditional wood, initially by CAMP in Europe and Forrest in the USA.
Technically a more aggressive and curved pick was called for. But it wasn't easy as Yvon Chouinard (Climbing Ice) tells that in 1966 "it took the intervention of Donald Snell to convince the very reluctant and conservative Charlet factory to make a 55cms. axe with a curved pick for the crazy American. In those days a 55cm. axe was crazy enough - but a curved pick!" The idea was right and successful. The Scots made it even more bent but shorter and straight, due to their specific needs though it was really hard on knuckles (maybe this is where the name Pterodactyl comes from).
At the beginning of the 1970's the concept of "piolet traction" became increasingly popular and later in 1975 the American Forrest (Mjollnr) and the Frenchman Simond Chacal (creator of the modular blade) fathered the idea of changing the tip's curve creating the "banana" blades that we still use today. In 1976 Lowe proposed the tubular blade which, with ups and downs, is still the source of debate between supporters and critics. At the beginning of the 1980's modular tools gained the upper hand (Simond, Grivel, Stubai, Lowe). A few years later the first light alloy modular heads were introduced (Charlet) and in 1986, first Grivel and then Charlet proposed an old English idea (EBOC), the ergonomic or curved handle. The following revolution is modern history and can be seen in shop windows." If in fact "In the late 1940s Riccardo designed them modern ice axe as we know it," is the Grivel factory deliberately snubbing him?

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
corrected, it was the Alps on 09/07/2009 10:19:08 MDT Print View

No, I was having a bit of license linking the three deaths together into a cherent thread [for me].
Since it appears very few climbers hang out around BPL I decided to act like a Stateside politician and make up what I wanted; Cassin designed and produced his first ice axe in 1949, one of many post war equipment makers, but one must marvel at his titanium crampons in 1960.
I don't know what to do for the poor Scots now that England is claiming rights to both haggis and blood pudding it is certain the Scots were the first to create Maalox.[I do have a lovely Hammish McInnes ice axe which, I'll allow research room here, was the first all-metal ice axe.]
The problem with these kinds of procalmation is there very vagueness and repetition becoming gospel and I apologize for my part in this. A good example of this is the oft touted Ray Jardine inventing the mechanical camming device, which was discretely devolped by two Frenchmen named Phillipe and Og.
As a side note Ricardo Cassin did invent the Alps.
Thanks for the correction.