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jonny-boy


Dec 6, 2007, 6:36 PM
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Shoes
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What did rock shoes look like back in the day?


salamanizer


Dec 6, 2007, 7:01 PM
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Boots!


aglane


Dec 6, 2007, 7:38 PM
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"Boots" is right. See for example the Peter Limmer custom boot still being made by his sons in Intervale, NH.
http://www.limmerboot.com/

The only alternative was the German Kletterschuh, rope-soled. Limmers and other climbing boots fifty and sixty years ago claimed very advanced soles from Vibram--but nothing like the sticky rubber that came in a generation later.


skinner


Dec 6, 2007, 10:43 PM
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I think hob-nail boots were pretty much the standard for early mountaineers.







Even George Mallory was wearing a pair in 1924 when he went missing on Everest.




Mallory's hobnail boots



Hard to imagine now-a-days.

I think the first original "rock shoe" to employ sticky rubber was the EB.






rc_vinay


Dec 7, 2007, 1:33 AM
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they look like la sportiva mega.


JohnCook


Dec 7, 2007, 11:55 AM
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The original MOAC gollies, 1969, had stickier rubber than EB's or Masters or PA's or RD's. As they were used they didn't wear smooth, they wore into very small flakes of rubber (I believe they were made from the same rubber as drag racing slicks. They were boot type. They were also bright touquiose, at a time when blue canvas EB's were regarded as a bit bright for the outdoors.
Have climbed in all of them, preferred gollies, but the mark II was rubbish, using the same rubber as masters, which wore to a beautiful fine polish and needed sandpapering after a day on limestone.


skinner


Dec 8, 2007, 3:52 AM
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JohnCook wrote:
The original MOAC gollies, 1969, had stickier rubber than EB's or Masters or PA's or RD's. As they were used they didn't wear smooth, they wore into very small flakes of rubber (I believe they were made from the same rubber as drag racing slicks. They were boot type. They were also bright touquiose, at a time when blue canvas EB's were regarded as a bit bright for the outdoors.
Have climbed in all of them, preferred gollies, but the mark II was rubbish, using the same rubber as masters, which wore to a beautiful fine polish and needed sandpapering after a day on limestone.

EB doesn't state exactly when they produced their first technical rock shoe, rather they just lay claim to the "creation of the first climbing shoe". I can't imagine there being a lot of market competition at the time.

Interesting, I never knew MOAC even produced shoes, but I do remember seeing the first set of MOAC chocks appear locally, For years after we referred to all chocks regardless of make as MOACS, sort of the *kleenex* of clean hardware at the time. I'd love to get my hands on some today!


ccspikes


Dec 8, 2007, 6:46 AM
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PA's (Pierre Allain) and RD's (Rene Desmaison) both preceded EB's by many years. When I bought my RD's in 1968 you could not get them in Colorado--had to send away to an importer in New York!!


JohnCook


Dec 8, 2007, 8:07 AM
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Pa's and RD's were around years before EB's, and were much better on Granite and limestone, EB's were the gritstoners choice.
I also possess 3 mkI moacs and a mk II, as well as the original clog hex and two original spuds. All get regular re-slinging, and were used at Enchanted Rock last weekend. They fit granite cracks as well as any other rock cracks. They are reliable and dont suffer from broken trigger wires, cam lobes, bent spindles etc. They do take a bit more effort to place, but are lighter, and once in place rarely walk into the crack, so saving money. The slings last as long as the stitched stuff on the cams, and can be replaced easily if you can tie a double fishermans, with no need to worry about damaged stitching. Also have an original pair of 'Clogger' ascenders which work great, even on icy ropes, with the added advantage/disadvantage that you can't get them off the rope while ever you are clipped in. Also used a pair of heibler clamps, which were the ultimate on severly iced ropes, but the was a problem thet they could come detached.
Back to shoes, I now climb in Red Chillis.
In winter I still climb in my original RD Super guide leather boots, having lead up to Scottish grade 5 in them (Still with the original crampons. They are on their 3rd set of vibram soles, have retained their original stiffness, the only problem is that the plastic protective toecover has now worn off. They are as comfortable as carpet slippers, and have many thousands of feet. Being leather they can breathe, so allowing the sweat generated by my poor climbing style to evaporate. Have tried plastic boots but found by the third day they were so smelly that I had to keep them onin the tent if I wanted to breathe.
I began climbing in 1967, and I hate throwing stuff away if it can still safely be use.
Here endeth the climbing gear history lesson. If you want to know more about 'chocks' google Needlesports, some guy has made a collection of and written a history of various gear, both good and deadly.


k.l.k


Dec 8, 2007, 8:53 AM
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The earliest dedicated climbing boots were country boots with exceptionally heavy counters and double-leather soles into which climbers would hammer lug or tricouni nails of soft iron. Most of these boots were custom-made, as was common for boots at the time. Ironically, they were probably much better made, lighter and better-fitted, than the ueber-clunky mass-production leather boots of the 1950s and 1960s. And they worked really well on many of the period climbs, where mud, dirt, heather, moss and snow were common features of popular rock faces, especially in places like Great Britain. (Anyone who has done a wet approach or descent on the steep heather-covered 3rd and 4th class slabs of the Alps in today's footwear has probably wished for Tricouni nails.)

Probably the earliest dedicated rock climbing shoes were indeed the rope- or felt-soled slippers that started to appear in the Dolomites around the turn of the century. Originally a soft slipper, by the 'teens, they were also being made as a very light and tightly-fitted boot that looked a bit like some of today's approach shoes. (Kronhofers became one of the iconic brands.) Stopping at the base of the real technical climbing to swap shoes became a part of the ritual.

In England, plimsouls, or tennis shoes, became a popular option just a bit later.

In the 1930s, Vitale Bramani developed the rubber Vibram sole. The original patterns all aped the various popular patterns of hob or tricouni nails that had been used on the older leather boots. Giusto Gervasutti, one of the leading Italian alpinists, had his cobbler make him a special, ultralight pair of boots outfitted with Vibram soles for use on difficult rock climbs. (In England, where they couldn't get Vibram, C. F. Kirkus had his cobbler do much the same, except that Kirkus had to find extra-light Tricouni nails for his leather soles!)

What most folks today would think of as recognizable rock shoes, though, came out of Fontainebleau in the '30s. Pierre Allain and some of his climbing buddies began cutting up truck tires, and then other types of rubber, to resole high-top tennis shoes. After the war, Allain hooked up with a Parisian shoe manufacturer, Edouard Bourdeneau, and they put the shoes into mass production. The partners split, however, and different versions of the shoe went out from different companies under different names: EBs and PAs. Another French climber, Rene Desmaison, took the same basic idea to a different company to produce RDs. (Not a lot of innovation in brand names during the period.)

During the 1950s, companies that had been producing felt or leather-soled boot-style shoes, such as Zillertal, Pivetta, and Kronhofer, began to sew or glue light Vibram-style soles to their shoes, basically mass-producing the sort of light, cleated boot that Gervasutti had used on many of his important routes.

By the 1950s, then, we already had the two basic climbing shoe types in mass production: A smooth-soled shoe descended from tennis and basketball shoes; and a stiffer, cleated-sole option descended from the traditional mountain boot. And in the 1980s, a few manufacturers returned to the nineteenth-century tradition of scarpatti or espadrilles, to make rubber-soled climbing slippers once more.

Although we usually talk a great deal about the changes in the generations of rubber (and especially the appearance of "sticky" rubber in the late '70s and early '80s), the only dramatic innovation in climbing shoe design to appear after the 1930s is the creation of the down-turned and asymmetric last, usually attributed to La Sportiva in the 1980s.


skinner


Dec 8, 2007, 9:33 PM
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Awesome information k.l.k


skinner


Dec 9, 2007, 12:42 PM
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JohnCook wrote:

I also possess 3 mkI moacs and a mk II, as well as the original clog hex and two original spuds.

I have been looking for these for years, when I started climbing in 1974 most of the local climbers here were from the UK which remained the only gear source for years. Back then, most of us possessed meager racks that were built from gear purchased from one particular climbers basement, as he had the means to have gear shipped (literally) from back home.

MOAC's and Parba Spuds are so rare now that even the Nut Museum you mention, includes them in their "The following treasures would be a welcome addition" list.


JohnCook wrote:
All get regular re-slinging, and were used at Enchanted Rock last weekend. They fit granite cracks as well as any other rock cracks. They are reliable and dont suffer from broken trigger wires, cam lobes, bent spindles etc.

I have some old Clog Hexagons that have been re-slung many times which I still use to this day. I think the earliest gear I had was some acorn nuts which have long since disappeared. I never found that they worked very well in the rock here.


JohnCook wrote:
They do take a bit more effort to place, but are lighter, and once in place rarely walk into the crack, so saving money. The slings last as long as the stitched stuff on the cams, and can be replaced easily if you can tie a double fishermans, with no need to worry about damaged stitching.

You're right about the soft-slung chocks, most of which I still use and some which I use regularly as they just seem to fit anywhere/everywhere.
The few small wired Clog hex's and SMC cam-locks I have left, now hang by the fireplace. The wired Clogs were just short lengths of Hexagon Bar drilled out to accommodate the wire. The hex angles were just too steep for most placements. I imagine that they would have worked in pin scars much like the Peck Cracker, but pin scars weren't really an issue here.
The SMC Camlocks fell out with even the slightest rope movement and usually all wound up back down at the belay.

JohnCook wrote:
Also have an original pair of 'Clogger' ascenders which work great, even on icy ropes, with the added advantage/disadvantage that you can't get them off the rope while ever you are clipped in.

The "Clogger" that you're talking about, if I remember, used an eccentric cam with teeth much like Jumar, Petzl, etc., and resembles the present day Petzl ? Or do you have the type without handles?

JohnCook wrote:
Also used a pair of heibler clamps, which were the ultimate on severly iced ropes, but the was a problem thet they could come detached.

I think Storrick, in his rappell device and rope ascender collection has a bold warning about how he considers them unsafe for this very reason.

I have (2) pairs of Jumars, the original with no biner hole that you have to sling in order to clip onto them, and the newer style with the biner hole in the frame. I also have a pair of petzls which do the job but I still prefer jumars.

In the 70'-80's the Gibbs ascenders were always preferred by the cavers I knew, because they wouldn't slip on wet ropes that were covered with slick mud and/or ice. The other benefit being that.. unlike Jumars, Petzils, etc. the camming mechanism wouldn't become jammed open as easily when covering in mud or ice.

JohnCook wrote:
Back to shoes, I now climb in Red Chillis
In winter I still climb in my original RD Super guide leather boots, having lead up to Scottish grade 5 in them (Still with the original crampons. They are on their 3rd set of vibram soles, have retained their original stiffness, the only problem is that the plastic protective toecover has now worn off. They are as comfortable as carpet slippers, and have many thousands of feet. Being leather they can breathe, so allowing the sweat generated by my poor climbing style to evaporate. Have tried plastic boots but found by the third day they were so smelly that I had to keep them onin the tent if I wanted to breathe.


Rene Desmaison made substantial contributions to the world of alpinism throughout his climbing career. Alpinist 22 has an article on his recent passing.


I climbed in a pair of Rachlie Super Sherpa leather boots that I bought in 1975-76, and retired for ice climbing only last year when it became impossible to adapt the crampons to them that I'm currently using.
I had been in temp. of -52 F in them, mind you I had a pair of Berghaus Super Gaitors on as well.


JohnCook wrote:
I began climbing in 1967, and I hate throwing stuff away if it can still safely be use.


JohnCook wrote:
Here endeth the climbing gear history lesson. If you want to know more about 'chocks' google Needlesports, some guy has made a collection of and written a history of various gear, both good and deadly.

Here's a direct link.


Needlesports Nut Museum




..and for anyone interested a link to the.. .


Gary Storrick rappelling and ascending device collection



It's great to see someone else who thinks


"Newer" does not always mean "Better!"




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