I was delighted to receive a link this week from designer friend/equestrian Christina Weese in Saskatoon—to an online version of the 1972 Chouinard Catalog. As an aging trad climber this really takes me back… legendary climber/mountaineer (and IMAX photographer) David Breashear writes about the influence of this very same 1972 Chouinard catalog on his climbing in his 1999 autobiography, High Exposure.
“Another serious influence on my developing style came via the Chouinard climbing equipment catalogue of 1972, a slender publication with a Chinese landscape painting on the cover. Its author, the revered rock and ice climber Yvon Chouinard, called for “clean” climbing, proposing that climbers disavow pitons and bolts that scarred or otherwise altered rock. Instead, he advocated the use of metal nuts of various shapes and sizes which slotted into cracks without damage to the rock and could be recovered by the second climber on a rope. He reminded readers of the edict of John Muir, the late-nineteenth-century poet-environmentalist: ‘Leave no mark except your shadow.’ This ethic of purism and self-control made a profound impact on the climbing community—and on me as well.”
Images: a few pics from the catalog, including the chapter title for a treatise on clean climbing, a mess of ‘biners, the breakthrough Hexentrics stopper, Yvon’s ironmongery, and a pair of exquisite Annapurna glasses.