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Item #: OP405-942
CHOUINARD EQUIPMENT CATALOG 1972 Fine condition
By Chouinard, Yvon. Tom Frost, Doug Robinson
Price: $375.00

List Price: $435.00
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Detailed Product Description
A very nice copy of the landmark Chouinard Equipment Catalog that introduced the concept of 'Clean Climbing', which is using nuts rather than pitons for protection in rock climbing. Nuts had been used for a few years in America, and for 1-2 decades in Britain. The condition of this catalog is Very Fine. It is not soiled or worn, it has never had an address label, nobody has written in it or on it. As nice a copy as you will ever see. The photo is this actual catalog.

Climbers already had been made aware of the advantages of nuts over pitons, but did not truly trust nuts and adopt their use until this masterpiece of climbing technique was published. Ethics in climbing had not been an issue until 1972. After this catalog appeared, Climbing Ethics became an important concept in this and many other areas as well, such as bolting, pre-protecting a route from a rappel, the use of chalk, artificially changing the rock, and many others.

Tom Frost and Yvon Chouinard's brilliance was in making nuts in logical sizes and shapes to fit various shaped cracks. Then they stated preaching the gospel of preserving the rock, and the entire world of climbers followed them, and adopted the technique of piton-less climbing, within a few years.
 
The 1972 Chouinard Equipment Catalog marked a watershed in climbing culture/technology by establishing a standard for clean climbing ethics in the United States. In addition to lots of nice photos of gear, features in the catalog include:
  • “A Word..” An essay on clean climbing by Yvon Chouinard and Tom Frost
  • A History of Chouinard Firsts with a photo of Yvon Chouinard and John Salathe in 1964 (The Lost Arrow Piton is actually an improved copy of a Salathe piton.)
  • The essay, “The Whole Natural Art of Protection,” by Doug Robinson
  • Short pieces on “the Yosemite Method,” “A simple rappelling system and the Yosemite Hammer,” Nailing Flexible Flakes,” “Method of Removing,” and “Safety Considerations.”
  • There are a number of ads for Chouinard equipment. The front cover is a reproduction of a sixteenth century Chinese painting. This 96-page Catalog contains a number of lovely black and white photos of mountain scenes and climbers. The dimensions are approx 6 3/8 x 11 in.

The 1972 CHOUINARD EQUIPMENT CATALOG is also available on-line as a service to climbers around the world. Original copies are scarce and desirable as it was not intended to become a permanent reference and inspiration.

Check out http://climbaz.com/chouinard72/chouinard.html - every page of the Chouinard 1972 Catalog is scanned in and discussed.

On the website is an interview with climber Steve Grossman who clearly described its importance:

'Another thing that really affected me ethically early on was the 1972 Chouinard climbing catalog. It made a strong push for clean climbing in terms of free protection and people relying less on hammered protection. It had a lot of affect on everybody pretty much in climbing at the time in a way that’s really unparalleled. It laid out the ethics of British rock climbing. You have a small island with a fairly finite amount of rock and a lot of heavy use. They really, in contrast to what was happening in the rest of Europe, developed a low impact ethic. It allowed their routes to see heavy traffic and minimal damage. The big push was toward that same kind of ethic.'

'Fortunately... Chouinard Equipment came out with hexes and stoppers, equipment that made all that kind of low impact climbing possible. Prior to those innovations, the kind of nuts that were available out there were just not really all that effective. The synergy of that catalog pushing that ethic and equipment that was being produced revolutionized climbing as we know it. Thinking about it now, had that not happened, and had people continued to pound pins and bust flakes off and scar and damage rock, things would be much uglier out there. It’s really pretty horrifying what would have gone on if that revolution hadn’t happened.'

David Breashears, the legendary climber/mountaineer and IMAX photographer, writes about the influence of the 1972 Chouinard catalog 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."

On October 9, 2020 we saw a listing on ebay for a copy of this catalog with an asking price of $1000.

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