Round the World in 40 Climbs: Episode 19: Via Ferrata and WW1

Round the World in 40 Climbs: Episode 19: Via Ferrata and WW1

In my round the world quest to explore climbing rich history I visited the dolomite to see the home of Via Ferrata’s that were built to help defend the front line between Italy and Austria. Dolomite Via Ferrata Adventure Week The Dolomites have some of the worlds greatest Via Ferratas, we offer bespoke guided trips to some of the very best of them. This week will see you cover some very impressive terrain, with much…

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Round the World in 40 Climbs: Episode 17: Mount Augille

Round the World in 40 Climbs: Episode 17: Mount Augille

Mount Aiguille was one of the first mountains climbed for its own sake. Although really it was the whim of the king. Whilst it was really a via ferrata/climbing frame in parts. Today it is a great semi-equipped via ferrata. Guided Ascents of Mount Aiguille This peak will only take you one day to climb and is found just outside Grenoble in the Pre-alps. It is an impressive peak. It features an exposed and airy…

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North Wales Climbs – Episode 3 – Oscar Eckenstein

North Wales Climbs – Episode 3 – Oscar Eckenstein

The third episode of the history of North Wales Climbing, this video is about Oscar Eckenstein. A lesser known climber but one who made some fantastic contributions to not only North Wales but climbing and mountaineering in general. You can find out more about him in the Evolution of Climbing Gear articles on this site, including inventing the first decent crampon. He also coached people on climbing movement of these the Eckenstein Boulders.

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The Evolution of Climbing Gear #15 – Boulder, Coaching and Conclusions

The Evolution of Climbing Gear #15 – Boulder, Coaching and Conclusions

Whilst not truly based on a climbing piece of equipment, bouldering and coaching are certainly tools which climbers have use to improve themselves and in turn move climbing forwards. Whilst in the main most people consider the birth of bouldering to be based around the exploits of John Gill in the 70s or maybe even before that when Pierre Allan made his first forays on the boulder of Fontainbleau in the 1930s. The truth is…

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The Evolution of Climbing Gear #14 – The Media

The Evolution of Climbing Gear #14 – The Media

I the course of this column I have looked at how technology and design has directly effected rock climbing and mountaineering. Along the way we have seen that there has been many heroes who have transformed rock climbing from a sport for the daredevils to one that is now almost mainstream. If you will grant me the licence to step outside the tangible cause and effect and instead look at how technology has affected the…

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The Evolution of Climbing Gear #10 – Winter gear #3

The Evolution of Climbing Gear  #10  – Winter gear #3

Since Eckenstien’s Crampon and the change to rubber soles and in particular the Vibram which was designed by Vitale Bramani in 1937. Who turned to design a better mountaineering boot sole, after six of his companions lost their lives mountaineering. Part of the contributing factors in the accident was the lack of decent footwear for mixed rock and ice terrain. His design was to use the same process Pirelli employed in manufacturing tires. His ideas…

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The Evoltuion of Climbing Gear #9 – Winter Gear #2

The Evoltuion of Climbing Gear #9 – Winter Gear #2

Last time we introduce the ice axe and the nailed boot, the de facto winter climbing equipment for nearly 100 years. It was generally a pastime for the upper classes although a few of the higher classes of workers were starting to filter through. One person in particular was Oscar Eckenstein a railway engineer would go onto revolutionise winter climbing as not only did he introduce technological innovation he also backed it up with a…

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The Evolution of Climbing Gear #8 – Winter Gear #1

The Evolution of Climbing Gear #8 – Winter Gear #1

Whilst we have focused mainly on the development of summer climbing equipment, it was more likely that winter equipment was designed prior to this, as rock climbing itself is just a mere evolutionary branch of mountaineering, which started its development in the Alps. Whilst we know that the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786 was made with little more technology than a normal wood axe or ‘ice hackett’ and a simple wooden stick with…

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The Evolution of Climbing Gear #7 – The Karabiner Story Cont.

The Evolution of Climbing Gear #7 –  The Karabiner Story Cont.

We have already talked about how Otto Herzog first developed climbing specific karabiners in 1910 and how steel was used until the secret of hardening Aluminium was discovered by Wilm. What we have not told is the story of how their design has been tweaked and modified since. To a point where we now have specialist karabiners depending on whether we are sport, or trad climbing. Whilst we take for granted nowadays that all karabiners…

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The Evolution of Climbing Gear #6 – 21st Century Dodos

The Evolution of Climbing Gear #6 – 21st Century Dodos

Like in many aspects of life for every idea and design that stand the test of time there are ten times the amount that fail to take off, simply don’t work or they become obsolete. Whilst some of this comes down simply to a bad idea, others reasons for failure is the new designs fail to obey the notion of Occam’s Razor where each time we shave something off a design it should become simpler…

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