For the reason that a lot have been greater and it has already been left so that you can be studied with no adversity.

Chouinard then spent his weekends in winter in Stony Point and in autumn and spring in Tahquitz Rock above Palm Springs. There he met other young climbers who were members of the Sierra Club, including TM Herbert, Royal Robbins and Tom Frost. Eventually, the friends of Tahquitz moved to Yosemite, where they taught themselves big wall climbing.

The only climbing hooks that existed at that time were made of soft iron that you knocked into the rock once and then left there. In Yosemite, however, the multi-day ascents required hundreds of safety hooks. After meeting John Salathé, a Swiss climber and friar from the New Church, who had already made safety hooks out of harder steel from axles from older Ford A models, Chouinard decided to make his own reusable hardware. In 1957 he bought a used, coal-fired forge furnace, an anvil weighing more than 60 kg, some pliers and a hammer from a scrapyard and taught himself to forge.

Chouinard made his first climbing hooks from the cutting blade of an old combine harvester and tested them with TM Herbert during an early ascent of the Lost Arrow Chimney and the north face of Sentinel Rock in Yosemite. Word quickly got around and soon Chouinard’s friends wanted his chrome-molybdenum steel hooks. Before he knew it, he was in business. He could forge two hooks an hour and sell them for $ 1.50 each.

Soon after, Chouinard set up a small workshop in the back yard of his parents’ home in Burbank. Since most of his tools could be carried, he simply loaded the necessary tools onto his car and drove them to the California coast between Big Sur and San Diego to surf. Thus, he combined work and pleasure in the best possible way. When he wasn’t surfing, he would drag his anvil to the beach and use a hammer and metal chisel to make climbing hooks.

In the years that followed, Chouinard spent the winter months forging climbing hooks.

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