This small tin building is where everything happened at Chouinard
Equipment Company, later named Great Pacific Ironworks, Ventura,
California. To the left of
the building is the Little Giant power hammer we used to forge Lost
Arrow pitons. Lined up in
front is the stellar team that in 1969 produced world class climbing
hardware. The original plan
for the photo was to shoot a Robbins Shoe advertisement but we
couldn’t keep straight enough faces.
Yvon and I did a lot of climbs together.
They were always clean, classic lines and then we returned to our
work. In the process we
learned how to design pitons to fit Yosemite’s cracks and carabiners
to enable efficient big wall climbing.
It was my favorite ever job.
Yvon was the idea man and company visionary.
I was the engineer who persistently pursued optimum – meaning
finding a working relationship with Nature.
enjoyed creating Stoppers, Hexentrics, and Crack-N-Ups for clean
climbing and producing the 1972 catalog.
In it Doug Robinson wrote:
is a word for it, and the word is clean.
Climbing with only nuts and runners for protection is clean
climbing. Clean because the
rock is left unaltered by the passing climber.
Clean because nothing is hammered into the rock and then hammered
back out, leaving the rock scarred and the next climber’s experience
less natural. Clean because
the climber’s protection leaves little track of his ascension.
Clean is climbing the rock without changing
it; a step closer to organic climbing for the natural man.”
SKUNKWORKS, Chouinard Equipment Company portrait,