The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Chouinard Clean Climbing Protection

1972

An excerpt from Chouinard’s 1972 catalog

An excerpt from Chouinard’s 1972 catalog     Photo: Courtesy of Patagonia

As climbing grew in popularity in the 1960s, overused rock was starting to suffer. Climbers would often hammer metal pins—known as pitons—into the rock to aid their ascent, eventually widening or scarring thin cracks. In 1972, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Chouinard Equipment and Patagonia, released a seminal catalog that sparked the clean climbing revolution. It advocated for the use of removable, low-impact protection. “It is the style of the climb, not the attainment of the summit, which is the measure of personal success,” wrote Chouinard. “The equipment in this catalog attempts to support this ethic…. Remember the rock, the other climber—climb clean.”

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