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Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe


Postby Gorf01 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:08 pm

Hi All

This is a long shot, but does anybody know if the Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe is still available? I lost one eons ago, suspect some lucky climber picked it up on Ben Nevis, and would like to replace it. Not to keen on this new fangled stuff.

Regards

Sandy
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby sloosh » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:27 pm

Had a quick scoot on the Internet. The only thing I could find was this post from January on UK Climbing forums - may still be worth dropping the poster a note.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=337632
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby Gorf01 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:40 pm

Cheers Sloosh

You what it is like, you get a bit of kit and love it to death. As I am back in harness after a long time I'd like to pick up some of the kit I know and love.

Regards

Sandy
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby Caberfeidh » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:27 pm

Gorf01 wrote:Not to keen on this new fangled stuff


I know what ye mean ~ there's stuff out there in the shops that looks like it was cut out of plywood or MDF and just spray-painted with glittery paint to make it attractive to climbers. I like my old cast-iron alpenstock or for technical stuff, my Stubai Sierra Extremes. Weighing in at a hefty 4lbs each, they gave the arms a good work out and kept a man fit and strong. Pah! I laff in the face of Titanium ! (and pinch the buttocks of molybdenum alloy). :D
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby scotjack » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:45 pm

WhillansAxe1small.jpg
This thread may by now be dead, but if not, it may be of interest to someone that I have an early MacInnes Pterodactyl which was given to me by Don Whillans, and which may have been given to him by Hamish himself.
He used it to climb the Diamond Couloir when he visited Kenya in 1976 or '77. I actually got quite a lot of his gear, some of which I bought, but most he generously gave me for looking after him for a couple of days, and running him to the airport, etc.
I only used the axe a couple of times myself on easy routes, but I then lent it a much better climber, Vince Fayad, who significantly improved its performance by adding a carefully designed wrist strap - which it still has. We talked for many hours in his hotel room - I was originally in awe that I was discussing climbing with one of my three climbing heroes - the others, being Dougal Haston and coincidentally the axe designer, Hamish MacInnes.
He was a very easy going guy and I soon felt at ease. He had stories about many climbs and climbers including Hamish, Dougal and "Christmas Bonus." (Explanation available if needed.) He told me that he rarely had to buy gear, and I have a vague recollection that he said the axe was some of the gear he got from Hamish himself, but I can't swear to that. (Perhaps if Hamish were to read this, he can confirm whether he gave Don one of his early production models.)
The other thing I remember about Don was that, somewhat contrary to his rough appearance, he had a compulsion about neatness. All of his belongings in his hotel room (The Fairview) were arranged in neat stacks. All of his clothes were neatly folded, his shoes and boots lined up in pairs - even his cigarette packet and matches were lined up. What was left of his climbing gear was also neatly arranged - he had sold some of it at the MCK club a couple of night earlier, where he treated us to a fabulous slide show including some of Annapurna. He was so impressed with his Minox 35, I bought one just like it.
When I arrived to take him to the airport for his midnight flight, he was not yet packed, but because everything was so neatly arranged, his final packing was done in minutes - but only his clothes. He looked at the climbing gear that was left, and said, "If you can use this stuff, y'ere welcome to it." I think he enjoyed my stunned look. The nuts and rope are still in Kenya but I brought the axe to the States with me.
Its unlikely I will ever use it again, although I am planning one final trip to Mt. Kenya next year.
Is there a Don Whillans museum that would be interested in the axe?
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby Eskimo » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:11 pm

Fascinating story! I would love to own old gear like this but I'm sure there is more appropriate homes for it!
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby prog99 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:37 pm

One place I know of is -
http://www.smhc.co.uk/about.asp
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby Caberfeidh » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:30 pm

Scotjack ; I've pm'd you with an email address for the SMC archivist who may be interested. I bought a pair of ice tools from a climber in Aberdeen who was famous amongst Aberdeen climbers; it is strange how much kudos goes with the artefacts once wielded by the mighty, as if a sword wielded by a legendary warrior held supernatural powers... :shock:
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby scotjack » Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:39 am

Thanks for the suggestion in the PM Caberfeidh - I will follow up on it.

It is only the Ice Axe which is currently in my possession here in the States - but that is the most interesting item anyway.
The remainder of his kit is mixed in with my old kit in a storehouse in Kilifi, Kenya. The only item there which I could easily identify as having belonged to Don Whillans is a yellow kernmantle rope which I used many times while living in Kenya. The only nut that I remember coming from him was slung on rope rather than the more normal tape - which is why I remember it. There is also one ice screw, which I am pretty certain came from him, because he was the only ice climber I met in Kenya.

Thanks again for your suggestion.

Jack
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Re: Macinnes Pterodactyls ice axe

Postby scotjack » Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:08 pm

prog99 wrote:One place I know of is -
http://www.smhc.co.uk/about.asp


Good news. SMHC have been in touch. They will give the axe a home.
Thanks to all who took time to help.

Jack
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