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The cold world of alpine climbing.

The cold world of alpine climbing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Simond Climbing Equipment

I must first start this with an apology and an excuse.  And I really don't like excuses.  Last winter while living in Chamonix I had every intention of visiting the Simond factory.  I failed to accomplish that errand after being told Simond had been sold and would no longer be producing hardware.

I'm not privy to the ownership but no question that Simond is still in the Chamonix valley and producing hardware.

Pity I didn't bother looking into it further as the factory was with in easy reach via public transport of my  flat.  My fault for not following up on the idea and checking the facts.   Hopefully I will get a visit and tour of the factory next winter.

I was wrong and my sincere apology to Simond for any misinformation I published on the cc.com forum, which has now been corrected.

The topic of Simond might not have come up if not for the recent discussion of stainless steel in crampons.

But if you are an ice climber, you would have to have been born under a rock to not know that Simond changed our world with the Simond Chacal and the first reversed curve pick.  In my opinion Simond was for many years THE ice climbing brain trust of the world.  The history of Simond in the mountains around Chamonix and the men who climbed on their tools is likely unequaled.  A tour of the Chamonix cemetery will just reinforce that impression.


I can't really do Simond justice in a short blog post but I might attempt that project at another time in the future.  I can say these two Simond tools, the Chacal and the latter adze version, the Barracuda, offered as much tecnical advancement as the sport has ever seen before or since.

Simond from their web site:
http://www.simond.com/web/1-mountaineering-climbing



"THE CURRENT COMPANY

Simond is run by a small, close-knit and enthusiastic team. We share a common background, enjoy the same activities and have a shared attitude to our work. We take a craftsman’s approach to production of our equipment within the rigorous controls of the company framework, which has ISO 9001 certification.

Our key objectives in the product development process are to ensure product reliability, ergonomic design and the highest quality. The whole team, from the managing director and R&D department to our sales representatives and technical advisors, tests all our equipment. Our products are specifically developed for your sporting activities; they meet with the highest safety requirements and give you maximum comfort and pleasure in use.

We select the best materials and use our own machinery to manufacture our products. Our highly skilled personnel then assemble them by hand, which means we can inspect our products at every stage of the manufacturing process, from the arrival of the raw materials in the factory right up to their packaging prior to delivery.

We listen to the users of our equipment and invite feedback from a diverse team of climbers and mountain professionals. They work with us so that we can integrate developments into our future products that meet our users’ expectations.

Simond has been striving for the past 150 years to preserve these values, which when combined with the very latest trends, have contributed to the continued reputation of the company as a major player among manufacturers of mountaineering and climbing equipment."

Back to the original discussion of stainless in crampons. Simond was the first to use stainless in a crampons.  Mind you they have never built an entire crampon of stainless but they have been a smart user of the stainless in their product the Vampire crampon and its differing models.


The Simond Vampire uses "hot-forged 17-4PH, structurally hardened martensitic stainless steel" for the front points in this crampons which  should work just fine for what Simond has intended. Simond also uses chromoly in the frame of the Vampire not stainless.   Might ask yourself why no stainlesss on the other 97% of the crampon. My comments were directed at BD's choice in materials and manufacturing techniques, and Chouinard/Salewa previous to that. Not Simond's or Camp's. Of the three using stainless today likely Simond is doing the best job of the choices in material and manufacturing when you look specifically at the stainless steel topic.

More on 17-4PH stainless:
http://www.sandmeyersteel.com/17-4PH-spec.html

The point in reference to my previous stainlees/chromoly comparison?  High quality forged stainless steel is not the same as stainless plate that is cut and cold formed.  The hot-forged 17-4PH is time proven for durability in the Simond Vampire.  To imply other wise would simply be in error.
 
We don't see much of the Simond gear in the USA these days but it is still widely popular in Europe.  Which should make an impression because likely more hard alpine climbing done every weekend in Chamonix and the surrounding Mt Blanc area than gets done in a full year in the USA. 


Simond gear in action on tvmountain :)  Look around and you'll see more of it there.

http://www.tvmountain.com/video/alpinisme/7317-goulotte-lafaille-mont-blanc-du-tacul.html
  



4 comments:

Ian said...

Dane, do you know of any Simond importers or retailers in the US or Canada? I have a couple of Spider screwgates and I want a few more but their prices are crazy if I order them direct from Euroland.

Dane said...

Sorry Ian, no clue. Google search is the best I can do.

macca43 said...

Simond have been bought out by a French based company named Decathalon with many retail outlets in the UK, If this is any help?

Anonymous said...

I used those crampons yesterday, in mono-point configuration for M6-M8 stuff, and I have to admit that they climb great.
--
M.