Blog & Updates
Handmade Soviet Climbing Gear
13th September 2012, by George
Ever wondered what 30 year old, handmade Soviet climbing gear looks like? Well here you are:
Whilst in basecamp, we were joined for a few days by some Russian trekkers. Primarily there to walk, they were planning on an attempt on Irbistu involving a glacier crossing and some easy scrambling, so they had brought with them a stripped-down climbing rack. Out of curiosity we asked to take a look at what they had, and were excited to see an assortment of thoroughly non-CE rated equipment. A couple of nuts, a handmade tri-cam, several pegs cut from sheet steel, and possibly most intriguingly of all were their handmade ice-screws.
In our conversation of broken English, we came to understand that in Soviet Russian it had been almost impossible to source genuine climbing gear from the West, and so climbers had to resort to making their own. Having fallen on the nuts several times, Alex the climber clearly saw no reason to bother upgrading his rack!
I was so excited by these works of art, roughly machined from some metal offcuts, with the wires crudely soldered on, that I promptly swapped a couple of my own pieces of gear for two of his nuts. They'll probably not be making their way onto my rack anytime soon mind...