/ NEWS: Mountain Technology founder dies
Ed: The BBC are reporting the death of Hugh McNicol: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/news/item.php?id=67411
I'm so sorry to hear that. Many was the day, while up climbing on the Ben or in the 'Coe, I'd call in to Hugh's factory and say "Where's my bloody order Hugh" and he'd grab a box and say, "Needle sports, Needle Sports, well Tiso's won't miss a few..." and grab my order out of boxes labelled up for delivery to Tiso's! A grand man - those were great days to be in retail and great days to be winter climbing. A pair of Vertiges and two ice screws/pitch - what more could you want?
Met him once, great chap. Vertige was and still is a great axe. Mine is still in use.
I think the MT Mountaineering Axe and the MT Technical Axe/Hammer were classic examples of tool design. Didn't they have a sticker on them saying they had one some design council award? I remember something like that. Their rubber handles were about the best quality. Never seemed to fall off. Anyone remember Ettle hammering the handle of his Vertige into the crack for the last move of White Magic on the BBC filmed ascent? Cool or what. :)
But working in a climbing shop from 93-96 I do remember they were hopeless to deal with. Being in Glasgow our assistant manager drove up to Glencoe to pick up the shops' order himself. Otherwise you'd get the winter order around Easter. I bought Pulsars purely because the shop couldn't get any Vertiges. In retrospect I think the Charlet tools might have been a better design than the MT ones. I know a couple of people broke the head sections of their Vertiges.
He's left behind a real legacy of solid and beautifully designed mountaineering equipment - a part of history
I used a Mountain Technology Alpine axe for my earliest climbs in Scotland and the Alps. A very reliable piece of kit, beautifully designed; it was probably almost as old as me yet absolutely rock solid. I gave mine away and bought a Grivel Jorasses, which is a good axe in its own right but not as durable and the pick is shorter.
RIP indeed. I used my Vertiges from the early 90's up to c.2005.
Their Warthogs are the best you can get. I've got a couple of MT Bulldog hooks as well.
Ah yes. My first axe. A beautifully formed single-piece steel head, with a nicely round-cornered triangular lightening hole in the adze, showing all that quality control and attention to detail for which British manufacturing became famous. Perfectly functional, but so far off centre as to be shameful to behold. Long live DMM !
RIP, anyway, and thanks Hugh. I didn't dislike the axe - but as a piece of industrial history it did make me wince.
Top bloke. Fond memories of the gear and the man.
Hugh was as mad as a bag of frogs!! I worked in West Coast in Fort William for years and every spring he would come in and deliver the balance of the winter axes order... Not a care in the world that they were 6 months late!!
But you couldn't help love the guys enthusiasm for what he did...
> Didn't they have a sticker on them saying they had one some design council award?
"British Design Award 1987"
I know this because I just went downstairs to check mine, which saw some good use this June in the Alps!
Sad news about Hugh. I still have my vestiges in the loft. Aluminium heads are a bit mashed mind....I was watching Graeme that day. Inspirational stuff especially when the sparks were flying off his crampons.
I still use a pair of vertige xtremes, and have spare picks that should keep me going for years. Excellent pieces of kit.
Well, not the year they stamped their name on them well down the blade and lots of people then snapped them at the "M" of Mountain Technology.
Obituary to Hughie in today's Scotsman.
RIP Hughie a real character and a sad loss.
> Obituary to Hughie in today's Scotsman.
Have you got a direct link? Thanks. I can't find the article online.
As a PS, in case it helps anybody else: you seem to have to register and login in order to see content on The Scotsman's website. Not having done so was my problem.
Hugh just took two nuts off axes that were due to go out to shops and gave them to me. Top man!
Elsewhere on the site
Everybody who has used a gas cartridge stove in cold conditions knows the lower the temperature, the poorer the performance of... Read more
WINTERFEST 2014 at Outside in Hathersage 6th and 7th December 2014 Outside's ever popular Winterfest event is back... Read more
I am Matthew Phillips, I'm nearly 14 and I was born without my right arm below the elbow. I started climbing at taster... Read more
Nick Livesey discovered the mountains of Snowdonia over a decade ago and finally moved there a year and a half ago, quitting a... Read more
2014 has been a bumper year for climbing publications. Here's a few of the ones that we have either read, or ones that we... Read more