Climbing Shoes: Vasque Ascender II

Vasques replacement for the original “Shoenards”, they were sold in the late 1970s through the early 1980s. They came in sizes 5 thru 12 and in two widths. Ascenders were stiff and rugged for standing in aid slings but had decent edging capabilities as well. The rubber wasn’t very sticky but some difficult climbs were done in them.

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4 Responses

  1. John says:

    Shoenards came out before the Vasque Ascenders, they were green and loved by all the Gunks climbers. They had sub par leather that always tore but were so valued that they were patched and mended multiple times to keep them going. I remember they were a favorite shoe of Barber, Bragg and Wunsch. Wunsch wore them on his FA of Supercrack and also Jules Verne in Eldorado Canyon. When Shoenards were discountinued Vasque came out with the Ascenders.

    • Curator says:

      Thanks John! It’s hard to keep all this info straight sometimes.
      The Shoenards were very popular with guys around Seneca Rocks and Carderock, Maryland too. I knew a few older guys who still had theirs.
      Out in Colorado I can’t remember seeing or hearing about them much. It seems EBs replaced almost everything as soon as they became available. For a stiffer shoe some were still using Robbins boots if they could find them.
      Wunsch is a truly gifted climber! To free those proud lines with the gear and shoes they had is amazing! I climbed that stuff much later with modern gear and sticky rubber and was in awe of the vision and technique it took to work it all out. Wunsch, Breashears, Ferguson, Erickson, and others were inspired!

  2. Brian Malone says:

    The original laces were yellow, same as the V

    • Curator says:

      That’s true! They were a nice chromatic yellow color. I try to keep our artifacts in the condition they were found so the black laces were left on. I think the modifications, upgrades, and repairs made to equipment over the years shows how climbers adapt things to their individual needs. Sometimes the changes are interesting, sometimes they are mundane.

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