The 1974 Forrest Mountaineering catalog is often billed as Bill Forrests answer to Chouinards iconic 1972 catalog and clean climbing manifesto. For a Colorado based climber like me it was nice to see a hometown guy being innovative and creating interesting solutions to climbing problems. Forrest’s workshop was a meeting place for people and ideas, some where interesting but obscure (P-nuts, Pin Bins) and some changed climbing as we know it (Friends, Copperheads).
Bill Forrest’s gear has been a fascination of mine since my introduction to lead climbing. An early mentor of mine recognized that my partners and I had a surplus of motivation but a serious lack of funds for gear. He gave us a few odds and ends and as many carabiners as he could part with and off we went to put it all to use. The one piece I used often was a #6 Titon. I had never seen anything like it and I remember actually doubting it was specifically made for climbing! Forrest thought “outside the box” as they say… His gear was well made and well thought out so it worked in lots of interesting situations. I still think Titons are great for the knobby irregular cracks so often encountered on Colorado granite; we loved then in Cheyenne Canyon granite but feared then in Garden of the Gods sandstone.
Read Bill Forrest’s words about the methods and ethical practice of climbing and decide for yourself how much still applies today. The ideas of personal responsibility and time dedicated to learning the art of protection still ring true for me. I once heard it said that Bill could “arrange a safe anchor on an overhanging scree slope…” without drilling. As a clean climbing practice, that’s as clean as can be. Maybe as more climbers use the rocks and our impact is ever increasing the idea of personal responsibility will make a come back. Probably not, but it would certainly be nice.