Simond Chacal Ice Tool
Produced by Simond from 1975 until the late 1980s, this axe featured one of the first “reverse curve” commercially available. There had been steep drop picks (Peck/MacInnes Terrodactly) and modular tools (Forrest Modular System, 1974) but giving the pick a reverse curve was, up until then, only done by climbers experimenting with their own axes. There is some debate about who tried it first. As is sometimes the case, the idea seemed to occur to several groups of climbers at about the same time. Scottish climbers needed a better tool in the steep ice of the carringorms so they modified their picks, Colorado climbers, always an inventive lot, were tinkering with and re-forging alpine axes, and several manufacturers were starting to independently develop the concept as well.
The Chacal axe has a nice weight and head design. The pick was secured by a large yet low profile double sided nut and two rolled pins. Thin washers on each side of the nut covered the rolled pins and insured they stayed in. Replacing the pins or removing the pick required knocking them out with punch and hammer.
The tool initially came in a silver/grey painted version with a red rubber grip on the bottom third of the shaft for insulation and vibration reduction. Three lengths (45cm, 50cm, 55cm) were available.
In 1977 the shaft was fully protected by a black molded rubber covering and this remained the standard shaft through the remainder of the production.