Canadian Alpine Tools
Handcrafted Hammers and Pitons Made in Canada
Founder of Canadian Ice Tools David Glavind has been taking full advantage the Canadian Rockies as an ice and rock climber for almost 20 years and has been a working blacksmith for 30.
When his passion for fine metal work and the alpine suffer-fest collided, Canadian Alpine Tools was born. “Whether you’re choss wrangling in the Southern Alberta summer or crushing your way through a winter in the ghost, Canadian Alpine Tools has you covered,” said Glavind.
“In our workshop, we refine and reimagine tradition to bring you to the cutting-edge of alpine protection.”
As of now, Glavind is busy making 90- degree angle pitons, custom hammers, handcrafted alpine hammers, knife blade pitons and wedge pitons. Canadian alpine climber and recipient of the Piolet d’Or, Ian Welsted, ordered a custom hammer with orange pitons and put in a number of days on them this year. He reported that they’re the right tools for the job. He’s already used them on a number of new routes.
One can’t help but think about Yvon Chouinard, who helped to start an aid climbing revolution in North America with his gear. The only pitons available in the 1950s, were made of soft iron. So when you placed once, you left it. Multi-day ascents in Yosemite required hundreds of placements. So Chouinard, after meeting John Salathé, a Swiss climber who had once made hard-iron pitons out of Model A axles, decided to make his own reusable protection.
Glavind is from B.C. and started climbing in July of 1987 over in France. “The first rock alpine hammer I owned was made by me,” said Glavind. “I have been making tools since 1988 and the first piton I banged in was on a crag we climb at below Hailstone Butte, Southern Alberta.”
Glavind went through the Blacksmithing/Farrier program at Kwantalen Collage in Langley, B.C. He’s competed nationally and internationally in Farrier and blacksmithing competitions. He also apprenticed with a blacksmith in Richmond, B.C. for three years. “Before opening my own shop in Whiterock,” he said, “I was building interior and exterior wrought iron pieces and props for the movie industry.”
He’s been making pitons for about 20 years. “I have always been inspired by Chouinard, you just have to make your own,” he said. “A climbing partner of mine started re-bolting some old routes and that’s what really inspired me to start making tools.”
When asked if his tools are in a league of their own, he said, “I don’t know if my tools are in a league of their own, but good tools have a tactile feel. They must work well for the purpose intended. The hammers for instance should swing right. The feeling of it and hitting the target intended. All our hammers are hand-made. To my knowledge, no one else is building alpine tools in this fashion.”