Objects Database

Tricouni Nailed Boots

Accession Number


Object Name

Tricouni Nailed Boots




Liz Wilshaw

Accession Date


Brief Description

Pair of mountaineering boots in leather with eyelets/holes (no lace) and metal studded sole, fabric hanging loop at heel. Size 8 inscribed on inner sole, some studs inscribed TRICOUNI BREV + 6.13 SUISSE. Brown


Leather upper and sole, metal studs, woven cotton loop


size 8 length 30.5 cms

Number Of Objects

1 pair

Inscription Description

Inside sole: 8, outer studs: TRICOUNI BREV + 6.13 SUISSE






Not really sure where these boots came from. Mick Tighe collected several pairs in the 1970's & 80's; some were bought in auctions or junk shops, others were donated. Nailed boots were used from the earliest days of mountaineering, circa 1860, right up to the 1960's when Vibram soles eventually won the day. The odd pair could still be seen scratching and scarting around the Lake District in the 1980's & 90's though they were usually accompanied by an octogenarian. In the absence of any definitive provenance we thought the following extract from 'Let's Go Climbing' by Colin Kirkus (published in 1941 and 1946) might be of interest.
"Now for the theory of nails.
Clinkers and muggers, being made of soft iron, give a friction grip ; that is to say the hard rock bites into the soft iron. Tricounis, on the other hand, give a lock-hold ; they catch in some little crevice and stay there, which is obviously more scientific, and for that reason I prefer them for serious rock-climbing. You can choose the tiniest hold, fit one nail in it and know that you are safe.
Therefore I recommend No. 1 Tricounis round the edge of the sole, with perhaps No. 6's or clinkers in the toe. Now it is useful to have some friction grip for chimneys, so muggers may be put in the middle. Clinkers are best in the heel, which has not much delicate work to do, with perhaps a couple of muggers in the middle..
If you want to concentrate more on walking and do not intend to do any difficult climbing, I should recommend clinkers all round the sole. At the same time it must be admitted that many expert climbers swear by clinkers for rock-work. You usually find, however, that these clinker-fiends have abnormally strong arms, and therefore do not have to rely so much on their feet as do weaker mortals."

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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