Objects Database

Mountain Technology ice axe

Accession Number

884.2011.1

Object Name

Mountain Technology ice axe

Created

20/01/2011

Creator

Hermione Cooper

Accession Date

20/01/2011

Brief Description

Metal ice axe. Metal shaft. One large hole in middle of head. Adze,serrated pick. Ferrule with large hole.Nylon wrist leash looped through hole in head.

Materials

metal, rubber

Dimensions

Shaft & ferrule 46(l) x 10(cir)cms. Head 28(l) cms. Adze 6 (w)cms.

Number Of Objects

1

Inscription Description

"GLENCOE SCOTLAND MOUNTAIN TECHNOLOGY" on blue rubber

Colour

silver with blue rubber grip

Maker

Mountain Technology

Object Production Place

Glencoe, Scotland

Provenance

This is a pretty early Mountain technology technical axe from around 1984 and once belonged to Mick Tighe's mountain guiding company, Nevis Guides. Though no longer in existence, mountain technology axes were the only ones actually made in Scotland in the 1980's and 90's.
Charismatic, Glasgow born, Hugh McNicoll was the founder of Mountain Technology and sadly, he headed for the greater ranges in 2012. Obituaries are not our favourite source of information as they often mean we've lost a good pal, which is the case here. However, Phil Davison has allowed us to reprint a few extracts from Hugh's obituary which appeared in The Scotsman 12/9/2012. Glencoe photographer, and friend of Hugh, Alan Thomson, has also contributed his fine photo opposite.
"As a member of the famous Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team for more than 20 years, Hugh McNicholl helped save many lives. But he was perhaps best-known for developing the award-winning Vertige ice axe range used by mountaineers around the world, including on Everest, as well as by British troops, the Royal Air Force and Special Forces. As an aero-engineer who moved from Glasgow to the Highlands, he also built and repaired the world-renowned Maclnnes rescue stretchers designed by the Everest mountaineer Dr Hamish Maclnnes of Glencoe, who founded the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team in 1961.
Keen to start his own business, he produced "deadmen" (metal devices to secure a rope to a cliff) for the Nevisport outdoor equipment chain founded in 1970 in Fort William. A keen rock and ice climber himself, he decided to be closer to the mountains and in 1981 moved to North Ballachullish, Glencoe, where he set up his own company, Mountain Technology (Glencoe) Ltd, with financial backing from the Highlands and Islands Development Board. The company would soon become an internationally-known name among mountaineers.
It was natural that he join the legendary Maclnnes in the rescue team, based in Glencoe village, from where he set out on many life-saving sorties. Maclnnes had designed his first folding rescue stretcher in the early 1960s - later models are now used all over the world - and McNicholl used his engineering skills to build a stronger aluminium frame that make the stretcher easier to handle or load on to helicopters.
In North Ballachullish, Mountain Technology produced the now-famous Vertige ice axe and hammer,with an aluminium shaft and a pick crafted from nickel chrome, widely used by multi-terrain climbers.
McNicholl and his team also designed and produced pitons, crampons, adzes and other metal
equipment needed by mountaineers, as well as the stretcher frames and other rescue gear.
After 23 years in business, Mountain Technology ran into financial difficulties and McNicholl shut his factory down in 2004." davisonphil@aol.com

Acquisition Date

20/01/2011

Condition Check Date

20/01/2011

Rules

Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007

Modified

20/01/2011

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