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The History of the Forrest Mountaineering Titon
Climbing nuts these days come in pretty standard shapes and sizes—the design has been refined to near-perfection, with tapers, anodizing for color coding, and highly technical swaging and solder-work rendering improbably strong cables, even on the tiniest nuts (RPs and brassies). But did you know that, decades ago, the invention-focused workshop of Colorado’s Forrest Mountaineering, led by the pioneering climber and tinkerer Bill Forrest, came out with a T-shaped climbing nut that, through its unique camming action, had up to 15 different ways to place it?
Definition: The Titon was a T-shaped, passively camming climbing nut (no longer sold) made by Forrest Mountaineering from 1973 through 1985. Titons ultimately came in seventeen sizes: Numbers 1–5 were made of investment-cast steel, while numbers 6–17 were made of aluminum (sizes 9 on up had drilled lightening holes). Bill Forrest estimates that Titons had fifteen different placement attitudes; his 1978 catalog has photos showing fourteen different placements.
Origin: Kris Walker came up with the idea in 1973, showing a prototype to Forrest and saying, simply, “This is our new nut.” The first Titons were cut from stock T extrusions, and worked “really well,” said Forrest.
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