Its not often you get to see an innovative idea come to the market…
It’s even rarer when the innovation is linked to a fantastic mountain heritage.
Many of you may remember our very popular Rohantime Interview with Mike Parsons. Mike has spent a lifetime in outdoor activities ( bike, ski , climb, mountaineer, kayak, backpack) and creating some iconic products – Karrimor; Karrimat, KSB, Haston Alpiniste, Jaguar, Hot Ice, KS-110e, KIMM, followed by a new start up in lightweight gear, OMM based on the original 1968 2 day mountain marathon. His recent work with Mary Rose at Lancaster University is very well respected in the Outdoor Industry.
Sarah Howcroft interviewed Mike on his appointment as Innovator in Residence at Lancaster University. Mike made this comment to Sarah in that interview
‘to look into the future we must first leaf though the past.’
Little did he know how relevant that would prove to be 18 months later. Or maybe he did!
Mike has been talking to Sarah again about his latest project that has just come to fruition.
The Tricouni Gripping System or what I suspect they will come to be called TRIGS.
Made by Tricouni which in themselves are legendary. Tricouni history is mountain legend. In 1883, a group of Geneva climbers coined the phrase ‘varrape’ (rock climbing in French) while climbing on the face of the Salève mountain overlooking the city. Of these climbers, one was to later revolutionize alpine equipment. Perhaps Felix Genecand was fed up with destroying his street shoes on the Salève face, perhaps it was the death of a friend who’s shoe fell apart that inspired him to invent better climbing footwear. He adopted the nickname Tricouni which was the name of an Italian climber he admired. Tricouni invented several models of steel climbing boot nails which could be attached to the leather soled shoes of the time. The Tricouni climbing nail was later to be known the world over.
TRIGS fit a large range of footwear, are user-adaptable, compact & ultralight. The TRIGS patent-pending design is based on a common platform which accommodates interchangeable nails. TRIGS can use a shorter gripper for walking or running and a longer spike for steeper terrain. TRIGS can be used in conditions where simple chain gripping devices would be considered too flimsy and in conditions where 12 point crampons are too technical. Potential users include hikers, skiers, ice fishermen, ultralight runners, winter city dwellers and safety professionals. Read more on Tricouni
After several years of development, this innovative gripping device is now in the pre-final stage. Samples were made using production tools and are now in the hands of testers during the Alpine season. When these tests are complete and any tune-ups actioned, we will make the medium size available before winter 2012 (small and large sizes will appear later). These will be available online and from a very small number of retailers.
Mike talked to Sarah about his involvement in the development of TRIGS
Nearly 2 years ago I had an email from the new owner of Tricouni asking if I knew if Mallory had used Tricouni nails in 1924. I said I didn’t know but advised him where to find out. A few weeks later he arrived in Patterdale for what I though would be a fun chat about Tricouni I thought that was the end of it but he kept on coming back, explaining that he wanted to take the company forward again with something new and relevant. After a few discussions I made a proposal that related to what I thought was a gap in the market place. Many new devices were becoming available which were very convenient for people with shoes or flexible boots but there are lots of shortcomings including durability and performance. I used the original principles of the customisability of a boot using different nail types in the new product which is flexible modular and you can change to different lengths of spikes, or should we say nails?
Knowing Mike’s fondness for all things innovative Sarah was not surprised when Mike told her
I started by involving a designer and the Engineering Dept of Lancaster University and went on from there. It was blue sky stuff, and we used the latest 3DSL stereo lithography printing technology to make early prototypes. After 20 months this is the result, a new device quite different from all others.
Read more on the History of Tricouni Nails by Mike
This is a fantastic example of how drawing the very strong threads of mountaineering heritage and product excellence together and harnessing the best of modern technology can produce a product that is both ground breaking and innovative. Sarah Howcroft