But these aren't the Tetons you're looking for. Today, the 20th letter of the alphabet stands for a unique piece of climbing hardware from climbing engineer and designer Bill Forrest. Forrest was a prolific climbing inventor whose designs are a distinct part of climbing hardware history, including the Mjolnir, the first modular ice tool which is on display at the Smithsonian Museum. Titons were developed in 1973 with Kris Walker, as a cammable T-shaped nut that had a wide variety of possible placements. Click through the image below to see the full "Titon treatise" from an early Forrest Mountaineering catalog. Scan courtesy of Vertical Archaeology Check out the Alpinist's Alphabet
As has been noted elsewhere, young Mr. McGowan was an accomplished climber at a young age. Here he sums up the state of alpine climbing as it stood a few decades back in Seattle. Alpinism has come a long way, but it's clear that the reasons we still head into the hills have been around for quite a while.
That’s one heck of a resume. Seattle’s own Dick McGowan was (among other things – see above) the first employee of REI, the first American to set foot on Mt. Everest, led the first guided climb of Denali, and obviously an accomplished backpack model. See also: Some early instruction on alpine climbing from Dick himself.