The A5 Hammer is back — it’s now D5

Since the late nineties, I’ve been climbing with an A5 hammer. That is, until last year when my car was broken into and rack lifted. I was able to replace most of the items, but the loss of my hammer caused the biggest pain; A5 hammers hadn’t been made in over a decade. I’ve tried most other hammers on the market and they just don’t compare. My good friend Dave Allfrey sums is up best: “A good wall hammer allows you to go into really scary places confidently.”

A5 hammers, designed by John Middendorf, a hard-aid guru with engineering degrees from both Stanford and Harvard, are built with a long hickory handle, a heavy yet precise claw-shaped head and a ‘biner hole that accommodates any size ‘biner. The longer handle allows more momentum to build as you drive pins into cracks. This also lets you reach further, which is great for a shorties like me. Its hawk shaped head is precise enough to  tap copperheads into seams so they’ll hold long enough for you  to spin the hammer around and  to mush them in with a blunt center punch or chisel. Other hammers have wider, blunter heads and are less accurate to the target. Attach a funkness device (a 3’ steel staged cable with loops on either end) to it and with a a few hard tugs I could get just about anything out of a crack. One of my partners, frustrated with my welded pins and his lighter, weaker hammer, taped lead to the top of his handle so he could get my gear out.

So admired is the A5 hammer that it’s been resurrected. And, yes, I bought one today.

Only 277 of these hammers have been built and they cost $100 (this includes a mandatory, minimum $15 donation). The price is comparative to most other hammers on the market.  The idea to bring back the A5 hammer came up five years on the climber’s forum at With the support and direction of the wall climbing community, Theron Moses of Moses Enterprises built these nearly-identical-to-the-real-thing limited edition hammers. Russ Walling of Fish Products sewed the shoulder slings.

I know many of these hammers were pre-ordered before being manufactured. I’m surprised that I was able to get my order through. If you love driving iron on the Big Stone, or have a loved one that wall climbs, you must purchase this hammer.

A5 Hammer

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