Oh no you guys....you got it all wrong....
Its obviously an "Avalanche Kite"
It was an early safety device for avalanche terrain travel.
These were clipped on the back of the harness and in the event of an avy or slide it
was meant to create drag as an assist during self arrest
Legend has it that its creator was a guy named Matt Erhorn who had taken up climbing
after serving in WWII as a Naval Aviator. Apparently he got the idea from the tail hooks
in common use on aircraft carrier planes. The idea never gained widespread use and has
thus faded into obscurity.